Raja Ampat is the World's most biodiverse marine region. It boasts the most species of hard and soft corals in the world, a remarkable 75% of the all the world's coral species can be found here. Along with sharing over 1,500 fish species with both the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans, this is undoubtedly one of the best tropical diving destinations in the world.
Located just off the North-western tip of Papua's Birds Head Peninsula, the area is comprised of nearly 2,000 islands and submerged sea mounds. Most of the islands are made up of steep outcrops of limestone that formed millions of years ago as ancient coral reefs. And as the equator runs directly through this region, all available terrestrial surfaces are covered in lush tropical plants. Birds and wildlife abound and can be seen daily, and the region is so remote, it is nearly impossible to see local villages or other divers during a trip.
Liveaboards are by far the best way to visit this region, as it's remoteness and sheer size make it impossible to completely visit any other way. The dive sites are just as varied as the marine animals found here, encompassing every imaginable type of dive possible and every underwater ecosystem. But the highlights include the multicoloured soft coral reef in the south of the park around Misool Island, the shallow hard coral reefs in the middle near Mansuar Island, encounters with both oceanic and reef species of Manta Rays, and the fantastic muck diving of Aljui Bay in the north.
Temperatures tend to always be around 27 ñ 29 degrees C, and visibility can vary from 10 to 25 meters. Visibility is often not amazing compared to other tropical destinations, but the turbidity of the water is caused from the high level of nutrients flowing through the park, which is exactly why this area thrives in biodiversity and density.
Almost all liveaboard trips depart and return from Sorong on Papua. The best flight connections to Sorong are from Makassar and Jakarta (via Makassar). There are also connections from Ambon and Nabire less frequently during the week. Tourists do not need special permits to travel to this region and dive here. As the region lies directly on the equator, rain is a common occurrence, so it can be cooler, otherwise when the sun is out, the temperatures are always warm and humid.