mentawai Guide

Surfers Paradise

Exotic islands and exotic people. Exotic weather and exotic cultures.

Mentawai is so remote you'll feel like an explorer discovering something for the first time.

For surfers, Mentawai is paradise. Decent waves greet its beaches constantly. For tattoo hunters and aficionados, it's a dreamland.

Tattoo started here in 53 BC. Nothing is more satisfying for them than getting those centuries' old patterns, dots and glyphs tattooed onto their skins.

Living in thick rainforest and nurtured deep with tribal values, Mentawaian have strong relation with nature. Both seen and unseen.

To put it shortly, the beauty and mysteriousness of Mentawai are adventures not to be missed.

The Mentawai archipelago consists of 70 islands and is located south of Sumatra. The closest City is Padang on Sumatra. The biggest island is called Siberut Island and it has a village on it. Most of the other islands are unhabituated and can be reached by boat. Have you ever been on a deserted tropical island? It’s amazing and definitely a lifetime experience.

Whether you should go to the Mentawais really depends on your level of surfing. The dry season, which runs from April until October, might be the best time to travel. In the dry season the ocean is the most active, which means big waves, almond shaped barrels and favourable winds. But to ensure your safety and the most fun, you must consider that the waves are twice as fast as same size waves in Trestles or Rincon.

Head to Padang (West-Sumatra), board the ferry  “Sumber Rezeki Baru” to go to Mentawai islands.

  • Ferry : The cost of the double cabin on the Ambu Ambu is $110 USD each way and the four beds cabin cost $195 USD each way.

  • Private speedboat:  $1,500 USD, 3hours , not recommended for children.

  • Charter boat:  the $1,500 USD – $2,500 USD range, 8 – 15+ people per charter.

Malaria is a tropical disease. It's spread by mosquitoes infected with malaria parasites. Unfortunately it can be a real hazard on the Mentawai islands. Therefore you should bring enough mosquitos repellent to prevent yourself from bites. The best one is to take malaria prevention tablets and take immediate medical advice if you develop malaria symptoms.

It’s a surf paradise in Sumatra. Other than enjoying the tropical forest settings, you can surf to all your heart content here.

Mentawaians are famous for their way of life. They hunt, forage and practice shamanism. Tattoo is an unseparated part of their culture, and a Mentawaian tattoo is highly coveted art in the tattoo world.

As there are no Ding repairs on the Mentawai you should at least bring 3-4 boards in order to avoid a holiday without surf. In any case it's good if you can adjust your board to the swell, so you should bring different shapes. It's also a good idea to bring boards that are 6.4 or larger.

Well, there are barrels everywhere at the Mentawai archipelago and you'll definitely have the opportunity to challenge them. They are famous for their almond shape and occur almost every day of the year. But be aware that there is a coral reef beneath them and you shouldn’t push your luck if you don’t think you are ready for barrels.

There is a minor dress code in the area. When around the camp and beach, men are allowed to wear just board shorts. Women can wear bikinis/swim suits when swimming, or relaxing at the camp. But Sarongs must be worn when on the beach or outside the camp.

As the archipelago has been untouched for a long period of time, the reef is very healthy. This implies that you'll find beautiful corals and incredible variety of ocean wild life. You can dive with manta rays, sharks, dolphins, turtles and with Nemo. It's absolutely worth it.

The Mentawai tribe still exists on Siberut Island. There you will find them in the jungle and you have the opportunity to do the Mentawai jungle trek. You'll be rewarded with a beautiful virgin rainforest, animals that you can find nowhere else in the world and you have the chance to meet the indigenous people of the Mentawai tribe.

It's really important that you bring cash with you because there is no ATM or bank on the island. Indonesian rupiah is the only currency accepted. When you arrive in Padang Airport you can find ATM’s and currency exchange offices.


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