Cook Islands - Lord Balfor - where are you?

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Jul 1st, 2003, 08:42 AM
  #1
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Cook Islands - Lord Balfor - where are you?

Hi, there! I've read all the previous postings on the cooks and I finally went and took a look at your webpictures and I'm so excited to be considering a vacation there. Your descriptions of Aitutaki being nature's pool - sounds so yummy!

Just called Costco this morning and they're quoting, in US dollars, for 12 nights at the Pacific Resort Aitutaki, with return air via LAX, all inter-island transfers, hotel tax & service charge: $6500

Would we be safe in budgeting $50/day for lunch & dinner for 2 people? Breakfast is included. We're not heavy eaters when we travel and neither of us drink alcohol.

Also - what money is used in the Cook Islands? New Zealand dollars? Thanks!
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Jul 1st, 2003, 12:46 PM
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Hello,

Yeah, you can get by on $50 (US dollars)/day for 2 people for your meals. It's now a bit more expensive than when we went, mainly due to the USD/NZD (New Zealand Dollar - which they use in the Cooks) exchange rate changes that have occured since then. However, you should still be able to easily eat for that (especially for just 2 meals). Here's a link to Trader Jack's restaurant (I'm not pushing the place, it's just that it has a menu on the web so it's handy to look at):

http://www.cookpages.com/TraderJacks/menu.html

Also, before you book your airfare, check into flying to Hawaii and then to the Cooks from there. Last I heard, Aloha airlines was offering really cheap flights from LAX/Oakland/Vancouver to Rarotonga via Honolulu. Not sure if they still are, but it's worth checking out. Airfare on that route was about half of what Air New Zealand was charging.

Enjoy your stay in the Cooks. If you want you can e-mail me directly with any questions. I now have new E-mail address (thanks to an ISP buyout). It's now:

[email protected].

The old E-mail address will still work for a while.

Ken
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Jul 1st, 2003, 01:30 PM
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Thanks, Ken! I was hoping you'd re-post your new e-mail addy. Like I said - your pictures of the Aitutaki lagoon made me drool! When I have time I'm going to check the epinions for your other reviews. Thanks for the tip on Aloha, too. I'll check it out!
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Jul 1st, 2003, 01:59 PM
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But Aloha doesn't fly this route daily. Believe it's only once a week. Also, check how long the layover is in Hawaii.

Sometimes cheap doesn't pay!

I would also suggest you consider spending at least half of those 12 days on Raratonga where there is also a Pacific Resort. Sometimes a quiet island with little to do is sometimes too much relaxation.
 
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Jul 1st, 2003, 02:14 PM
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Ah yes. It helps if I read a little more carefully, I didn't catch that you were spending ALL of your time at the Pacific Resort on Aitutaki (as opposed to the one on Raro). Sandi is right. You probably will be better off if you split your time between Raro & Aitutaki (especially as you have to go to Raro first anyway). Folks have very different opinions on where to spend the most time - I think a split of 2 days on Raro for every day on Aitutaki is right for us, others feel just the opposite. It's a very subjective thing. Both are great however.

Also - I think in light of this realization of your plans, I should rephrase my answer to your question: The Pacific Resort on Aitutaki may be kind of pricey to eat at. The one on Raro isn't too bad, but I know the Pearl Beach on Aitutaki IS an expensive place to dine (unlike other places on Aitutaki). It may be that the Aitutaki Pacific Resort follows the pricing at the Pearl Beach (since it's in direct competition). Since the Aitutaki Pacific Resort was not yet open when we were there, obviously I cannot say much about the cost of their food. You should plan on eating at least some of your meals elsewhere to save some cash (not a bad idea to try other places anyway).

Sorry for the confusion. I'm getting befuddled in my old age.

Ken
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Jul 1st, 2003, 02:47 PM
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LordBalfor, it's probably not old age. It's probably yenforus southpacificus. A little known, but very real, malady that effects many of us. It causes periods of disorientation and confusion, especially when others discuss travel to SP.
SimoneSassett, I will chip in here and recommend Cafe Tupuna. Please see my post under "Headed for Cooks in August03" below. Also, be sure and read Larry Richards story, also noted.
I think your food budget is do-able, but a little tight. You may consider an occassional splurge. Getting to restaurants on either island is also something to deal with. Also, be sure to budget the trip to One Foot Island and other excursions.
Have fun!
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Jul 1st, 2003, 04:14 PM
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Thanks, everyone! I know - I want to split our time, too. Might as well, since we have to spend 1st night there in Rarotonga (arriving Sunday).

Are the pool villas beachfront at Sokola decent? They sure seem inexpensive. I'll do a search, too - but any new info is appreciated. Thanks!

And, I did check into Aloha Air - and they have too few flights.
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Jul 5th, 2003, 02:26 PM
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LordBalfor/Ken - just thought you'd want to know that we are taking your advice and planning a Cooks trip to split our time between Raro & Aitutaki. If we decide not to do Sokala Villas - would you recommend the self-catering route? I saw the website for Takitumu, Raina Lagoon, and Rarotonga Beach Bungalows.

Would you recommend either of these? They're about $75 less per night than Sokala. We'd be doing about 5-6 nights there, then moving to Aitutaki. Any thoughts?
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Jul 5th, 2003, 04:54 PM
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Simone,
I'm afraid I don't have any real experience with any of those 3 places. I can tell you that I do remember seeing a post (on Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree board) from a very unhappy guest at the Raina Lagoon Villas. It appears she considered the place to be rather dirty - I say again however, that I;ve not been inside so I can't speak with any authority. You might do a searh on the Lonely Planet site for "Raina". If they are the place I'm thinking they are, they are near the Blue Lagoon Villa and I've seen the outside of the units (they looked nice). Water there is decent (I swam there briefly), though I consider the reef to be a little close-in on the west side of Raro.
Regarding the other 2 choices: I know less about them than I do about the Raina Lagoon Villas. However, I LOVE the water in the Titikaveka to Vaimaanga area (where both of these places are) - tons and tons of fish. The south shore is my absolute favorite part of Raro. So.... I can't say much about the units themselves, but the water will almost certainly be wonderful.

For what it's worth,
Ken

PS: Your time split between Raro & Aitutaki sounds fine.
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