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When to go to Papua?

When is the best time to visit Papua? Based on our experience and taking into account the climatic differences between each region, here are our recommendations to organize your trip to Papua at the best time.

With its 17,000 islands, Indonesia is a huge country with great differences in climate and seasonality from one province to another. Differences can also exist within the same island. It is therefore recommended to find out the best time to travel in Indonesia depending on your destination. Avoid the rainy season or episodes of swell and strong winds that disrupt cruises in eastern Indonesia during the southern winter.

In this article we focus on the seasonality of travel to Papua, which has many specificities due to its size and geographical characteristics. Located directly on the equator, the climate in Papua is mainly tropical: temperatures are high, sunshine is important and periods of heavy rain and humidity are frequent. But the Papuan province also has mountains reaching 4,884 meters in altitude and which are covered with ice all year round.

Flying over the highlands of Papua, Indonesia
Flying over the highlands of Papua

So what is the best time to travel to Papua?

We are often asked about the best time to travel to Papua. In the end, the answer is simple: there is no best season to travel to Papua because the climatic conditions are almost the same all year long. The climate is quite stable with no distinct dry or rainy season. However, there are big differences in climate between each region in Papua.

In order to plan your trip to Papua, it is therefore not the seasonality that you need to learn about but rather the climate that you should expect if you plan to go there.

The weather conditions of each region in Papua

  • Jayapura

What is the weather like in Jayapura?

Jayapura is the capital of West Papua. The city is located at sea level and the climate is tropical. There is a lot of rainfall in Jayapura, even during the driest months. The average annual temperature in Jayapura is about 27°C. The months of November to April are a little rainier, the months of December to March a little less.

  • The Baliem Valley

What is the weather like in the Baliem Valley?

The Baliem Valley is located in the highlands of Papua. The capital Wamena is a mountainous enclave at an altitude of about 1,600 meters. The climate is humid but also cool because of its altitude.

Temperatures vary between 20 and 30°C during the day and drop to 10°-15°C at night.

In general, the sun shines during the day and it is warm. In the afternoon, clouds move from the surrounding mountains to the valley, the weather becomes noticeably cooler and it rains frequently in the evening and at night. The months of January to April are significantly rainier, the months of June to September a little less so. In any case, plan your excursions early in the day to walk under the sun. If you are trekking for several days, you should make sure to reach the night camp in the afternoon.

Meet the Dani tribe in the Baliem Valley of Papua, Indonesia
Meeting with Mr. Yali from the Baliem valley

  • The Korowai and Asmat regions

What is the climate like among the Asmat and Korowai tribes?

The Asmat and Korowai people live in the middle of one of the largest rainforests in the world. It is hot and humid all year round. The Asmat and Korowai regions have a tropical climate. The months of January to May are a bit rainier, the months of June to December a bit less. However, it is important to note that the differences over the year are not particularly pronounced. The average annual precipitation is 3,000 to 5,000 mm with about 200 rainy days per year. All year, the temperatures are 26°- 29°C during the day and 17°-20°C at night. However, the feeling is different, it seems to be hotter because of the 81% humidity on average!

Be prepared for tropical heat and for heavy rain showers to occur at any time of the day. However, they are often short-lived and very localized. These conditions apply year-round and should be considered before traveling to these parts of Papua. A trek of several hours in the Korowai forest can be quite exhausting when it is really hot and humid. Don't plan for too long of a day. In the Asmat region, boat rides lasting several hours in the blazing sun or crackling rain can also be very strenuous. This discourages the less physically and psychologically enduring travelers. But for the bravest, it gives an even more intense sense of adventure when you are alone in the middle of the rainforest on your way to the last true tribes of the world.

Korowai trekking in Papua, Indonesia
The Korowai forest can sometimes be flooded

  • Carstensz Pyramid and Mount Trikora

Imagine this strange spectacle of glaciers and snow just below the equator. While there are no glaciers at the top of the Carstensz Pyramid, there are several on the slopes, including the Carstensz Glacier and the Meren Glacier. To reach the base camp by making your way through the Papuan tropical jungle is in itself a great challenge. On top of that, the climate during the expedition varies considerably. During the walking stages to the base camp at the foot of the mountain, the temperature can vary between 12°C and 37°C. At night, the temperature can go down to -8°C! Once at the top of the Carstensz pyramid, the temperature can even drop below -10°C. The weather during the ascent is uncomfortable.

It is often said that the best time to climb the Carstensz Pyramid is from April to November, but outside these months the weather differences are not very significant and expeditions have been successfully carried out.

The weather on the mountain is also generally unpleasant. It rains often and a lot, the temperatures are cool and become even more challenging due to the frequent wind. Warm waterproof clothing and rubber boots are a necessity for this trip, regardless of the time of year.

Due to its remoteness, difficult bureaucracy, frequent tribal unrest and political instability in the region, the Carstensz Pyramid is one of the seven least visited peaks. Nevertheless, even here, a trip during the supposed low season can have its advantages because you have the mountain to yourself.

The conditions for Mount Trikora are very similar, although not as harsh.

A glacier near the Carstensz Pyramid, 7 summits, Papua, Indonesia
A glacier near the Carstensz Pyramid

  • Raja Ampat

What is the weather like in the Raja Ampat paradise?

There is no single weather pattern that can be applied to the 1,500 islands of the Raja Ampat archipelago, as many have very different microclimates from one to another.

Generally, daytime temperatures rarely rise above 31°C and at night it is about 25°C.

As this is a tropical region, there is no day of the year when you can be sure that it will not rain.

Between October and April it rains less often. But when it does rain, the showers can be very heavy, especially in December and January. Between May and September, it rains more frequently but less heavily. In any case, the showers are often of short duration and localized.

Therefore, considering the weather conditions, the whole year is a good time to visit Raja Ampat. However, if you are planning a cruise or small boat trip, it is not advisable to go between June and August because the seas are rough with the strong winds of the southern winter.

Read our blog post for more information on When to go to Raja Ampat?

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