Papua New Guinea: Island in the Clouds

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Experience the extraordinary Tumbuna Sing-Sing, a brilliantly colorful, tribal festival that's extremely difficult to access without the insider knowledge possessed by this expert operator.

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SPECIAL OFFER

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8.2*

ECO SCORE

18

PASSENGERS

11

DAYS

3/5

ACTIVITY LEVEL

PNG: Drink It In

Papua New Guinea is a land as colorful and astonishing as its fabled bird of paradise. An intriguing jumble of people coexist with complex tribal liaisons and 850 mutually unintelligible tongues. They practice their cultural celebrations and ancient agricultural practices amid rugged mountains, thundering waterfalls, dazzling reef systems and an abundance of exotic birds and beasts. This trip features the incomparable Tumbuna Sing-Sing in which hundreds of tribes assemble for a spirited, colorful celebration and competition of dancing, music, costumes, arts and customs. This journey is an anthropological tour de force without parallel—join us.
 
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Travel Curator’s Insights:

    • Access traditional villages along remote Karawari’s waterways and enjoy fantastic birding opportunities amidst wondrous settings.
    • Meet exotic tribes such as Asaro Mudmen and Huli Wigmen and marvel at authentic tribal handicrafts, straight from the source.
    • Travel with an operator who knows how to attend these events sensitively and connect authentically with locals.

SPECIAL OFFER

Rates:
From $10,395 per person
More forgiving terms and conditions so that you can confidently know your options. Policies and protocols provided before you book.

May 17-26, 2023 (10 days)
Aug 17-25, 2023 (9 days)
Ask us for later dates.

May 2023
Hover here for specific dates

Departures:

Trip Sustainability Awards 

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CARBON

Fantastic advances in minimizing carbon footprints at locations.

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ENERGY

On the East African Energy Renewal Board

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EDUCATION

Runs local educational facilities for children.

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Itinerary 

Day 1: Arrive Port Moresby
Arrive in Port Moresby and transfer to our hotel. The rest of the day is free to settle in and relax. Convene as a group for an orientation dinner tonight. This day includes Dinner.
Accommodation:  Airways Hotel (Bacchus Wing) – Port Moresby

Airways Hotel: The hotel is nestled in its own botanical gardens, offering world-class accommodation set in an oasis of understated luxury in one of the Pacific’s most striking and inspiring settings.

Day 2: Port Moresby / Mt. Hagen
Begin the day with a breathtaking flight to Mt. Hagen. Upon arrival, enjoy a full-day tour of the surrounding villages. We will also enjoy a scenic drive to Jiwaka Province where we will visit a coffee plantation and factory. This location provides spectacular views of the Hagen Range, Sepik Divide, Baiyer Gap and Wahgi Valley. From this day, all meals provided until the last day.
Accommodation: Rondon Ridge Hotel (Executive Room) - Mt Hagen

Rondon Ridge Hotel: 7100 feet above sea level, on the outer fringes of the Kubor Range, lies Rondon Ridge. Boasting panoramic views of the Wahgi Valley below, Rondon Ridge is the pinnacle of luxury in a remote and rural setting. Guests are accommodated in twenty-four tastefully appointed rooms with modern en-suite bathrooms and warmed king beds for those fresh highlands nights.

Day 3: Mt. Hagen
Today, join the locals in celebration at the spectacular Tumbuna Sing-Sing. “Tumbuna” means “ancestors” in Tok Pisin (the lingua franca of Papua New Guinea). This sing-sing celebrates “Taim Bilong Tumbuna” (the time that belonged to the indigenous people, i.e. pre-European contact). Experience this remote, supremely authentic, village sing-sing, whereby different groups, dazzling in their wildly flamboyant costumes, plumage and make-up, compete for prestige in a splash of color and a chorus of song.

Sing-sings are a psychedelic smorgasbord of ritualized ancient theater paraded to vocal accompaniment. The chanting of each tribe is alternately haunting, happy or warlike, and ranges from dizzying whoops to subtle, wind-like murmurs. Participants take exceptional pride in representing their tribe’s unique garb and rituals. Far from being a staged event for tourists, sing-sing competitions have a long tradition, and jealous losers have in the past been known to wage actual war on the winning tribe. The tribes present at this sing-sing cultivate yam and taro, search for edible fruits and animals in the forest, and live in symbiosis with their livestock. There will be plenty of opportunities for cultural interaction.
Accommodation: Rondon Ridge Hotel (Executive Room) – Mt. Hagen

Day 4: Mt. Hagen / Karawari
This morning, transfer to the airport and fly to Karawari, deep in Arambak country. One of the most remote and unspoiled areas of Papua New Guinea, this tropical lowland rainforest is one of the earth’s most complex habitats, housing an immense variety of flora and fauna along with a unique culture. After lunch enjoy a visit to Kundiman Village for a sago making demonstration, a starch made from the sago palm that is a major staple food throughout the Pacific islands, and see their  hand-cut totems, drums and wood carvings.
Accommodation: Karawari Lodge (Bungalow) - Karawari

Karawari Lodge: Standing majestically on a lone ridge, 300 meters above the banks of the Karawari River and overlooking an endless expanse of dense tropical lowland rain forest is Karawari Lodge. Guests are accommodated in ten separate cottages, each built out of local bush materials and inspired by traditional architecture. Each cottage has two private twin rooms, each with modern en-suite bathrooms, and a communal veranda.

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Day 5: Karawari
Today take an excursion along the jungle-fringed waterways of the Karawari River, where boatmen, standing upright, paddle slender dugout canoes, which are sculpted to resemble crocodiles. This area is home to some of the more isolated communities in Papua New Guinea. Having lacked access to metallurgical technologies or domesticable animals that could pull a plow, these communities used Stone Age technology well into the 20th century.

By way of elaboration, it was in Papua New Guinea that UCLA professor Jared Diamond was asked by a local elder, “How is that the white man has all the cargo?” His answer (20 years in the making), was published in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Guns, Germs and Steel, which explains gaps in power and technology between human societies as originating in environmental differences: that is, you can’t hitch a marsupial to a plow. Europe and parts of Asia enjoyed huge historical advantages in terms of their indigenous plants and animals, which resulted in greater wealth and power over the millennia.

Papua New Guinea, and this area in particular, offers fascinating insights into the role the environment plays in the scientific, artistic, architectural and socio-political development of societies.
Accommodation: Karawari Lodge (Bungalow) - Karawari

Day 6: Karawari / Tari
This morning, we will fly to Tari, our home for the next two days. Upon arrival, check into the highly acclaimed Ambua Lodge. Located at a cool 7,000 feet, the lodge is built in the style of the local Huli compounds. Here the Huli Wigmen tribe—famous for their face paint and elaborate human hair wigs—live much as they have for millennia, in high lush valleys nestled between towering limestone peaks. Thirteen species of birds-of-paradise inhabit the area, orchids flourish in the cloud forest and waterfalls thunder a short walk from the lodge.

We will take excursions to amazing tribal villages. Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally diverse areas of the world, hosting over 800 distinct tribes, each with mutually unintelligible languages, unique customs and distinctive appearance. We will also enjoy guided nature hikes, fantastic birding opportunities and plenty of time to relax in the beautiful surrounds of our lodge.
Accommodation: Ambua Lodge (Bungalow) - Tari

Ambua Lodge:  An award-winning, eco-friendly lodge boasting magnificent views of the Tari Valley below. Guests are accommodated in thirty round houses, set amongst landscaped gardens and built almost exclusively from natural materials. Each unit features 180 degree picture windows to soak in the view.

Day 7: Tari
Today, we will continue exploring the area.
Accommodation: Ambua Lodge (Bungalow) - Tari

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Day 8: Tari / Port Moresby / Tufi
Today, fly to Tufi via Port Moresby. On arrival we will enjoy lunch at Airways and then be assisted to our onward flight to Tufi. On arrival, check into our accommodations and then reconvene for dinner.
Accommodation: Tufi Resort (Deluxe Bungalow) - Tufi

Tufi Resort: Boutique resort with panoramic views over the sea, fjords, and rainforest covered mountains. Accommodation features include polished timber floors and all the creature comforts including insect screens, 24 hour electricity, air-conditioning, hot water, bedroom with ensuite, hair dryer bar fridge, coffee and tea making facilities. Most bungalows have verandahs overlooking the Coral Sea or Tufi fjord.

Day 9: Tufi
Spend the day exploring the fjords surrounding Tufi, meeting village elders, interacting with the locals and learning about their ancient customs of tapa cloth making and facial tattoos. For lunch, stop for a beach barbecue on a secluded stretch of sand. Then reconvene for our farewell dinner.
Accommodation: Tufi Resort (Deluxe Bungalow) - Tufi

Day 10: Tufi / Port Moresby

Spend the morning continuing to explore the tropical surroundings, with options available to visit local markets, villages and a school. Then fly back to Port Moresby. Upon arriving in Port Moresby transfer to our familiar hotel with the rest of the evening free.
Accommodation:  Airways Hotel (Bacchus Wing) – Port Moresby

Day 11: Depart Port Moresby
Today, you will be transferred to the airport for your flights home. Or begin a private custom extension to other great destinations in Asia or the Pacific. This day includes Breakfast.

Please Note: Rates are subject to change. Itinerary and all terms & conditions subject to change without notice, either before departure or after commencement of the program. Due to frequent changes in air schedules and the complex nature of this itinerary, the possibility does exist that the order of events may change from what is reflected herein.

 

Rates

Questions?

Image by David Maunsell

DOUBLE OCCUPANCY

Two people sharing a room. The rate is per person.

From in USD:

$10,395pp

Image by David Maunsell

SOLO SUPPLEMENT

As a solo traveler, a supplement will be added to your trip.

From in USD:

$2,205pp

Image by David Maunsell

INTERNAL AIR

This rate is for flights within your trip. Rate is per person.

From in USD:

$3,225pp

Experiencing a Sing-Sing in Papua New Guinea is a life-changing experience. This is the only operator I would trust with this difficult to access, extraordinary experience and region.

Joy Martinello, Founder

Questions?

 

What’s Included & Cancellation Policy:

WHAT'S INCLUDED
Guaranteed departures for all group trips with a minimum of 8 passengers. Groups will be accompanied by a tour leader. Twin-sharing hotels are not available for a given departure, we reserve the right to make suitable same-class substitutions without notice.

Meals as designated on the itinerary, when taken with the group. Non- alcoholic beverages, bottled water and local beer included with all group meals. Bottled water included during all touring.

Airport transfers for group flights; all transfers to and from hotels for group activities and sightseeing tours unless you separate from the group after the completion of the group activity.