Destination Fact File
An absolute heaven of underwater biodiversity
Located on the western tip of Papua New Guinea, the Raja Ampat archipelago also known as the “Four Kings” is an area where more than 1800 different species of animals can be found, 1000 of which are species of fish. Raja Ampat is formed of 4 main islands including Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati and Misool and more than 1500 sand and small rock islands with amazing channels, mangroves, caves and tunnels.
Depending on where you stay on the islands and the activities you are looking to undertake, the additional costs in resorts will be between 200,000 and 350,000 Indonesian Rupiah (£12 - £18.00). All international visitors to the islands will have to buy the Raja Ampat Marine Park entry tag costing around 1,000,000 Indonesian Rupiah (£52)- Valid for 12 months. As you get to the outer islands there are no exchange currency facilities or ATM machines so please ensure you get all the money you need when in you arrive in Sorong.
The islands that form Raja Ampat do not have big shopping malls packed with dining options. However, some of the larger islands have a decent selection of restaurants dotted around town with very reasonable prices. You can also take advantage of the delicious meals served at the resort’s restaurants with a range of local and international cuisine.
The visibility around Raja Ampat is not perfect but you can expect 10 to 30 metres depending on where you dive. Some of the dive sites will not have any currents allowing for a very easy and relaxing dive whilst others will have very strong and fierce currents present, bringing in the very important nutrient-rich waters that constantly bath the reefs and create the ideal habitat for small and larger fish.
Top Dive Sites:
Manta Sandy also known as Manta Mantra is one of the signature dive sites in Raja Ampat located at the far end of Mansour Island. As the name implies the sandy bottom is a great place to watch these magnificent underwater creatures. The cleaning station is only 12 metres away and here you can watch the mantas being cleaned with some staying as long as 10 minutes.
Boo Rock and Boo Point are ideal for up close and personal encounters with large Napoleon wrasse and green turtles. If you are a photographer you must try out your photo skills at Boo 'windows' as dive buddies swim through the opening of this submerged rock past a reef draped in soft corals and brimming with fish.
Neptune’s Fans situated in the channel that runs between the Wayilbatan and Wayil islands is a macro photographer’s paradise and the perfect place to get that faultless shot of the very tiny residents pygmy seahorses. This site is also home to sheer walls paved with colourful sea fans and impressive gorgonians.