Raja Ampat has many names; Four Kings; the crown jewel of the Coral Triangle; the underwater Serengeti; the end of the rainbow (okay, that one was us), but no name can quite do justice to the diving in Indonesia's Raja Ampat. Home to the highest marine biodiversity on earth, descending into the water is like entering an underwater Eden, thick with a flurry of life and vibrant, healthy corals (hence the rainbow). And whilst there are so many unforgettable dive sites that pepper the archipelago, read on for a few of our favourites.
Boo Windows – Boo Area, Misool
Boo islet looks rather lonely. Approach it by boat and you'll wonder what all the fuss is about - but dip below the waters and you'll see why. This iconic dive site owes its name to two swim throughs that pierce the reef like giant windows. Aside from the incredible topography (leaving many a diver to question how on earth the above rock doesn't collapse with such gaping holes), the reef is carpeted with a rainbow display of soft corals that warrant a whole day's diving in themselves.
Depth: 3 - 30m
Shadow Reef – Boo Area, Misool
South of Boo lies Shadow Reef, a submerged pinnacle frequented by a large number of one of the ocean's most graceful creatures (discuss): the manta ray. Position yourself at one of the cleaning stations and watch both oceanic and smaller reef manta rays glide past alongside nursing white tip sharks, napoleon wrasse and schools of pelagics.
Level: Open Water
Four Kings – Wayilbatan Area, Misool
Four Kings comprises four underwater pinnacles, three of which are connected by a ridge. The shallowest pinnacle starts at seven metres descending down a narrow gap (15 metres) to the other three pinnacles. The dive site itself is a playground of colourful soft corals, schooling barracuda, trevally, turtles… the list goes on.
Level: Open Water
Depth: 7 - 30m
Citrus Ridge – Dampier Strait
Picture all the colours of citrus. That's Citrus Ridge. An explosion of yellow, orange, pink, purple and green soft corals drape the sloped reef, itself home to such a huge variety of marine life it's often affectionately referred to as an aquarium; from the thousands of glassfish that dance over the corals to lurking wobbegongs; whirlpools of barracuda, surgeonfish and batfish to expertly hidden macro critters. This is one of the most beautiful dive sites of Raja Ampat.
Depth: 10 - 30m
Cape Kri – Dampier Strait
Located to the East of Kri Island, Cape Kri might just be the most famous dive site in Raja Ampat (if not the world) due to its mind boggling diversity - it has a record number of reef fish species recorded in a single dive (374, incidentally). Ever. Think white-tip reef sharks, grey reef sharks, moray eels, groupers, tuna, turtles, trigger fish, napoleon wrasse, cuttlefish, porcupinefish… you get the gist.
Depth: 5 - 30m
Blue Magic – Dampier Strait
Located in the blue ocean between Mioskon and Cape Kri, this site is quite simply magic (see what we did there?). The underwater pinnacle starts at seven metres, descending to around 30 metres. It's topped with a variety of corals (from sea fans to sponges, soft to hard corals) and as you descend look out for huge schools of barracuda, octopus and black tip, white tip and grey reef sharks. But the best part lies in the cleaning station for oceanic manta rays - grab a good spot and watch them glide inches from your face.
Depth: 8 - 30m
Want to know some of the other incredible dive sites that dot the archipelago? Drop us an email, or better yet, call us on +44 (0) 20 7978 0505 and discover the best of the rest.