|WEST WAIGEO AND MANYAIFUN||VITAL STATISTICS|
|Number of villages||7|
|Number of Homestay Association homestays||11|
|Average cost of 1 way transfer from Waisai to West Waigeo homestays||Shared trip cost in IDR [USD]|
Average one way travel time
|To homestays at Manyaifun||1,680,000 [~111.00]|
|To other West Waigeo homestays||3,375,000 [~222.00]|
|Other nearby islands with homestays||None|
West Waigeo location map
NOTE: See this page for information about southern and eastern Waigeo, and Waigeo homestays in Kabui and Mayalibit Bay
West Waigeo, Pulau Manyaifun and the sand cays of Meos Manggara are a long way from Waisai, and so don’t see anything like the numbers of visitors that the Dampier Strait islands do. We think you’re seriously missing out if, after having come all the way to Raja Ampat, you don’t spend at least a day or two in the area.
West Waigeo offers homestays on splendidly isolated beaches, spectacular scenery, some of the best snorkeling in Raja Ampat, and easy access to Raja Ampat’s famed Wayag island group. (The Wayag seascape is Raja Ampat’s “hero image” – every promotion of Raja Ampat features aerial views of Wayag’s spectacular uninhabited islands.)
Homestays in the West Waigeo area are the closest to Raja Ampat’s Wayag island group. That being the case, the journey to Wayag from West Waigeo takes much less time than it does from the Dampier Strait islands further to the south. Which means you get to spend a lot more time at Wayag!
Because of the region’s remoteness, you need to bring all the consumables you consider essential with you. Village shops in West Waigeo only stock basic supplies of the kind used by local people.
Snorkelling and diving
There are no homestay dive centers servicing West Waigeo, but there’s a lot of incredible snorkelling available.
Some of the best snorkelling we’ve seen in Raja Ampat can be had around the uninhabited small islands to the south of Selabalam Lapo and Kamar Raja homestays, but this is the only location at which we’ve had a chance to get in the water – there are plenty more!
Mantas congregate at Pulau Yefnabi (and several other less well known locations) in Meos Manggara. They can even be found there between June and September, when they are usually absent from the better known Dampier Strait sites of Manta Point and Manta Sandy.
Because of the region’s remoteness, West Waigeo’s reefs are pristine, rich and untrammelled by day tripping boats from Sorong and Waisai. It’s most likely that you will be the only people in the water.
Aljui Bay’s pure waters and tidal flows make it a perfect location for the large pearl farm operation that’s sited near the bay’s entrance. Visits to the pearl farm can usually be arranged, and there is some excellent snorkelling to be had around its docks. You need permission before entering the water there, though.
The sea cliffs of the islands that are clustered in the mouth of the bay create some impressive fjordlike seascapes, and the islands themselves hide small curves of perfect beach, isolated homestays and hidden lagoons. Good snorkelling spots abound.
On the cliffs on southern side of the bay’s entrance, near the village of Selpele, there are ancient handprints made by the ancestors of the Maya people who inhabit the region today. Good snorkelling is also to be found in the clear waters at the base of the cliff.
The waters of Aljui Bay’s inner reaches are pure, but are quite dark due to their enclosure and the fresh water that flows in from Waigeo’s interior. The limestone stacks that dot the inner bay are impressive, and be sure to ask your guides for the stories of the bay’s important cultural sites.
Just north of Aljui Bay’s entrance, the women of Salio village manufacture virgin coconut oil. Visiting Salio on production days is highly recommended. You can join in the process of shredding fresh coconuts and extracting the milk from which the oil is separated. It’s a festive atmosphere and a great way to share in the life of this remote community.
If you want a fully immersive experience of village life in West Waigeo, book a stay at Ibu Ety and Pak Daniel’s Aputllo Homestay in Selpele village. Located on the southern side of the entrance to Aljui Bay, Aputllo is a true homestay. You’ll have a room in Daniel and Ety’s waterfront home, share in their daily life and be perfectly located for Aljui explorations.
Area: 7.2 square kilometres
Coastline: ~18 km
Manyaifun is a small, hilly island with a single village that occupies a sheltered bay on its northern shore. The island is a great base from which to explore West Waigeo’s many attractions.
All of Manyaifun’s homestays are on the island’s sheltered north shore. They all have great sunset views across the strait that separates Manyaifun from its larger, uninhabited neighbour, Batang Pele.
It’s an easy walk from any of Manyaifun’s homestays to the village, and a short trek to the island’s heights reveals fabulous panoramic views of the surrounding seas and islands.
See individual Manyaifun homestay pages for more on things to see and do on Manyaifun itself.
Area: ~0.2 square kilometres
Coastline: 1.8 km
The Meos Manggara islands are almost all low, flat, sand cays, which stretch between the island of Meos Manggara (marked on the map above) and the Waigeo mainland. Only three of the islands (including Meos Manggara itself) are inhabited.
Apart from the excellent snorkelling and mantas mentioned above, the cays offer sights like West Waigeo’s “Pasir Timbul” – a stretch of pristine white sand that emerges from the ocean with every low tide.
The village of Meos Manggara is quite close to Manyaifun and is worth exploring if you’re nearby. Huge numbers of fish usually school around around the village jetty and beaches.
Area: ~0.3 square kilometres
Coastline: ~2 km
Yef Kabu is a tiny, flat, sand cay smack bang in the middle of the Meos Manggara Islands.
One long, white beach encloses two square kilometres of coconut palms, casuarina and ketapang trees in the heart of the Meos Manggara cays. A perfect quiet hideaway and base for exploring some of the best reefs in Raja Ampat.
How to choose West Waigeo accommodation
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 West Waigeo
All West 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.
On the way to West Waigeo or Manyaifun from Waisai, you will pass through Kabui Bay and its famous Passage, then through the sand cays of Meos Manggara. If you want to see even more, you can almost always arrange to make the return journey via the lagoons of Pulau Pef, then around the western tip of Gam and back along that island’s south coast.
Be sure to have waterproof clothing easily accessible during the journey, even if the weather is fine when setting out. If you don’t want to arrive wet, this is especially important if travelling in a small open boat. Passing showers can happen at any time of year, but even if it remains fine, a slight wind and sea swell will result in you wearing quite a bit of seaspray during the trip.
West Waigeo phone signal & internet access
Telecommunications are virtually non-existent in West Waigeo. A signal can be received if you’re in a direct line of sight to the towers at the few villages that have them, but the signal only supported SMS and calls when we last visited in 2017. There was no data connection available anywhere in West Waigeo in 2017. See individual homestay pages for location specific 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.