What Services are Available on Mitiaro?
An island of only 155 people, Mitiaro offers limited services. If you’re planning on visiting the island, you’ll want to know what’s available or, more importantly, what’s not. There are no ATMs, no restaurants and not much access to WiFi unless you have a local SIM card. Nevertheless (or “neverthemore”, depending on how you look at it), you won’t be completely stranded on Mitiaro, as the island has a well-stocked convenience store and gas station, a hospital, a post office/local phone network and accommodation’s offering generous hospitality with everything else you might need.
Discover what’s on Mitiaro island with this guide to the information, shops and services on Mitiaro. Combine this with The Complete Travel Guide to Mitiaro and you’re onto trip-planning success.
Useful Services for Tourists
- Island Administration (looks after visitors instead of a tourist information centre) – Mangarei, opposite Omutu Harbour
- Car and Scooter Rentals – Car rentals are available through the accommodation providers
- Restaurants – There are no restaurants on Mitiaro but guests can order meals from accommodation providers
- Accommodation – See Where to Stay on Mitiaro for listings
- Police Station (e.g. for a scooter licence) – Mangarei, part of the administration buildings opposite Omutu Harbour
- Mitiaro Airport – Northern end of the island, see Airports in the Cook Islands. It is only open when flights are due and has no facilities.
Food and Groceries
There are no restaurants on Mitiaro. The island does, however, have a well-stocked grocery store (for outer island standards, at least). The convenience stores have plenty of tinned and frozen goods and drinks (including wine and beer) but has little-to-no fresh food. A lot of the food are imported brands from New Zealand and Rarotonga.
Alternative ways to feed yourself on Mitiaro are via the morning bakery and the infrequent markets but, more reliably, your accommodation host will keep you well-fed. There are also a couple of bars on the island to wet your whistle and try the “local brew”.
Supermarkets/Grocery Stores on Mitiaro
There is only one convenience store on Mitiaro, which is Pa’s Store in Mangarei. The bright pink store is easy to find just down the road heading east from the central CICC Church in Mangarei. Opening hours are from Monday to Saturday, 8am to 6pm.
There is an unofficial bakery on Mitiaro, “Rangi’s Bakery“, where a local sells freshly baked sweet treats from their yellow/orange house in Mangarei. It’s a good place to grab something for breakfast or a snack for when you’re exploring the island later. Opening hours are Monday to Saturday, from 6am to 8am.
There are two bars on Mitiaro, the open-air IYA Bar (ask around for opening hours – they’re pretty inconsistent) located opposite the sports field and Red Cross in Mangarei. Alternatively, you can head to the more informal Pati’s Bar in the outdoor lounge area of Vivian’s Homestay to try their potent “banana beer”. Pati’s is open on Friday evenings.
While there is no formal weekly market on Mitiaro, there are a couple of markets that happen now and then where you can purchase meals and treats. Hayley’s Market happens usually on a Saturday and has freshly baked scones and coffee for sale amongst local crafts. Additionally, the Island Council sometimes puts on a market outside of the village hall when there are a few tourists on the island, providing lunch, such as hot dogs and breadfruit fries, for example. Both of these events take place in Mangarei village.
Meals at Mitiaro’s Accommodations
Note that guests are usually provided with three meals a day at the accommodations on Mitiaro. All of Mitiaro’s accommodations also have self-catering facilities. More details are outlined in Where to Stay on Mitiaro: The 4 Best Mitiaro Accommodations.
Accommodations on Mitiaro provide guests with filtered water. Bottled water is also available at the convenience store. Check out our tips about how to easily get access to drinking water while exploring the Cook Islands in our guide, Is the Water Safe to Drink in the Cook Islands?
Medication, Toiletries and Pharmaceuticals
While we always recommend having all the medication you need with you for your stay in the Cook Islands (see What to Medication to Pack in Your First Aid Kit for the Cook Islands for advice), we especially recommend bringing even light medications (such as painkillers), baby products, hygiene products and sun protection to Mitiaro. Although some light medication and toiletries are for sale at Mitiaro’s convenience store, the stock is limited and they are sometimes sold out. The only alternative option for getting medication on Mitiaro is at the local hospital.
Pharmacy and Hospital
There is no pharmacy on Mitiaro. For more pressing illnesses, injuries and medications, there’s the Mitiaro Hospital just outside of Mangarei village on the northern inland road. The hospital is open for doctor’s appointments from Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm.
Fuel Stations, Banks and Communication
Mitiaro has very limited services when it comes to banking and communication. Visitors are recommended to bring all of the cash they need (New Zealand Dollars) and don’t rely on access to WiFi. Those that need a phone and internet are best getting a local SIM card.
Fuel Stations on Mitiaro
There is one gas station on Mitiaro, which is at Pa’s Store. It is located on the road heading east of the CICC Church in Mangarei. Opening hours are from Monday to Saturday, 8am to 6pm.
Phone Network on Mitiaro
There’s only one cellphone network provider in the Cook Islands, Vodafone, whose Mitiaro office you can find in the Administration Buildings opposite Omutu Harbour in Mangarei. Learn more about the network and prices in The Best SIM Card in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands for Travellers.
Post Offices on Mitiaro
Vodafone also offers postal services on Mitiaro (in the Administration Building opposite Omutu Harbour, Mangarei) and is open from Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm.
Internet and WiFi on Mitiaro
Free WiFi is practically unheard of in the Cook Islands, and the same goes for Mitiaro. Anywhere that does offer WiFi usually provides it through a Vodafone WiFi hotspot, such as at the accommodation Divine Retreat. Learn more about how to use Vodafone WiFi hotspot vouchers in How to Get Internet & WiFi in the Cook Islands.
Banks and ATMs on Mitiaro
There is one bank found on Mitiaro and no ATMs. The BCI (Bank of the Cook Islands) can be found in the Island Administration buildings opposite Omutu Harbour in Mangarei. Don’t expect a foreign exchange service, as the banks here only deal in local banking.
Make sure you bring all the local currency in cash that you’re going to need with you. Find out more about paying your way through the Cook Islands in our guide, What is the Best Way to Pay in the Cook Islands?
More About Information, Shops and Services on Mitiaro
Now that you know about the Mitiaro shops and services available, here’s more advice to help you plan a smooth trip to the island:
- Mitiaro Transport Guide: 6 Ways to Get to (& Around) Mitiaro
- 15 Best Things to Do on Mitiaro
- A Self-Guided Day Trip Around Mitiaro