West Papua

West Papua

Overview:

Scattered off the northwestern tip of Papua New Guinea, Raja Ampat is paradise defined. Its name translates as “Four Kings” – a reference to the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta, and Waigeo that make up this stunning archipelago. Forming part of the Indonesian province of West Papua, Raja Ampat harbors a treasure trove of biodiversity that enchants all who visit. This remote paradise is situated in the heart of the Coral Triangle, widely considered the global epicenter of marine biodiversity.

The waters surrounding Raja Ampat contain over 1,300 varieties of fish and 600 species of coral – the highest counts anywhere on Earth. This explosion of life arises from the confluence of various ocean currents that bring nutrients into the archipelago’s maze of bays, channels, and inlets. Dotted with jungle-clad limestone islands, the archipelago is ideally explored by kayak on a Raja Ampat adventure tour, with opportunities to discover its majestic marine world and kaleidoscopic reefs while snorkeling and scuba diving.

Highlights:

  • Paddle through mangrove forests and hidden channels that provide a nursery for fish and other marine life
  • Paddle through mazes of limestone islands with turquoise waters beneath you
  • Hike up mushroom-shaped limestone islands to breathtaking lookouts offering panoramic views across this enchanting archipelago
  • Snorkel or scuba dive with thousands of fish and luminescent corals in one of the most biodiverse marine areas on Earth
  • Catch a glimpse of colorful birds of paradise, renowned for their brilliant display of feathers and unique mating dance rituals
  • Kayak past traditional villages where life beats at a leisurely pace and discover how Papuans survive in such a remote corner of the world.

Weather:

While Raja Ampat is a year-round destination, the prime time for kayaking, snorkeling and diving is from November to March. During these months, you can witness an incredible natural phenomenon as large numbers of manta rays gather at the archipelago’s cleaning stations.

The seas are at their calmest from November to March, making this an ideal time for our Raja Ampat sea kayaking tours. During these months, the underwater visibility can reach an astonishing 20 meters (65 feet) while the air temperature ranges from 29°C to 32°C (84°F to 90°F). The water temperature in Raja Ampat remains a balmy 28°C to 30°C (82°F to 86°F) throughout the year.

Nature & Wildlife:

Raja Ampat has garnered a reputation as a biodiversity hotspot, both above and below the water’s surface. It supports around 75% of the world’s known coral species, together with thousands of marine animals both big and small. In addition to huge numbers of tropical fish and marine invertebrates, Raja Ampat’s waters also shelter endangered marine mammals like dugongs, blue whales, and orcas. Many endemic birds and

On land, the archipelago’s four main islands host nine distinct habitats bursting with endemic flora and fauna. Raja Ampat’s rainforests and mangroves are home to more than 850 plant species, with 15 unique or endangered varieties like the Raja Ampat palm. Also inhabiting the islands are 114 reptile and amphibian species, 47 mammals (including cuscus and bats), and more than 250 bird species. This includes the iconic bird of paradise, which spectacularly displays its long plumes for mates. Cuscus and tree kangaroos can be seen on rare occasions, and the numerous orchids that are endemic to this area stand out in their fragility against the limestone rock on which they grow.