Cenderawasih Bay, located in the western part of Papua, Indonesia, is a world-renowned tourist destination that offers a unique combination of history, wildlife, and stunning natural beauty. The bay is the largest marine national park in Indonesia, established to protect the fragile ecosystem of the area, including its diverse species of endemic birds of paradise and other wildlife. The name “Cenderawasih” literally means “Bird of Paradise” in the local language, emphasizing the significance of these beautiful birds to the area and its people.
During World War II, the waters of Cenderawasih Bay were the site of intense battles between Japanese and Allied forces, resulting in numerous shipwrecks and war artifacts lying at the bottom of the bay. These wrecks provide a unique opportunity for history buffs and diving enthusiasts to explore and learn about the events of the war. The clear waters of the bay, combined with its rich history, offer a unique diving experience unlike any other.
In addition to its history, Cenderawasih Bay is also known for its vibrant coral reefs and abundant marine life, including sea turtles, manta rays, and whale sharks which call this vast bay home. Snorkeling in the bay offers a truly unforgettable experience, with its clear waters providing stunning views of the colorful corals and fish that call the area home. Bird watching is also a popular activity in the bay, with many species of endemic birds of paradise residing in the area. Their elaborate mating rituals, which include extravagant displays of feathers and intricate dance moves, are a true spectacle to behold.
Biak, the large and sleepy main island dominating the northern entrance of the bay serves as the main starting post with its international clearance port and has a large international runway and interesting history in World War II and more recently being proposed as place to and launch space shuttles and rockets as it sits right on the equator. It is also home to the endemic and elusive Biak Green Tree Python.