If you ask me about my dream diving destination, I can happily say I have already visited it. In fact, Raja Ampat in Papua, Indonesia consistently comes up as one of the top ten diving destinations from around the world and if you ever get a chance to visit you will quickly understand why. A marine survey conducted by Conservation International – a major conservation NGO – concluded that the region has the highest marine life diversity on Earth. It’s a grand statement, but what does that actually mean. Well, let me make a quick list of just some of the marine creatures you can expect to see if you come here on a diving holiday; sting rays, whale sharks, hammerhead sharks, reef sharks, wobbegongs – a crazy looking type of shark, and the list goes on… In fact, just to put it in perspective, in an area no larger than four olympic sized swimming pools, scientists discovered six times as many coral species as can be found in the entire Caribbean Sea.
“The marine life diversity is the highest on Earth” – Conservation International
So now that I’ve convinced you – I’m sure few of you needed convincing – why it is such a good idea to go on a diving holiday in Raja Ampat, you want to learn how to get there and what diving packages are available. I actually explain how to get toRaja Ampat in Papua in my in depth budget travel guide. However, I don’t cover diving in Raja Ampat. There are essentially three choices, so let me show you what’s on offer.
Raja Ampat offers excellent snorkelling opportunities with many superb and shallowcoral gardens. For example, in front of the Kri Eco resort, and the Sorido Bay Resort, there is an amazing house reef to explore where you can find superb coral, turtles and juvenile blacktip reef sharks!
The number of dive sites is still unknown as most parts of the Raja Ampat Islands are still unexplored. The best known dive spots are the following ones:
- Manta Ridge
- Cape Kri
- Manta Sandy
- Cross Wreck
- Farond Island
- Jef Fam Group
- The passage
- Mike’s Point
- Melissa Point
- Sel Pele Bay
There are dozens of luxury resorts and hotels scattered around the archipelago of Raja Ampat and almost without exception, every resort and hotel has a dive centre. Most of the resorts offer dive packages and the prices vary tremendously. At the top end, resorts like Raja4Divers charge €2,350 per person for a weeks full board accommodation plus unlimited diving. Other resorts, like Raja Ampat Dive Resort, charge €90 per person per night and €90 for a single dive. While you can find some budget hotels and homestays in Raja Ampat, these places normally do not have a dive centre on the premises.