Situated just off the coast of West Papua, Raja Ampat is a chain of 1,500 paradisiac jungle-clad islands heralded as one of the most biologically diverse marine habitats on earth. A medley of steep limestone isles cloaked in thick tropical jungle and edged with white sand beaches makes cruising Raja Ampat naturally beautiful, not to mention the diversity of coral and fish beneath the waves.
Cruises in this region can include the Spice Islands, Halmahera, Triton Bay and Cenderawasih Bay.
Often described as one of the most extraordinary environments on the planet, Raja Ampat is located off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula on West Papua. The name translates as ‘Four Kings,’ referring to the main islands of Misool, Batanta, Waigeo and Salawati, which are in turn surrounded by 1,500 wild islands with pristine beaches and limestone cliffs plunging into aqua seas.
Above water, the islands’ cultural heritage is diverse, with prehistoric cave paintings and relics from bygone eras, while recent history is visible in cave bunkers and seabed wreckage from World War II. Intrepid visitors can trek through the jungle, learn about kampong life in local villages, visit sea turtle rookeries and pearl farms and explore the coastal mangroves by sea kayak.
Resounding with bird calls, the Raja Ampat archipelago houses the largest number of freshwater bird species in the region; parrots, hornbills, lorikeets, marbled frogmouths and the famous bird of paradise to name a few.
In the 1700s William Dampier reached the north western tip of Papua and travelled with the rising tide into the great channel that now bears his name. The Dampier Strait conveys massive quantities of seawater, forcing currents to flow parallel to the equator.
Aside from some of the most spectacular diving on the planet, Raja Ampat also offers some secret breaks for surf aficionados in its more remote reaches, which can be discovered on a dedicated surf charter.
Raja Ampat comprises a massive total territory of 9.8 million acres over land and sea, and beneath the surface, it is recognised as the world’s most bio-diverse marine ecosystem with over 1,200 species of fish, 550 species of coral, and six of the world’s seven species of sea turtle.
SEASONS & GETTING HERE
Raja Ampat and the surrounding islands are best visited between November and April. A tropical climate means rain is not unexpected, but typically in short spells followed by hot, sunny days.
Raja Ampat is accessed through Sorong airport with direct daily flights from Jakarta. Upon arrival at Sorong airport, your yacht’s crew will collect you for a short 20-minute drive to the harbour.
For one-way itineraries, you may start or finish your trip in other destinations, such as the Spice Islands (Ambon airport), Halmahera (Ternate airport), West Papua (Kaimana and Nabire airports) and the Forgotten Islands (Saumlaki and Tual airports).