RAJA AMPAT DIVE GUIDE
In this guide to scuba diving in Raja Ampat we’ll cover:
- Why dive in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, what you can expect to see, and when to visit
- The 10 best Raja Ampat liveaboards: at a glance
- The 10 best Raja Ampat liveaboards: in depth
Raja Ampat is hailed by many as one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world — and for good reason. The abundance of corals, unique marine life, pelagics, megafauna, and more make it a dive destination that’s easy to please even the most jaded divers. Raja Ampat means “Four Kings” and is comprised of over 1,500 islands surrounding the main islands (the four kings).
Raja Ampat is located in the Coral Triangle, a part of the ocean that’s widely recognized as one of the most biologically diverse places in the world. This means you’ll see all types of marine wildlife, and lots of it. On a typical day, you could see technicolor nudibranchs, manta rays, sharks, great barracudas, sea turtles, and nearly every other kind of tropical marine creature.
Average water temperature: 27°C – 30°C year round (80°F to 86°F). November to April are the warmest months.
Visibility: Typically ranges from 10-40 meters (33 to 130 feet).
Dive ability: Beginner to advanced divers, though there are deep dives and currents. Raja Ampat is remote — with hospital service being far away.
What you can expect to see in Raja Ampat: Wobbegong sharks, manta rays, dolphins, macro life, hard and soft corals, giant trevally, tuna, reef sharks, pygmy seahorse, sea turtles and more. There are over 1,400 species of reef fish in Raja Ampat and nearly 70% of all known coral species in the world.
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Spanning 46 meters long, the Mutiara Laut is a traditional wooden Phisini sailing vessel that has been sailing through the Indonesian archipelago since 2010.
The standard cabins have double beds and have air conditioning, en-suite bathrooms, and plenty of storage space. If you want to go all-out, opt for the master bedroom at the stern of the boat that has a spacious bathroom, TV, and air conditioning. You can spend your days enjoying the indoor dining room and lounge area or getting a spa treatment on the sundeck.
You’ll never go hungry with their with a la carte options with a mix of Western and Southeast Asian dishes.
This brand new, five-star Phisini sailing vessel offers the ultimate luxury liveaboard experience in Raja Ampat. Tiare is crafted with stunning teak wood salvaged from Javanese structures.
With just six cabins, the rooms are spacious and come with air conditioning, a hair dryer, drinking water, toiletries, and everything you’d need for a day trip (hat, towel, sunscreen, bottle). You can lounge whenever you’d like in the air-conditioned common room and refuel at the coffee, tea, and snack station.
Safety is an utmost priority with Tiare, and each diver will be given a enos beacon.
The Indo Siren is one of the most popular luxury liveaboards in Raja Ampat and is consistently rated as one of the best. Onboard, you’ll love lounging on the deck or checking your pictures at one of the few camera work stations. Inside, there’s a cocktail bar and lounge room where you can watch sea-themed moves on the 42-inch TV.
Each of the 8 cabins has a TV, bathroom with hot water, air conditioning, a safe, storage space, hairdryers, and towels.
Meals are served three times per day buffet style, with alcohol costing extra.
Built in 2009, this 131-feet long wooden boat combines luxury with old-world charm that frequents the best of Raja Ampat. The Damai I liveaboard offers unlimited diving with a 4 to 1 diver ratio, nitrox, rental gear (for extra cost), and has trained massage staff onboard.
There are seven air-conditioned staterooms that range from single, twin, double, or master size – each with an ensuite bathroom. Your rate includes three full meals per day, drinks, snacks, and one glass of wine per day.
The Damai I also has a camera room, three lounge areas on deck, an indoor lounge, and a 3G hotspot.
During surface intervals, the Damai I offers shore excursions that include trekking around volcanoes, searching for komodo dragons, and snorkel sessions.
Blue Manta is a robust steel hulled liveaboard built in 2014 that can accommodate up to 22 guests per journey. At 20-square-meters, the rooms are spacious and come with a window, bathroom with hot water, towels, storage space, and air conditioning. Deluxe rooms come with larger windows and more bed options.
Underwater photographers love diving with Blue Manta thanks to its dedicated rinse tanks, blow dryers, and camera room. There is also a lounge room with TV, massage area, sun deck, and more.
Meals are served five times per day and typically include Western, Indonesian, and Thai choices. Alcohol is available for an extra charge.
The Mermaid I liveaboard is a steel-hulled ship that will offer you a stable journey as you explore Raja Ampat. It is 28-meters long and all cabins come with air conditioning, a bathroom, TV, bathrobes, toiletries, and towels.
Between dives, enjoy movie night on the main saloon, reading from the library, or lounge on one of the two onsite decks.
Your trip includes three buffet-style meals and snacks throughout the day. Alcohol available for extra cost.
RAJA AMPAT AGGRESSOR
Built in 2009 and renovated in 2015, the Raja Ampat Aggressor is sturdy, modern, and a great choice for divers wanting a liveaboard that offers incredible value. The staff on the Raja Ampat Aggressor has creature comforts like a hot tub, a bar, sun decks, and even a small shop.
There are eight rooms to host 16 guests that range from twin staterooms, master staterooms, and deluxe staterooms. All rooms have air conditioning, TVs, an ensuite bathroom, and windows. The master stateroom has one queen bed. The deluxe staterooms have a queen and twin bed.
Your trip includes three meals, juices, snacks, and limited alcoholic beverages.
Built in 2004 and stretching a spacious 33 meters long, the MSY Seahorse is a great Raja Ampat liveaboard for those who want to sail through the seas on a traditional Phinisi Schooner – a traditional boat crafted from wood.
All cabins have air conditioning, private bathrooms with hot water, storage space, and more. Only the deluxe cabins have a TV player and desk. Common areas include a sundeck, lounge area with a TV, shaded sun deck, and more.
You’ll be served a full breakfast, snacks, lunch, and each dinner comes with a glass of wine.
The Ondina is one of the best liveaboards in Raja Ampat for those who love to sail aboard a beautiful wooden schooner. Renovated in 2014, this liveaboard has eight bedrooms that can hold up to 16 guests. Spend time lounging in the hammocks or getting a massage.
Meals include three-course breakfasts and lunches along with a buffet style dinner. Snacks are available throughout the day and beer is extra. You can dine inside in an air-conditioned dining room, or outside on the deck.
The Raja Manta is one of the best liveaboards in Raja Ampat for budget divers. You’ll get the full liveaboard experience with friendly staff who service this incredibly stable liveaboard. There is plenty of space to relax on the deck, a bar, and daily activities suitable for non-divers.
There are a variety of rooms to choose from ranging from simple to more deluxe. All rooms have a port-hole window, power outlets, and air conditioning. The deluxe rooms also have a bathroom with hot showers.
The Raja Manta serves five meals per day – knowing full well how hungry divers tend to get after a few dives. Beverages are included with every meal and alcohol is extra.
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