How to Get to Pitcairn Island

Pitcairn Island is one of the most isolated and mysterious places on the planet. The dreams of many of actually visiting are foiled because of the high costs and extremely arduous journeys it can require to get to Pitcairn itself. Most people have no idea how to get to Pitcairn Island.

Located some 300 or so nautical miles from the farthest eastern port in the Gambier Islands of Mangareva; Pitcairn is a difficult little piece of Earth to get to. There are five different ways to get there and all of them involve significant time on a boat; and generally money spent. Here is how to get to Pitcairn Island.

First, the way I got there is via the SV Xplore; which is a 20-meter yacht run by a really nice and experienced Australian skipper and chartered by Pitcairn Travel itself to the island. It has a capacity of 8 passengers on the boat. The speed will be about 6-9 knots depending on the winds and weather. It will be bumpy but will also be relaxing assuming decent weather and no seasickness. The cost including the expensive 4-hour flights to and from Mangareva from Pape’ete, a hotel and transfers on each; plus room and board on Pitcairn is about $4500 for a one-week trip (3 days on the island) and shockingly only $5000 for 2 weeks. 2 weeks includes 10 days on Pitcairn. Book this through Jacqui Christian at Pitcairn Travel.

Second, you can take the MV Claymore II from Mangareva as well. This is a motor vessel that acts as a supply ship to Pitcairn Island and runs about four times a year at a cost of NZ$5000. The speed is faster than the Xplore and theoretically smoother but I did hear bad stories about its captain on Pitcairn.

Third, a handful of trans-Pacific cruise ships will try to anchor off the coast of Pitcairn with the hopes of spending a few hours on the island. This usually isn’t successful as the ship has too many passengers on board. Although often the Pitcairners will go out to the cruise ship to sell them souvenirs. The cost and time involved with these cruises can be astronomical depending on the time on board, number of stops and of course class of service.

Fourth, you can ride with an independent yacht owner or service. The price may seem enticing and advertised at about half the others potentially. I do not recommend this as I tried something like this to another remote island called Tokelau and had a terrible experience. The ship captain or even worse, the person who owns or markets the boat can be unscrupulous.

Many people have had problems with services like these. Especially a service called Pacific-Expeditions with a boat now called Discovery, previously known as Bounty Bay. DO NOT use them. The list is long for people who were unhappy with this outfit. See my article and the ensuing comments on my trip to Tokelau for more information on this and why you shouldn’t go with them.

There is no recourse for these operations. It is nearly impossible to get your money back if something goes awry or they don’t deliver on what they said they would do as is what happened to me. Especially because they generally will not accept credit cards; only bank wires. So once the money is sent, it’s gone for good. Other independent operators can be trustworthy but that was my experience and I don’t know of any others at this time that call at Pitcairn.

Fifth and finally, if you have your own yacht, congratulations! Or if you are working on a crew on a yacht heading across the Pacific. You can arrange a landing on Pitcairn although plenty of advance planning and documents are required to land. A British overseas territory, Pitcairn has its own brand of bureaucracy to deal with so just plan accordingly and plan ahead.

That’s pretty much it besides swimming so pick your poison, save your pennies and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime!

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  1. I wish I could go! I would definitely opt for number 1. I remember reading your Tokelau story.

  2. I’ve never heard of this place until reading this. I can’t believe you went there.

  3. Nice flower

  4. Looks like it’s difficult no matter how you try to get there.

  5. Thanks, this is good information, I would like to go someday to Pitcairn Island

  6. I think the fact that this island is so inaccessible is a blessing. True Paradises such as this are often ruined when an influx of financially back corporations try to come in and turn places such as these into a money machines. I hope it stays as it is and although this lifestyle may not appeal to most, it definitely appeals to me. An island with no crime and friendly people is worth all the luxuries we take for granted in the states. I hope to visit this island one day…

    • Russ Wanicki says

      You need to read about the decades of rape and child abuse a way of life on the island. 6 men thats 1/3 the male population were convicted. By now most of them are out of jail.Generations of inbreeding.Heck they all look alike in many ways.Interesting story from the start.

    • Kathy Montgomery says

      They have had their crime believe me. There is a book about it. It’s being watched more diligently. For a long time there wasn’t government overseeing. There is constable now. Tourism is changing things unfortunately I believe with some construction on the bay. I’ve had teacher pen pal several years ago, a print of leaf from artist there and I subscribe to their newspaper. Their faith is Seven Day Adventist. They have small clinic with nurse but worrisome for emergencies I think. My dad did ham operator with descendant from Christian family and patched me in to listen at times. It’s a fascinating place. Last newspaper showed three students in their school. Fascinating destination. Began from Mutiny on the Bounty. Anchor is in their town square.

  7. Ever since I first heard about the island a few weeks ago, I have been fascinated by all the various websites describing the island. I have been communicating with the tourism folks on the island and they are very responsive and nice people. I flew to Vietnam in my first big jet flight in 1966 and that was an adventure I will never forget. I would think that a trip to Pitcairn will top the journey to Vietnam. I am saving in hopes of going for 10 days to explore and meet the people and just relax. I wish I could leave today!


    • Hank, how are your Pitcairn visit plans coming? I’ve been reading about Pitcairn for 20 yrs and always thought it’d be a dream trip. Living in the eastern maritimes (Canada), it’s a long ol’ haul just to reach the Pacific! Would love to hear from anyone who’s visited Pitcairn from Canada!


    • Wow! Wonder if this is truly an adventure of a life time? I wish one day I can make the trip to this

  8. Matt Johnston says

    I visited Pitcairn way back in 1997 aboard Kialoa 2. Since that time I have visited dozens of islands in the Pacific but none have the allure of isolated little Pitcairn. If I were younger I would want to live there. The people there were wonderful. We stayed with the Warren family hosted by Meralda. You can read about my visit in a book called “Sailing Elsewhere”.

    Pitcairn is worth all the effort needed to get there.

  9. Edgar Soudek says

    I am 76, in my 50th year of teaching, and an avid traveler…am I too old to be going to Pitcairn Island? I have wanted to go there since I read “Mutiny on the Bounty” about 60 years ago…please answer my question if you have been there, thank you!

    • You are not too old at all! I was there with a guy who was 80!

    • Ilene Strauss says

      Edgar I have been planning to go to Pitcairn for 20 years with my husband. He has passed away. Now I am 73 and still want to go. If you need a traveling companion let me know. I think one is never too old to travel. The world is a big place and I want to see as much as I can before I die. My best trip was in 1989 we went by canoe down the Amazon for 16 days. Just 5 people, my husband, a friend, me and 2 guides. Fantastic..

    • Don’t worry, if you have the cash you can go. Chase your dream til it’s no longer a dream (real).

    • Kathi Gray says

      I am another, in my 60s, retired teacher, who has dreamed of Pitcairn, since my youth! 50 + years. Are you going?

  10. If anybody have to go to Pitcairn, can send me a message before please? I have a little favor to asks…

  11. Very interested to visit Pitcairn. Should do it soonest.

  12. Alan Hardy says

    I once read a book about some visitors to Pitcairn Island in the middle of the 19th century. It was called ‘The Wreck of the Wild Wave’ and is a true story. Those fellows certainly got a big surprise when THEY landed there!

    It certainly whetted my appetite for a vist there myself, which I one day hope to do.

  13. I will be so close in my visit to NZ but so far away. Just not enough dollars or time to see everything. This island is on my bucket list and I hope to be able to visit before I die. Would be a fine dream. 10 days however is not enough given the expense. I would want to stay for at least a month if not longer.

  14. Pitcairn has been a place of fantasy since I first read about Fletcher Christian. So many places such as Galapagos and Rapa Nui feel like they wouldn’t return the philosophical payoff of a visit now that they’re so accessible. Reading your report makes me feel as if Pitcairn would be a wonderful place to visit. Such isolation and raw beauty. I hope i will perhaps be able to go soon, as I have recently rediscovered my passion to travel and my desire to find solitude and beauty while on vacation from Manhattan!

  15. Its worth noting Pitcairn is giving away free land! to anybody who wishes to join their country.

  16. Wow. Incredible! Maybe someday, after I’ve visited every other more easily accessible country in the world, I’ll try to make it to Pitcairn as icing on the cake. Congrats on being one of the few people on the world to ever set foot on the Pitcairn Islands!

    • O. C Budge says

      I went to Pitcairn in 94 with 2 other men, we did a film for Date Line NBC – Flew from Papeete to Mangareva then took a to small of boat with a New Zealand Captain. 300 miles , pretty rough. We stayed with Tom Christian and his wife Betty. Tom was mayor then, since passed. Betty’s parents lived with them. ( father named Warren) there last name was Christian also. Very nice people. I think the pop. was 76. Wonderful memories even though it was hard to get there and back. I was the Photog , O. C. Budge [email protected]
      Lucky Severson was the reporter his son Jak was the Producer, Director

  17. Can anyone guide me how to get to Pitcarin from India? Is there any flight to Mangareva from any Indian City?

    • Hi B Pyne,

      Just off the top of my head, you’d need to fly to AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND from India and then fly from AUCKLAND, NZ to PAPEETE, TAHITI ( in French Polynesia ) with either Air New Zealand or Air Tahiti Nui ( international airline ) and then, once in Tahiti, take an Air Tahiti ( domestic airline ) from Papeete to Mangareva. There are also a couple of Air Tahiti Nui flights per week from TOKYO to PAPEETE with Air Tahiti Nui. Hope this information helps.

  18. aarav paul says

    it is good i want to go there

  19. I have a few questions regarding relocating to Pitcairn:

    Is it possible to get renewable energy generators (solar panels/wind turbines) coupled up with some battery management system to provide 24/7 electricity instead of 10 hours a day?

    Am I right in thinking that mail sent to Pitcairn from the UK, using the PCRN 1ZZ post code, will not cost more than mail from London to Edinburgh?

    How many applications to resettle have you had (that have actually paid and have been accepted, are being worked on, or have been declined) and what is the possibility of getting accepted?

    What are the requirements to get BOT citizenship?
    Is there any land left for foreigners to settle on? If yes, how much?

    Are businesses welcome to open shop on the island? What are taxes like?

    How do residents bank online? Do you have bank accounts in NZ using a P.O box or can you open a bank account with a UK high-street bank using your address on the island?

    How does vehicle registration/taxation work? (I understand that big cars won’t fit on the island, but those that can, what are the fees?)

    Is there a limit on how much mail you can get every 3 months? (If I send a pre-fab house addressed to the island, will this mean that people on the island won’t get food?)

    Is there a limit on the size of container that can be sent to the island? Could I send a classic car, or a pre-fab house, or would I have to chop them up into 4kg max boxes as the USPS website recommends?

    I hope this message finds you well,
    Thank you so much

    • They have had a project with a Wind Turbine that has been cancelled after cost overrun of the project (over 250k£). Now they\’re still on generator and it looks they just deal with it. Their bigger problem is that the only qualified electrician is like 65…

    • Hi Evan, I hope you did get a response on this one, can you please share? I would like this very much.


  20. David Krusell says

    I read and was moved by this sea story as a boy and later as a sailor and then a couple times more before I stumbled on the National Geographic magazine and found out it was real. Just finished it again at 70 . It is still powerful, especially now when we have elected Mills as President (of America) will Quintal and McCoy as his advisers. I’d go someday if I got rich, but in the meantime will settle for Isla Mujeres.

  21. Hadi Azizkhani says

    i live in middle east and wish to travel to this island. but it is so expensive for me. is some one know chipper way to travel, please let me know by my email. [email protected]

  22. Robbie Pomare says

    I will be saving from now until July 2018 to get to Pitcairn as I would like to celebrate my 60th birthday on the island and also to do follow up on geneaolgy as this is my mums lineage. Anyone would like to join me your more than welcome to.

  23. In Nov/Dec 2011 I viseted Pitcairn with a group from Norway. We stayed there for 11 days, lived with private people in theyre private homes. I stayed in a private home with to ladies. Amazing trip I can join, not tomorrow, but yesterday if someone call me . I should be on the plane at once.

    I know Pitcairn and the historie behind, and plan to go back.

  24. Gilbert Blinston says

    I was at Pitcairn Island on MV Iberic. from Liverpool March/April 1973 as a young Deck Boy. I bought the wooden souvenirs. and postage stamps. I couldn’t afford the wooden sharks with sharks teeth in them though. I went ashore and saw two young teenage girls. Think one of them later moved to Australia and was on the Mike Walsh show. The men where as I remember very very well built and strong. love to go back…and take my stamps and old carvings with Christian and Adams on the back of them. love to hear from someone there

  25. William Campbell says

    I want to emigrate there but the cost is a problem is there any assistance i can get to move there as i dont want to come back to the uk and have a small income to survive on.

  26. I am interested in knowing once you arrive there, how are you able to experience the undersea wonders?

  27. Thomas Eckhoff says

    Since I saw a special on television a few years ago I thought it would be an adventure of a lifetime. Cost was a factor until recently. I can’t wait to make my dream a reality. I heard that it is so remote that it’t the number one place in the world to stargaze. Thanks for the travel info Lee. God willing I will be able to see other parts of the world as well.

  28. MujaHid Khan says

    How I get permanent residence in pitcarin island.

  29. Lilia Pencheva says

    I want to live on Pitcairn. How can I do it? Answer me, please! 🙂

  30. i’m a black male. I wonder would that matter if I visited…Even though they are SDA mainly, its a small family island and I’m sure everyone on there is not religious

  31. My dream is to go to Pitcairn. Is anyone going there?

  32. Mike Collis says

    My family and I stayed in Pitcairn Island for 10 days. We had a great time and plan to go back. To get there is easier than many comments made in this thread. You flight to Tahiti and if time permits, spend a few days there as well as it is also a great place to see. Next you take a flight from Papeete via Air Tahiti (the domestic island hopper not Air Tahiti Nui, the international carrier) to GMR, the airport near Mangareva. Tickets are in the $732 dollar area. You will then go via the Silver Supporter to Pitcairn about a 34-hour trip, Price is about $3400 USD ($5,500 NZD). Home stays are in the $120 to $200 range per day and includes meals and laundry.

    Most of the homes now have solar/battery power that is converted to 220 volts, many homes still have a grid tie to the island’s generator. Our family was treated as family by most on the island. There are a few new immigrants to Pitcairn, if interested in visiting or immigrating see their Pitcairn Island website, you will find many of the details including home stay locations. The island has internet, phone service (land line and VOIP) and one digital TV channel ZBTV channel 25 with programming from ABC Australia. There is a well-appointed medical clinic with a full-time doctor.

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