Waigeo

Pulau Waigeo, Raja Ampat
PULAU WAIGEOVITAL STATISTICS
Attractions

  • Wildlife-rich forests with many endemic bird, animal and plant species
  • Amazing fully supported jungle trekking routes
  • Mayalibit Bay
  • Kabui Bay and Kabui Passage
  • Ancient cultural sites
  • Varied village life
  • Spectacular seascapes (Particularly in Kabui, Mayalibit, and the more remote West Waigeo region.)
SizeOver 3000 square kilometres
Coastline lengthOver 900 kilometres
Number of villages34
Number of Homestay Association homestays18
Average cost of 1 way transfer from Waisai to Batanta  homestaysShared trip cost in IDR [USD]
Average one way travel time
To homestays near Waisai250,000 [~16.00]
30 minutes
To Kabui Bay homestays400,000 [~27.00]
45 minutes
To remote West Waigeo homestays2,000,000 [~132.00]
3 hours
Other nearby islands with homestaysFriwen, Gam

Quick links
Waisai Homestay Information Center
Homestays near Waisai
Kabui Bay Homestays
West Waigeo (and adjacent islands) homestays
West Waigeo island guide
Waigeo jungle trekking and ecosystem information
Waigeo bird species log
High resolution Raja Ampat map (PDF 3.59MB)
Step by step trip planning guide

The Raja Ampat Regency capital of Waisai lies on the southern shore of Waigeo, which is the largest of the four big islands that give Raja Ampat (“Four Kings”) its name.

Waisai is the usual entry point for most Raja Ampat visitors and offers various accommodation options, banks and ATMs, cafes (many with free WiFi), 4G/3G data signal, a hospital, harbour, airport and government services. The town center is about a five minute car or ojek (motorcycle taxi) ride from the harbour.

Waisai’s not the place to be if you’re after great beaches, fabulous reefs and untamed jungle though: Get out of town!

As with all the Raja Ampat islands, Waigeo’s villages lie on the coast. The island’s interior is largely virgin rainforest. The forests are home to an incredible range of plant and animal life, with a biodiversity every bit as rich as that of Raja Ampat’s famed marine environments.

Waigeo’s tropical jungles are rich in birdlife and are a twitcher’s delight, being one of only two places in the world where you can see the iconic Wilson’s Bird of Paradise. (The other is at Batanta.)

There’s a lot more to see in Waigeo’s forests, though. There are ancient cultural sites, unique mammals like the Waigeo Cuscus, and a host of fascinating reptiles and insect life. Large rivers wind through the lowlands and orchid-draped cloud forests cap the interior’s heights.

Snorkelling and diving

Good snorkelling is available from the beaches of the homestays near Waisai and in the southern part of Kabui Bay, but some of the best in Raja Ampat can be accessed from the homestays in West Waigeo. The reefs around West Waigeo’s uninhabited islands are untrammelled by day trippers and are truly spectacular.

All Waigeo homestays (except those in West Waigeo) can arrange diving. If your homestay doesn’t have an onsite dive center, your hosts can organise transport to the homestay dive center of your choice.

All homestay dive centers dive all of the popular Raja Ampat sites, so (as far as diving opportunities go) it doesn’t matter which one you choose. Raja Ampat can be a challenging dive environment though, so be sure to do your research and choose a reputable operator.

Mayalibit Bay and Waigeo jungle trekking

Mayalibit Bay is seldom visited, but offers some truly spectacular scenery. Especially when passing through the narrow, tide-scoured channel that links the bay to the ocean. Mayalibit’s dark waters shelter animals like the bay’s endemic white dolphins, and it’s currently the only place we know of in Raja Ampat where local people will take you to see crocodiles if you want.

Mayalibit Bay is huge, and almost splits Waigeo into two separate islands. The indigenous Maya communities that live around its shores have developed a network of trekking trails and hiking lodges that provide access to the interior’s wonders. If you want to go jungle trekking in Raja Ampat, the treks and cultural tours offered by the Maya communities of Waifoi and Warimak are by far your best option.

Read more about Mayalibit Bay, the treks and Waigeo’s terrestrial ecosystems on our Raja Ampat Trekking page.

Waigeo Birding tours

The homestays near Waisai are the easiest and cheapest option if you want to do some serious birding. Located on beaches backed by bird-filled forests, these homestays have experienced birding guides available, are close to the Wilsons and Red Bird of Paradise display areas, and are favourites in birding circles.

Serious birders might want to read this extensive Raja Ampat birding report for an idea of what to expect and some tips about prime locations.

Kabui Bay and Passage

Kabui Bay lies between Waigeo’s south western shore and Gam Island. The southern parts of the bay have white sand beaches and clear waters, while the northern parts are lined with mangroves and filled with karst islands reminiscent of the more famous ones at Wayag.

In the northeast of the bay, near the village of Wawiyai, Feey Yef Homestay provides a good base from which to explore cultural sites associated with the first settlement of Raja Ampat. Wawiyai’s cultural heritage includes relics associated with the founding myth that gave Raja Ampat its name. Excellent panoramas of northern Kabui Bay can be had from the heights above Wawiyai, and the adjacent forests are filled with birdlife, bat caves and ancient burial sites.

The famed diving and snorkelling site of Kabui Passage is a narrow river-like strait that separates Gam and Waigeo, The Passage leads from the western reach of the bay to the ocean west of Gam and Waigeo. Kabui Passage can be easily accessed from Gam’s Warikaf Homestay, which has also built a lookout atop a nearby island peak. Panoramic views of the area’s karst island seascape are available after the climb. Please be aware that a rather aggressive saltwater crocodile took up residence in the passage in October 2018. They are dangerous ambush predators, and it would very unwise to swim in (or anywhere near) the passage at present. Follow our facebook or G+ page to receive updates on this and other events.

All homestays offer day trips and tours of Kabui’s attractions, and if you stay at one of the West Waigeo homestays, you’ll pass through Kabui Bay and Passage on the way to your destination.

West Waigeo

There’s so much to see on Waigeo that we’ve split all the West Waigeo information onto a separate page. See it here.

How to choose accommodation on Waigeo

Individual homestay pages provide photos and more detail about the specific attractions and tours, services and facilities available at each place.

Note that all homestays can organise almost any trip you want to do: With the exception of Wayag visits, if the trip you want isn’t mentioned on the homestay’s page, it may well still be available. Especially if it’s to a location not too distant from the homestay.

Use the accommodation page search filters to quickly find all homestays offering the features and facilities that are important to you.

Here is how to book. Please note that booking in advance is recommended at popular homestays, especially during peak season (October to March). Popular homestays include any with an on-site dive center, and can easily be identified by the number of reviews they have received.

How to get to Waigeo

All Waigeo homestays can provide pickups from Waisai and transfers to/from anywhere else. Average cost and travel time from Waisai is shown in the table above. Individual homestay transport prices are provided on their pages.

If you’re staying somewhere else first, it’s usually quicker to have your current host transfer you to your next place, rather than to ask your next host to come and pick you up. See this page for more information about the high cost of boat travel in Raja Ampat.

Waigeo phone signal & internet access

Depends entirely on where you are! Homestays near Waisai usually receive a strong 4G signal and have good internet connections available. Others may receive weak and erratic signals or none at all. Refer to individual homestay pages for location specific reception information.

Note that free WiFi connections are extremely rare in Raja Ampat. You will need a local SIM for your phone. See this page for details.

Waigeo location map

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  1. Pamela Sai on

    I am a butterfly photographer looking for a homestay on Waigeo that is close to trails I can walk to photograph butterflies. I don’t know if there is any particular area that is best for butterflies, but I would appreciate any information you might have. Or if there is any other place in Raja Ampat known for its butterflies I would also appreciate that information.

    1. Hi Pamela

      Any of the homestays near Waisai would be a good choice, and/or you could head into the depths of the forests on one of these. We can’t really tell you much else about Raja Ampat’s butterflies, other than we’ve seen them everywhere – including out over the ocean kilometres from shore!

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