“Go where the coconut trees are tall, and the WiFi signal is low.”
It may be a little obvious by now, but over the last few years I’ve been on a mission to explore all of the beauuuutiful islands in the South Pacific. It’s a slow, expensive, pain-staking process, but one that I’m willing to endure for the joys of adventure. 🙂 I got 99 problems but a beach ain’t one.
I have been captivated by the South Pacific from the very moment I saw the dreamy pictures in a travel magazine over 25 years ago; and since that day, I’ve been determined to make those adventurous daydreams come true. So far, our travels have taken us across the ocean to Fiji, to the French Polynesian islands of Mo’orea and Tahiti, and most recently, to the Cook Islands. And the more I explore, the more I find myself wanting to visit even more of those dreamy islands. I just can’t get enough.
And just as French Polynesia is known for its bucket-list-worthy overwater-bungalows, Aitutaki is known to have the “most beautiful lagoon in the world.”
The island of Aitutaki and its surrounding lagoon are only seven square-miles. And there are 15 individual motus (islands) within the Aitutaki atoll. Aitutaki offers a handful of resorts, local stores, and restaurants; and for all the outdoor adventurers there’s plenty of white sand beaches, dense jungle, and that incredible azure lagoon for all the water sports your inner-mermaid can desire. And the most incredible part of this Paradise on Earth is how it remains relatively unknown, untouched, and remote.
When we told friends and family where we were headed for our eighth anniversary, the response was always, “Where?!” The Cook Islands are an island chain “next door” to the French Polynesian Islands, so I would always respond with, “It’s in the South Pacific, in between Fiji and French Polynesia.” Just to give friends and family an idea of where this island nation is located.
I was instantly drawn to the Cook Islands when I learned that only 160,000 visitors arrived in 2017. For perspective, Hawaii had 9.3 MILLION visitors in 2017. Insane, right?
I’m constantly looking for destinations that are more off-the-beaten-path and slightly more “remote,” and while I’ll forever love the excitement and lure of Paris, Hawaii, New York, and other tourist hot-spots, I’m never disappointed when I step out of the crowds and step right into my own real-life Paradise.
Cody and I spent our anniversary week living like Robinson Crusoe: no internet, no cell service, no need for watches or schedules. We were completely off the grid and we filled our week with fun out on the water, relaxation back at the resort, and bicycle–and moped–adventures around the island.
Cody and I have been incredibly lucky to have explored all the destinations we have–26 countries in the last eight years is no small feat–and simply put, we are grateful. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, we’ve pushed ourselves out of our comfort zones, and we’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) about ourselves and the world. And most importantly, and we’ve grown closer as a couple and as best friends. There’s no-one else I’d rather be on this crazy adventure with.
And while basically everywhere is on the bucket list, there are a few destinations that are high up on the “We must get back there SOON!” list. And the Cook Islands, and specifically, Aitutaki, are two of those destinations. These islands are easily one of my favorite places on Earth.