< Back

Contact us

Our scuba travel experts are available 24/7 to assist you in planning and booking a fantastic scuba diving vacation

Diving in West Papua

Astounding marine biodiversity awaits you at Raja Ampat in West Papua with its position in the heart of the Coral Triangle.

Diving in West Papua

Quick facts

The best way to see Raja Ampat is on a diving liveaboard vessel. Trips usually range from 5 -10 days or more as there are so many great dive sites amongst the islands. Another option for divers is to stay on islands like Waigeo or Misool, which have a few resorts and homestay options. It is warm and sunny throughout the year and water temperature is very comfortable at 81-86°F (27-30°C). Diving season is during October to April with rain and wind picking up over May to September. That said, it is possible to dive at Raja Ampat year round as areas like Cenderawasih Bay are sheltered from rough weather.

Diving in Raja Ampat mostly consist of moderate drift dives through busy reefs and macro dives through interesting seascapes like mangrove swamps. It is suitable for new divers, but do seek the advice of your dive operator as some dive sites can be challenging.

In the north around Waigeo, coral reefs are known to be bustling with activity and you have choices of sloping reefs, pinnacles or macro dives. Sardine Reef and The Passage are excellent dive sites near Waigeo. The central area of Raja Ampat boasts swirling currents rich with nutrients and is a great place to witness manta rays at cleaning stations. Further south towards Misool, Farondi Caves are a highlight as well dive sites near mangrove swamps. Be sure to try out the night dives as well for a different perspective and to see interesting nighttime critters.

When to go

Rain and temperature

Click to expand

Water temperature

Click to expand

What to see

Raja Ampat will spoil divers with its amazing biodiversity. Within your first few dives, you are likely to spot the wobbegong. These strange carpet sharks are often seen curled up in cabbage corals, waiting to ambush unsuspecting prey.

Next, look out for the black manta rays of Raja Ampat. They can be seen at cleaning stations and sometimes have a white patch on their underbellies. Other large creatures to look out for are nurse sharks and whitetip sharks. Make sure to try out night dives as you might catch sight of the epaulette shark which seems to walk across the reef, or the tiny bobtail squid.

For macro lovers, Raja Ampat is heaven. It is one of the best places to see the Pontoh’s pygmy seahorse, as well as a myriad of nudibranch, frogfish, scorpionfish, blennies, gobies, pipefish, crab and shrimp. Whale shark lovers should head to Cenderawasih Bay. Whale shark sightings here are unique to anywhere in the world as these sharks have learnt to tag along with fishermen, sucking on fishnets for small bait fish left behind.


For better readability of the table, pass into the landscape mode.

Most likely sightingsPossible sightings


West Papua is a part of Indonesia and forms the western half of the island of New Guinea. It was annexed by Indonesia in 1969 from the Netherlands and is currently divided into two provinces which are Papua, and West Papua. Previously known as Irian Jaya, the region boasts large expanses of undeveloped nature and is also home to the exotic bird-of-paradise.

The highlight of Papua province is the Baliem Valley. It is a wonderful place for trekking and experiencing the lives of the Dani people. In West Papua province, scuba diving is the main draw for tourists. At the northwest tip of West Papua province lies Raja Ampat, the center of the Coral Triangle which contains the richest marine biodiversity on earth. It is often ranked as the top 10 places to dive in the world.

Raja Ampat is an archipelago of more than 1,500 islands covering an area of 15,000mi2 (40,000km2). The name Raja Ampat means Four Kings and refers to four main islands which are Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo. Cenderawasih Bay, famous for its whale shark sightings, is also considered to be an area within Raja Ampat.

Other attractions

Non-diving activities are quite limited in West Papua province but if you are a keen fan of birdwatching, there are treks through islands like Waigeo to look for native species of bird-of-paradise. In Papua province, experience the natural beauty of the Baliem Valley and visit local tribes.

Getting there

Fly to Sorong via local Indonesian airlines which connect from places like Jakarta, Bali, Makassar or Manado. From Sorong, get on a diving liveaboard vessel or take a boat or ferry to islands like Waigeo or Misool.


Time zone




Calling code

230 V

Electric volt



Plug type


Main airport
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.

Save that favourite

With a PADI Travel account, you can favourite dive operators to come back to later on any device or computer

Log in or sign up