The Complete Guide to Water Taxis in Aitutaki
Dreaming of island hopping on the azure waters of the Aitutaki Lagoon? Water taxis in Aitutaki give you the unique experience of relaxing for a day or half-day on a deserted islet along with the hermit crabs. You can also catch a water taxi to one of the lagoon’s popular kitesurfing islands or join the lagoon cruise passengers for a paddle around One Foot Island. Plan your “motu” (island) day trip with this complete guide to water taxis in Aitutaki and the Cook Islands, including which islands to visit, what to take with you, costs and more.
Water Taxis in Aitutaki
There are several water taxi companies in Aitutaki, including:
- Wet & Wild – Transfers to any island
- Mona’s Water Taxis – Transfers to One Foot Island, Honeymoon Island and Maina Island
- Bishop’s Cruises – Transfers to One Foot Island. Could be dropped off via private water taxi or cruise depending on the time. Lunch is an optional extra.
- South Pacific Kiteboarding – Transfers to Honeymoon Island.
Learn more about how they operate and the cost of their water taxi services in the guide below!
What are the Water Taxis Like in Aitutaki?
Water taxis in Aitutaki are operated by boat and lagoon tour companies. Because of this, water taxis require a little booking in advance (a day before at the very latest), as these tour operators often have other tours and water taxi services that they need to work around.
You’ll be riding on a small motorboat with a skipper who is also a tour guide, so often has interesting stories to tell about the lagoon.
How Long Do Transfers Last?
The journey on a water taxi on the Aitutaki Lagoon lasts approximately 15 minutes on the water (and 10 minutes by car if your water taxi includes land transfers). Water taxis typically depart from Ootu Beach or the Arutanga Harbour.
How Long Do You Stay on the Island?
Times offered are usually flexible, ranging from 3 to 7 hours. You will arrange a time with the skipper for pick-up – you will have no opportunity to change this time once you’re on the island (with the exception of Honeymoon Island in the kitesurfing season), so you better be sure for how long you want to be marooned!
What to Take With You
As you’re going onto an island with no facilities (other than a Post Office on One Foot Island or kite centres on Honeymoon Island during the kitesurfing season), you need to be prepared with a day bag. Take a sunhat, reef-cafe sunscreen, reef shoes or flip-flops, and plenty of drinking water and food. Note that snorkelling gear is not included in water taxis, so you’ll either need to hire some or bring your own.
The Best Islands to Get a Water Taxi
The beauty of a water taxi excursion is that you get to experience islands that rarely anyone else does. Here are some of the highlights, including the most popular islands to the most deserted yet fun to explore.
In the kitesurfing season (May to October), this sandy islet surrounded by shallow water and holding a tuft of coconut palms in its centre is a hive of activity with kitesurfers showing off their skills. The island has some comforts from the hut that is used as a kite centre in the kiting season. Outside of the season, Honeymoon Island is a stunning place to be marooned for the day. The island is only visited occasionally by a couple of lagoon cruises. Learn more about the kitesurfing in The Guide to Kitesurfing in Rarotonga, Aitutaki & the Cook Islands.
Maina Island sits just behind Honeymoon Island and can even be walked to from Honeymoon Island at low tide. But if you don’t fancy walking, you can take a water taxi there to experience life on a deserted island (apart from the very occasional small-group lagoon cruise that stops by). There are lots of shady coconut trees and places to explore.
One Foot Island
One of the most popular islands to visit in Aitutaki, One Foot Island (Tapuaetai) certainly won’t feel too deserted, as it is the highlight of most lagoon cruises. Nevertheless, getting dropped off here for the day by water taxi means that you will also get to experience the island when it’s quiet. If you get dropped off here with Bishop Cruises, you can also join them for their island barbecue lunch. There are lots to explore on this island with its picnic areas, famous coconut tree and the walk over to The Sandbank – see Sightseeing on Aitutaki: Top 10 Sights on Aitutaki for more details.
For the true “marooned on a deserted island” experience, head to Moturakau. The island was used in the filming of Survivor: Cook Islands and Shipwrecked – see the 10 TV Shows Filmed in the Cook Islands. Nowadays, however, you will just share this island with the array of tropical seabirds and hermit crabs. You’ll find cute picnic areas, volcanic rock formations and a walking trail through the bush. Learn more about the latter in the 5 Best Walks on Aitutaki.
If you want to stay the night on an island, make it Akaiami. It has two basic but perfectly comfortable accommodations, Akaiami Paradise and Gina’s Island Lodge, which both offer water taxi services to their accommodations. The island is also rich in history, which you can learn more about in the 10 Best Historical Sites on Aitutaki.
Other Islands to Visit in Aitutaki
All of the islands are pretty stunning to be honest, so the best of the rest include:
- Ee – Has a long white-sand beach with great snorkelling and rock pools where the passage ends at the reef
- Mangere – Has a beautiful sandy beach to the south
- Papau – Rarely visited island that is easy to walk around
- Tavaerua Iti and Tavarua Nui – Unspoiled islands with good snorkelling in the channel between the two
- Muritapua – Another dreamy island close to Akaiami
- Tekopua – The largest island on the lagoon (after the main island, of course), it is covered in lush rainforest
- Motukitiu – Also known as Bird Island, which is amazing for birdwatchers; not so much for sunbathers
- Rapota – An island with volcanic rocks, beach and the occasional pig that the landowners leave here.
How Much Does an Aitutaki Water Taxi Cost?
So how much does it cost to be stranded on a deserted island for the day? Check out the water taxi prices below!
Aitutaki Water Taxi Fares
- One Foot Island return – NZ$70-$80 per adult, NZ$35-$40 per child, NZ$100 including lunch with Bishop’s Cruises
- Honeymoon Island return – NZ$35-$40 per person in the kitesurfing season, NZ$60-$70 per adult and NZ$35 per child outside of the season
- Maina Island return – NZ$60-$70 per adult, NZ$30 per child
- Other islands return – NZ$70 per person.
Check out more costs to budget for your trip using our guide, Rarotonga & Cook Islands Travel Budget: How Much Does a Trip to the Cook Islands Cost?.
More About Boat Transport in Aitutaki and the Cook Islands
That’s it for our complete guide to water taxis in Aitutaki! Check out alternative boat transport methods in the guides below:
- 10 Best Island-Hopping Tours in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands
- Cook Islands Cargo Ship Guide: How to Use the Ferry for Interisland Travel in the Cook Islands
- Aitutaki Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get to (& Around) Aitutaki
Finally, plan the rest of your excursion to Aitutaki using The Complete Travel Guide to Aitutaki and the 20 Best Things to Do on Aitutaki.