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Diving in Raja Ampat

If you want to experience remote and pristine reefs then Raja Ampat is a must. Hundreds of tiny islands and pinnacles breach the surface of the aquamarine waters which are home to everything from pygmy seahorses to manta rays. The undeveloped nature of Raja Ampat is hard to rival.

Diving in Raja Ampat

Quick facts

Raja Ampat, which means “Four Kings”, is located in the West Papua province of eastern Indonesia. The ‘four kings’ are the islands Misool, Batanta, Waigeo and Salawati but the area is actually made up hundreds of islands, some inhabited and many not. Raja Ampat is remote and offers some of Indonesia’s most pristine reefs and breathtaking scenery. The majority of resorts are in the north of the region whereas the south is usually accessed by liveaboard.

When to go

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USD 2,500Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers
USD 1,280Per trip
USD 1,704Per trip
USD 1,024Per trip
Boo Rock / Boo Windows – One of Raja Ampat’s most iconic and most photographed dive sites, boo rock/windows takes its name from the two swim through holes in the rock. This dive site showcases the biodiversity of the Misool area with schooling fish, incredible corals and stunning underwater topography. Expect to see everything from the smallest of critters to passing pelagics. Cross Wreck – One of Raja Ampat’s most accessible wrecks is this Japanese Navy Patrol boat that sank close to the shore in WWII. The name, Cross Wreck, comes from a large cross on the shore nearby. The wreck lays upright and is now completely encrusted in coral and home to a plethora of marine life. Critters that have made this wreck their home include lionfish, moray eels, Napoleon wrasse, bumphead parrotfish, numerous nudibranch species and so much more. This site is a great introduction to wreck diving. Sardine Reef – This offshore reef is simply teeming with fish including huge schools of surgeonfish, jacks, batfish, fusiliers, rainbow runners, and trevally but surprisingly - no sardines! When you’re not looking at the tightly packed schools this is a great site for macro life including nudibranch, mantis shrimps, pygmy seahorses, octopus and cuttlefish but if that’s not enough, look out for the resting wobbegong sharks under the table corals. Cape Kri – With 374 species of fish being counted in one single dive, this dive site is an actual record breaker! The stunning reef top is a kaleidoscope of colours and healthy, vibrant soft and hard corals create a beautiful garden. Black and white tip sharks pass through, reef fish swarm around and turtles lazily cruise by. If you venture deeper you’ll find schools of sweetlips beside bommies which are literally shrouded in glass fish. This site is one of Raja Ampats most famous and never fails to impress even the most seasoned divers. Magic Mountain – Located in the southern Misool region of Raja Ampat, this impressive seamount and extending ridge is swarming with fish, It’s also a good site for spotting manta rays which come to a cleaning station here. On a good day you’ll see numerous manta rays, Napoleon wrasse, schools of snappers, jacks, trevallies, Spanish mackerel, barracuda and reef sharks all joining in on the action. Raja Ampat is a huge area and home to innumerable dive sites, which offer diverse topographies and marine life. Other notable sites in Raja Ampat include Blue Magic, Melissa’s Garden, Mansuar, Mike’s Point, The Passage, Fiabacet and Mioskon Island.

What to see

Raja Ampat dive sites are all about diversity and abundance. Whether you’re looking to dive with pelagics or critters Raja Ampat will deliver. Highlights include: Large schools of fish, manta rays, reef sharks, wobbegong sharks, walking sharks, turtles, Spanish mackerel, tuna, barracuda, pygmy sea horses, nudibranchs galore, ghost pipefish, cuttlefish, crustaceans and stunning pristine coral reefs.

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Getting there

Sorong Airport (SOQ) is the common access point and most liveaboards and dive resorts offer airport pickups and transfers. It is also possible to fly into Waisai but it’s a less popular pick up point so you should be prepared to get yourself to Sorong from there. Some Komodo liveaboards also sail to Raja Ampat from Labuan Bajo.
Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.