Manokwari is the capital of West Papua, at the western end of the island of New Guinea, serving one of the gateways to Cenderawasih Bay exploration. The town features many resorts and is a major tourist area in this far eastern outskirt of the Indonesian archipelago.
Manokwari is a culturally rich place with over twenty-four different tribal groups living here, each with its unique language and culture. You will likely spot their traditional Honai (rounded houses made of wood and grass), alongside wooden sculptures of masculinity and beauty they are famous for. Manokwari has also become one of the sacred historical places for the Christians in the Papua region.
Situated south of Manokwari, Arfak Mountain harbors all the secrets of Cenderawasih Bay’s fascinating geological past and tectonic evolution. Tropical rainforest blankets most of the surrounding Arfak Mountain range. It is home to cuscus possums, paradise kingfishers, riflebirds, and the king bird-of-paradise. Set against an indigo sea, Arfak Mountain conjures the feeling of a place where time stood still.
These majestic views, cool air, and striking valleys of Arfak Mountain range fit for inspiring treks, birding and wildlife watching – exist alongside exotic beaches of Manokwari. Visit the coal-black Amban Beach, and Bakarao Beach – where fishermen summon their catch using a whistle made of shells. A surging landscape of white beaches continues with waving palms, imposing coral limestone cliffs and thick mangrove swamps, embracing a remarkable, wedge-shaped Cenderawasih Bay.
Did you know that the Cenderawasih area was the place where major WW2 battles took place? The entire bay is filled with wrecks, and the most popular sites are around Shinwa Maru and P40 Tomahawk planes. The former is right offshore from Manokwari. The best way to experience all diving sites across Cenderawasih Bay is by chartering a yacht or booking a private sailing holiday with Islander.