Photo: Cook Islands Tourism/Manine Lych

Air travel has opened up the islands like never before, but it's quite costly. Ships are still an important lifeline, particularly for the outer islands, but their irregular schedules mean that few tourists have the time to use them. This page is just giving a few pointers about getting around and the practicalities of that


Air Rarotonga is the airline of the Cook Islands and operates scheduled services to nine of the islands. Prior to the pandemic they also ran a Northern atolls adventure tour taking in Penrhyn, Manihiki and Pukapuka but it's not operating at the moment.

If you're pushed for time, I would strongly recommend the day trip to Aitutaki. It includes flights, of course, a tour of the island and a boat trip to some of the motus in the lagoon, complete with on board barbecue. It's not cheap but it's an experience you'll rem
ember for a lifetime. I promise!  

Find out more about the day trip and the inter island air services at the Air Rarotonga web site

Islands served are Aitutaki, Rarotonga, Atiu, Mitiaro, Mauke, Mangaia, Penrhyn, Manihiki and Pukapuka. You can check out a detailed timetable on line


Only one shipping company currently operates services between the islands and it's a cargo service, although vessels do sail from other ports. Details are published daily in Cook Islands News. Remember that if you're going to some of the outer islands, it could be many weeks or even months between ships. ‚ÄčIf you're planning to sail to the islands, there are five designated ports of entry...Rarotonga, Aitutaki and Atiu in the Southern Group, and Penrhyn and Pukapuka in the Northern Group

If you're a yachtsman (or woman) I recommend a look at the Cook Islands pages in for specialist information for the cruising community.

Click here to visit the noonsite pages