- Free Nitrox
The Samambaia is a new traditional wooden Phinisi sailing yacht, catering for 14 guests in 6 cabins & 1 master cabin. She cruises to Raja Ampat, Banda Sea, Alor and Komodo
- Free WiFi
The Waow liveaboard is a 3 masted 58m vessel constructed of exotic ironwood. She cruises Komodo, Alor, Ambon, Raja Ampat, Triton Bay and Halmahera. She has 9 cabins with private bathrooms & AC
- Free Nitrox
The Pindito cruises dive sites of Komodo, Banda Sea and Raja Ampat. She is a luxury 38m liveaboard providing 6 double cabins and 2 twin cabins for 16 divers. Serving delicious cuisine by expert chefsPindito
What To Expect on a Raja Ampat Liveaboard
Liveaboards in Raja Ampat are the perfect way to explore this amazing dive area. Allowing divers to visit remote and unspoiled areas of Indonesia. Synonymous with stunning islets, crystal clear water and beautiful white sand beaches Raja Ampat is one of Indonesia's most beautiful regions. The archipelago is made up of more than 1,500 islands scattered across a large section of the coral triangle close to New Guinea, perfect for divers to explore by liveaboard. Its fortunate position between the Indian and Pacific oceans, means that it is looked upon as one of the richest areas of marine life in the world.
Besides the numerous smaller islets there are four main islands that Raja Ampat liveaboards visit: Salawati, Batanta, Waigeo and Misool. These islands give rise to the name of the archipelago, ‘the Four Kings’. Local legend tells a story of how four kings emerged from eggs that were found by a woman, after they hatched they each became a ruler of one of the main islands.
The area was subsequently conquered by the Europeans and was possessed by the Dutch for a time. In modern times the main industry is tourism, the population are Indonesian and most work either in the tourism industry or fishing. The area has recently introduced a marine park fee for liveaboard visitors to help with the efforts to conserve the marine life in Raja Ampat. This fee helps to support patrols and projects to conserve the reefs. Despite the blossoming tourist industry in Raja Ampat, the area manages to retain its untouched feel especially on a liveaboard anchored off mostly uninhabited islands.
Raja Ampat underwater
The biodiversity of Raja Ampat is second to none, scuba diving here is sure to delight all divers. It was declared the most biodiverse place in the world in 2002. The marine park area is home to over a thousand different species of fish and more than five hundred different corals. Much of the diving in Raja Ampat is in reefs amongst the spread of tiny islands, so a dive cruise suits visiting this area perfectly. These reefs are glorious with an array of colours and unique fish of all shapes and sizes. The visibility can be slightly variable but normally around 25-30 meters is the norm.
There are plenty of sharks to be seen in Raja Ampat from white and black tipped reef sharks to whale sharks and even some rarer ones such as wobbegong shark. Wobbegong sharks are fascinating bottom dwelling sharks, flat with a long tail and what looks like a beard on their mouth they really are a photographer’s dream.
Mantas are also frequent visitors to Raja Ampat and they can be seen in sizeable groups passing over the reefs. Turtles can often be seen grazing on the coral reef and in some areas pods of dolphins can also pop by to delight divers.
There are a wide variety of Raja Amat liveaboards to suit all budgets. From 5 day liveaboard tours to luxury liveaboard vessels offering 2 week dive trips, there is something for everyone.
Dive sites of Raja Ampat
The dive sites of Raja Ampat can be varied in the fish and critters living on the different reefs but they are almost all spectacular in their own way.
Misool Island, nicknamed ‘the kaleidoscope’, is special because of the riot of colours across the reefs. Macro lovers will be mesmerised with a huge variety of corals full of all kinds of critters and small reef fish. Pygmy sea horses, ghostpipe fish and a rainbow of nudibranchs make ideal subjects for macro photographers.
Waigeo is similarly blessed with a rich variety of fish life. Lion fish are hanging around between rocks and you might also catch a glimpse of a juvenile emperor angelfish with its hypnotic colour scheme and clownfish peeking out of anemone. Fish life is also the main spectacle at Dampier Strait with shoals of trevallies and tuna which can be so huge they effect the visibility in places. The current is particularly hard in this area and it is normally a drift dive.
Mansuar is the place to be for bigger stuff. Here is where the groups of mantas can be seen gracefully swooping past. Turtles are also frequent visitors feeding around the reef along with a host of fish life and beautiful corals.
Cenderawasih Bay on the other hand is where you can go to try and find whale sharks. There is a special relationship between these gentle giants and the local fishermen who believe in the luck. They traditionally give fish to the whale shark to bring luck as well which means that there can be several in this area at a time. There isn’t really a season for whale sharks here either so there really is a good chance to dive with them all year round.
Top Tips For divers
- Sea conditions are usually good here but the currents are quite strong so this isn’t really a place for brand new divers.
- There is a one-hundred-dollar marine park fee to be paid upon entering the protected area. This fee pays to continue conservation in the region.
- October to April is the most popular season for diving liveaboards here, although you can dive all year round.
- The water is warm, 27-30 degrees but be mindful of fire urchins when choosing your skin coverage.
Getting to Raja Ampat
Although getting to Raja Ampat is not difficult it does require several flights and boat journeys as there are no direct international flights. You can fly to Sorong from Jakarta and some other larger airports. From here the most popular way to reach the dive sites is by diving on a Indonesian liveaboard. There are a few resorts but the vast majority of diving is from dedicated dive cruises.
There are both motor-boat dive cruises, and the more traditional sailing tours on the grand Indonesian Phinisi sail boats on offer. These beautiful boats offer a peaceful and authentic dive safari experience while you are diving in this isolated and stunning place.
It is possible to dive Raja Ampat all year round, however the majority of our liveaboard holidays run between October and June, allowing for the yachts to also offer trips in the Komodo National Park. The water temperature remains constant between 26-29C.
Raja Ampat Diving Reviews
It's ok, but has nothing on Vobster Quay in England. Only joking, this is the best diving we have ever had.Diving Raja Ampat in January on the Mermaid II
Some of the best, if not the best I have ever experienced. Similar to the best in Palau. Best fish subjects of anywhere, and so many of them.Diving Raja Ampat in April on the Blue Manta
Some currents to swim against, the weather was a little overcast so the colours were a little less vibrant underwater but plenty of fish to see. Just missed the octopusesDiving Raja Ampat in April on the Pearl of Papua
Best diving to date for me. 20 years/200+ divesDiving Raja Ampat in March on the White Manta Indonesia
Raja Ampat was the best overall dive experience we've had. To put it simply, there's just more of everything. A liveaboard is the only way to go.Diving Raja Ampat in March on the Mermaid II
Great diving , loads to see and so many species of fish and coral. Good visability and some sharks but not as many as I had hoped. Good time with Mantas thoughDiving Raja Ampat in March on the Aurora
Wonderful. Corals are the most preverdes and beautiful in the world. Warm water.Diving Raja Ampat in March on the Blue Manta
Diving was great! The sites we went to were fantastic, even though it was very end of the season. We had a good combination of muck diving and current surfing.Diving Raja Ampat in March on the Sea Safari VI
the bestDiving Raja Ampat in March on the Damai II
Possibly some of the best in the world!Diving Raja Ampat in March on the Empress II
Tauchen in Raja Ampat war sehr schön. Wasser warm. Die Strömung handelbar. Nicht immer die beste Sicht. Großer Korallen- u Fischreichtum.Diving Raja Ampat in March on the Samambaia
The diving in Raja Ampat is extraordinary. The biodiversity makes every dive unique and the variety of dive sites (walls, reefs, slopes, gardens etc) makes it impossible to get enough.Diving Raja Ampat in March on the La Galigo
Fantastic. You need to be mindful that many sites have currents and you need to be comfortable in this environment.Diving Raja Ampat in February on the Tambora
ExcellentDiving Raja Ampat in February on the Calico Jack
The diving was out of this world! Although the visibility was less than we expected, it didn't hinder the quality of the diving. There is no place on earth like Raja Ampat for large schools of fish, the variety and colors of soft coral, and the weirdness of animals like the Wobegon, crocodile fish, and manta rays! The biodiversity is unsurpassed anyway in the world! I wish we could keep this area "our little secret" so as to preserved it forever!Diving Raja Ampat in February on the Mermaid I
ExcellentDiving Raja Ampat in February on the Waow
Stunning! Everything we hoped for and more.Diving Raja Ampat in January on the Kira Kira
Diving wasn't exactly easy, but manageable. The dive sites were really totally awesome!! Also liked how boat operators contacted one another to schedule their dives to ensure the dive site didn't get crowded.Diving Raja Ampat in January on the Panunee
Incredible. Enough cannot be said about the quality of these dive sites. So beautiful.Diving Raja Ampat in January on the La Galigo
Although the water was not as clear as I had thought, the ocean life was quite diverse and amazing. The soft coral was also great.Diving Raja Ampat in December on the Manta Mae Liveaboard
Very good. Beautiful reefs, coral looks healthy, lots of fishDiving Raja Ampat in March on the La Galigo
5-star!!!! Overwhelming variety and number of fish Beautiful corals Diversified and challenging divesDiving Raja Ampat in April on the Blue Manta
Pristine. Reefs are healthy, unspoilt; not crowded. Seldom meet other dive groups.Diving Raja Ampat in December on the Kira Kira Liveaboard
Superb across the board.Diving Raja Ampat in December on the Ambai Liveaboard
Excellent dive sites. For me the most interesting was a dive where I was able to see a lot of mantas. Water was so warm that I was able to swim without a wet suite.Diving Raja Ampat in December on the Mermaid I
Excellent dive sites, full of fish, different species. Amazing for wide angle and macro photography.Diving Raja Ampat in December on the Calico Jack
Amazing, lots of clean ocean, undamaged coral, amazing sea life and lots of fishes and varietyDiving Raja Ampat in November on the Ambai Liveaboard
best place ever ,ive dived the Red sea,Great barrier reef, Mozambique,Belize and Galapagos etc etc THIS place is AMAZINGDiving Raja Ampat in November on the Pearl of Papua
Unmatched anywhere I've dove before. Just unreal.Diving Raja Ampat in October on the Damai I
Really great, loads of huge schools of fish, pretty coral, lots of big and small critters. Loads of wobbegongs which I have never seen before as well as walking sharks. Schools of bump heads, massive guys and lots of nudi's and crabs etc. My advice. Rather go in November onwards as the visibility is better and the mantas start coming through then. We saw two mantas, so they were starting to, but apparently Feb is the best month.Diving Raja Ampat in October on the Raja Ampat Aggressor