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We're Andre & Lisa, adventurers and experienced budget travelers.

We have over two decades of travel experience and since 2018 have led a full-time nomadic lifestyle.

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PAPUA NEW GUINEA TRAVEL GUIDE

Papua New Guinea is a country made up of a staggering 600 islands landscaped with waterfalls, volcanoes, mountain ranges, mangrove swamps and some of the most fascinating flora and fauna in the world.

 

Two-thirds of all orchid species in the world are found in Papua New Guinea and 450 butterflies flit their little wings over the islands. Head to the Highlands to experience the diverse tribal culture, for reliving history visit Milne Bay Province and the adventurous will find the Kokoda Trail a huge adrenaline rush trekking through the lush forest with its variety of flora and fauna.

COUNTRY PAGE
  • Capital: Port Moresby

  • Currency: kina (PGK)

  • Area: 462,840 km2

  • Population: 8,606 million (2018)


Interesting Facts about Papua New Guinea

  • It's home to over 850 languages, the most of any country in the world, reflecting its numerous tribes and isolated communities. 

  • Archaeological evidence suggests that its inhabitants may have been among the world's first gardeners, with evidence of agriculture dating back 9,000 years. 

  • The nation's flag features the iconic bird-of-paradise, symbolizing its rich fauna, and the Southern Cross constellation, highlighting its connection to the region. 

  • Papua New Guinea shares the world's second-largest island with Indonesia and has a complex history of colonial occupation until its independence in 1975.

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SEASONS AT A GLANCE

Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists. 

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Peak Season

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Climate Chart with avergae monthly temperatues and rainfall

BEST TIME TO VISIT PAPUA NEW GUINEA

The best time to visit Papua New Guinea depends on what you are looking to do and see during your trip.

  • The dry season, which runs from May to October, is generally considered the best time to visit. This is when the weather is at its best and the chances of encountering heavy rain are much lower. During this time, the landscape is lush and green, and it is the ideal time to go trekking and explore the country's many national parks and natural attractions.

  • However, the wet season, which runs from November to April, has its own unique appeal. This is the time when the country experiences its highest levels of rainfall, but it also means that the country's many waterfalls are at their most spectacular and the rivers are full. Additionally, this is the time when the traditional festivals take place and one can experience the rich cultural heritage of the country.

It's worth noting that Papua New Guinea is a large and diverse country with different climates and weather patterns in different regions, so it's essential to research and plan your trip based on the specific areas you want to visit.

BEST TIME FOR:

Papua New Guinea boasts a variety of stunning beaches, such as the white sands of Panasia Island and the clear waters of Madang Beach


The dry season, from May to October, is generally the best time to visit these coastal paradises for optimal weather conditions. During this period, visitors can enjoy the natural beauty and tranquility of the beaches, as well as the rich marine life and coral reefs that make Papua New Guinea a unique destination for beach lovers and adventure seekers.

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PAPUA NEW GUINEA TRAVEL COSTS

The cost of traveling to Papua New Guinea can vary widely depending on your travel style and the activities you plan to do. Some expenses to consider include:

  • Flights: Round-trip airfare from major cities in the US, Australia, or Asia can cost $1,000 to $2,000 or more.
  • Accommodation: Prices for accommodations range widely, from budget-friendly guesthouses and hostels to luxury resorts. Prices can range from $20 to $200 per night, depending on the type of accommodation you choose.
  • Food: Food costs in Papua New Guinea can vary widely depending on where you eat and what you eat. Eating at local markets or street food vendors will be cheaper than dining at restaurants or resorts.
  • Transportation: Transportation costs within Papua New Guinea can be high, as infrastructure is not well-developed and many places can only be reached by air or boat. Domestic flights and buses can be expensive.
  • Activities: The cost of activities such as trekking, diving, and cultural tours can vary widely, but you can expect to pay $50 to $200 or more per day, depending on the activity and the level of service provided.

Overall, you should budget around $100 to $150 per day if you're traveling on a budget, and $200 to $300 or more per day if you're looking for a more comfortable and luxurious trip.

 

A sample budget for visiting Papua New Guinea could be as follows:

  • Flights: $1,500 round-trip from the United States
  • Accommodation: $30 to $50 per night for budget-friendly guesthouses or hostels, $100 to $200 per night for mid-range hotels, or $300 to $500 per night for luxury resorts
  • Food: $5 to $15 per meal at local markets or street food vendors, $20 to $30 per meal at mid-range restaurants, or $50 to $100 per meal at high-end restaurants
  • Transportation: $50 to $100 per domestic flight, $10 to $20 per bus ride, or $50 to $100 per day for a rental car or private driver
  • Activities: $50 to $100 per day for trekking or hiking, $100 to $200 per day for diving or snorkeling, and $50 to $100 per day for cultural tours or other activities.

This budget would be for a budget-friendly trip, and expenses can add up quickly, so it's important to keep that in mind when planning your trip.

 

It's worth noting that Papua New Guinea is still a developing country, and the tourism infrastructure is not as developed as other countries. It can be difficult to find budget-friendly options for some activities or accommodations, so be prepared to adjust your budget accordingly. Prices for goods and services can also vary greatly depending on location and availability, so it's always good to have some extra money in case of unexpected expenses.

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TRAVEL TIPS FOR PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Here are a few travel tips for visiting Papua New Guinea:

  • Research your destination: Papua New Guinea is a large and diverse country, and different regions have different cultures, languages, and customs. Be sure to research the specific areas you plan to visit so you can be prepared for what to expect.
  • Get vaccinated: Some areas of Papua New Guinea are at risk for certain diseases, so it's important to check with your doctor or a travel clinic to find out what vaccinations you may need before you go.
  • Pack for different climates: The weather in Papua New Guinea can vary widely depending on the region, so be prepared for both hot and humid conditions as well as cooler and wetter weather.
  • Bring cash: Not all places in Papua New Guinea accept credit or debit cards, so be sure to bring enough cash with you to cover your expenses.
  • Respect local customs: Papua New Guinea has a rich cultural heritage, and it's important to be respectful of local customs and traditions when you visit.
  • Be prepared for a lack of infrastructure: Papua New Guinea is a developing country, and the infrastructure is not as well-developed as in other countries. Be prepared for a lack of basic amenities, and be ready to be flexible and adapt to the situation.
  • Be aware of safety risks: Some areas of Papua New Guinea can be dangerous, so it's important to be aware of the safety risks and take the necessary precautions. Check travel advisories from your government and avoid any areas that are considered unsafe.
  • Consider hiring a guide: Hiring a local guide can be an excellent way to learn more about the culture, history, and customs of Papua New Guinea. A guide will also help you navigate the local customs and make your trip more comfortable.
  • Have a plan: Papua New Guinea is a unique and exciting destination, but it's also a challenging one. Make sure to have a plan in place and be prepared for anything.

REGIONS & HIGHLIGHTS OF PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Papua New Guinea is a large and diverse country, and there are several main regions that visitors might explore. Here's a brief overview of some of the main regions and their highlights:

  • The National Capital District (NCD) and Central Province: This region is home to the capital city of Port Moresby, as well as the surrounding Central Province. This is the most urbanized area of the country and the gateway to other regions. The highlights of this region include the National Museum and Art Gallery, which showcases the country's rich cultural heritage, and the Port Moresby Nature Park, which is home to a variety of wildlife.

  • The Highlands: This region is located in the center of the island and is known for its rugged terrain, beautiful landscapes, and traditional tribal cultures. The highlights of this region include the Mt. Wilhelm National Park, which is the highest peak in Papua New Guinea, and the Asaro Mudmen, a tribe known for their unique ceremonial masks.

  • The Sepik River: This region is located in the northeastern part of the island and is known for its vast river system, traditional tribal cultures, and intricate carvings. The highlights of this region include the Sepik River cruise, which offers a glimpse of traditional river life, and the Tambunum village, which is known for its traditional spirit houses and intricate carvings.

  • The Islands: The islands of Papua New Guinea are known for their beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and diverse marine life. The highlights of this region include the islands of Milne Bay, which is known for its excellent diving and snorkeling, and Bougainville, which is known for its rich cultural heritage and World War II history.

  • The Southern Region: This region is located in the southern part of the island and is known for its rugged terrain and diverse wildlife. The highlights of this region include the Tari Valley, which is known for its beautiful landscapes, and the Kokoda Track, which is a historic hiking trail that passes through some of the most remote and rugged terrain in the country.

This is not an exhaustive list and Papua New Guinea has many more regions, each with its own unique culture, history, and attractions. It's worth noting that while some regions are more developed and accessible, others are more remote and harder to reach, so it's important to plan accordingly and be prepared for the journey.

WHAT TO SEE AND DO IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Papua New Guinea is a unique and diverse country with a rich cultural heritage and natural beauty. Here are some of the best things to see and do when visiting Papua New Guinea:

  • Visit the National Museum and Art Gallery in Port Moresby: This museum showcases the country's rich cultural heritage through a variety of exhibits, including traditional masks, carvings, and artifacts.
  • Explore the rugged terrain of the Highlands: The Highlands region is known for its rugged terrain, beautiful landscapes, and traditional tribal cultures. Visitors can take a hike or trek through the Mt. Wilhelm National Park, which is the highest peak in Papua New Guinea.
  • Take a cruise on the Sepik River: The Sepik River region is known for its vast river system, traditional tribal cultures, and intricate carvings. Visitors can take a cruise along the river to learn more about traditional river life and see the traditional spirit houses and intricate carvings of the Tambunum village.
  • Relax on the beaches of the Islands: The islands of Papua New Guinea are known for their beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and diverse marine life. Visitors can enjoy snorkeling, diving, swimming, and sunbathing on the beaches of Milne Bay and Bougainville.
  • Explore the Tari Valley: The Tari Valley is known for its beautiful landscapes and traditional tribal cultures. Visitors can take a hike through the valley and visit the traditional villages of the Huli people, who are known for their elaborate headdresses and body paint.
  • Hike the Kokoda Track: The Kokoda Track is a historic hiking trail that passes through some of the most remote and rugged terrain in the country. The trail is a must-do for history buffs and adventure seekers, as it passes through the site of a major World War II battle and offers breathtaking views of the Papua New Guinea wilderness.
  • See the traditional dances and ceremonies: Papua New Guinea has a rich cultural heritage, and visitors can experience it by attending traditional dances and ceremonies. The Asaro Mudmen and the Huli Wigmen are among the most famous and spectacular.
  • Dive and Snorkel: Papua New Guinea's waters are known for its rich marine life, including colorful coral reef, tropical fish, and marine mammals such as dolphins and dugongs.
  • Meet the locals: Papua New Guinea is known for its diverse cultures, and one of the best ways to experience the country is to interact with the local people. You can learn about the traditional customs, try traditional food and drink, and gain a deeper understanding of the country and its people.

This is not an exhaustive list and Papua New Guinea has many more things to offer, each with its own unique culture, history, and attractions. It's worth noting that while some areas are more developed and accessible, others are more remote and harder to reach, so it's important to plan accordingly and be prepared for the journey.

WHAT TO EAT IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Papua New Guinea has a diverse and unique culinary scene that reflects the country's melting pot of cultures. Here are some popular traditional dishes to try when visiting Papua New Guinea:

  • Saksak: a staple dish made from mashed sweet potato and coconut milk, often served with meat or fish.
  • Kokoda: a raw fish dish marinated in lime juice, onions, and chili peppers.
  • Lap lap: a traditional dish made from grated yam or sweet potato mixed with coconut milk, then wrapped in banana leaves and cooked over hot stones.
  • Chicken pot: a traditional dish made from chicken and vegetables cooked in a clay pot.
  • Fish and taro: a traditional dish made from fish and taro leaves, often served with coconut milk and chili peppers.
  • Momos: A traditional dumpling-like dish made from flour, water, and fillings like meat, vegetables or fish.
  • Kambarang: a traditional dish made from wild fruits, nuts, and grubs.
  • Bamboo shoots: A common ingredient in many dishes, bamboo shoots are often cooked with meat or fish and vegetables.
  • Traditional Drinks: A variety of traditional drinks are available in Papua New Guinea, including sago wine and kava, made from the roots of the kava plant.

It's worth noting that some of these dishes may not be easily found in all areas of the country, and some are more traditionally found in certain regions. Additionally, many of the dishes may be quite spicy, so it's important to be prepared for that. Some of the traditional food may be hard to find in tourist areas, so it's worth asking locals for recommendations on where to find the best traditional food.

LGBTQ IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA

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WHERE TO STAY IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA

When visiting Papua New Guinea for the first time, there are several key areas to consider for your stay, each offering its own unique experiences and attractions. Here are some top areas to stay in Papua New Guinea, along with specific accommodation suggestions for different budget ranges:


Where To Stay In Port Moresby:

Port Moresby is the capital and largest city of Papua New Guinea, serving as the main gateway for international travelers.

Budget Accommodation:

  • Holiday Inn Express Port Moresby: Located near the airport, this budget-friendly hotel offers comfortable rooms, complimentary breakfast, and a convenient location for travelers.

  • Lamana Hotel: Situated in the city center, this budget hotel features simple rooms, a swimming pool, and multiple dining options including a café and bar.

Mid-Range Accommodation:

  • Gateway Hotel & Apartments: A mid-range hotel located near the airport, offering spacious rooms, a swimming pool, fitness center, and several dining options.

  • Grand Papua Hotel: Situated in the city center, this mid-range hotel features modern rooms, a rooftop pool, spa, and multiple dining options including a buffet restaurant and steakhouse.

Luxury Accommodation:

  • Hilton Port Moresby: A luxury hotel offering luxurious rooms, a swimming pool, spa, and multiple dining options including a rooftop restaurant with panoramic views of the city.

  • The Stanley Hotel & Suites: Situated in the city center, this luxury hotel features elegant rooms, a swimming pool, fitness center, and several dining options including a seafood restaurant and rooftop bar.


Where To Stay In Madang:

Madang is a coastal town known for its natural beauty, including pristine beaches, coral reefs, and lush rainforests.

Budget Accommodation:

  • Madang Resort Hotel: Located on the waterfront, this budget-friendly hotel offers simple rooms, a swimming pool, and easy access to nearby beaches and dive sites.

  • Coastwatchers Hotel: Situated near the town center, this budget hotel features basic rooms, a restaurant serving local and international cuisine, and a bar overlooking the ocean.

Mid-Range Accommodation:

  • Kalibobo Village: A mid-range resort offering comfortable rooms, a swimming pool, and a restaurant serving seafood and international cuisine.

  • Madang Lodge Hotel: Located in the town center, this mid-range hotel features spacious rooms, a swimming pool, and a restaurant with views of the harbor.

Luxury Accommodation:

  • Madang Resort Hotel: As mentioned earlier, Madang Resort Hotel also offers luxurious accommodations in addition to budget-friendly options.

  • Jais Aben Resort: Situated on a private island, this luxury resort features luxurious bungalows, a swimming pool, spa, and multiple dining options including a beachfront restaurant.


Where To Stay In Mount Hagen:

Mount Hagen is the capital of the Western Highlands Province, known for its highland landscapes, traditional cultures, and vibrant markets.

Budget Accommodation:

  • Highlander Hotel: Located in the town center, this budget-friendly hotel offers simple rooms, complimentary breakfast, and easy access to nearby markets and attractions.


Mid-Range Accommodation:

  • Rondon Ridge: A mid-range lodge located in the highlands, offering comfortable rooms with mountain views, guided nature walks, and birdwatching tours.

  • Pacific Gardens Hotel: Situated in the town center, this mid-range hotel features spacious rooms, a swimming pool, and a restaurant serving Western and Asian dishes.

Luxury Accommodation:

  • Highlander Hotel: Highlander Hotel also offers upscale accommodations and amenities for guests seeking luxury in Mount Hagen.


These are just a few suggestions, and there are many other accommodation options available in Papua New Guinea to suit different preferences and budgets. Be sure to consider factors such as location, amenities, and guest reviews when selecting your accommodation in Papua New Guinea.


Booking.com consistently return the cheapest rates for accommodation in Papua New Guinea. For longer stays, find unique homes worldwide on Holiday Swap, the most affordable travel platform that allows you to book homes anytime, anywhere in only a few clicks.

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