Adventure travel specializing in the indigenous people of Irian Jaya
What to Expect
We feel it is an honor to be so warmly welcomed to participate in the daily lives of the indigenous people of Irian Jaya. Given our honored status, we make every attempt to return the respect that is shown us. Hidden Cultures has developed a simple set of standards that we ask our fellow adventurers to follow.
1. We are observers and guests. We will not influence or change the culture, thinking or natural balance that currently exists. Specifically this means we do not teach our hosts our language, games, songs, etc. We are there only to observe and learn. Additionally we strongly discourage the giving of 'gifts' to any of the local people. The impact of this is very damaging for the environment, culture and for future travelers to the area.
2. No alcohol. Period. Beer can be purchased in the larger towns, but while 'in camp', any alcohol outside of the larger towns is strictly forbidden.
3. We will leave no trace of our presence. The only thing we like to leave behind is smiles on the faces of our hosts and the feeling of lasting friendship.
4. Enhance the local conditions through positive reinforcement of cultural respect. This means that we use only local people as our guides, hosts, etc. Additionally, we do not bring in materials for building accommodations, rather we choose to use indigenous materials and build in the local style.
Our food is awesome!! We prepare three delicious meals a day which are a mixture of Western, Asian and local ingredients. We bring with us a professionally trained cook (sometime with one or two assistants) who takes great pride in seeing all of his platters empty at the end of each meal. If you have special dietary requirements, please let us know in advance, and every effort will be made to accommodate your needs.
Depending on where you choose to travel (the highlands, the low land jungles, or the Asmat region), trail conditions will vary. Generally there are narrow trails which are used by the local people, and we usually follow these. There are occasions when we will reinforce the trail with rattan hand rails or removable guidelines, if necessary. Any deep rivers will have bridges made of logs and rattan with hand rails on both sides. In the lowland jungle the trails are usually wet and muddy, with many tree roots, etc. We will walk slowly (especially the first few days!) until you get your 'Jungle Legs' securely under you!
How long will I be hiking every day?
Daily hike lengths depend on the trip you are taking as well as the general physical condition of the group. In general, on the days that we hike, we like to keep the hike to between 5 and 8 hours. If you have any questions or concerns about a specific trip, please contact us and we will review all the details that you will need to make the best adventure choice for yourself.
Simple indoor lodging in teachers' homes or school-houses will be available some nights. Most nights you should think in terms of camping and in some cases, sleeping in a tent. Lodging in small towns in Irian Jaya will be in modest but comfortable hotels. When we are in Jayapura, we will stay in a Western-style hotel.
How strenuous is the trip?
For some, adventure travel in Irian Jaya will be a physically and mentally demanding. Some days we will hike up to 8 hours. If you are not reasonably fit, resourceful, flexible, open,and a lover of third world travel, this is probably not the trip for you. We will interview participants for these adventures carefully and reserve the right to request a physician's medical release form. Participants must be of a flexible disposition and must be prepared to accept unforeseen schedule changes. If you have any doubts, give us a call or send us an email and we are happy to discuss which of our trip may best suit your individual needs.
What type of person will be on the trip?
Simply said, very adventurous people go on trips like the kind we offer!People with a serious interest in primitive cultures and nature and who want to take an active role in exploring the world. IT IS AN ADVENTURE! We will screen participants for some of our more rigorous adventures carefully and reserve the right to refuse any prospect. Participants must be prepared to accept unforeseen schedule changes and be prepared to absorb any cost increases which may occur. Participants must realize that this is one of the most undeveloped regions of the world and that, despite all of our efforts, things may not always go according to plan.
What is the group size?
To ensure minimal impact on the environment, we like to keep our group size to a 12 person maximum. There are certain areas which can bear larger group sizes, such as in the highlands among the Dani people, but we prefer to keep our groups small. This allows for a more in-depth experience for every traveler and also lessens the environmental impact.
What about the weather?
Daytime temperatures most of the trip will be in the high 80's-low 90's. Humidity will be moderate to high with periods of intense sun. Most evenings in the highlands will be pleasantly cool. You should be prepared for rain. We recommend a poncho as it may double as a rainfly and ground cover.
Should I exercise before going on the trip?
It is extremely important that you are in excellent physical and mental condition for this journey. It will contribute to your general well-being and enjoyment of the trip. Your mental attitude, such as your ability to remain flexible and calm in unexpected situations is critically important both to you and to the other participants in your group.
Do you have a question or topic that we have not addressed here? Please feel free to send us an email.