Raja Ampat (Four Kings) cannot be described by thousands words. It is more than just a beautiful dive spot as it is also home to the largest variety of marine species on this planet. Be ready to get stunned by what Raja Ampat has to offer. Imagine that this place has 600 hard coral species, 1.511 species of reef fish, 27 species of endemic fish, 57 species of Mantis shrimp, 13 species of marine mammals, 5 species of rare turtles. In addition, 75% of world’s hard coral are found in this wonderful paradise. No wonder people say that in one dive, they can see around 400 coral reefs. Therefore, Raja Ampat is also protected by the Indonesian law.
To be able to watch this amazing marine phenomenon, you can fly to Sorong from Jakarta, Bali or Surabaya with a connecting flight to Makassar or Manado. For those who do not live in Asia, transiting in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Hong Kong is probably the best choice as they have more up to date facilities. From Sorong, there are two choices of boats: speed boat carrying 15 passengers (40 minutes-1 hour trip) costs Rp. 2.000.000,- and long boat (about 2-3 hours trip) carrying 10 passengers for the cost of Rp. 1.200.000,-. All the prices are subject to change without prior notice.
Most divers join dive tour and live in a dive resort during their stay in this archipelago. Here are some diving centers in Raja Ampat which you can choose:
Located in a remote but beautiful Pef Island, this dive operator is one of the best diving centers in Raja Ampat. Run by a couple from Germany, this dive center also relies on their qualified and friendly Papuan dive guides. The facilities there are top class and safety is guaranteed there. Each dive boat is already equipped with standard safety equipment, from first aid kits to 2-way radio.
There are various packages from diving to snorkeling. Even you can take your kids join with you as there are also packages for kids (age 11-17), starting from Euro 1.500. This center offers some discounts for those who dive in group. Let us say if your group consists of 8 divers or non divers, you only pay for 7 people and 1 person is free of charge. There is also 5% discount for honeymooners.
Raja Ampat Dive Resort
There are two packages, for divers (the prices start from Euro 655 to Euro 1.750) and non divers (the prices start from Euro 280 to Euro 750). This resort also actively promotes environmental protection and helps visitors participate in preserving this wonderful fish capital.
This resort as well as dive center is recommended by the leading travel site, tripadvisor.com. Just read the testimonials, you will know why this center is one of the best diving centers in Raja Ampat.
Misool Eco Resort
Misool Eco Resort is an eco friendly resort with a dive center and a conservation center. There are several attractive packages including accommodation and you can choose whether you want to stay at water cottage or deluxe villa.
Missol Eco Resort also has several reef conservation projects that build awareness among local society on the importance of environmental protection. In addition, they also show support of early education by building a kindergarten in late 2011.
No matter who you are, divers or non divers, Raja Ampat has lots to make you impressed. This paradise really makes people keep coming back again and again, so be ready to come back again.