Recent studies have shown that the marine diversity in Indonesia's West Papua Province is considerably greater than all other areas sampled in the Coral Triangle (made up of Indonesia, the Philippines and Papua New Guinea), which simply means it is the best of the best.
Among the best experiences you can have whilst scuba diving in Raja Ampat are encounters with indigenous wobbegongs, the incredible topside beauty of Waigeo, the mushroom islands and lagoons of Misool, and the sheer joy of simply drifting over some of the most pristine and colourful coral scenes on Earth.
Raja Ampat liveaboard cruises include dives at Fabiacet; a site that proves that you can believe the hype, with more fish life than you thought possible. Here are great hammerheads, green turtles, schools of fusiliers and pale-lipped surgeonfish, red-toothed triggerfish and bannerfish, to name but a few.
Farondi Island offers tunnels, caverns and walls festooned with fascinating marine life. There is plenty of action in the blue, but the highlights are to be found in and around the reef, such as ornate ghost pipefish and pygmy seahorses (up to 40 on 1 fan!). Manta Ridge at Mansuar Island is one of many dives sites where manta rays can be seen, but it stands alone in terms of numbers. Up to 30 different mantas can be seen here making it surely one of the best manta dives in the world. [More details on these dive sites: Raja Ampat].
The liveaboard routes used by diving charters in the Raja Ampat National Park cover a huge area of sea in this eastern section of Indonesia. They take in both the northern section and southern dive areas like Misool, Fabiacet, Daram, Farondi, Kaleidoscope and Boo Island. Trips tend to be between 8-14 nights' duration.
However, there are some 6 to 9 night Raja Ampat National Park North safaris available, in and out of Sorong. These tours often focus on sites like Cape Kri, Mansuar, Gam, South Penemu, Sel Pele, Mioskon and Waigeo. The longer of these trips may travel as far as the central region dives sites of the Jef Fam Group and Manta Ridge.
Cruises of such length and the remoteness of the location means that the normal clientele on these tours are experienced scuba divers who have visited in many other countries before treating themselves to this pinnacle of liveaboard destinations.
Raja Ampat is also a frequently included in the routes of transit trips to other Indonesian diving hot spots such as Cenderawasih Bay, Triton Bay, the Banda Sea & Ambon, Halmahera, Lembeh Strait, The Forgotten Islands and Alor. See our dedicated Transit Trips section for more details.
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The West Papua Province has some liveaboard boats operating all year but many Raja Ampat diving operators restrict their charters to October-April as there is less chance of rain and choppy seas then. Outside of these times, the Indonesian liveaboards often move onto Komodo and Banda, or over to the north coast of Papua into Cenderawasih Bay for the whale shark season.
Water temperatures in Raja Ampat are warm all year round, ranging from 30°C in November to April, to 27°C from May to October. October to April is peak manta ray season as they come in great numbers to feed on the plankton blooms.
Liveaboard Ports of Departure for Raja Ampat and How to Get There
Raja Ampat liveaboard cruises normally depart from Sorong in West Papua. You can fly to Sorong direct from Bali, Jakarta, or via Ujung Pandang or Manado. Raja Ampat liveaboards that include Cenderawasih Bay may use the ports of Manokwari in West Papua, Nabire or Biak in Papua Province. From Jakarta you can fly to Manokwari via Ujung Pandang. You can fly direct to Biak from Ujung Pandang and Jayapura. You can fly to Nabire from Jakarta and Surabaya via Ambon. If your Raja Ampat cruise includes Triton Bay it may use the port of Kaimana in the south of West Papua, which you can fly to from Ujung Pandang (via Ambon), or from Sorong.
You can view which ports the various boats use on their trips in the 'Departures & Prices' section of each boat's webpage. We will send you full departure details during the booking process. Whichever ports your boat uses, normally the boat operator provides a transfer to the boat from the local airport or hotels (if you overnight beforehand).
Most people fly into Indonesia to Jakarta (Java), Manado (Sulawesi) or Denpasar (Bali). More information on: how to get to Indonesia.
We recommend you take out insurance to cover diving and travel activities, including trip cancellation. See our insurance programme for a competitive quotation:
Places to Stay
If you plan on staying in Indonesia before or after your Raja Ampat liveaboard diving safari, you can find a large range of accommodation options at hotelscombined.com, our affiliated hotel reservation specialists. Browse their website, use their on-line chat to ask questions, then simply use your credit card to make your booking:
All bookings carry a 'Low Price Guarantee' to ensure you get top-dollar value for money.
It's also possible to dive in Raja Ampat by staying at a resort, if you prefer: Raja Ampat resorts.
Useful References for Liveaboard Cruises in Raja Ampat
... Super speedy service from Beef as always. I have booked several dive packages with Beef and have always been satisfied with him. Your website is very informative and the best thing about your service is the speedy, prompt replies. ...
-- Enoka De Zoysa, Sri Lanka. [More customer reviews]