Liveaboards in Raja Ampat, Diving Liveaboards Indonesia
Raja Ampat is considered to have the best coral reef diving on the planet. Unusual wobbegong sharks, majestic giant mantas and tiny pygmy seahorses, Raja Ampat has it all!
Raja Ampat liveaboard diving offers an incredible variety of scuba diving adventures. Raja Ampat Marine Park covers a massive area so a liveaboard is the ideal way to explore this amazing destination.
Raja Ampat is the epicentre of global marine biodiversity and is considered to have the best coral reef diving on the planet. From unusual wobbegong sharks to majestic giant mantas to tiny pygmy seahorses, Raja Ampat has it all! There are plenty of excellent dive sites in this fabulous dive destination, with many more to be discovered.
This area is also famous for its stunning above water scenery. The most famous image of Raja Ampat is of the mushroom-shaped limestone formations covered in dense vegetation rising out of the turquoise seas. Almost all liveaboard trips will include a visit to a viewpoint for extraordinary views and photo opportunities of these iconic natural wonders.
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Liveaboards in Raja Ampat, Diving Liveaboards Indonesia - 66 LIVEABOARDS
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Diving in Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat is off the island of New Guinea and is part of the province of West Papua in Indonesia. The northwest tip is known as the Bird's Head Peninsula. Raja means King and Ampat means Four. The 'Four Kings' are the main islands of Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati and Misool, with another 1,500 small islands creating this wonderful archipelago.
The level of marine biodiversity found in Raja Ampat is unmatched anywhere else in the world. This is because this magnificent diving area is located in the centre of the Coral Triangle. For divers, this means a mind-boggling number of species of just about everything there is to see underwater!
There have been more than 600 species of hard corals identified in the area, which represents about 75 percent of known species worldwide. More than 1,500 species of fish, 700 species of molluscs, 13 species of marine mammal and 5 species of turtle have been found in Raja Ampat so far, with more species continually being discovered.
Best Places to Dive in Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat has a wide variety of dive sites spanning the entire archipelago. We have highlighted some of the best dive sites in the next section.
You can read about the diving in Raja Ampat and learn about the dive sites in more detail on our Raja Ampat Dive Sites page.
Best Dive Sites in Raja Ampat
In Raja Ampat it is easy for liveaboards to cover a vast variety of dive sites. Here are some of the best dive sites in Raja Ampat. You can read more about these places and more in the Raja Ampat Dive Sites section.
Cape Kri is the dive site that put Raja Ampat on the map. Located in the central area of Raja Ampat, in the Dampier Strait. Dr Gerry Allen recorded 374 different species on a single tank dive at this spectacular dive site.
Manta rays come here to a cleaning station. Find a spot in the sand, kneel down, and watch the show! If the mantas don’t come, there’s plenty of macro life in the sand. Look out for wobbegong sharks on the reef.
Above water this rock looks like a nudibranch. Below the surface is a large dive site plastered with colourful soft corals. The health of this reef attracts abundant marine life.
The most-healthy hard coral reef in Raja Ampat. A giant plateau slopes off into sandy areas with large coral heads. Wobbegong sharks lie under these bommies, surrounded by glassfish.
Shadow Reef aka Magic Mountain is in the area of Misool. Here you can see Reef and Giant manta rays, one of a very few places in the world where you can see both species on one dive. Plus, the whole pinnacle is wholly covered in fish life!
A beautiful, rocky dive site covered in small sea fans. Big schools of black snappers, surgeonfish and passing manta rays ensure an exciting dive.
A small pinnacle that promises magic! Large schools of jacks, snappers, fusiliers prowled by grey reef sharks. Wobbegong sharks and giant manta rays love to come here for a clean.
An iconic shallow swim through is one focus of this fantastic dive site. Another is a long ridge that is a hub of activity. Unsuspecting snappers school above camouflaged wobbegong sharks. Manta rays come to the cleaning stations here. A must-do dive site in Misool.
Raja Ampat Scuba Diving Highlights
- Common Sightings – pygmy seahorses, nudibranchs, schooling fish, anemone fish, batfish, snappers, turtles.
- Special Sightings – Giant and Reef manta rays, wobbegong sharks, Rhinopias, whale sharks, frogfish.
- Topography – reefs, pinnacles, rocky overhangs and swim throughs.
- Visibility – the visibility is very changeable throughout the year. Most of the time it can be 15-20 metres. However, sometimes the clearness of the water changes and the visibility drops. One of the reasons Raja Ampat is so healthy is because of the rich nutrients in the water. And nutrients do not always lend themselves to blue, clear water.
- General Information – all levels of divers can join a Raja Ampat cruise.
- Onboard Options – treks to viewpoints, village visits and swimming through an ancient cavern.
Best Time to Go
Most liveaboards visit Raja Ampat between the months of October and April, although it is possible to find a few liveaboards operating in Raja Ampat all year round. During the months of July to mid-September, strong winds can create rough seas. Therefore, liveaboards usually leave Raja Ampat at this time and cruise other parts of Indonesia with more favourable weather.
Raja Ampat has two rainy seasons: November/December and July/August. Sea temperatures remain fairly constant, ranging from a low of 27 C from May to October to a high of 30 C from November to April.
How to Get There
Most of the liveaboards operate out of Sorong, a city in Indonesia’s West Papua province on the island of Papua New Guinea. You will need to fly into Sorong’s Domine Eduard Osok Airport (SOQ).
There are direct flights to Sorong from Jakarta (CGK) and connecting flights from Bali (DPS). Flights from Singapore can connect to Jakarta (CGK) or Manado (MDC) and then on to Sorong from there.