If you’re looking for a trip, especially a scuba diving trip in Indonesia, Raja Ampat is probably one of the most suggested destinations. Located in the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula in West Papua, this region is famous for its incredible underwater biodiversity and has been called “the most diverse marine ecosystem on earth.” If you’re planning a dive trip here, read on to learn what to expect!
Where and How to Go?
In Raja Ampat, usually routes are divided into three destinations, North, Central, and South Raja Ampat. North Raja Ampat encompasses northwest Waigeo Island, Kawe Island and the Wayag Islands, which is a limestone karst formation famous for being the icon of Raja Ampat. Central Raja Ampat is the easiest to get to and has some of the most nutrient rich waters in the world. While South Raja Ampat is the most remote of the three and where Misool is located, the only places in the world where biodiversity is thriving and not declining.
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of destinations and decided on a route, it’s time to consider how you’d like to explore on your trip. If your goal is to go diving every day for a week, then this is obviously not the same as someone who wants to travel around Raja Ampat exploring the area by land and sea. The same goes if you’re looking for something more exotic than just diving—if an island hopping adventure is what gets you excited, then a land based trip with fewer guests might be right up your alley.
Additionally, liveaboards offer 3-4 depending on how long they run their itineraries, and they offer different types of dive sites—some are close together while others are farther apart. Expect other groups of liveaboards when visiting famous dive sites.
Raja Ampat is one of the most popular destinations in Indonesia but it could be a bit of a pain to get there due to its remote location. You will have to fly to Domine Eduard Osok Airport, Sorong and if you’re flying in from Jakarta or Bali, you may find more flight options. Direct flights are more convenient but it really depends on which airlines and the schedule you’re choosing. Ideally, plan and book your flights in advance.
Most trip operator will provide a pick up (and drop off) services at the airport and take you on the boat ride into Raja Ampat. Once you’re there, it’s all about the fun! You could just spend your days diving into the sea or simply relax on board.
Get Ready for a Camera Marathon!
The diving in Raja Ampat is out of this world. With more than 1,300 species of fish, 600 types of corals and 250 species of nudibranchs, it is only natural that you will want to spend plenty of time underwater. Liveaboards provides camera station room for your camera gears. Makes it easier to charge the bateries and keep all the gears clean and tidy during the trip.
You’re going to be amazed at the beauty of the underwater world. The reefs are simply stunning with their colorful corals, sponges and anemones. You will also see plenty of: parrotfish, butterflyfish, lionfish, snappers, sharks, mantas, and much more!
A good camera is essential for your trip as it allows you to capture all those beautiful moments. You will be diving with a group of people and it is likely that you will learn something new from each other every day.
Be Prepared to Get Seasick – and Take Care of It!
Seasickness is a common problem for people on liveaboards. It is not uncommon for people to get seasick in the first couple of days, and some even experience it throughout their entire trip. If you have never been sailing before or have a history of getting seasick, it is important to be prepared.
If you think you might get sick when you go out on the boat, take an anti-nausea medication at least 30 minutes before going on your boat trip. These medications help prevent motion sickness. The effects usually last about 6 hours so take them 30 minutes before departure and then again if needed during the trip as directed by your doctor. Do not take these types of medicines if pregnant or nursing unless prescribed by your doctor; only use over-the-counter versions without alcohol since this will cause drowsiness and dizziness.
It Might Not be Cheap, But It Is Worth Every Penny!
Liveaboard trips in Raja Ampat, Indonesia can be a bit on the pricey side, but it’s totally worth it! It is a completely different experience from any other vacation spots—one of the best dive sites in the world.
You’ll want to plan ahead if you want to go on one. The average cost is around $400/night per person (not including flights and national park entrance fee), but prices vary depending on the liveaboards. You can also find cheaper options by choosing different cabin types, smaller liveaboards, or look for some promotions. This is definitely an experience that will be worth every penny and should definitely still be on your #bucketlist.