Experience genuine local hospitality and astronomical delight on our special eclipse tour to Mangaia Island
- - - From Friday 9th July to Tuesday 13th July 2010 - - -
What the tour includes
Flights from Rarotonga to Mangaia
: Pacific Expeditions have chartered Air Rarotonga's twin-engined turboprop Embraer 'Bandeirante' aircraft for our outward and return legs. These planes handle 12 passengers (plus 20kg luggage per person). This is a 40-minute flight and the pilots know the local weather and runway conditions very well as they service Mangaia island on a year round basis.
Pacific Expeditions will meet you at Mangaia's only airport on your arrival with your information package and transport arrangements to your host family.
Our flights from Rarotonga to Mangaia are available on both Friday 9th July and Saturday 10th July - please state your preference when making a booking.
Air Rarotonga 'Bandeirante' aircraft (used for our charter flights)
Accommodation & food:
You will be hosted by local families - homestay is the best way to meet the people, and it brings major economic benefits directly to local families.
Your hosts will provide full board homestay accommodation, including all your food during your stay on Mangaia. You will have clean sheets and mattresses and be provided with a mosquito-netted bed.
Most houses have telephones (you will need a phone card to make any non-local calls). Some families have internet, and all families will do laundry and take you to view the eclipse on Sunday morning, plus arrange your cave tour at Ivirua village.
Remember that your host family knows Mangaia very well, and can help set up other excursions, plus get you to a favourite swimming spot and teach you about island life in the Pacific. It does not come more genuine than this. This is a two-way learning event, so please adapt to the conditions that you find with good humor. Yes, some houses still use long-drop toilets, and if this is an issue, please let us know in advance, and we will find other accommodation.
One month before the eclipse tour starts we will be matching visitors with their host families. We will also begin correspondence to check for any special requests you may have - for example, you may need a child friendly household (if you have children travelling with you) and/or you might prefer a non-alcoholic household to stay with.
Pacific Expeditions will put you in touch with your host family before you arrive for the Eclipse Tour - feel free to call them if you have questions about the size and layout of their house, toilet and bathroom facilities etc
Local dance show and island style feast: Pacific Expeditions have arranged a local dance show and feast for Saturday night - a great way to be welcomed to the island indeed - you can expect a spectacular performance, as the Mangaian dance team are enthusiastic entrants in the Cook Islands national dance competitions every year.
For the feast you can expect locally grown food cooked in a traditional way. There are thousands of acres of prime farmland and taro swamps on Mangaia, so the island is not a place that would run short of fresh fruits and produce
: Pacific Expeditions have arranged for our guests to do cave tours with local Ivirua village families - you can choose the gentle two hour excursion, or go for the more serious three-hour underground expedition. Mangaia has the best limestone caves in the South Pacific - there are literally dozens of miles of cave systems riddling the makatea (limestone) fringe of the island
Geologically speaking, Mangaia is probably the oldest island in the South Pacific, hence there have been millions of years of water flow to carve out the labyrinth of underground passageways.
Full eclipse of the sun:
Yes, you get this (with some reasonable weather). The eclipse is on Sunday morning, from 7:15am to 9:37am, but you will not want to miss the 3 minutes of totality (between 8:19am and 8:22am). This is the point where the whole sun is hidden behind the moon - it becomes surprisingly dark (a bit of a shock for the local birds and animals).
Luckily for us, July is midway thru the non-rainy season in the South Pacific. Plus an added advantage is that we will be viewing the eclipse from the eastern shoreline of Mangaia, which is the windward side, and hence less likely to be effected by the clouds generated by the mountainous interior of the island.
Early Sunday you will be driven to the eastern side of the island by your host family. We love to travel on pickup trucks - so it is a early out of bed on eclipse day morning. Your family will also provide chairs, some shade if needed, and picnic snacks and local fruit for your sustenance - especially needed for the hard core eclipse chasers who wish to experience the whole two hour show.
Being on Mangaia for a full eclipse of the sun - at this remote and magical place on the globe - is not your average south seas holiday for sure, but we consider this as adventure travel at its best
Local information package:
|CICC Church, Ivirua Village
||Island Interior-Taro Patches
We meet you on your arrival at Mangaia airport with a package of information, including notes on Mangaian history, a local map, handouts on local visitor attractions, etc.
Special eclipse watching sun glasses: We also provide specially designed eclipse watching sun glasses. They are tinted to protect your eyes from harmful UV radiation.
Day To Day Schedule
9th July (Friday)
- Depart Rarotonga at 12am or 4pm on charter flight to Mangaia
- Some free time in the afternoon to explore Mangaia with host family
10th July (Saturday)
- Depart Rarotonga at 2pm or 4pm on charter flight to Mangaia
- Cave, shipwreck and four wheel drive tours available
- Local dance show and island style feast in evening
11th July (Sunday)
- Eclipse observations on eastern side of island in morning
- Church service late morning
- Sunday lunch with your host family
- Cave, shipwreck and four wheel drive tours available in afternoon
- or do the local thing and chill out with a dip in the ocean
12th July (Monday)
- Cave, shipwreck, four wheel drive tours all day
- Swimming, visiting shops and souvenir stalls
13th July (Tuesday)
- Cave, shipwreck and four wheel drive tours etc
- Depart Mangaia between 1pm and 6pm on charter flights to Rarotonga
Not Included In Tour Package
- International airfares to Rarotonga
- Accommodation and food in Rarotonga
- Travel insurance (highly recommended)
- Wine, beer, bottled water and soft drinks
- Extra nights accommodation on Mangaia (if you want to stay longer)
Extra nights on Mangaia:
We can arrange for extra days/nights to be spent on Mangaia, either before or after our basic tour package - this will not increase the price of our package, as we can help you make arrangements with your host family to add extra days to your home stay (please pay them directly for your extra days on the island).
We can also arrange a change in your host family if you wish - please contact us and we will do our best to find you a suitable host.
Other activities available:
We are also arranging a number of extra island tours (these are not included in the tour price) - for example a history tour of local Polynesian marae, a visit to a 100-year-old shipwreck near Tamarua village and a cross-island four-wheel-drive tour that takes you across the highest point of the island on steep and narrow forestry roads.
Price: $1950US per person
No extra charges for single occupancy, and no discounts are available for children. To secure your place on this tour we require a 50% non-refundable deposit - the balance (final 50%) to be paid by the 10th April 2010.
More information on Mangia