Although Papua New Guinea does not have a well organized public transportation system, it is still possible for tourists to get around the country. There are so many spectacular places to see outside the capital, just waiting to be explored. However when getting around Papua New Guinea, you’ll most probably have to travel by air or by sea.
The country must be more reliant on air transport than any other country in the world as the population is scattered through isolated mountains, valleys and tiny islands. The domestic airport found in Port Moresby is connected to the Jackson International Airport, which makes traveling within the country convenient. Flights to and from major cities in Papua New Guinea are readily available with numerous flights at varying schedules. Aside from getting around Papua New Guinea by plane, many people also use helicopters to visit places that are hard to reach. These places remain the most beautiful and unique places in the country, thus the exclusivity and difficulty of reaching such destinations.
Island hopping through the different cities and islands of Papua New Guinea is a pleasant way of travelling, especially if you are not constrained when it comes to time. Getting around Papua New Guinea by boat is possible with cruises, large boats, smaller boats, charters and yachts.
In most major towns, there are only two ways on getting around Papua New Guinea on land, and one is to travel by taxi and the other is by public motor vehicle or PMV. Unfortunately, safety and security is not guaranteed when using these modes of transport as crime rates are high, especially in major urban areas. Most taxi drivers are complete clunkers with the exception of the Scarlet Taxis found in Port Moresby that are somewhat more reliable compared to the rest. When you’re staying in one of the major hotels in the city, the best option is to ask the reception or concierge for transport options available. Most major hotels do provide shuttle service within the city, which may become much more convenient and safe for you.
Tourists who opt to travel privately should hire a car from car rental companies. There are dozens of car rental companies in major cities in Papua New Guinea. Make sure to find a reputable one with the most affordable prices that will cater to your needs.
Hitching has actually been an important part of traveling in the region because of the lack of availability and scheduled transport in the country. You’ll most likely be charged the exact equivalent of a public motor vehicle. Although hitching is not entirely safe, especially when traveling alone or if you’re a woman, hitching may become safer with a companion if the desperate need arises.
As a precautionary measure, it’s best to let someone know where you’re going or to mention to someone at the hotel where you want to go when getting around Papua New Guinea. This way, locals will be able to give you directions and will be better able to advise you whether the place will be safe or not. If intending to travel on foot, makes sure not to carry any valuables with you and remember that it’s best to stay indoors after dark.