Why visit Cenderawasih Bay
Cenderawasih Bay holds the largest water surface in Indonesia
It really feels like a brand new world discovered recently
Cenderawasih Bay is the only place on the planet to swim with majestic whale sharks, throughout the year, without facing a crazy amount of tourists
Cenderawasih Bay spans 18 pristine paradise-like islands
It combines coral reef ecosystem with mangrove and terrestrial tropical forest ecosystems
Discover endemic flora and fauna, including the Birds of Paradise
Swim with four different types of turtles – hawksbill turtle, green turtle, Pacific ridley turtle, and the leatherback turtle
Remarkable diving that allows exploring dozens of shipwreck sites across the bay
Unique tribes with age-old traditions
Visit incredibly pristine islands of Ripon, Rumberpon, Roon, Purup, Mios Waar, Wairundi, Yapen, and Biak.
Where is Cenderawasih Bay
Cenderawasih Bay is located in the south-east of the Bird’s Head Peninsula; it belongs to the Indonesian province of West Papua. Cenderawasih Bay is the largest national marine park in Southeast Asia, covering an area of 1,5 million hectares. The bay spans 18 incredibly pristine islands and 500km of secluded coastline. Promising unspoiled marine life, Cenderawasih Bay is a perfect remote destination for a sailing holiday and one of the best dive sites in Indonesia. But if you decide to stay longer, then the best accommodation options can be found in Manokwari town and Biak Island.
Manokwari is the capital of West Papua, located at the western end of New Guinea. The town has many resorts and is a major tourist area in this far eastern outskirt of the Indonesian archipelago. There are over twenty-four different tribal groups currently living in and around the town, each having a unique language and culture. If you’re looking for majestic views, fresh air, and stunning valleys fit for inspiring treks, birding, and wildlife watching, then Manokwari is the place to be.
Biak Island is the former war base of Allied forces that features great beaches ideal for catching swells and exploring the rich underwater world. The island is the home of an exotic Aguinaldo Cave famous for its natural sublimity, and traditional fishing villages where locals free dive for pearls. Since it’s relatively easy to reach the island, Biak serves as a base for island hopping in Cenderawasih Bay and offers various accommodation options.
Best time in Cenderawasih Bay
Arguably, the best time to experience the Cenderawasih Bay region is anytime from May to October. The closest description of weather and sea conditions would be ‘heaven on Earth.’ If you worry that you’re going to miss a whale shark season, the great news is that the waters around the region are the natural habitat of these massive creatures. Generally, the heavy rainfalls may occur during July/August and November/December, and these months are known for unstable weather accompanied by strong winds and currents.
Whale sharks of Cenderawasih Bay
Whale sharks are migratory animals, and there are several places in the world where they congregate (Galapagos, Philippines, Belize). Yet, at each of these places, the sharks are transient. But not in Cenderawasih Bay! Whale sharks are present in Cenderawasih Bay throughout the year, a real phenomenon of a natural wonder of Indonesia. Sometimes up to ten whale sharks will simultaneously gather to feed below fishing platforms, providing the ultimate experience of observing and photographing the majestic creature. Whale sharks are known to grow to 18 meters in length or more, but unbelievably these animals are docile and feed on plankton, clouds of eggs roe, and small fishes.
The best place for swimming and diving with whale sharks in Cenderawasih is in Kwatisore Bay, where locals have formed a unique relationship with giant creatures. They usually feed whale sharks to protect their catch, so the whole bay is flocked with these enormous yet gentle animals. Other popular locations to dive with whale sharks in Cenderawasih Bay alongside manta rays over vivid coral reefs are around Pulau Ripon, Pulau Purup, and Wairundi islands.
How to get to Cenderawasih Bay from Sorong
The easiest way to reach Cenderawasih Bay from Sorong is taking a direct flight to Manokwari and Nabire or flying directly to Biak Island. From there, join a liveaboard cruise or charter a beautiful sailing yacht with Islander and tailor your own experience and itinerary.
How to get to Cenderawasih Bay from Jakarta
Take a plane from Jakarta to a busy Manokwari town on the mainland or fly directly to Biak Island. From either location, you can board another short flight to Nabire, if you wish to be closer to the whale sharks of Kwatisore Bay. However, the best way to explore Cenderawasih Bay is on a sailing holiday with Islander. Chat with us to learn more.
How to get to Cenderawasih Bay from Singapore
You can book a flight from Singapore to Manokwari via Jakarta, and then take a liveaboard holiday across Cenderawasih Bay. Alternatively, you can fly to Jakarta and then take another flight to Biak island from where you can begin your sailing holiday with Islander that will take you to the most unchartartered and pristine places on Earth.