Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat dive shack on the beachRaja Ampat is considered by many to be the world’s best diving spot.  It’s no wonder.  This group of islands lies in the most bio-diverse marine region on earth.  This group of islands lies in the Indonesian part of Papua.  The water has crystal-clear visibility, an amazing variety and color of coral (10 times the number of hard coral species found in the Caribbean), and everything from manta rays to sea turtles and sharks.  If you aren’t a diver like me, the snorkeling is incredibly amazing because the visibility is so good.  There are also unique villages that I recommend visiting on your stay.
Raja Ampat manta ray
To get there, you will need to fly to the main island of Sorong.  Papua is an area with malaria, so it is recommended that you start taking malaria medicine before you arrive.  I also strongly suggest a travel health insurance policy.  The area is very remote, and you will want to have a policy in place should the need arrive for you to be airlifted somewhere. There is also a tourism entry fee of $55 to help with the conservation of Raja Ampat.  If  you are Indonesian, the cost is about $27.  Make sure that you get plenty of rupiah (money) in Sorong.  You won’t see an ATM after that.  You won’t want to stay in Sorong, as there is nothing to see there but on one of the farther outlying islands.
Raja Ampat Dive Resort
When I went, I stayed at the Raja Ampat Dive Resort.  The great thing about staying here, is the hotel arranges all of the complicated parts for you.  The price for a package includes your tourism fee, and the cost of the ferry to Wasai (where all of the boats leave from to the smaller islands) and the boat to the hotel.  They meet you at the airport and get you to the hotel with ease.  For my review of Raja Ampat Dive Resort, go here.

You may also like my article about swimming with the manta rays in Raja Ampat!