Raja Ampat: Wild West of Scuba Diving

Raja Ampat is still the Wild West (well, East if you’re in Indonesia) of Scuba Diving.

We’re all aware of Raja Ampat’s beauty topside, the pristine corals, diversity of marinelife, tropical climate, the unrivalled smiles of the local people – everything needed to become a huge magnet for adventurers.

Thankfully, despite its growing fame, Raja Ampat is not yet on the tourist or backpacker trails. However, visiting remote islands and communities means a lack of local homestays and amenities.

If as a diver, you prefer land-based, imagine an eco-friendly environment in a secluded area. Escape from ‘the crowds’; the continual hum of your everyday life will be replaced by birdsong, the breeze in the coconut palms, and waves on the shore. What bliss!

If you love the biodiversity part of Raja Ampat but prefer more ‘home comforts’, you could choose an upmarket dive resort or liveaboard. Please ask my Dive Travel Consultants for recommendations.


Diving in Raja Ampat

Diving-wise, Raja Ampat can be divided into two areas: North and South.

North Raja Ampat centres around Mansuar Island and the Dampier Strait; this is where you’ll find most of the dive resorts. Here you can explore famous dive sites such as Chicken Reef – nowhere is known to be ‘sharkier’ (including Wobbegongs!) or more accessible. If you are coming for Manta, Manta Sandy is best October – April. For muck and macro (although the Tulamben area in NE Bali is hard to beat), we’ve heard 12-20m depth on Saporkren Jetty at Waigeo island is incredible: Bobtail squid, flying flatworms, Boxer crabs, Colemani shrimp, and more!

Misool is located to the south of the main islands. Compared to North Raja Ampat, Misool offers better visibility and gorgeous soft corals. The highlights at Magic Mountain are barracuda and Napoleon wrasse but this is also the place where you’ll encounter giant black Pacific Manta rays. All other dive sites are now within the marine reserve meaning the shark and fish populations grow every year.


Diving Seasons

The north of Raja Ampat is more sheltered therefore it’s diveable year-round. The ‘rainy seasons’ are November – December and July – August. For the Misool area, resorts are closed June-September due to rough seas and high waves

In short, everywhere in Raja Ampat is phenomenal! Let us know how we can help you start your planning!


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