Atauro Island

Atauro Island

Location: 25 km North of Dili Map


Description of Atauro Island

Atauro Island is an island located 25 km North of Dili in East Timor.  Atauro Island is a small piece of land in the middle of the Pacific covers an area of 105 kmĀ². It is 25 km long at its longest point. The remoteness of the island makes it a perfect getaway for eco tourism. Civilization had little influence on the development of the island. It was used by the Portuguese and Indonesian governments as an island for prisoners or anyone who was unwanted. This low density population allowed to keep the pristine ecosystem of the jungles and coral reefs that encircle Atauro. Snorkeling trips and boat rentals usually start from around $15 a person.


The name of the island from the local language can be translated as "goat"; the Indonesian name of the island is Pulau Kambing (kambing means "goat" in Indonesian). The island was so named, probably because of the large number of goats that were kept there.

Atauro is critically short of fresh water. The sources and reservoirs available on the island are not able to fully solve this problem. In 2004, Portugal funded a project to improve water quality and its distribution infrastructure. The island has two distinct seasons: wet and dry. The vegetation is represented by eucalyptus forests; on the open hillsides, often exposed limestone rocks. Tropical rainforests are characteristic of valleys. A ferryboat runs from the capital Dili to the island, and it takes about two hours.