We love to plan. In fact, we have a rather large, rather worn map hung with pride in our office. We like to cover it in post-it notes scribbled with recommendations, draw frantic highlighter lines across its vast oceans and riddle its landmarks with pins as we argue over the best places to dive in the world. However, there's one corner of our map that's particularly well-worn, hidden amongst a flurry of colours and excited sticky notes, a unanimous favourite amongst the Original Diving team: Raja Ampat, the Amazon of the underwater world. Why are we telling you all this? Because trips to Raja Ampat for 2018 and 2019 are selling like hotcakes. So if this astonishing corner of the globe is on your Bucket List, it's time to pick up the phone and start planning.
Destination: Raja Ampat
Located in a remote corner of Indonesia, Raja Ampat is an adventure in itself to get to. But trust us, it's worth the pilgrimage. Picture steep jungle-clad islands, deserted bleached white beaches, hidden cays and luminous turquoise waters that would put Alex Garland (of 'The Beach') to shame. But it's what's below the water that's got us gawking. Located in the epicentre of The Coral Triangle, Raja Ampat contains the highest marine biodiversity on earth, and is definitely one the fishiest places we've ever encountered.
Don't come here expecting to tick off the big stuff, instead, expect an absurd amount of colour. Raja Ampat is famed for its sheer abundance of corals and fish. Each dive will see you descend into a kaleidoscope of colour as hard and soft corals compete for space on reefs pulsating with technicoloured critters. Specifically, there are over 1,427 species of reef fish, 600 coral species (over 75% of the world's coral species can be found here), six of the seven species of sea turtle, two species of manta ray, 20 species of cetaceans and, if you're lucky, the endangered dugong.
Raja Ampat is huge. Covering an impressive 50,000 square kilometres, the best way to explore its seas is by liveaboard. Set sail on the Arenui Liveaboard, a traditionally designed Indonesian Phinisi, and access some of the most remote and spectacular dive sites in the Coral Triangle, if not the world.
If you're more land inclined, you can't beat Papua Explorers Resort, located in the nutrient rich waters of the Dampier Strait Dive. Dive straight from your Water Cottage and drift along the house reef, or set out on the resort's boat to one of the ten world-class dive sites within 30 minutes of the resort. Call us for more information.
When To Go
Although Raja Ampat is a year-round destination, the best time to go runs from October through to April. During the rest of the year, winds can be strong so most liveaboards set sail to Komodo (which we can also arrange). However, you are still able to stay in resorts in the north and dive these magnificent reefs without seeing another soul. Drop us a call for more details.
Interested in booking for 2018/19? Call us on +44 (0) 20 7591 4424 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and get ready to stick a pin in your map.