How to Plan a Romantic Getaway or Honeymoon to Atiu…
… In other words, this is the complete couples’ guide to Atiu!
The island of Atiu might have been known for its fierce warlike ways in the past but today, it is perhaps one of the most peaceful of the Cook Islands as a sanctuary of birds and only around 1% of the Cook Islands’ tourists even venturing here. For couples, it’s a place to not only connect with nature but with each other as bonds are strengthened when exploring the island’s hidden beaches, caves and pools. The cultural experiences here delight the senses, such as tasting local coffee and indulging in an “umu” on the beach. At the end of a day’s exploring, retreat to your A-frame chalet in tropical gardens or secluded holiday home – there are only two places to stay, after all. It’s all here to plan in this complete romantic getaway and honeymoon guide to Atiu.
6 Tips for Couples Visiting Atiu
Before we dive into this complete honeymoon and romantic getaway guide to Atiu, here are five quick tips for couples visiting the island.
- Take note of the tide times for exploring the reefs – tide times are usually available at your accommodation’s reception
- It is slightly cheaper to fly from Aitutaki than from Rarotonga
- Bring plenty of cash! There is no ATM on Atiu, and withdrawing from Atiu Villas incurs a 5% fee (see What is the Best Way to Pay in the Cook Islands?)
- Hiring a car is far more comfortable than a scooter on Atiu due to the mostly bumpy dirt roads
- Bring insect repellent and hayfever medication – Atiu’s accommodations are nestled in gardens with lots of flowers
- Wait until you’re on the island before booking tours. Not only is it easier to do through the information centre or your accommodation, but tour guides usually schedule tours to meet the demand of tourists on the island at the time.
If this is your first time exploring the Cook Islands, then you might also like to browse the 30 Tips for Travelling in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
How to Get to Atiu
Atiu lies in the Southern Group of the Cook Islands, some 214km (133 miles) northeast of Rarotonga and the Cook Islands’ international airport. The only real way to get to Atiu is via domestic flight from Rarotonga or Aitutaki.
Regular flights are available between Rarotonga and Atiu on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as well as Saturday in the high season. Flights take approximately 45 minutes. Alternatively, there are flights from Aitutaki on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, taking 40 minutes. Find out more about flights and the cost in our guide, Domestic Flights in the Cook Islands: Your Guide to Interisland Flights.
How to Get Around Atiu
With a 19km (12-mile) coastal road and inland roads crossing the island, Atiu is easy to navigate by car, scooter and even bicycle. There are a couple of rental options on the island, as well as accommodations and tour operators who offer transfers. Find out more about transport in our Atiu Transport Guide: 7 Ways to Get to (& Around) Atiu.
Romantic Getaway and Honeymoon Experiences
Forget “private dinners on the beach” and “couples’ massages”. Atiu offers more down-to-earth couples’ experiences – mainly exploring the natural wonders of Atiu. This is done either independently or with the help of a guide.
You rarely get the feeling of having a whole place to yourselves quite like on Atiu. With only a handful of tourists on the island at a time (and locals finding not much use in lounging on the beach), the beaches of Atiu are secluded around 99.9999% of the time. Although there are 26 beaches found in the nooks and crannies of Atiu’s coast, some of the largest beaches and best ones to visit are Oravaru, Taungaroro and Tumai beaches along the west side of the island, and Oneroa Beach on the east side. Beaches offer very little in way of snorkelling and swimming due to the reef being so close to shore, but they still offer a serene place to explore. Check out the 7 Best Beaches on Atiu for more information about each beach and more.
A must-see attraction for couples on Atiu, Anatakitaki Caves are a series of caves with awesome limestone stalactites and home to a rare and fascinating bird. Join Atiu Eco-Adventure Anatakitaki Cave Tour for a three-hour guided experience taking you through the dense rainforest to three spectacular caves. Bring your swimwear for the cave pool and put on your best bird-spotting hats for seeing the kopeka, a swiftlet unique to Atiu, that uses sonar just like a bat. Your guide will tell you more about these amazing birds or check out the 20 Animals & Birds Unique to the Cook Islands. Plus, see more caves to explore in the 5 Best Caves on Atiu.
Explore the Island by Car, Scooter or Bike
As mentioned, Atiu is so easy to explore! Either hire a car (the most comfortable on the dirt roads), hire a scooter (the most adventurous) or a bicycle (the most physically demanding) and explore the 19km (11.8-mile) coastal road with its array of sea tracks leading to exceptional sights. Relax in a natural infinity pool at Konakonako Landing at low tide, swim in the deep waters of Taunganui Harbour, get wonderful views of the coast from Te Tau and more! Check out some of these sights and more in the 10 Free Things to Do on Atiu and A Self-Guided Day Trip Around Atiu.
Birdman George Eco Tour
The Cook Islands Maori name for Atiu is “Enuamanu“, meaning the “land of birds” and it’s not just a gimmicky drawcard to attract tourists! See for yourself on an eco-adventure with “Birdman George”. While the tour includes walking historic trails and visiting historically significant sites, the main focus is the ecology of Atiu where George will point out kakerori and colourful kura that he looks after in this island sanctuary, as well as point out interesting Atiuan plants and their medicinal uses. At the end of the tour, you’ll arrive at a picturesque beach where George will serve either a tropical spread for a picnic lunch or an umu on a Sunday. See more tours like this in the 5 Best Tours in Atiu.
Other Things to Do on Atiu
And that’s just a taste of the romantic experiences you can do on an Atiu honeymoon or romantic getaway. Treat yourself and your loved one further with coffee plantation tours, playing a game of island tennis, romantic reef walks and more, as listed in the 7 Most Romantic Things to Do on Atiu and more still in the 20 Best Things to Do on Atiu.
Dining on Atiu
You certainly won’t find the array of eateries like you would on Rarotonga. Atiu prefers to keep things more “intimate”, with only one evening dine-in restaurant, Kura’s Kitchen. The closest dining experience you’ll have to “romantic” is Birdman George’s “Restaurant on the Beach” on a Sunday or enjoying a tranquil meal on the deck of your accommodation using your villa’s self-catering facilities.
See our complete guide to dining on Atiu, The Food Guide to Atiu: Places to Eat & Food Tours. Otherwise, here are a few of the best recommendations for couples…
The only real sit-down evening dining experience on Atiu is Kura’s Kitchen. Located on the grounds of Atiu Villas, the restaurant is open to guests across the island, just make sure to book before 3pm. A set two-course meal or a buffet is served at 7pm under the thatched restaurant and bar area adorned in flags, while the occasional “island night” is sometimes arranged. Learn more about the Cook Islands’ cultural shows in the 7 Best Island Nights in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
Coffee Tours and Tastings
Not only is Atiu a treat for the eyes but it’s a treat for the tongue, as it has two coffee roasters on the island! A popular way to experience Atiu’s coffee scene is with Mata Arai from Atiu Island Coffee whose tours allow you to learn about the coffee bean growing process, what makes Atiu perfect for growing arabica beans and how to hand roast the beans on a tour of the Atiu Island Coffee plantation and roastery, and the secret ingredient that makes Atiu’s coffee unique! The tour concludes with a taste of the good stuff along with yummy pikelets and coconut cream!
A must while on Atiu is a traditional “umu”, food that has been slow-cooked in an underground oven. Umu experiences are available with a few culture tour operators on the island, such as Punarea Culture Tours and with Birdman George on Sundays at his “Restaurant on the Beach“. Find out more about food-related experiences in the 6 Best Foodie Experiences on Atiu.
Self-Catering on Atiu
Making your own meals on Atiu is absolutely plausible with all of the island’s accommodations having self-catering facilities. There are three convenience stores on the island selling a range of tinned goods and staple foods (basically, anything that is easy to keep), as well as seasonal produce from the local plantations. Due to late shipments to the island, there’s not always the variety of foods that you might expect, so it’s best to approach grocery shopping with an open mind.
Those staying at Atiu Villas will find their cupboards and fridge already stocked with a variety of foods that you’ll find at convenience stores – they are of a similar price too. All you need to do is fill out the stock list of what you’ve used, which also displays prices.
Find out more about stores and services on Atiu in our guide, Information, Shops & Services on Atiu, as well as a guide to self-catering in A Guide to Supermarkets & Food Shopping in Rarotonga & the Cook Islands.
More About Honeymoons and Romantic Getaways to Atiu
That’s it for our complete guide to romantic getaways and honeymoons to Atiu but by no means is the end of the advice we can offer for your romantic escape. Take a look at the following guides for more inspiration:
- 20 Most Romantic Things to Do in the Cook Islands for Couples
- Cook Islands Proposal Ideas: 5 Romantic Ways to Propose
- The Wedding, Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to Rarotonga
Finally, don’t miss a thing when it comes to planning the perfect getaway by checking out The Wedding, Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to the Cook Islands.