RAJA AMPAT, DIVE THE MOST BIODIVERSE REEFS ON THE PLANET
Diving in Raja Ampat is an extraordinary experience, no other dive destination in the world will fill your dive logs like Raja Ampat: whales, dolphins, oceanic manta rays and mobulas, infinity of fish of all kind and state of development, corals, invertebrates, mollusks, crustaceans and rare marine creatures. This 1500 island region has captured the attention of scientists, photographers, snorkelers and divers from all over the world. The Raja Ampat archipelago and neighbouring Papua New Guinea are home to some of the most remote and untamed territories left on earth, and boast a biodiversity that is unrivalled by any other coral reef system in the world.
Last update: December 1st, 2020
EVERYTHING ABOUT RAJA AMPAT
1. DIVING IN RAJA AMPAT
Raja Ampat, literally "4 Kings", is made up of 4 main islands: Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati and Misool and more than 1,500 islands of different morphology, which means a surprising diversity of habitats, to dive and explore, scattered in an huge and undeveloped geographic area. The best way -perhaps the only way-, to enjoy the countless diving experiences that Raja Ampat offers is with a dive cruise or liveaboard. For those who prefer the mainland and be in perfect harmony with nature, the Raja Ampat eco resorts are 5 or 4 star hotels with diving.
The best way to enjoy the countless diving experiences that Raja Ampat offers is with a dive cruise or liveaboard, contact now a Liveaboard Specialist
2. RAJA AMPAT DIVE SITES
Each of the dive sites in Raja Ampat offers something different: the karst cliff of Wayag and Uranie, to the deep nutrient-rich bays of Mayalibit, Kabui and Aljui, to the blue water mangrove channels of Kofiau and Gam, to the plankton rich upwelling area of Misool and the Dampier Strait are home to unique assemblages of species that, when taken together, add to produce the most impressive species list ever compiled for a coral reef system of this size and where it is possible to practice all kinds of diving: wall diving, current diving, muck diving and finding all kinds of subjects for your underwater photography collection: photogenic pygmy seahorses, walking sharks, elegant biorostris mantas, impressive shoals of fish from not seeing your dive buddy.
Dive sites in southern Raja Ampat
From Misool, in our opinion -and not only us-, the most beautiful place in the world for diving, comes some good news: the number of marine species is constantly increasing, which goes against the trend of many seas on the planet that are becoming depopulated!
The beauty of the Misool Island Group will carry you away. This entire region is one enormous ancient limestone basin and even has limestone as the seafloor. Those who have traveled to Palau can picture these little tropical islands covered of palms, with steep sided walls where wind and sea have worn the rock away.
Underwater dive sites like Wagmab, Faraondi, Fiabacet, Boo, Wayil, Pele have beautiful coral reefs and are a wonderful combination of fish, hard and soft corals, sponges, nudibranchs and all kinds of invertebrates. Also, the Wobbegong shark and the Epaulette shark - the walking shark - both endemic to Raja Ampat. The greatest biodiversity in the world lives in Misool.
On the island of Batbitim is the Misool Eco Resort and its Conservation Center. Photographers and videographers will enjoy some of the best dives of their careers in the Misool archipelago.
Missol Eco Resort, Misool Island Group
Misool Eco Resort
Dive Sites in Central Raja Ampat
Mansuar Island and Dampier Strait
Enjoy one of the most exciting dives of your diving career. Immersed in a swirl of profusion of marine life, the sensation is to experience the coral reef, as it existed in a timeless Age, prior to human contact. This dive is framed by colorful soft corals, crinoids and sea fans, full of Anthias. Above them, large schools of jackfish, rainbow runner and fusiliers, with the occasional tuna approaching this "fish soup" in a race for subsistence. The effect is electrifying. Mansuar is also the best place in Raja Ampat to see giant mantas.
The focal point of this dive is the wreckage of a World War II airplane. Lying upside down under 80 feet of water, the American fighter jet is home to a significant agglomeration of soft corals and marine life, ideal for underwater photography. The surrounding reef is also quite interesting for diving, for the most part, the lush reef comes close to the surface.
Place where all the fish sighting records have been broken. You can also try your luck. Some of the best photos of famous underwater photographers have been taken in these waters. When diving conditions are right, the area's dive sites are nothing short of excellent. At Sardina Reef, Cabo Kri and Koteka you will find unbeatable wide angle opportunities.
In Pulau Kri are settled Kri Eco Resort and Sorido Bay Resort.
Sorrido Bay Resort, Pulau Kri
Sorido Bay Resort
The stop here in hopes of a topside glimpse of hornbills and the beautiful and exotic bird of paradise in a birding trek through the verdant jungle early at the sunrise. Dives just offshore provided some of the best critter diving of the trip, offering up a Wobbegong sharks, excellent nudibranchs, periclimenes shrimp in carpet anemone, and fun photographing a variety of interesting and personable blennies.
A stop for muck diving in Batanta, in search of strange creatures and frog fish in the black sands of Black Beauty and Happy Ending.
Dive sites in northern Raja Ampat
Home to a commercial pearl farm, dive spots include Yellow Wall, Tunicate Wall, and Magic Log. The “Yellow Wall” is a memorable and energetic drift along a steep vertical descent. Once there the fish population is both diverse and abundant. North of Waigeo, the three atolls of Asia, Ayu and Bud are just waiting to be explored by adventurous divers, great walls literally covered with hard and soft corals, waiting to be discovered for scuba diving.
The Passage is a narrow channel that winds almost a mile, that connect the Kabui Bay with the Halmahera Sea. You will have a exhilarating drift diving. The islands around Waigeo: Pulau Wofoh, Pulau Yanggefo, Pulau Yeben and Pulau Pef offer also great opportunities for diving.
A special mention deserve the island of Pulau Pef where a dive resort was settled with the name of Raja 4 Divers.
Raja 4 Divers, Pulau Pef
Raja 4 Divers Resort
Kawe straddles the equator, our ship rode at anchor in the Southern hemisphere, while you dive is conducted just north of the Equator. Prominent dive site features were a towering seamount covered in reef fish and macro subjects and an inshore site with a sizeable cavern.
Diving in a huge cave with a fantastic set of lights and sharks sleeping on the bottom. In another cave the current brings mantas and barracudas, absolutely do not to be missed.
The black forest of Indonesia: to 30 m depth there is a garden of black coral. A must see. Good chance to see mandarin fish and imitator octopus.
Wayag offers her superstructure for some of the best photos taken, literally, of Raja Ampat. Climbing the difficult slope, you are rewarded with a 360-degree view of the jungle and its surroundings, an outcrop of jungle-covered rocks in waters of every imaginable shade of turquoise and blue, the quintessence of "dream island."
3. RAJA AMPAT DIVING SEASON
Contrary to what many think, Raja Ampat can also be visited in the months from June to September. In these months the wind blows from the south east, making connections in the south of the archipelago (Misool) difficult, while the north, sheltered by the mountains of the Mansuar and Waigeo islands, offers excellent conditions for divers. The water is clearer in these months and the rainfall is scarcer.
October is the top month in Raja Ampat, who can not miss the opportunity to visit it during this period. Excellent conditions from November to May, when the whole archipelago can be visited.
Diving season: All year round, ideal from October to April -more wind and rain in the other months. Rainy season: From December to March. Water temperature: 27-30°C. Visibility: 10-30m. Depths: 5 - >40m. Currents: Moderate. Surface conditions: Calm. Diver level experience: All levels. Dive sites: Known, at the present >200. Length of stay: Recommended 10-14 days on liveaboard cruise or dive resort.
4. HOW TO GET RAJA AMPAT
Raja Ampat is located in the far and wild eastern edge of Indonesia, known as West Papua and once as Irian Jaya -the portion claimed from Papua New Guinea within the island of Papua, the second largest on the planet. Divers generally enter this region through Sorong Airport in the Indonesian province of West Papua -or 'Papua Barat'-, which is accessed with international flights and domestic connections via the airports of Jakarta, Makassar, Manado or Bali.
Airport: Sorong. International flights reach Jakarta, Bali, Makassar or Manado and then a domestic flight Sorong. Weather: 27-35°C. In West Papua the rainy season runs from December to March, always considering that being at the Equator, the weather patron is punctual rain showers in evening or night with sunny days with blue skies. Time zone: West Papua GMT +9.
5. OTHER ACTIVITIES BESIDES DIVING IN RAJA AMPAT
In addition to diving and snorkeling, Raja Ampat offers interesting activities for the surface interval. Wayag and Misool have a fascinating labyrinth of channels with hundreds of small islets and limestone cavities that can be explored by kayak, boat or boat. Here, the water looks more like a great river than a sea. The great caves and tunnels have impressive karst topography structures with huge stalactites of a natural, dramatic and astonishing beauty. On the other hand, the ascent of Monte Pindito will surely give you one of the greatest emotions of all your life.
6. SCUBA DIVING DEALS IN RAJA AMPAT
Follow the link and find special offers with the best liveaboards and resorts in Raja Ampat.
List of things to do for non divers in Raja Ampat
• Adventuring the karst area of Misool and the beautiful inner lagoons: Balbulol & Wayil lagoons. • Trekking up to see the heart shape lagoon of “Love Lagoon”. • Exploring Tomolol Bay cave with the ancestral rock painting. • Also Wagmab cave is worth to visit. • Paying a visit to Misool Eco Resort, previous request to the management. • Visiting Darat, the best beach in Misool, good also to set barbecue if Misool rules allow this. • Snorkeling is nice everywhere in Misool, guides could choose the spots according to customers skill. • Snorkelling with mantas around Dampier, is the perfect place - meanwhile the compulsory clearance-. • On the way back from Waisai to Sorong try to spot whales; always around this area, also Orcas have been seen. And for sure dolphins. • Visiting the waterfalls near Arefi Village, northern Batanta. • Hiking and waking up early (4.00AM) to see the Wilson Bird of Paradise some place in Dampier. • Watching the sunset migration of flying foxes in Mioskon. • Watching another sunset migration, this time of parrots in Kabui Bay. • Raid on the tender boats in “The Passage”. • Touring on the tender boats in the spectacular lagoon system of Gam. • BBQing, snorkeling and day beach in Wofoh. • Hiking up to the viewpoint of Piaynemo, which offers a spectacular aerial view of Raja Ampat. • Island hopping on the hundreds of tiny islands in Raja Ampat • Trekking up “Mount Pindito” for a spectacular shot of Wayag. • Learning about natural pearls on the farm of Aljui Bay.
Pyanemo in Penemu Island, Raja Ampat