Raja Ampat on Blue Manta
Dive preparation by the lead dive guide Egoi was very good and clear. Guiding during the dives was mediocre.
Best time to go: October - April
Join Giant Manta Rays at cleaning statons while they are acting in groups right in front of your eyes. You won't miss their magic dance from November through April.
As a part of Raja Ampat, Cenderawasih Bay is famous for encountering whale sharks all year round. Few Liveaboards move to more sheltered dive sites from rough seas in June-August.
Best time to go: October - April
Liveaboard diving trips that combine diving at Raja Ampat with many other destinations in Indonesia. Visit Ambon, Banda Islands, Flores, Forgotten Island, Triton Bay and more...
Generally diving trips in Indonesia vary from 9 to 15 nights aboard. If you are looking for a 1 week-long diving trip to Raja Ampat, here is a special selections of Liveaboards offering up to 7-night cruises.
Aggressor Fleet is one of the leading operators known in the whole world for its high-standard services. Raja Ampat Aggressor Liveaboard is not an exception!
Custom built liveaboard has what it takes to make your diving vacation outstanding.Have a moment of your life aboard Luxurious Seven Seas
Operating in Raja Ampat this traditional Indonesian sailing boat offers great value for money. It is also one of a few liveaboards offering trips to Cenderawasih Bay
Live an ultimate liveaboard diving experience in an intimate and friendly atmosphere. Join Empress II to discover the best of Raja Ampat and Komodo
Raja Ampat is the synonym of diversity in Indonesia, and not only diversity of marine species, but also of local dive sites. All luxury Raja Ampat liveaboard and low budget Raja Ampat liveaboard itineraries can offer underwater world to the taste of any diver. You can find perfection of reef diving, inspiring congregations of fishes, while large pelagics will surround you at every corner of this archipelago. With a good reason this is one of the best destinations for liveaboard diving. Divers of all levels and certifications can find in this heaven a place of interest: from shallow shores and reefs to breathtaking drop offs, luring caves, and even black sand bottoms with seagrass islands.
Most liveaboards offer 12 nights (11 days) itineraries, yet for shorter trips 6 nights (5 days) tours are available. Most 8 nights (7 days) itineraries have Sorong as the start and finish point. Only very few boats here provide itineraries for 15 nights (14 days). Marine life is one more reason why this place is called luxury Raja Ampat liveaboard experience. You can meet huge numbers of schooling fish, including but not limited to barracuda, horse eye jacks, and marauding sharks, as well as creatures of all sizes from whale sharks to nudibranchs!
Raja Ampat is a perfect destination due to the variety of itineraries available at your disposition. Whether you want to go deeper and encounter caves, or it’s your first open water and you need something easier – you will always find your perfect tour here. Traditionally Raja Ampat itineraries are divided into Northern and Southern; we also add the distinction between long and short trips and tour specialties.
North vs South Trips
For the first comers to Indonesia, North would be the perfect choice. Here the dive sites are located closer to each other and are full of marine diversity. You can find dive sites with lots of fishes, macro sites, Manta dives, amazing coral gardens, and even shark dives – this is the perfect toolkit for a beginner. Southern itineraries can interest with their amazing sea fans, soft corals, steep pinnacles and submerged reef mounds mobbed by really huge schools of fish. The Nudi Rock and Boo Windows are most popular dive sites of the South and can offer magnificent coral formations for a more dramatic effect. While the visibility is lower in the South, its plankton attracts an outstanding number of large animals from Napoleon wrass to reef sharks and Manta rays.
Short vs Extended Trips
This is the matter of your options. During extended trips you will be able to travel all over the archipelago to meet flora and fauna of both Southern and Northern itineraries to experience Raja Ampat at its best. Shorter trips would require more determination in terms of your wishes: whether you want to meet Mantas or will be satisfied with barracudas. Raja Ampat liveaboard price for your itinerary will depend on the duration of your trip and the dates.
Raja Ampat is a perfect place to see everything and at the same time. There are 31 whale and dolphin species found in all of Indonesia, and more than a half can be spotted here. Large pelagics that you are likely to see here include schools of Dogtooth tuna, Giant trevallies, lots of sharks, including Whitetip, Blacktip, and Wobbegong sharks.
Manta Ridge and Manta Sandy are two dive sites where Manta rays can be seen in abundance. To meet these fabulous creatures for sure, come between October and April. Even such rare creatures as Dugong has been spotted at these dive sites.
Should you be interested in whales, come to Raja Ampat between June and August. The numerous small dolphins will surround you at most dive sites here, while Sperm, Baleen, Bryde’s and other large whales will be at your disposition around Cenderawasih Bay dive site.
Indonesia in general is a perfect place with all-year-round good weather, yet here are some of its peculiarities.Traditionally, the season at Raja Ampat is between October and April. This is the time with the least amount of precipitation, wind, and choppy waters. This is also the Manta rays season here, so if you love relaxing and comfortable conditions, welcome to Raja Ampat.
The rainy or wet season comes here twice a year: November-December and July-August. These months collect the biggest amounts of rain, so may not be the most pleasant for liveaboard diving. However, if you cannot change your dates, you can move your itinerary to Cenderawasih Bay to spend time with whale sharks.
Water temperature is more or less constant throughout the year here and varies between 28℃ and 30℃ (82-86℉). In terms of visibility Raja Ampat is always unpredictable, and you cannot fit your itinerary into some precise “best dates”. In case you have never been here before, it is advised to choose round trip within Raja Ampat to ensure that even in the South, for instance, you caught bad visibility, then the next day in the North will compensate it to the full.
Liveaboard diving vacation in Raja Ampat: read before you go
First and foremost ensure that you have a valid passport of at least 6 months validity and one blank page for the free visa to Indonesia. Secondly, when booking your trip ensure that you provide your passport information to the diving operator no less than 2 weeks to the departure because the Indonesian National Park Authority requires this information to process diving permit. If you fail to complete this procedure, you may be denied permission to dive.
Depending on your itinerary, you will visit different ports and parks, there are additional fees applicable to them. Depending on the boat those fees may be paid on board in cash or in advance, you will find this information in the trip and price details. If paid on board, make sure that you have these money in cash when planning your Raja Ampat liveaboard budget. Keep in mind that you will also have to pay departure taxes in local currency, Indonesian Rupiah (IDR), so have some money with you. These payments can be made only in local currency: the Bali Airport Domestic Tax (DPS) is 40,000 Rupiahs (around $3); Bali Airport International Tax is 200,000 Rupiahs (around $15).
It is also advised to have a reef hook and inflatable sausage for dive sites with strong currents. Dive computers are mandatory for every guest on board of Raja Ampat liveaboard trips and they must be used only individually.