Survivor Aitutaki

Aitutaki AtollThe buzz on Aitutaki these days is that the CBS reality TV series Survivor may be coming to the Cook Islands. Previous Survivor series were filmed in Palau, the Marquesas, and Vanuatu, and television scouts have been sighted recently snooping around the uninhabited islets on the southeast side of the atoll. The Aitutaki locals are already counting their money.

For those unfamiliar with Survivor, the program involves two "tribes" of eight participants who gradually vote one another out of their group (only Americans are allowed to participate.) The contestant who lasts the longest collects a prize of one million dollars. The series is split into a dozen or so weekly installments, and the identity of the eventual winner is a closely kept secret.

If Aitutaki is chosen this year, all accommodations on the island will be fully booked from May to July, and just getting on a flight to the Cook Islands could prove difficult at that time. If you were thinking of visiting Aitutaki (or even Rarotonga) around then, get confirmed hotel and flight reservations as soon as possible.

But frankly, I doubt if Aitutaki will be chosen. If the Survivor people really are looking for a location in the Cook Islands, Penrhyn Atoll would seem to serve their needs far better. The expenses would be higher as Penrhyn is the farthest north of the Cook Islands, but it's also furthest from the prying eyes of spoilsports who might be tempted to divulge the show's secrets, thereby wreaking havoc on its ratings. Penrhyn has a deep lagoon where a couple of mini cruise ships could anchor to provide accommodations for the production crews, and access could be easily controlled.

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