With an area of 903 km2 (349 sq mi), Akpatok Island is predominantly limestone, ringed with steep cliffs that rise 150 to 250 m (490 to 820 ft) above sea level. The cliffs are broken in many places by deep ravines allowing access to the flat plateau 23 km (14 mi) wide and 45 km (28 mi) long.
Akpatok Island has International Biological Program status. It is a Canadian Important Bird Area (#NU007), as well as a Key Migratory Bird Terrestrial Habitat site (NU Site 50). In addition to the thick-billed murre, notable bird species include black guillemot and peregrine falcon.
Polar bear, seal, and walrus frequent the area.
At the southern end of the island there are remains of a Dorset settlement. The island is known for its widespread cannibalism which ended around 1900 as the inhabitants moved to the mainland. Skulls and human remains have been reported on the island, but the accuracy of these reports can be called into question as there is an abundance of mystery and legend surrounding the details of the island. In July 1971 an exploratory oil well was drilled on the island, yet all that remains are a few dilapidated shelters and rusted equipment.