If you want to experience village life up close then heads to Atiu Island. This outer island has a strong village culture with the majority of its inhabitants living a subsistence lifestyle off the land. Make sure you sample the local bush beer and see some of the Tivaevae quilts hand woven by the ladies.
Aitutaki has a laid back island style atmosphere and there are several villages to explore. Arutanga is the main village and commerce centre or head to Vaitape on the east coast.
The best region of Rarotonga to mingle amongst the local people is along the east coast of the island from Matavera Village to Avarua Town.