What Makes
in the Cook Islands,
the Jewel of the Pacific?

And not to forget about its gorgeous neighbor Rakahanga

everything you need to know about the Sparkling Jewel Manihiki in the Cook islands

Manihiki has a long history of black pearl farming. Although the industry has shrunk significantly over the past two decades, it still produces over 20,000 black pearls per annum.

It is another of the Cook Islands’ atolls with a spectacular blue lagoon. The atoll is dotted with pearl farms built on coral islets and surrounded by many Motus, resembling a string of pearls.

Here's a Free Handy Manihiki & Rakahanga Infographic For You

Our 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 your high-resolution infographic.

Basic Info and Stats About Manihiki in the Cook Islands



The atoll forms part of the Cook Islands Northern Island Group.


Getting There

It is 1,160 kilometers / 720 miles north of Rarotonga. One weekly Air Rarotonga flight serves the island; flight time is about 4,5 hours. A journey on an older Ferry type boat takes five days but does not have a regular schedule.


Size Of Manihiki

The lagoon covers an area of 20 kilometers2 / 7,7 miles2. The total land area is 5,4 kilometers2 / 2,1 miles2.



The coral atoll sits right at the top of a 4,000 meter / 13,123 feet high underwater mountain.

It is also the namesake for the "Manihiki Plateau", an elevated area with a size of somewhat 600,000 kilometers2 / 232,000 miles2 large. It was formed by vigorous tectonic and volcanic activities over 125 million years ago and considered to be a continent.

There are two large Motus, known as Tokerau (West) and Ngake (North and East, with the Airstrip), and 40 smaller Motus around the outskirts of the lagoon. At 75 meters/ 246 feet deep, it is one of the deepest lagoons in the Cook Islands.


Inhabitants & Tourist Numbers

The island is home to 212 locals, and about 50 tourists annually.

Manihiki Offers Visitors the Basic Essentials to enjoy an Island Adventure



A sandy airstrip and small airport hut greet you on your arrival. The tiny airport only opens when the small propeller plane arrives and departs.
There are also plans to extend the airstrip to allow larger plans to touch ground on the atoll.



There is no public transport system or vehicles for hire. Your host will loan you a scooter to explore the main island.



Lagoon trips and fishing expeditions, in the lagoon and ocean, are arranged through your host.

Manihiki pearl island



The Manihiki Lagoon Villas is a guesthouse for up to 6 people.


Shopping & dining

The atoll has no shops, restaurants, or pubs.



There are no ATMs. Therefore, take enough cash with you.



Medical care is available.


Unforgettable Experiences You should have When in Manihiki

1 Explore The Black Pearl Blue Lagoon

Enjoy calming white beaches. The small Motus, in particular, offers a wide variety of tropical scenery variations.

Snorkel in the turquoise-blue aquarium or go spearfishing with the locals. Take a dip in the natural rockpools of northern Tokerau. The unspoiled nature, low population, and tourist numbers are the makings for a truly peaceful experience.

2 Visit the Pearl Farms

A visit of the pearl farms offers a unique opportunity to learn more and partake in pearl farming. Dotted around the lagoon are working pearl farms. The farms are built on stilts on small coral plateaus.

The farms have a working and living area. The living area includes bedrooms, a kitchen, and an outdoor bathroom. During both the fertilizing and harvesting seasons, the pearl farmers live at their pearl farms.

3 Take Boat Trip To Rakahanga

Weather permitting, one can take on the adventure of crossing the Pacific to the neighbor island. It is about 42 kilometers / 26 miles or a 3-hours boat ride away.

Manihiki pearl farm
Manihik sunset
Manihiki chill
Manihiki working pearl farm
Manihiki Accomodation
Manihiki sunrise

This is why Rakahanga Is the Sealife Paradise

Rakahanga is a remote paradise island close to Manihiki. It’s an atoll with a pristine lagoon, lush green Motus, densely populated with coconut palm trees and heaps of fish.

If you love turtles and abundant sea life, this tiny island is a place for you. With just a handful of inhabitants, the sense of community will permeate every aspect of island adventure.

  • The atoll is part of the Northern Island Group.
  • Its land area is 4 kilometers2/ 1.5 miles2. It is situated 42 kilometers/ 26 miles southeast of its sister island and 1,248 kilometers/ 775 miles northwest of Rarotonga.
  • It consists of two large and seven small Motus.
  • The atoll is home to 83 inhabitants and receives close to zero tourists.
  • Getting There: The island can be reached by boat only. Supply ships from Rarotonga bring essentials and also passengers. Local crafts and crossing between Rakahanga and Manhiki.
  • Mobility: There is no public transport system. Everything is within walking distance along the coral main road leading from the village Nivano.
  • Accommodation: There are no tourist accommodations, but homestays can be arranged.
Manihiki birds

Like what you've learnt about Manihiki and Rakahanga so far?

We have tons more info in our Cook Island Travel Guide

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

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