Raja Ampat, most popular area of West Papua province of Indonesia, is a world-renowned destination for divers and nature enthusiasts. Raja Ampat is best explored with a Raja Ampat liveaboard to reach all the remote areas in the North, and especially the South.
What makes Raja Ampat special is that it’s the world’s richest marine biodiversity, with over 600 species of coral and over 1,700 species of fish. A stunning display from Mother Nature.
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How good is a Raja Ampat Liveaboard?
It’s not the only way to dive in Raja Ampat but it is the best of the best. Raja Ampat is a huge area and uniquely populated with dive sites all across. All of the best and luxurious Indonesia Liveaboard move to Raja Ampat in the right season to accommodate divers from all around the world.
Available for all budgets, divers can choose the more luxurious Raja Ampat liveaboard vessels or can option for the more standard which are still spectacular in service.
For any diver looking at exploring the North and South areas of Raja Ampat, a liveaboard is the only option as the distance is so large, sailing can take up to 16 hours from Sorong to Misool for example on the south itinerary.
Most Popular Dive Sites in Raja Ampat
The size of Raja Ampat area alone already supports the imagination of how many dive sites are available. There are tens if not up to a hundred different dive spots which can be visited but we will not mention the most popular:
Blue Magic is the most popular dive site in Raja Ampat, located in the northwest of Waigeo Island. What makes Blue Magic unique is the generally excellent visibility, and packed coral reef. Manta Rays are often seen here but Blue Magic is also home to the Raja Ampat iconic Wobbegon Shark also known as Carpet Shark.
Currents here can be often strong so Blue Magic is not recommend for beginner divers.
Cape Kri is another popular dive site in Raja Ampat, located in the northwest of Mansuar Island. The site is known for its vibrant coral reefs and schools of fish, including barracudas, trevallies, and snappers. It’s a must do dive site that is visited by all of the Raja Ampat liveaboard vessels on all of the Raja Ampat itineraries.
This is our favorite dive site in Raja Ampat. Sauwandarek Jetty is a dive site located at the local fishermen village which carries the same name. This dive spot is packed with a unique healthy coral reef and home to a variety of tropical marine life.
The signature of this dive site are the massive turtles living here and the giant clams. A unique and intimidating view of the turtles, we promise.
Most Popular Itinerary Durations for Exploring Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat is a large area that requires time to be able to properly explore it. The best and minimum duration for a Raja Ampat liveaboard is 8 days 7 nights. With such a duration divers can explore the popular Central area and either North Wayag or South Misool dive sites.
If choosing to dive in Raja Ampat with a land based dive resort, Central area is the only available.
Some Raja Ampat liveaboard vessels will provide special itineraries of up to 11 days that enable visiting the entire Raja Ampat: Central, North and South. A long trip but a beautiful one nonetheless.
Must Know Information About Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat is a group of islands located in Indonesia’s West Papua province, known for its stunning marine biodiversity, making it one of the world’s best diving destinations. Raja Ampat is also a conservation priority for the Indonesian government, and sustainable tourism practices are encouraged to minimize environmental impact. Visitors can also learn about the local culture and traditions by interacting with the locals. Raja Ampat has a tropical climate with temperatures ranging between 24-32°C throughout the year, and the rainy season is from May to October. The official language of Raja Ampat is Bahasa Indonesia, but many locals also speak Papuan Malay, and English is widely spoken in tourist areas.
Minimum diving experience
Raja Ampat is a special place not suitable for all divers. It is highly recommended divers experience to be minimum Advanced Open Water certified with approximately 40-50 logged dives to be able to enjoy the best of Raja Ampat.
Although most of the dive sites will have proper conditions, Blue Magic dive site for example can sometimes bring surprise currents that require confident divers.
In other dive sites, depth is significantly below 18 meters not allowing Open Water certified divers to enjoy.
Traveling to Raja Ampat
Further more, Raja Ampat is a remote area not easily accessible. The airport and the main harbor are located in the city of Sorong. Directly flights are basically nonexistent so traveling to Sorong is slightly out of hand and often long.
From Jakarta there are direct flights while from Bali there are no direct flights to Sorong. Often some airlines will provide flight options with layover in the main travel hub of Makassar.
To make sure that you will enjoy your Raja Ampat liveaboard, special attention should be given to flight updates. Indonesian airlines are notorious for changing flights on last minute or even cancelling altogether.
Best Time to Visit Raja Ampat for Diving
The best time to visit Raja Ampat liveaboard for diving is from October to April. During this time, the visibility is excellent and the water conditions are supposed to be ideal. Water temperatures will vary between 27-29 Celsius (80-84F).
Some dive resorts or local Raja Ampat liveaboard operators are still available in the months after April but limited and with no guarantee that divers will enjoy the best diving conditions.
Our liveaboard company Neptune Liveaboards visits Raja Ampat every season and we provide travel and visa assistance for all our guests.
Frequently Asked Question about Raja Ampat Liveaboard
What is a liveaboard?
A liveaboard is a type of boat that serves as both transportation and accommodation for divers, allowing them to explore multiple dive sites while staying onboard.
How many days do I need for a liveaboard trip in Raja Ampat?
Most liveaboard trips in Raja Ampat last for 7-10 days, with some shorter or longer options available.
What is included in a liveaboard package?
Liveaboard packages usually include accommodation, meals, diving equipment, and diving activities. Some packages may also include airport transfers or additional activities.
What kind of diving can I expect to do on a liveaboard in Raja Ampat?
Raja Ampat is known for its stunning underwater scenery and diverse marine life, including coral gardens, colorful fish, and even larger marine species such as manta rays and whale sharks.
Do I need to be an experienced diver to go on a liveaboard in Raja Ampat?
While some liveaboards cater to experienced divers, many offer trips suitable for divers of all levels, with options for both beginner and advanced diving.
What type of accommodation is available on liveaboards in Raja Ampat?
Liveaboards in Raja Ampat usually offer shared cabins, which can vary in size and amenities. Some liveaboards also offer private cabins for an additional fee.
How do I get to Raja Ampat for my liveaboard trip?
The nearest airport to Raja Ampat is in Sorong, and most liveaboards will provide airport transfers as part of the package.
What is the best time of year for a liveaboard trip in Raja Ampat?
The best time to visit Raja Ampat for diving is between October and April when the water is calmer and visibility is better.
What should I pack for a liveaboard trip in Raja Ampat?
Besides diving equipment, you should pack comfortable clothes for warm weather, sunscreen, insect repellent, and any personal items you may need.
Is it safe to go on a liveaboard in Raja Ampat?
Most liveaboards in Raja Ampat are operated by experienced and licensed professionals, and safety is a top priority. However, it's essential to follow the diving guidelines and safety protocols to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.