The author’s sea passage, accommodation and activities were arranged through the Pitcairn Island’s tourism coordinator (email@example.com), a useful first port of call for prospective travellers.
The author flew with Air Tahiti Nui (0844 482 1675, www.airtahitinui.co.uk) to Papeete, Tahiti, via Los Angeles. Flights from London Heathrow cost from £1,580 return, with flight times from 19.5 hours. Note: an ESTA (https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov) is required to transit in the US.
From there, a four-hour flight with Air Tahiti (www.airtahiti.com) took him to Mangareva in the Gambier Archipelago, which costs XPF79,452 (£476) return and coincides with Claymore II’S schedule, with a waiting watertaxi (XPF1,000/£7.40) to ferry passengers to Rikitea to meet the waiting ship. The cargo-passenger vessel then takes from around 30 hours to reach Pitcairn, costing NZ$5,000 (£2,617) return. This includes a cabin, which solo travellers may have to share, and all meals. Stays on Pitcairn are typically four or 11 days, depending on the Claymore II’S rotation.
Nowhere takes long to reach on Pitcairn, either on foot (the island has nice hikes) or by quad bike, for which new arrivals must sit a driving test – apply at firstname.lastname@example.org. Wherever you stay can usually hire you a quad for around £30 per day.
Cost of travel
The cost of getting to Pitcairn is expensive, so many travellers will likely combine a visit with a stay in fabulous French Polynesia, to make it worthwhile. Once on-island, little cash is required as there’s not much to spend it on. Pre-booked homestays range in price from £64 to £160, with all meals included.
Guiding services and quad bikes may be charged extra, and the driving license (a cute souvenir) costs NZ$10 (£5.25). Before the ship departs, Pitkerners set up stalls in Adamstown selling inexpensive mementos ranging from wood carvings to local honey and Pitcairn stamps. The sole food outlet, Andy’s Bounty Pizzeria, has pizzas from NZ$12 (£6.30).
Travellers will need to book a stay in Tahiti (French Polynesia) when flying to and from Mangareva. Manava Suites Hotel (Tahiti: +689 40 473100, www.manava-suite-resort-tahiti.com) is a beach hotel with huge rooms and sea views at Puna’auia, close to Fa’a International Airport. B&B doubles cost from XPF25,080PN (£185).
On Pitcairn, Flatland (email@example.com) costs Us$200pn (£144) for a lovely annexe flat with kitchen and veranda; all meals are included, as is a fridge stocked with drinks.
For all accommodation options on the island, visit www.visitpitcairn.pn.
Food & drink
Pitkerners eat plenty of meat and fish, particularly local catches of nanwe or tuna. However, most cooking here tends to consist of more hearty English-style cuisine, typically served in big portions.
Wild produce includes breadfruit, while Pitcairn’s fruits are fantastic, including delicious passionfruit, guava, pineapples, coconuts, papaya and abundant melons. Special island dishes are fishballs, and pilai, a boiled green banana staple.