Raja Ampat is situated in the far east of Indonesia and can be accessed from Port Sorong in the north -west of Papua. The meaning of Raja Ampat is Four Kings as it is made up of four main islands but in its entirety is home to over 600.
Raja Ampat is a true paradise for divers. Simply stated, Raja Ampat has some of the very best diving in the world. Raja Ampat certainly represents the world’s richest marine diversity, with the highest number of known species of fish, corals, and mollusks. It counts more then 1500 species and 500 different types of coloured hard and soft corals.
The area is well conserved by the setup of many marine protection areas with aims of sustainable tourism to empower the local populous. Scientists have announced that this area of the coral triangle has the most diverse marine life on the planet due to adjoining currents from the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Home to many endemic fish the waters are also bursting with colour from truly breathtakingly healthy coral reefs that you can only witness here, not to mention manta ray congregations.
Birds of Paradise still live here in the wild and have been the topic of attraction for National Geographic for many years. Certain locations such as Wayag are famous for their panoramic views and bays filled with small mushroom islands. Local villages offer cultural tours and some of the friendliest hospitality you will ever come across.
Wayag Island is one of the islands within the Raja Ampat district in the province of West Papua. The island is known for its beautiful atolls and amazing underwater life covering a total area of 155,000 hectares, about 383,013.3 acres. Here, you find pristine beaches with unique Karst islands that look like mushrooms sprouting out from the sea. Along these beaches, tourists can see fairy tale panorama, more captivating than Leonardo DiCaprio’s getaway in “The Beach”. The crystal clear waters around Wayag Island appear like unreal windows to various types of flora and fauna that live underwater.
Wayag Island never ceases to amaze. Divers, especially, have been overwhelmed not only by the rich underwater displays, but also by the panoramic beauty of the island as they climb up to its highest platform and observe coves and atolls around. It is a dream come true, truly a dream fulfilled. The island is 10 km north of the equator. Liveaboards are the best choice for travelers with a love for adventure and romance. Social contacts with other travelers will only be a call away. Dive briefings are enriching, so that just being there with other divers and the exotic looking staff, you will feel as if you are already drawn into the depths of Wayag’s surreal beauty.
The waters of Kri Island offer some of the very best diving in all of Raja Ampat and its spectacular reef holds the world record for the number of fish species recorded in a single dive. As well as great schools of trevallies, tuna and barracuda, this is a one of the few locations where you can spot wobbegongs. A nearby long white sandbank is the perfect place to relax at the end of the day.
One of the closest islands to the Equator in Raja Ampat, Kawe Island offers spectacular white sand beaches and beautiful scenery including a lovely waterfall on the western side of the island. There are fantastic opportunities for diving and snorkeling here too where you will find impressive coral formations teeming with schools of fish. You may even be lucky enough to swim with manta rays.
Diving in Kawe
Kawe’s advantageous geographical position and varied habitats translate into world-class sites that attract marine life like powerful magnets. Some of The 4 Kings richest fish life, especially when the currents run through the off shore coral labyrinths. An outstanding site where reefs are vibrant with multicolour sea fans that are home to several kind of pygmy seahorse, massive bommies where shy blennies hide among encrusting sponges, with thick black coral bushes surrounded by glassfish dashing above, wobbegong sharks, manta rays and schooling barracudas as well as the occasional reef shark checking out the area. Kawe sites are perfect for both wide and macro scenery.
Welcome to the majestic land of magnificent Manta rays. Here is the most reliable site to observe the manta ray‘s behaviour. If you keep your position, they will make loop after loop or swoop by again and again often somersaulting through the water while being cleaned. Besides cleaning, the manta rays also come to feed on current borne plankton, so be prepared for strong currents and reduced visibility.
Other dive sites like Airborek Jetty, Sardine Reef, Cape Kri and Mioskon are some of the very finest wide-angle photo opportunities. Beautiful hard coral bommies are hosts to dazzling soft corals and rainbow-colored crinoids with a foreground of oriental sweet lips, snappers, a swirl of glassfish and anthias, and a background of schooling surgeonfish, batfish, barracuda, jacks and the occasional tuna. When the visibility is right, this can be an underwater photographer's heaven.
One of the best macro sites around the northern part of The 4 Kings, the bay’s sheltered waters provide good habitat for many kinds of critters. The jetties have become overgrown with encrusting marine life over time and attract a nice mix of critters. Aljui bay will fill out your critter list; blue ring octopus, bobtail squid, ghost pipefish, ribbon eel, toadfish or wobbegong shark and especially on night dives this is one of the places that you would not want to miss…the best!
A labyrinth of thousands of small mushroom like islands form tiny dots of lagoons with sparking white sand surrounded by extensive formations that make the Misool area one of the most wonderful places on earth. Not only will the land scenery take your breath away but the underwater scenery is even better and holds some of the richest species in the world! Massive seamounts, rocky outcrops, lime stone arches with windows that are overgrown by fountains of life; clouds of glassfish dancing away from tuna and golden jacks, a ground for mobula rays drifting by with the sweeping of currents. It’s really hard to take it all in, with so much action happening at once.
Beneath Penemu’s surface, submerged ridges extend in all directions, schooling fish whipped into feeding frenzies by the gusting current that count as some of the strongest currents in the Dampier Strait. With the decent water flow, massive schools of fusiliers swarm over the divers, while underneath the reef becomes a diffusion with huge patches of pastel colours, anthias, turtle, and napoleon wrasse. Bumphead parrotfish and giant trevallies join in the frenzy as well as rainbow runners and barracudas that gather in the blue near by. Fam’s delicate hard coral gardens, are full of life in the shallows and make it a wonderful snorkelling spot during your surface interval or you can just explore the picturesque white sandy beaches surrounded by clear turquoise blue water.
Penemu, Wayag or Misool. Sit back and relax while we take you cruising into the labyrinths of a thousand lagoons, to Wagmab's caves for the gorgeous views of stalactites and stalagmites, or the magic surrounds of Misool Island. Either take a walk up the top of a limestone ridge for a spectacular picturesque view of lime stone Islands or do some canoeing along the limestone cliff. It’s just another of those unforgettable moments in life. A Water proof bag is ideal here to transport your camera and other electronic devices.
The best time to visit Raja Ampat is between October and April, with the best conditions towards the end of the year. It’s pretty much bang on the equator with average highs of 31 Celsius and lows of 25. June and July are the wettest months, but in tropical paradise you get used to seeing storm clouds most days.