West Papua is one of the last wilderness frontiers left in the world. With less then 2 million people, much of its 410,660 square kilometers remains untouched, shrouded in lavish primary rainforest draped over craggy mountains and shadow-filled valleys.

The indigenous people of this land are believed to speak some 250 unique languages. The Dani are its most visible ethnic group, dark skinned with wiry hair like many island people. They are distinguishable by the penis gourds they persist in wearing in spite of 40 years of missionary pressure.

Flights: Domestic flights from Jakarta, Bali and Ujung Pandang to Baik and Jayapura.

Accommodations: Comfortable hotels to simple guest houses

Dive Season: March to November and July to September is considered to be the best dive season.


Scuba Diving West Papua - Phosphorescent waters. Intoxicating diving

Beyond the forested world of the Dani, the waters of Cenclerawasih Bay and off the western end of Bird's Head Peninsula promise virgin reefs of breath-stopping vistas. These can be unpredictable and intense, like the sight of undersea fields of giant clams patrolled by schools of sharks.

Brushed by deep plankton-rich currents, schooling fish and pelagics are common underwater sights. Divers come out of the depths with a perspective pleasantly warped by dizzying drops of vertical walls plunging 200-300 meters into the inky blue; drift dives past colored profusion of soft corals and crinoids; encounters with the supernatural grace of eagle rays and mantas; and sliver clouds of jacks and barracuda; and the eerie thrill of diving in phosphorescent waters.