Choosing a destination to snorkel in Indonesia can be confusing, and with over 17,000 islands knowing which one is best is no easy feat. To make things even more confusing, certain snorkeling locations, such as Raja Ampat, are broken up into sub-regions. If you’ve ever looked into a snorkeling trip through Raja Ampat you’ve probably noticed that it’s broken up into either cardinal locations like “the north, or “the south” or into areas knows as the Dampier Straight and Misool. Just when you thought you had it all narrowed down to a single destination you’re forced to once again make the hard decision of figuring out which location will be the absolute best for your snorkeling trip. So, to help provide a little insight, I’ll go ahead and quickly explain what to expect from Raja Ampat’s north.
When people refer to the north of Raja Ampat they are typically talking about the area around the Dampier Straight. This is arguably one of the most popular areas to visit in Raja for multiple reasons. One being that it’s logistically a lot easier to arrive to when compared to Misool in the south, and two it offers some incredibly diverse snorkeling. Snorkelers will enjoy fantastic drifts, pinnacles, manta cleaning stations, channels, mangroves, and the infamous village jetties. The variety of types of snorkeling sites in the Dampier region is absolutely one of the highlights of this area.
The marine life is equally impressive as each locations offers something unique. The mangroves are a great place to find archerfish and some other fish you wouldn’t otherwise find on a typical reef snorkel, while the shallow pinnacles and channels are a great place to encounter larger marine life life like schools of jacks, barracudas, and manta rays. Like Misool in the south, the north is also one of the few places in the world where you can see both ocean mantas and reef mantas in a single day. One of my personal favorite places to snorkel in Raja Ampat is around any of the jettier or wooden piers in front of the little villages. The hand built wood structures are typically full of fish as they provide a hiding place from larger predators. Not only that but the pilings will usually be covered in brilliant soft coral and sponges.