Social Scene in Aitutaki
Laidback and with a faint air of yesteryear, there is more to this tiny atoll than meets the eye at first glance. The night the locals like to get down and boogie is definitely Friday night and most of the night spots don’t close till 2am, unlike Saturday night which becomes Sunday and a holy day on the stroke of midnight.
There are around about half a dozen places you can go for a few (or more) drinks. From the game fishing club to the golf club as well as Puffy’s or the Crusher Bar or the Samade. If looking for a meal first, there are a couple of restaurants and the best by far would have to be Tupuna’s Restaurant (formerly Tupuna’s Café) where the food is so good it even got a mention from the cooking guru’s bible, Cuisine magazine. You do have to book ahead though, so best to do it from Rarotonga or online first.
Aitutaki is commercially underdeveloped (outside of tourist accommodation!) and if not staying at a recognised resort, one should not look for an open all night store. Make sure you bring whatever urgent supplies you think may you need from Rarotonga if staying on a weekend.
While there are certainly stores and a market on Aitutaki, just about everything that can possibly move will be found in church on Sundays with virtually all shops firmly shut. The market is found down at the wharf and is small, but it does have reasonably well priced fruit and vegetables – the island’s small but utterly sweet pineapples can be purchased for a dollar there. Make sure you don’t miss eating one of these, they will taste completely different to those imported to your home country.
While there are also the usual pareus and island style clothing and knick-knacks to be found, they can tend to be very much geared towards the tourist dollar and you do have to look to find a really good bargain.
While Aitutaki is small, there is a slight crime rate there – it does pay to lock your valuables away in the safes many of the accommodations provide, lock your cars and also don’t even leave your jandals out overnight – it’s odd, but even one may go missing!