What makes
in the Cook Islands
so magical?

Sandy Beaches, Grottos, and Caves in the bizarre Makatea.

everything you need to know before arriving in mesmerising Atiu in the Cook islands

Atiu in the Cook Islands has beautiful white sandy beaches embraced by bizarre Makatea-rocks. Unspoiled caves surrounded by lush rain forest. Reefs that one can hike. And a progressive nature conservation program to protect its abundant birdlife.

Here's a Free Handy Atiu Infographic For You

Our Atiu infographic contains essential information for you to plan your visit.

We have prepared detailed infographics for each one of the Cook Islands islands. Visit the pages of the islands for their respective infographics.

Click below to download the high-resolution infographic of Atiu.

Basic Info and Stats About Atiu in the Cook Islands



Atiu forms part of the Southern Cook Islands Group.


Getting There

The island is 187 kilometers / 116 miles northeast of Rarotonga. It is reachable from the main island with a regular 45 minutes flight, operated by Air Rarotonga.


Size Of Atiu

Atiu is only 27 kilometers2 / 10 miles2 and yet the Cook Islands’ third-largest island, following Rarotonga and Mangaia.
It is also the third most visited island in the Cook Islands, following Rarotonga and Aitutaki.​



The island is of volanic origin and estimated to be 8 million years old. It has a central volcanic plateau made of fossilized corals known as the ‘Makatea’.

It has many unexplored caves. Together with its sister islands Mauke and Mitaro, they are known as the “Three Roots.” These three cornerstones islands formed part of a mega volcano that sunk more than 10,000 years ago.


Inhabitants & Tourist Numbers

The population totals a mere 434.

Atiu receives an estimated 200 visitors annually.

Atiu Offers the Bare Essentials in Its Infrastructure



A sandy airstrip and small airport hut greet you on your arrival. The tiny airport only opens when the small passenger plane arrives and departs.



There is no public transport system. Your host can arrange vehicles to explore the island.



All types of tours are arranged through one’s host.




Accommodation is limited. A couple of guesthouses exist, but only one offers meals.


Shopping & dining

The island has three shops offering with necessary supplies. Occasionally, a small restaurant is open for dinner. A large shop offers ‘Take Aways’ during the day.

No pubs on Atiu, but they have so-called Tumunus. A Tumunu is a place where you can savor locally brewed orange beer.



There are no ATMs. Be sure to bring along enough cash.



Basic medical care is available.


Awesome Adventures You Must Experience When In Atiu in the Cook Islands

1 Walk the reef

Walk alongside secluded beaches and cliffs to the “Three Grottos”. Little grottos, only reachable from the oceanside, with crystal clear water. A romantic place for a dip while gazing over the roaring Pacific Ocean just feet away.

Atiu is one of the very few islands where the reef is close and easy to hike during low tide. A remarkable experience.

2 Explore The Anatakitaki Cave

Hiking to the Anatakitaki Caves was one of those surprise events in which the journey almost eclipses the destination. The hike through the rain forest and hard and spikey Makatea was slow going yet awe-inspiring.

The Anatakitaki caves comprise three great halls. Each one of these chambers sports a grand opening to the lush jungle. Within the dark and cooler caves are beautiful shimmering stalagmites and stalactites. And hidden in amongst it all is a small hidden lake, in which one can take a dip.

The cave system is also the only home of the Kopeka bird on the planet. A bird that behaves like a bat, using sonar, when in the caves.

3 Enjoy Secluded Beaches & Pools

Tranquil white sandy beaches nestled amongst the rough volcanic landscape with views over pristine blue pools.

IslandAwe - Atui reef walk
Atiu ocean view
Atiu private beach

4 Relish Pure Nature & Relax while Bird Watching

Of all the Cook Islands, Atiu has the most abundant birdlife and the number of bird species.

An extraordinary nature conservation program protects many plant and animal species. Go on an Eco-Tour with Birdman George and experience it all.

Atui Caves Anatakitaki
Atui caves 2
Atiu coastline

Like what you've learnt about Atiu so far?

We have tons more info in our Cook Islands Travel Guide

The Cook Islands Travel Guide is jam packed with details of Atui. Contact information. Detailed maps with geocodes and much more.

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