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Baliem Valley & Raja Ampat: Cultural & Underwater Adventure
Sorry. There are no scheduled departures for this expedition.
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition.
Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the
trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of
our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full
advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and
An itinerary from a previous expedition is displayed below.
Day 1-2 Depart USAIndependent flight to Indonesia. (Day Lost crossing the International Date Line.)
Day 3 Jakarta, IndonesiaArrive in Jakarta, Indonesia’s bustling capital city and transfer to our hotel for a welcome dinner, briefing, and overnight.
Day 4 Jakarta / JayapuraOur morning tour highlights Jakarta’s rich cultural and ethnographic heritage. Enjoy a special cultural lunch at Rumah Jawa and tour the 14-room museum. This evening we depart on our overnight flight to Jayapura.
Day 5 Jayapura / WamenaArrive in Jayapura and connect with our short flight to Wamena, the largest town in Indonesia’s West Papua highlands. Enjoy lunch before visiting the colorful Wamena market and a nearby traditional village where we are welcomed with a cultural performance. Dinner and overnight at the Baliem Valley Resort our home for the next four nights.
Day 6-7 Baliem Valley TrekkingThe Valley, situated in the heart of the Jayawijaya Mountains, is simply stunning. The lush terrain is punctuated with swift rivers, the colorful blooms of orchids, and the purple haze of cultivated sweet potato fields. This region is home to the indigenous Dani and Lani tribal people—isolated by 8,000 foot peaks, most of the 5,000-foot-high valley remains as untouched as it was on the day that American explorer Richard Archbold stumbled upon it in 1938. The people here live in palm-shaded, round hut village compounds that have changed little over the millennia. Known for their unique personal decoration, which sometimes includes boar tusks through their noses and headdresses made of bird feathers, the most famous of these adornments is the koteka, traditional penis gourds worn by the elder tribal men. The Dani’s inhabit one of the most fertile areas in West Papua and constant war with neighboring tribes earned them a fearsome reputation as prolific headhunters. We spend two full days in the Valley. Each morning we take a scenic drive through lushly forested valleys surrounded by towering peaks to the trail-head. Our hikes take us over gentle hills, with spectacular views along the way. We make stops at traditional Dani and Lani villages where we have the opportunity to experience the daily lives of these hill people, visit their traditional straw-capped homes, and see their lush gardens which illustrate the sophisticated agricultural system developed over generations. We are met by our vehicles at the end of each day and return to the Baliem Valley Resort for dinner and overnight.
Day 8 Wamena / Kurulu / Anmoge Village
After breakfast we drive to Kurulu to visit the 250-year-old mummy at Jiwika, then walk to a nearby Dani village for a full-day cultural program that includes a traditional pig feast with the villagers. Return to the Baliem Valley Resort.
Day 9 Wamena / Jayapura / SorongThis morning we fly from Wamena via Jayapura to Sorong. Here we board the Sea Safari VIII for a seven-night snorkel and dive expedition that showcases the spectacular marine bio-diversity of the region. Raja Ampat, or “four kings,” is an archipelago of approximately 1,500 islands with no fewer than seven Marine Protected Areas covering 4,600 square miles. This region harbors 75 percent of the world’s coral species and 73 percent of the world’s fish species. Among the highlights: nudibranchs, giant clams, schooling barracudas, pygmy seahorses, teeming schools of fish, eagle rays, and numerous reef sharks. The limestone islands provide a stunning backdrop to our underwater explorations.
Day 10-15 Raja Ampat
Following is a list of the snorkel and dive sites we plan to visit, with daily weather and tide conditions dictating the actual itinerary: Misool Island Group Misool sits in the Ceram Sea surrounded by countless beautiful islets. Its mesmerizing underwater-scape boasts walls and pinnacles covered with kaleidoscopic soft corals, as well as a huge concentration of giant clams. The larger islands, like Misool itself, feature white sand beaches ideal for tender boat landings. Birders go ashore to look for species such as the sulphur-crested cockatoo, beach kingfisher, varied honeyeater, spice imperial pigeon, and singing starling. We spend two days here, with daily dives and snorkeling excursions, as well as onshore explorations. Penemu Island Penemu is hallmarked by photogenic, mushroom-shaped limestone rocks that rise from the ultramarine waters. We watch for large schools of barracuda at Barracuda Reef, and dive the impressive Clam Wall. Huge nudibranchs, orangutan crabs, blue-ribbon eels, and coral gardens are highlights. This evening, enjoy an incomparable night dive. Yanggelo Island A full day of snorkeling and diving in this area reveals massive schools of fish, including groupers. Barracudas patrol the waters at channel entrances and a gorgeous corner slope wall is covered with elegant fan corals. Kri Island Home to the largest number of fish and coral species counted in a single underwater site, Kri offers a stunning experience. Watch a parade of huge schools of fish—barracuda and pale or blue-tail surgeonfish patrol the reef top, while below, schools of trevally and fusiliers whirl about. Mantas, reef sharks, and hawksbill turtles also frequent the currents. Jerieff Islands Just off these lovely islands, snorkelers and divers have the chance to view two sunken Japanese bombers in relatively shallow depths. Acting as artificial reefs these wrecks host numerous small fishes and are covered in soft corals.