Top of page logo

Home  •  About  •  Liveaboards  •  Scuba Skills  •  Gear  •  Locations

Raja Ampat Liveaboards

INTRO

Of all Scuba Diving Experiences to be had in the Vast Archipelago of Indonesia, one is always hushed on the lips of scuba fanatics and plain old adventure fanatics alike: a Raja Ampat Liveaboard.

Offering what is arguably the World’s Most Pristine scuba Diving Ecosystems and a formidable number of the Worlds Best Dive Sites, Raja Ampat Diving is becoming something of a holy grail for Scuba Divers.

At the moment, due to the difficulty in getting there and higher than average liveaboard primings, it remains off the grid. For now.

Diving Squad almost lost our Fish about getting the chance to review such an Insane Scuba Diving Location! But we kept Squid Together!

In this second installment to our Indonesia coverage, where we’ll dive into the wonders of the Raja Ampat region.

Swim over the very best Raja Ampat Liveaboards in the area – from advanced to novice divers on a large or small budget looking for a long or short trip – and conclude with the essential diving information for the region.

If you’re crunched for time, we firstly recommend you find our suggestion for shorter liveaboard trips.

Next, swivel your eyes down to the table below that contains all the prudent raja ampat liveaboard information in one place!

If you have the time, then by all means, continue on and discover all your possible means to explore the magic of Raja Ampat!

raja ampat liveaboard diving

Raja Ampat Scuba Facts

Just What and Where is Raja Ampat?And What is it that Makes Raja Ampat a Scuba Divers Paradise!? Hover over this box to find out...
Raja Ampat, or "The Four Kings", is an Archipelago to the North West of Western Papua, comprising over 1,500 Small Islands, Cays and Shoals surrounding the Four Main Islands. Marine Surveys indicate that Raja Ampat has the Highest Marine Biodiversity of Anywhere in The World. 75% of All Existing Hard Coral Species are Found Here! It is also home to 5 endangered Marine Turtle Species, 13 Marine Mammal Species including the Dugong, Numerous Shark Species from Common Black Tips to Rare Wobbegong Shark, Over 1000 Reef Fish Species, 700 Mollusk Species including 6 Giant Clam Species, Countless Crustaceans as well as being Frequented by Whale Sharks, Manta Rays and More!

QUICK LOOK - The Best Raja Ampat Liveaboards

Best ForLiveaboard Daily Cost (Euros)Max Guest Capacity Main Itinerary Length (Nights)No. Of Logged Dives RequiredMonths of OperationDestinations Check Best Price  
OverallBlue Manta€€227 Days, 6 Nights
8 Days, 7 Nights
0Dec – AprRaja Ampat,
Cape Kri,
Misool
GET BEST PRICE
BudgetMermaid II189 Days, 8 Nights
8 Days, 7 Nights
0Dec – AprRaja Ampat,
Misool,
Dampier Strait,
Arobek Island
GET BEST PRICE
LuxuryTiare Cruise€€€128 Days, 7 Nights10Nov – AprRaja Ampat,
Cape Kri,
Misool,
Manta Ridge
GET BEST PRICE
BeginnersRaja Ampat Aggressor€€1612 Days, 11 Nights
8 Days, 7 Nights
0Sep – AprRaja Ampat,
Dampier Strait,
Misool,
Arobek
GET BEST PRICE
Advanced DiversI-LIke€€1410 Days, 9 Nights
8 Days, 7 Nights
80Oct – MayRaja Ampat
Batanta,
Dampier Strait,
Misool
GET BEST PRICE
Backpackers & Short TripsEpica126 Days, 5 Nights
7 Days, 6 Nights
30Year RoundRaja Ampat,
Penemu Islands,
Arobek Island
GET BEST PRICE
Long TripsTambora€€1613 Days, 12 Nights
12 Days, 11 Nights
10Dec – AprRaja Ampat,
Dampier Strait,
Misool Island
Batanta
GET BEST PRICE
Groups W. Non-DiversCalico Jack€€98 Days, 7 Nights
6 Days, 5 Nights
5 Days, 4 Nights
4 Days, 3 Nights
0Mar – OctRaja Ampat,
Misool,
Cape Kri,
Dampier Strait
GET BEST PRICE

Raja Ampat Liveaboard Reviews - IMPORTANT

Many of Diving Squad’s Top Raja Ampat Liveaboards featured in this article, also run Itineraries around Komodo, Bali and Sulawesi, outside of the Peak Diving Season in Raja Ampat. Refer to the QUICK LOOK TABLE above to see the months that these liveaboards operate specifically within Raja Ampat.

And remember! If you are considering about taking a Liveaboard around one of these other Prime Indonesia Liveabaord Destinations, by reading this Article on Raja Ampat Liveaboards, you might just be unknowingly also researching your future Liveabaord in Bali, Komodo or Sulawesi!

For more information on Diving Squad’s Top Picks for each of these Indonesia Liveaboard Destinations refer to our other Articles. 

BANNER 85 X 97 Logo 01

Diving Squad Presents:

Best Raja Ampat Liveaboard Overall

Blue Manta

  • An unforgettable trip that features top quality cabins, amenities, and diving!

  • See the beautiful corals and marine life that populate the Dampier Strait and Misool Island!

  • Daily price: €340.00

  • Average trip length: 7 to 8 days

  • Operates Year-round: Raja Ampat Nov.-April

When you’re looking for a Raja Ampat liveaboard that shines in every department – from cabins, and amenities to diving and everything in between – the Blue Manta is for you!

The delicious and plentiful food served to fuel seemingly endless diving adventures, along with the incredibly comfortable accommodations, makes the Blue Manta stand out like a gem. It is, therefore, our top recommendation for the best overall Indonesia Liveaboard.

Each of the 14 cabins is a full 20 sq meters to give you as much space as possible and features either one double bed or two twin beds.

You’ll also have your own en-suite bathroom and individually controlled air-conditioning to make the perfect base for your diving trip.

The spacious and comfortable trends of the cabins continue to the huge sundeck, where you’ll have plenty of room to sprawl out and enjoy the views, or stroll over to the outdoor lounge and kick back on one of the couches.

The indoor air-conditioned lounge in equally spacious and is right next to the dining room, where the three onboard chefs will continually serve some of the best food to be found amongst Indonesia liveaboards, starting with fresh bread in the mornings!

Diving from the Blue Manta liveaboard is just as stellar as the ship itself; all the phenomenal coral and sea life that makes Raja Ampat famous is revealed at Cape Kri and Misool Island.

You’ll have the opportunity to see grey reef sharks lurking amongst the vibrant orange and red corals, along with fleets of fusiliers, bump head parrotfish, and trevallies manning manta cleaning stations.

Of course, you’ll also get to see the majestic mantas themselves as they glide effortlessly through the turbulent waters that make up the Dampier Strait.

The Blue Manta also makes it a breeze to document these wonderful sights; they provide individual camera stations to review and edit your captures along with dedicated camera rinse tanks.

The Blue Manta liveaboard is our favorite overall Raja Ampat liveaboard to make sure every aspect of your diving adventure is top-notch! From fine cuisine and comfortable rooms to wonderfully furnished lounge areas – all the way to spectacular diving sights; the Blue Manta will certainly give you a trip to remember!

BANNER 85 X 97 Logo 01

Diving Squad Presents:

Best Budget Raja Ampat Liveaboard

Mermaid II

  • Phenomenal lower cost diving trips  

  • Visits the beautiful corals and marine life of Misool, Dampier Strait, and Cape Kri

  • Daily price: Starting at €230

  • Average trip length: 8 to 9-days

  • Operates Year-Round: Raja Ampat Nov.-Mar.

Raja Ampat Diving doesn’t require you to break the bank! The Mermaid II is an ideal budget Raja Ampat liveaboard, where you can enjoy some of the best diving the country has to offer, not go broke in the process, and still reap the benefits of a comfortable onboard experience.

This adventure begins with your choice of a budget cabin – two twin bunks with a shared bathroom or a double bed cabin with en-suite bathroom.

Regardless of your choice, you’ll be treated to cozy furnishings, plenty of space, and privately controlled air-conditioning to keep the cabin just right for you.

When the time comes to head to the upper decks, you’ll find the air-conditioned saloon to be an ideal place to relax and swap stories with your fellow divers.

The outdoor sundeck also provides ample opportunity to recharge your batteries if you prefer to run on solar power. What’s more, the Mermaid II liveaboard crew will be continually pumping out delicious food.

You’ll enjoy three meals a day that feature a healthy balance between western and local culinary choices.

The lower cost of each trip in no way detracts from the splendor of scuba diving Indonesia, as the Mermaid II liveaboard takes you on adventure after adventure across Raja Ampat, through the Dampier Strait, and to the coral encrusted piers of Arobek.

You’ll marvel at the striking reds, oranges, and pinks of some of the healthiest coral formations in the region – thanks to the nutrients carried by the swift-moving Dampier Strait – which in turn host a plethora of fascinating marine life to examine.

This life will include pygmy seahorses, barracuda, sweetlips, parrotfish, and of course, the graceful manta! To further add to your list of big animal sightings, keep an eye out for some of the many grey or black tip reef sharks that live in the area.

 

Without a minimum dive requirement, the Mermaid II liveaboard is easily an ideal choice for budget conscious and new divers if you’re still testing the waters – so to speak – before investing heavily in your diving future.

The cabins are comfortably furnished, with plenty of space for your gear. The ship offers plenty of room for relaxation and socializing with other guests if you wish, while the diving itself is simply spectacular and worth every cent of this budget Indonesia liveaboard.

Just remember to keep a sharp eye out for significant discounts that are often offered by this insanely well valued Raja Ampat liveaboard to make the most out of your budget trip!

BANNER 85 X 97 Logo 01

Diving Squad Presents:

Best Luxury Raja Ampat Liveaboard

Tiare Cruise

  • Enjoy Raja Ampat in absolute comfort aboard the beautifully fashioned Tiare Cruise

  • Visits the beautiful corals of Misool and Cape Kri, and their abundant marine life

  • Daily price: €440

  • Average trip length: 8 Days and 7 Nights

  • Operates Year-round: Raja Ampat Nov.-Mar.

Raja Ampat liveaboard dive boats absolutely do not need to be synonymous with cramped bunk beds and meager eating, as the Tiare Cruise liveaboard proves with a flourish! You’ll find the spacious cabins, delightful onboard amenities, and – of course – unforgettable diving, all come together to create one of the best luxury Indonesia liveaboard experiences!

You will feel the comfortable embrace of Tiare Cruise’s luxury as soon as you step into one of the six onboard cabins. The incredibly spacious and tastefully furnished rooms feature their own private en-suite bathroom, along with individually controlled air-conditioning.

Add to this the complimentary shore excursion set of sunscreen, towel, and a hat, and your cabin will feel like a five-star resort floating on the Indonesian ocean!

The overall aura of calm and luxury continues topside. Head to the air-conditioned lounge that is always available for you to sit back and plan your next diving trip, and enjoy a fresh juice, tea, or coffee.

You can also take your planning outside to the covered lounge area to enjoy the stunning views, or up to the open sundeck to relax in the sun.

Your meals will also be served either indoors or outdoors – weather depending – and will feature a plethora of freshly prepared local and international dishes, to add the finishing touches to what is undoubtedly one of the top luxury Indonesia liveaboard experiences available.

The incredible experiences provided by Tiare Cruise continue beneath the waves as you explore everything Raja Ampat has to offer.

You’ll have your fair share of wildlife sightings, with wobbegong sharks at Cape Kri, beautiful mantas at Manta Ridge, and all the beautiful and diverse life that accompanies healthy coral reefs.

This will include cuttlefish, vibrant nudibranchs, parrot fish, trevallies, snappers and so much more! If you prefer to examine the brilliant corals themselves, you won’t be disappointed; every dive site sports phenomenal coral life that is simply bursting with color.

From the steep walls of Cape Kri to the nutrient-rich waters of Misool, you’ll have your fill of gorgonian fans, sponges, and enough color for any painter!

We wholeheartedly recommend the Tiare Cruise to our diving squad members who are looking to blend scuba diving Indonesia with a little taste of luxury. The cabins are plush and spacious, while the lounge areas are comfortable and feel like a landbound resort. The diving caps the experience off with jaw-dropping views and wildlife encounters!

BANNER 85 X 97 Logo 01

Diving Squad Presents:

Best Raja Ampat Liveaboard for Beginners

Raja Ampat Aggressor

  • New divers can enjoy the supreme beauty of Indonesia with this beginner-friendly liveaboard

  • Visits the fascinating pier or Arobek and the coral and marine life of the Dampier Strait

  • Daily Price: €380

  • Average Trip Length: 8 or 12 days

  • Operates year-round: Raja Ampat Sep.-April

An unforgettable diving trip in the tranquil waters of Indonesia doesn’t necessarily require you to be an experienced diver beforehand!

The Raja Ampat Aggressor liveaboard can offer you the opportunity to plunge into the subsea world of scuba diving for the first time – or merely polish off your skills if needed – and allow you to scuba dive Indonesia to its full potential!

In fact, the Aggressor organization runs any number of dive courses from their liveaboard fleet and series of land-based dive shops.

All of which can be your avenue to your first few breaths underwater. You can even complete the PADI referral program by completing all the standard coursework and confined pool sessions in your own time before your trip, and then dive straight into the water when your adventure begins!

If, however, you already have your open water certification and are simply hoping to gain more experience and log a few more dives, the Raja Ampat Aggressor liveaboard if perfect for you too; there is no minimum number of dives required in order to join a trip!

It’s nearly impossible to pick a better location to hone your new diving skills, as Raja Ampat is packed with jaw-dropping marine life and coral formations. Beneath the famous Arborek pier, you’ll observe swarms of jacks swirling around the coral-encrusted posts.

While at the island of Misool, you’ll see vast swathes of healthy corals that include all the usual attendants of parrot fish, sweetlips, trevallies, and nudibranchs. If spotting larger marine life is your goal, never fear!

The nearby grey reef sharks, black tip sharks, and mantas are sure to make your diving excursions a success, and you may even spot a few sea turtles!

During your free time, you’ll find the eight different cabins onboard all offer excellent space and amenities, with large comfortable beds, en-suite bathrooms, and individually controlled air conditioning that all work together to make the perfect refuge when you need it!

You can opt to spend some time topside in the sun as you soak in the view from the large sundeck, or relax in the air-conditioned saloon with a drink and snack.

The galley will also be producing a delicious array of local and western-style foods to make your trip as enjoyable as possible – and make sure you have plenty of energy for diving!

For those of you looking to dust off old diving skills, or even begin from scratch, you’ll find the Raja Ampat Aggressor liveaboard to be the perfect option with its selection of scuba courses and beginner-friendly diving adventures.

The comfortable and pleasant onboard living will additionally compliment your trip and give you an Indonesia diving experience to remember!

BANNER 85 X 97 Logo 01

Diving Squad Presents:

Best Raja Ampat Liveaboard for Advanced Divers

I-Like

  • Enjoy muck, night, and remote reef dives with the advanced IIike liveaboard- 80 previous dives required

  • Visits the black sands of Batanta and the swift currents of the Dampier Strait

  • Daily price: €280

  • Average trip length: 8 or 10 Days

  • Operates year-round: Raja Ampat Oct.-April

If you’ve been around the diving block a few times and would like your Indonesia diving holidays to fit your skill level, then consider the IIike liveaboard!

This ship places a minimum requirement of 80 dives for each trip, and promises divers an experience featuring phenomenal muck, night, and reef dives – so you can be sure of an exciting and technical trip!

The diving will take you from extraordinary muck diving opportunities in the black sands of Batanta Island to the brilliant corals of the Dampier Strait, and everything in-between! You’ll see flotillas of trevallies, bump head parrot fish, and jacks clustering near the pristine corals.

Upon closer inspection, you’ll also spot pygmy seahorses and colorful nudibranchs. In the swift waters of the Dampier Strait, you’ll have your fair share of larger animal sightings, as black tip and grey reef sharks can generally be found here, along with plenty of mantas and sea turtles!

The crystal-clear waters of Misool in the Blue Water Mangroves may also offer you the opportunity for an unforgettable mangrove diving excursion!

Below decks, you’ll find your choice of twin bunks, a standard single, or a suite double bed for your sleeping and chilling needs; each of which is equipped with an en-suite bathroom, air conditioning, and plenty of space to sprawl out and regain your energy after diving!

If you’d prefer to recover from diving in the sun, there’s plenty of space up on the llike’s sundeck; you take your pick between the loungers or some strategically placed hammocks.

The indoor saloon can also offer you a spot of liquid relaxation as you regale your diving buddies with stories of past exploits and wait to top off your energy reserves with a delicious meal prepared by the onboard chef. These meals will feature a healthy balance of western and Indonesian style foods to give you a taste of local cuisine.

So, for our diving squad members out there who have had their fair share of subsurface adventures, the llike liveaboard is our top recommendation!

You’ll find the dives to be challenging and exciting to match your experience and skills. The onboard experience is equally stunning, with comfortable cabins, excellent relaxation facilities, and delicious food to round off your Indonesia diving holidays!

BANNER 85 X 97 Logo 01

Diving Squad Presents:

Best Raja Ampat Liveaboard for Backpacker Vibe & Short Trips

Epica

  • Explore the wonders of Raja Ampat in less time with Epica’s shorter itineraries

  • Visits the massive fish concentrations of Penemu Island and the famous Arobek Pier

  • Daily price: €180

  • Average trip length: 6 to 7 Days

  • Operates Mar.-Aug.

All good things must come to an end sooner or later. If your schedule demands this take place sooner rather than later, the Epica liveaboard is our top recommendation amongst all the Indonesia liveaboard dive boats for a short and sweet visit to Raja Ampat area.

The quick 5-night excursions offered here will give you a whirlwind of diving, and quickly show you what makes Raja Ampat famous around the world.  You’ll enjoy you an informal and social onboard experience to keep the days full of fun and laughter.

Your few days in the water will take you to see the coral encrusted posts of the Arobek Pier, where jack fish school in magnificent numbers. Further below the pier, you’ll come across giant clams and a small but healthy coral system.

Your fish sightings will then increase exponentially at Penemu Island, where batfish, trevallies, fusiliers, and parrot fish congregate in astonishing numbers around a massive pinnacle that showcases beautiful and vibrant corals for all to see.  

The quick and uncomplicated theme of this diving trip extends to your accommodation, where you’ll find a basic twin-bunk setup. The central air-conditioning will help keep you comfortable, and each bunk has its own power supply to keep your electronics charged.

If you need space to sprawl out and relax, head to the ship’s upper deck to enjoy the sun and take a load off in one of the many bean-bags or hammocks.

The informal vibes of the Epica liveaboard continue to meal time, where large portions of freshly prepared meals are dished up family style to make sure everyone avoids any hunger pangs while diving!

With short but no less stunning diving trips around Raja Ampat and a relaxed and fun-filled shipboard atmosphere to boot, we highly recommend the Epica liveaboard for our diving squad members out there looking for a quick glimpse into the magical subsea world around Indonesia.

You’ll see the top sites that make this region famous, and enjoy the comfortable and social shipboard environment that makes the Epica a truly unique find!

BANNER 85 X 97 Logo 01

Diving Squad Presents:

Best Raja Ampat Liveaboard for Longer Trips

Tambora

  • An ideal liveaboard experience for those wanting to stay out on the water longer

  • See the vibrant corals and critters of the Dampier Strait and Misool, and muck dive Batanta

  • Daily price: €315

  • Average trip length: 12 to 13 days

  • Operates year-round: Raja Ampat Sep.-April

If you count yourself lucky enough to have few time constraints for scuba diving Indonesia, why not sign on for longer Indonesia diving holidays aboard the Tambora liveaboard?

The extended itineraries offered give you plenty of time to enjoy the splendor of subsea Indonesia, while at the same time soaking in the beautiful surroundings and amenities that make up the Tambora itself!

We here at diving squad fully appreciate that nearly two weeks on board a ship and constantly diving almost the entire time certainly requires ample personal space to sprawl out and relax in.

The Tambora liveaboard easily meets this requirement with their twin and double cabins that all feature private bathrooms, individual air-conditioning, plenty of storage space, and even desks where you can work on compiling your epic diving pictures!

The rest of the ship is just as conducive to longer itineraries as the cabins are, with a spacious and comfortable indoor saloon and tv/DVD player for fun movie nights.

You have the choice of three different lounge decks, where you can soak up the sun, chat with your friends, or sip on a drink while admiring the views.

These amenities are further bolstered by the plentiful and delicious meals that are prepared fresh every day, featuring Indonesian and European selections to keep your energy levels at maximum for nearly two weeks of diving!

That diving will take you to some of the most epic destinations in Raja Ampat, as you plunge into the Dampier Strait to swim with the mantas, grey reef sharks, sea turtles, wobbegong sharks, and black tip sharks that love the deep water and healthy corals.

You get a close look at those corals around Misool Island, where bright gorgonian fans, sponges, and other corals play host to pygmy seahorses, pipefish, nudibranchs, and cuttlefish.

You may also get to visit the island’s Blue Water Mangroves for some unusually clear mangrove diving. You’ll then exchange the corals for the famous black sands of Batanta, where some truly phenomenal muck diving can be found.

Be sure to listen to your guides here, as they know where the local critters like seahorses, nudibranchs, and maybe even octopi can be found!

With itineraries ranging from 10 to 13 days, you are almost sure to get your diving fix – at least for a while – with the Tambora liveaboard!

The incredibly spacious cabins, comfortable lounging areas, and delicious food all work together to make the perfect home base between your countless diving adventures beneath the Indonesian waves!

BANNER 85 X 97 Logo 01

Diving Squad Presents:

Best Raja Ampat Liveaboard for Groups W. Non-Divers

Calico Jack

  • Plenty of onboard and non-scuba activities to keep everyone happy

  • Visits the beautiful corals and sea life of Misool, Arborek, and Penemu

  • Daily price: €280

  • Average trip length: 12 days

  • Operates year-round: Raja Ampat Sep.-July

While you may be all about that diving life, it’s always possible that a member of your group isn’t, and you’re on the hunt for an Indonesia liveaboard experience that can cater to both of you.

The Calico Jack liveaboard, thankfully, puts an end to your searching, with plenty of onboard amenities to cater to non-divers – combined with fantastic subsea excursions for the divers in the crowd.

You’ll find the ship packed with activities and relaxation opportunities to make the trip seem like a simple pleasure cruise across the Indonesian ocean.

The indoor saloon and outdoor sundeck work in tandem to provide plenty of space to chat with your fellow guests, enjoy a drink or book, soak up some sun, or take in the views. If you prefer some ocean-based adventures of your own, you’ll find the kayaks and stand up paddleboards on board are perfect for exploring what Indonesia has to offer above the waves.

Below the waves, the divers will not be disappointed, with stunning views of the coral and marine life for which the Dampier Strait is famous. The steady supply of nutrients from the strait have created a singularly vibrant array of red, orange, and pink corals that is picture perfect.

These corals, in turn, attract plenty of trevallies, parrot fish, and fusiliers, as well as the bigger grey reef sharks, mantas, and black tip sharks. For even more fish life, Penemu is the perfect stop; bat fish and jacks, along with scores of others, congregate in billowing clouds around amazing coral-encrusted pinnacles.

The pilings of the Arborek pier again feature a notable occurrence of coral encrustation, where the significant number of jacks, pipefish, and cuddle fish make for an epic night dive.

Whether diving or not, the food is a critical component to any liveaboard excursion; the Calico Jack liveaboard delivers in that department as well, with a delicious array of local and international dishes served buffet style.

You may even get the chance to experience a beach BBQ during your trip! After a full day of adventure, the double or twin cabins offer ample space to sprawl out and reflect on the highs of the day, as well as prepare for the excitement of tomorrow.

These cabins all feature private en-suite bathrooms and individually controlled air-conditioning for maximum privacy and comfort.

Non-diving and diving friends unite! The Calico Jack liveaboard offers excellent opportunities for everyone; from supreme diving expeditions to kayak and stand up paddle board rentals to make sure that everyone enjoys their time in Indonesia.

The comfortable cabins, spacious common area, and delicious food further reinforce this Indonesian liveaboard as our top choice for non-divers.

Raja Ampat Liveaboards - What You Need to Know

Diving Insurance – It’s absolutely essential that you’re covered by proper diving insurance before you start your liveaboard adventure.  Find out more. 

Scuba Gear – You’ll need to either bring along your own scuba gear or rent it from the liveaboard for an additional fee. 

Find out more. 

Raja Ampat Liveaboard Packing List – To ensure an enjoyable and comfortable trip, there are several must bring items. Find out more. 

Raja Ampat Diving Season –

Ideal conditions are from October to April, whereas May to September is very windy and has significantly more rain.

 Find out more.  

Weather in Raja Ampat –The region around Raja Ampat boasts consistent temperatures for most of the year, with lows in the 70s°F and highs around 90°F.

You can expect more frequent rain and intense wind during the May to September timeframe; these conditions will drop off significantly during the other half of the year.

Raja Ampat Diving Conditions –Raja Ampat enjoys comfortably warm water year-round in the 82-88°F range. Diving sites along the Dampier Strait are often prone to intense currents, where a reef hook may be needed to stay in one place. Be sure to heed your guide’s instructions in these conditions!  

Water Visibility in Raja Ampat –Raja Ampat is renowned for excellent visibility year-round, and you can generally expect anywhere from 30ft to 80ft.

This visibility will peak in the drier months from October to April, and move towards the lower end of the spectrum during the rains from May to September.

National Park Fees in Raja Ampat –Please be sure to run an eye over the small print of your booking! Many of the national parks or protected areas that you’ll visit charge a fee to enter, which you will be required to pay.

This can run around 150-200 euros per trip, so it’s best not to be caught unawares! Also, consider the extra cost if you’re going to be renting equipment for your trip.

Diving Insurance in Raja Ampat

SPLASH! It’s important to remember that scuba diving is an extreme sport. Accidents can happen. Sorry to burst anyone’s bubble.

What’s more, because diving can take you all around the world, it’s absolutely essential you make sure you are properly covered by the best scuba diving insurance before leaving your home country.

We recommend going with Dive Assure. Why?

  • Unbeatable prices.

     

  • They offer both short term and long term insurance.

     

  • Cover loss of diving equipment, emergency medical and evacuation expenses and flight/accommodation costs following injury.

4 Favourite Dive Spots at Raja Ampat

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again! Raja Ampat has hands down some of the Best Scuba Diving in the World! Let’s take a look at four favourite Dive Sites. Don’t forget, you can read even about the Raja Ampat Liveaboard Dive Destinations HERE. 

Penemu Island

Located to the South West of Batanta, this a gem of a diving area within the Raja Ampat area that is home to some of the region’s largest concentrations of schooling fish.

These fish include schools of fusiliers, batfish, trevallies, and jack fish, and are often found in the highest numbers near the South Penemu area that features a massive coral-encrusted pinnacle. If mentioning corals piqued your interest, then head to the east side of the island, where massive walls and slopes abound.

All are covered in vibrant hues of coral formations and may even have a few grey sharks and mantas nearby! Melissa’s Garden is also an ideal location to view endless coral formations arrayed throughout a massively spectacular reef system.

 

Diving in Raja Ampat showcases incredible marine biodiversity

Arborek Island

Located on the edge of the Dampier Strait, the tiny fishing village of Arborek reaps the benefits of the healthy marine and reef life within the strait. Diving below its famous pier, you’ll see huge colonies of coral firmly entrenched on the pier’s posts, while massive schools of jacks swirl left and right.

As you head deeper towards the small but healthy reef, pipefish and cuttlefish will slowly appear to greet you. The healthy populations of giant clams, skeleton shrimp, and hermit crabs nestled amongst the vibrant corals make for a beautiful, diverse, and wildlife-filled dive!

Fish swarm around a pier in Raja Ampat

Manta Ridge

This is one of the best dive sites in the Raja Ampat area for you to spot several mantas at the same time, and enjoy many other reef dwelling fish. The cleaning stations along the reef are crewed by countless trevallies, that rush in to attend the huge mantas as they gracefully glide into place.

You can typically expect to see five or so mantas in a single dive, but some divers may be lucky enough to see up to 20 or 30! As you head into deeper waters around the reef, bump head parrot fish, black tip reef sharks, and blacklips can all be seen in abundance! Graceful sea turtles are often spotted at this site too.

Diving with Turtles in Raja Ampat Liveaboard

Cape Kri

The coral encrusted wall that makes the cape is a beacon to massive schools of trevallies, sweetlips, and bannerfish, that are almost overwhelming as you get lost in their swirling mass. The incredible coral formations along the wall are equally mesmerizing and add splashes of color to the deep blue of the surrounding ocean.

If you take the time to examine that blue water a little more closely, you’ll likely spot grey reef sharks, barracuda, tuna, and possibly mantas! Cape Kri is an ideal dive site for big fish viewing, which can be balanced by the beautiful nearby corals!

Raja Ampat Diving brings you face to face with incredible coral

Raja Ampat Liveaboard Packing List

Whether you decide to rent scuba gear or buy  your own, there are some essential items that won’t be provided for you. You would not want to go on your liveaboard adventure without: 

Reef Safe Sunscreen It’s a little known fact that some sunscreens contain products that are highly toxic to coral reefs. Dive responsibly, avoid burning to a crisp and use eco friendly sunscreen. 

Reef Safe Body Wash and Shampoo – Many brands of body wash and shampoo also contain chemicals that are toxic to coral reef and fish. Dive responsibility whilst still not smelling like a Dead Whale.

Diving Camera –  Any normal camera will break if taken diving – even if it’s waterproof it won’t be able to withstand high depth pressure and the focus will not be designed for underwater photography. To share your diving adventures with the world, make sure you have a proper scuba diving camera.   

Full Face Snorkel Mask – In between dives, you’ll get countless snorkelling opportunities on your liveaboard trip. For snorkelling, it’s much better to utilise a full face snorkel mask for maximum comfort and 180 viewing! The best ones have an attachment mount for GoPros. 

Reusable Water Bottle Having a durable, reusable and recyclable water bottle that’ll keep liquids cold is essential for both eco awareness and hydration = scuba success! We love the TankH2O – It is all of those things and looks like a scuba tank!

Microfibre Towel Essential for getting all those bits of ocean off you. Microfibre towels are compact, dry quickly and lightweight. To look like a ninja of the sea, wrap around face. 

The

diving squad title 300

Backpack of Choice

After trying and testing an ocean of backpacks, we’ve come to the coralusion that the Dometool Waterproof Dry Backpack is the number one backpack for divers! Why? Well:

  • It’s completely waterproof and also floats.

  • Front zip pocket for easy access, waterproof storage of your phone, wallet, etc. 

  • Equipment ring at one side, water bottle bag at the other. 

  • PVC tarpaulin materials = resistent to tearing, corrosion and aging.

Diving Season in Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat Cruises take you through stunning scenary

October-April: Primary diving season. Raja Ampat has notoriously unpredictable weather that can lead to some tricky scheduling headaches. However, your best bet for spectacular diving is typically from October to April, when there is much less rain and incredible visibility. This is also one of the best times to see mantas in the area!  


May – September: This timeframe marks the time when the wind begins to pick up drastically in the Raja Ampat area, and rains become much more frequent. Together, these two aspects can seriously hinder diving; many liveaboards relocate to the Komodo National Park area for this chunk of the year.

Squad Inventory - Scuba Gear for Raja Ampat

Ok Squad! Here’s the deal. Scuba Diving requires a ton of gear. This should come as no real surprise, considering that the very nature of this sport is to breathe underwater – the exact opposite of what us humans are evolved to do! 

When you go on your liveaboard adventure, you have two options on the gear front:

  1. You can either rent the gear, at an additional cost, per piece. This generally costs around $25 for a full equipment rental per day (exact prices provided in the liveaboard links).

  2. Or you can buy and bring along some or all of your own scuba gear. This comes with two distinct advantages:
  • You get scuba gear that perfectly fits you and suits your tastes, budget and style. And hasn’t been peed in.

     

  • You will never again have to pay to rent scuba equipment! Think about all the diving you have ahead of you. Ultimately this can save a lot of money.

     

Below is a full listing and description of the entire inventory required to scuba dive. Let’s jump right in:

Diving Mask – Full Face Snorkel Masks are taking the world by storm but they can’t withstand pressure beyond several meters depth.  For diving you need an old school dive mask.





BCD – A BCD is the jacket divers wear to maintain optimum buoyancy, which they can adjust by operating the inflate and deflate buttons. This makes sure they neither sink to the bottom nor rise to the top of the water! As well as this, the BCD holds the divers regulator(s), dive gauge and air tank.

Regulator / Octopus – The regulator reduces pressurised breathing oxygen to ambient pressure and delivers it to the diver through a mouth piece. Remember, you need two – one for you and a spare for a buddy in case of emergencies!

Diving Torch – Absolutely essential for Deep Dives and Night Dives. So you can…you know – see. Bioluminescent plankton anyone? 

Scuba Tank – This contains the pressurised breathing gas – i.e. oxygen, that you will be breathing underwater (after it’s been reduced to ambient pressure by the regulator). Pretty essential right? 

Scuba Weight Belt – A diving weight belt assists with maintaining optimum buoyancy, by stopping divers from floating to the top of the water. How much weight you take will depend on your build, weight and diving ability.

Dive Computer – The Dive Computer is used to measure the time and depth of a dive. In doing so, it calculates a safe ascent profile, vital for avoiding decompression sickness. 

Dive Gauge – Essential for keeping track of your air consumption and the depth at which you are diving. The best ones also feature compasses and can read the water temperature (useful for bragging rights when you go on extremely cold dives!).

Scuba Fins – Fins greatly reduce water resistance when swimming and thus help to conserve energy and swim faster / against currents. They also allow you to unleash your inner mermaid/man. 

Dive Boots Designed to be worn under your fins, dive boots prevent rubbing and skin irritation from said fins – whilst also keeping your feet toasty and warm. 

Wetsuit – Crucial for keeping you warm. Even in hot countries, when you dive deep, it gets cold. Which one you pick will depend on the climate of where you’re diving. 

Ultimate Combo Package Whew! That’s a lot of gear we’ve covered. If you don’t yet have any scuba gear and want to bulk buy at great quality and value, this is the number one scuba starter pack out there.  

Raja Ampat Liveaboard Destinations

Raja Ampat Liveaboard from far away

Raja Ampat – ‘the four kings’ – is indeed a jewel of Indonesian diving that has something for just about every diver out there; from incredible coral reefs and their attending small fish and marine life – such as pygmy seahorses, cuttlefish, and nudibranchs – all the way to large pelagic fish that include mantas, reef sharks, sea turtles, and wobbegong sharks.

The region comprises the four primary islands of Misool, Batanta, Waigeo, and Salawati, but also includes hundreds of small islands, seamounts, and reefs that are all ripe for exploring!

Batanta

raja ampat diving cruises are in one of the most beautiful places in the world

One of the famous ‘four kings’ for which Raja Ampat is renowned, Batanta departs from the stereotypical vibrant coral and colors of the region and instead opts for near endless opportunities for muck diving!

The black sand bays that populate this area allow you to get up close and personal with the macro sea life – pipefish, octopus, nudibranchs, and seahorses.

Raja Ampat Diving Cruises show you all maner of strange creatures
Also: Wobbegong Shark!

It is an ideal location for you wildlife photographers out there! Just be sure to stick close to your guides as they will know the best spots to look for the critters.

diving in raja ampat brings you face to face with some of the world's best marine biodiversity

Dive into the Squads' Favourite Read

ATTENTION! Diving Squad Member – Do you love a great book? Yarp!? We already know you love diving

Dive Atlas of the World, offers a beautifully photographed and professionally detailed tour of the worlds best dive sites, including both classics and new discoveries.

This stunningly presented book covers everything from Wrecks to Reefs, Muck Dives to Macro Photography, Blue Holes to Epic Walls and adrenaline soaked Drift Dives

Get inspired, learn something brand new and prepare for your next diving adventure.

This is hands down the most informative, stunningly presented and all encompassing scuba diving book known to Diving Squad. 

Misool

Birds eye view from Raja Ampat Liveaboard cruise

Another of the ‘four kings’ that make up the Raja Ampat area, Misool is famous for remarkably rich reefs that are abundant in beautiful nudibranchs, colorful platax, and distinct bump head parrot fish.

The island owes its beautiful coral to its proximity to the Indonesian Throughflow, which facilities a massive flow of nutrients, in turn, feeding the hungry coral, sponges, and fans that add their vibrant reds, oranges, and pinks to the ocean.

raja ampat scuba diver

This throughflow also brings giant schools of majestic mantas and sea turtles to the area. Misool is also an excellent location to experience the rare opportunity for mangrove diving in crystal clear water at the Blue Water Mangroves.

Scuba Diving with Manta Rays in Raja Ampat

How to Give up Plastic - A Crucial Guide

“It is one world. And it’s in our care. For the first time in the history of humanity, for the first time in 500 million years, one species has the future in the palm of its hands. I just hope he realises that that is the case.”
Sir David Attenborough
Broadcaster, Natural Historian and Knight.

Some 12.7 million tonnes of plastic enters the ocean every year, devastating the marine ecosystem by killing countless fish, seabirds, turtles, marine mammals and other creatures. 

How to Give Up Plastic is the definitive guide to learning what you can do in your home, commune and workplace to start bringing about the end of our plastic dependent age.

It covers everything from easy wins such as using a reusable keep cup for your morning coffee, to lesser-known hacks like fixing a filter to your washing machine to catch some of the microfibres released from your clothes (microfibres are responsible for up to 30% of plastic in the ocean).

This is an essential overview of why we should all be working together no matter where we are in the world to reduce the amount of plastic being produce. Diving Squad is thoroughly committed to ending plastic pollution and marine conservation. 

Dampier Strait

raja ampat scuba diving
And this is Just Under a the Pier at Arborek Island, Dampier Strait!

This area includes the stretch of water just to the north of Batanta Island and is host to the Indonesian Throughflow that we mentioned earlier.

The sea is narrowed due to the nearby landmasses, and physics dictates that the water velocity must increase as the flow area decreases – voila, we have the throughflow!

The increased water velocity churns up rich nutrients from deep in the ocean and brings them to the surface, much to the delight of the reef systems in the area.

Scuba Diving with Huge Shoal of Fish during Raja Ampat Liveaboard

In fact, you’ll notice distinctly healthy and vibrant coral life on the throughflow-facing reefs, complete with stunning gorgonian fans, sponges, and vibrant corals that all form a painter’s palette of reds and oranges.

The healthy reef life, in turn, attracts plenty of trevallies, bump head parrotfish, and sweetlips for you to snap pictures of. Be sure to look towards the ocean side, however, as you’ll spot lurking barracudas, grey reef sharks, and mantas aplenty!

Whale Sharks in Raja Ampat
Not to Mention: Whale Sharks!

Diving Squad Debriefing

There you go, folks! We’ve covered the very best Indonesia liveaboards in the Raja Ampat area for new and advanced divers, large or small budgets, and short or long trips.

Raja Ampat is undeniably one of the best and most popular liveabaord destinations of all time – not only within Indonesia (check out our other Indonesia Liveaboard articles for different diving holiday locations within this vast south east asian archipelago), but the entire world!

No matter what kind of dive you are looking for, what diving ability you posses and what kind of luxury liveaboard yacht you wish to reside upon during the entire affair – now you’ve read this whale of an. article, you are covered and ready to dive into the exciting Ocean of Raja Ampat Liveaboards. 

You May Also Like:

Help Diving Squad with Marine Conservation

EPIC FAIL HUMANITY:

  • Over 18 billion pounds of plastic enters the World’s Oceans every year. That’s enough trash to cover every foot of coastline around the world with five full trash bags of plastic (Every. Year).

     

  • As well as containing it’s own toxic chemicals, like BPA, plastic absorbs even more potent toxins from other pollutants in the Ocean such as oil, untreated sewage and radioactive waste.

     

  • Plastic is indestructible and never degrades. Instead it simply breaks down into smaller pieces which accumulate together, en masse.

     

  • Today, each square mile of ocean has over 45,000 pieces of plastic floating in it.

     

  • Plastic is mistaken for food and eaten by marine animals. Because it can’t be digested, it fills their stomachs and causes them to starve to death.

     

  • For those “lucky” individuals that don’t eat plastic, the toxic chemicals present in every part of sea water from plastic, wreck havoc throughout the ecosystem causing changes in animals behaviour, immune systems and reproduction.

     

  • There are 200 known ‘dead zones’, or areas deprived of oxygen and devoid of life, (area between 1 and 70,000 km²),  in the world ocean, due to plastic: this number has doubled every decade since 1960.

     

  • Chemicals in heavily polluted waters can make their way back to us and cause serious health issues like reproductive problems, hormonal problems, kidney damage, and nervous system damage.

     

  • It’s estimated that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish (by weight). AND IT’S GETTING WORSE

The Time to Act is NOW

To Diving Squad, the grizzly stats above are appalling, tragic and completely UNACCEPTABLE. That’s why we are working hard towards combating plastic pollution in the ocean.


How do we do this? Through spreading awareness, providing informative guides on eco friendly diving and donating
10% of all profits that we make towards combating plastic pollution in the Ocean.


So, how does Diving Squad make money? Through You! Every time you click on one of our painstakingly, yet lovingly researched liveaboard, gear or insurance links and spend money – we earn a % commission thanks to affiliate partnerships.


We then donate 10% of this towards Marine Conservation Schemes that target plastic pollution.


What does this mean? It means that if you book a Liveaboard through a Diving Squad link – some of that money goes directly towards Marine Conservation. Buy a piece of Gear through a Diving Squad link?

 Nice! You’ve just contributed money towards Marine Conservation. Booked yourself Diving Insurance through Diving Squad? Go, go Marine Conservation!


So help us…help you…help the Ocean. Together, we can do this.


To which Marine Conservation charity do we donate, you might ask?
Our squad is already hard at work selecting the ideal candidate. The winner will be announced at the end of 2019. Have a suggestion? We’d love to hear… If we pick your suggestion, there just might be something in it for you…


Contact us at: Alex Hatton:
[email protected] (Grand Admiral at Diving Squad).