Raja Ampat – the global epicenter of marine biodiversity. According to the WWF, the area is home to 75% of the worlds coral species, more than 1300 species of reef fish, five species of turtle, 13 marine mammal species including the dugong, 700 species of mollusk and 57 species of mantis shrimp. There are several endemic species to the region, perhaps the most well known being the Raja Ampat Walking shark.
Located in the northwest corner of Indonesia’s West Papua where the Indian and Pacific oceans meet, covering over 1500 islands, this spectacular corner of the Coral Triangle is a must see for any underwater enthusiast. The top side vistas are also simply breathtaking with clear flat water dotted with lush jungle-covered islands, many of them uninhabited, with bright white sandy beaches along the edges.
There are several manta cleaning stations and good chances of seeing groups of mantas dancing together, a divine experience. Also impressive, the tasseled wobbegong shark is regularly spotted despite its excellent camouflage. Seeing a black tip reef shark wondering by is fairly common place, as is encountering schools of pelagic fish like jacks and barracuda.
But just in case snorkelling over stunning lively colourful reefs teaming with bright tropical fish isn’t enough, the resort we stay in, Papua Paradise Eco Resort, has airy over-water bungalows complete with hammocks on the balconies, stunning lush gardens, Bird’s of Paradise displaying in the early mornings while cockatoos squark, spectacular sunset views and kind helpful staff.
Join our small group snorkeling safari in October 2019 where we will be exploring the best reefs of Gangga, Siladen and Bunaken before heading to Raja Ampat for a truly unforgettable snorkel experience.