The Cook Islands, in the heart of the South Pacific, are made up of 15 islands spread over an area the size of India. These unique and friendly Polynesians have developed their own language and government. They also enjoy a vigorous and diverse culture, with significant differences between each island. Atiu Island, with a population of 600, is an eroded volcanic island. It's divided into 5 villages that radiate out from the center of the island on a flat-topped central plateau. Surrounding the plateau is a ring of taro water gardens and jungle-clad makatea (fossil coral reef). Notched into the cliffs of makatea are over 28 beaches untouched and virtually unvisited, except by those seeking a beautiful, quiet, and secluded spot. The Atiuans were a fierce warrior people and before the arrival of the missionaries they frequently attacked their neighbors, slaughtering and eating significant numbers of them in cannibalistic rituals.
Atiu is known as "Land of the Birds." You may have an up-close view of nesting birds and with luck, you may spot one of the very rare Kakerori (Rarotongan flycatcher) now being reestablished. Meet the local villagers, watching them perform traditional dances, and visiting their ancient marae sites.
Currency in Cook Islands: New Zealand dollar (NZD)