Papua occupies the western half of New Guinea, the world’s second-largest island, and remains one of the ‘wildest’ places on the planet. Scarcely populated, the island is covered in dense, impenetrable rainforests, snowcapped mountain peaks, crisscrossing rivers passing through valleys and wetlands.
More than 240 tribes still inhabit the island, themselves as intriguing as the island’s natural scenery. Donning close to nothing, they are often portrayed in their bare skin, with minimum covering except on their heads, faces and around their private parts. Papua’s jungle heartlands boast a rich biodiversity, but trekking through them is more like a well-planned expedition than a leisurely activity.
Most travellers head for its coastal capital Jayapura for its picturesque beaches and Lake Sentani as well as Baliem Valley to visit the Dani tribesmen, and the outlying smaller islands in its northwest to explore some of the world’s most stunning islandscapes and dive sites.