Dubbed as the land of paradise, Papua has rich natural resources and pristine tourism destinations. Raja Ampat in West Papua is notoriously known as the most popular among local and international tourists. However, many other spots are just as wonderful.
One of the most beautiful destinations Papua has to offer is the Cenderawasih Bay, with many wonderful islands in pristine condition. Read on and learn more about Cenderawasih Bay in eastern Indonesia.
About Cendreawasih Bay
The largest marine national park in Indonesia, Cenderawasih Bay National Park, is located southeast of Bird’s Head Peninsula. The area includes Mioswaar, Nusrowi, Roon, Rumberpon, and Yoop islands, consisting of ocean waters (89.8%), reefs corals (5.5%), mainland islands (3.8%), and coastal area (0.9%).
Coral Reef Potentials
Cenderawasih Bay has massive tourism potentials, mostly from its sea. Snorkeling and diving are the most popular activities for tourists visiting this area.
Cenderawasih Bay is where you will find the rich ecosystem of coral reefs, beaches, mangroves, and tropical forests on the island of Papua. There are at least 150 types of coral reefs scattered on the shores near 18 islands.
The coral reef ecosystem is divided into two zones: the flat zone and the slope zone. Here, you can find various types of corals such as Faviidae and Pectiniidae families, black corals (Antiphates sp.), colonies of blue corals (Heliopora coerulea), and various types of soft corals.
Fish, Turtles and Other Marine Animals
The most wonderful thing you will get to experience in this national park is to dive with whale sharks. Those gentle giants freely roam the park and don’t shy away from swimming next to a human.
Cendrawasih Bay National Park is also famous for its abundant fish species. Here you can find about 209 types of fish, including angelfish, anemonefish, butterflyfish, damselfish, parrotfish, and rabbitfish. In addition, dugongs (Dugong dugon), blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus), coconut crabs (Birgus latro), and dolphins are often spotted in the vicinity of Cendrawasih Bay National Park.
Several types of turtles also often land in this national park, such as Pacific ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivaceae), green turtles (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), and leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea).
Other than fish and turtles, you will also get to find other marine animals that are as exotic, such as cowries snails (Cypraea spp.), cone snails (Conus spp.), strombidae snails (Lambis spp.), giant clams (Tridacna gigas), and triton trumpets (Charonia tritonis).
In this part of the world, small islands are scattered here and there in West Papua. You can hop from one island to another and explore the beauties each island has to offer. As the bay is massive, you probably need a couple of days to explore all of the islands.
Favorite things to do on this island include birdwatching, diving, and snorkeling. In addition to marine tourism, you will also see a deer farm and the remains of a Japanese fighter plane that crashed in the sea.
Here you can dive and snorkel, enjoying marine tourism, or simply sit back on its beautiful beach.
Here you will find a natural cave said to have existed since prehistoric time, hot springs and waterfalls.
Yoop and Wondesi Waters
The waters near Yoop and Wondesi are quite popular for spotting whales and dolphins.
Christians visit the old church in Yende village on Roon Island to see the holy book dated back to 1898. Other than that, visitors can also enjoy birdwatching, cultural tours, and see waterfalls, as well as diving and snorkeling.
How to get there
Traveling to the eastern tip of Indonesia is not easy, and you have to change several modes of transportation. To reach Cenderawasih Bay, you can fly to Biak with departures from Surabaya, Denpasar, Jakarta, Jayapura, Ujung Pandang, Honolulu or Darwin. Once in Biak, take another plane to Manokwari or Nabire.
Alternatively, you can also take a boat to Manokwari or Nabire from Surabaya, Jakarta, Jayapura, and Ujung Pandang.
Once you’re in Manokwari, you can reach the national park (Rumberpon Island) in about 5.5 hours by longboat. Alternatively, you can drive from Manokwari to the sub-district town of Ransiki by car for about three hours and continue by motorboat for about 2.5 hours.
With all the richness and beauty Cendrawasih Bay has to offer, it’s easy to see why tourists both local and international make the effort to travel far to West Papua in eastern Indonesia. Make sure to prepare well if you want to go to Cenderawasih Bay.