Has the Most Mysterious Lagoon
in the Pacific

The Gigantic and Mystifying Atoll of Tongareva

everything you need to know about the Mesmerizing Penrhyn in the Cook islands

Penrhyn is home to a handful of people living on one of the largest atolls of the South Pacific. It is the northernmost island of the Cook Islands, close to the equator.

The deep mystical lagoon has three passages leading into the open ocean. The lagoon is teeming with marine life. Biologists postulate that still unknown ocean species lurk in its depths.

The locals call their home island Tongareva.

Here's a Free Handy Penryhn 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.

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Basic Info and Stats About Penrhyn in the Cook Islands



Penrhyn forms part of the Cook Islands Northern Island Group.


Getting There

It is 1,365 kilometers / 848 miles northeast of Rarotonga. It is the furthest island from Rarotonga, the capital. Occasional flights with Air Rarotonga, flight time about 4.5 hours. Alternatively, travel to by Ferry type boat that takes about a week but does not have a regular schedule.


Size Of Penrhyn

The lagoon has a size of 233 kilometers2/ 90 miles2, and a total land area of 9.8 kilometers2/ 3.8 miles2. It is up to 70 meters/ 259 feet deep, with more than 30 Motus.



Penrhyn is a coral atoll, at the top of a 4.800m / 15.748ft high underwater volcano. The huge lagoon is home to abundant marine life that is mostly undiscovered.


Inhabitants & Tourist Numbers

It is home to about 226 people.

Only a handful of tourists visit the atoll annually.

Penrhyn Offers Visitors the Basic Essentials to enjoy an Island Adventure



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



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



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

Penryhn sunset



Tongareva Sunset Units is the only guesthouse and can accommodate up to 4 people.


Shopping & dining

There are no shops, restaurants, or pubs.



The island has no ATMs. Tip - Take enough cash with you.



Medical care available.


Top Magical Adventures of Penrhyn in the Cook Islands

1 Explore the XXL Paradise

Just a handful live in Penrhyn with its massive lagoon of 233 km2. That leaves you the freedom to get to know paradise intimately.

The lagoon is so large that at many points, the opposite side is not visible. Locals are at the ready to take you on their little boats to explore the many Motus or dive the lagoon. The adventure options are limitless, as is your freedom here.

2 Experience the Mystical Lagoon

The dark blue lagoon is scattered with light spots of neon blue coral islands, which are just below the surface.

This lagoon is teaming with marine life, large and small. Sharks of all types can be seen very close to shore. It is a fascinating place to dive, snorkel, or even spearfishing with the locals.

Marine biologists have also begun researching the depths of the lagoon for unknown marine life.

3 Mingle with the friendly islanders

The Tongarevans are amazing people. Friendly, relaxed, helpful, and curious to learn about the world at that they do not know.

The local school loves to have foreign visitors around to share their knowledge. One always feels welcome, no matter where you may find yourself in the little village.

Penrhyn motu
Penryhn cruise
Penrhyn sunrise
Penrhyn blue
Penryhn beach
Penrhyn shadows
Penryhn lagoon

Like what you've learnt about Penrhyn so far?

We have tons more info in our Cook Island Travel Guide

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

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