Cenderawasih Bay holiday guide (2020)

Cenderawasih Bay


Indonesia Cenderawasih Bay Guide

Cenderawasih Bay is a remote area that’s rarely visited by international tourists. The first thing everyone talks about in Cenderawasih Bay is the whale sharks of Kwatisore Bay, near the town of Nabire on the bay’s southern coastline. It is one of the best places in Southeast Asia where you can snorkel or scuba dive alongside these gentle giants.

The whole region features deep blue waters accompanied by shallow waters and diverse corals near the shore, colossal whale sharks freely swimming, and countless of WW2 wrecks to explore. The waters around the bay feature the renowned and well-conserved diving sites. Did you know that the bay is home of 150 different species of corals and over 200 types of fish, including its resident whale sharks?

Cenderawasih Bay promises plenty of things to do – from undisturbed marine life to thick jungle hiding the Birds of Paradise. Surf deserted beaches, swim with whale sharks, conquer challenging hikes, and hop from one island to another – Cenderawasih Bay will greet you with awe.

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. Cenderawasih Bay offers pRotection to over 150 species of coral and over 200 species of fish, including its resident whale sharks. Promising unspoiled marine life, Cenderawasih Bay is a perfect remote destination for a sailing holiday and one of the best dive sites in Indonesia.

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.

Cenderawasih Bay is a vast region; therefore, a sailing holiday or liveaboard diving holiday is the best way to explore every hidden corner of this secluded paradise. You can charter the most beautiful sailing yachts with Islander and enjoy the personalized, once-in-a-lifetime, itinerary through this remote region of the world. 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 the island 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 that is 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.

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.

The best place for 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 from these animals, so the whole bay is flocked with these majestic animals. Other popular locations to dive with whale sharks in Cenderawasih Bay, alongside massive manta rays over colorful coral reefs, are around Ripon, Purup, and Wairundi islands.

Whale sharks are known to grow to 18 meters in length or more, but unbelievably these huge animals are docile and feed on plankton, clouds of eggs roe, and small fishes. Head to southern shores of Cenderawasih Bay to swim alongside these gentle giants every day!

  • 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
  • You can book a flight from Singapore to Manokwari via Jakarta, and then take a liveaboard holiday across the 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’ll bring you to most stunning places on Earth.

    Take a plane from Jakarta to a busy Manokwari town on 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.

    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.

    Best places in Cenderawasih Bay









    Mios Waar