West Papua (prior to 2007, the province was known as West Irian Jaya), is a province of Indonesia covering the western peninsula of the island of New Guinea. The eastern part of the Island is the independent country Papua New Guinea. Many do not know that the island of New Guinea is the world's second largest island!
West Papua is the least-populous province of Indonesia with approximately 800,000 people. The population consists mostly of Papuan tribes, but there are a few Micronesian and Melanesian tribes on the islands. The West Papua region covers the Bird's Head (Doberai) and Bomberai peninsulas and the surrounding islands of Raja Ampat, which is well know for some of the worlds's best remote diving.
The indigenous people, of which the majority still lives in isolation speak more than 250 languages and live mostly in tribes. The official language is Indonesian though.
It is a land of exceptional natural wonders with dense jungle covering the island which is home to many rare species of birds. West Papua has beautiful scenic beaches, cool grassy meadows and powerful rivers carving gorges and tunnels through the dense forests. The remote, beautiful and untouched nature on land is mirrored under the surface. It is not surprising that a lot of liveaboard vessels offer excursions in this region.