A couple of years back, scientists have declared Raja Ampat as the number one, most biodiverse marine ecosystem on the planet. That’s right, you heard right. This area contains the most species of corals, fishes and other marine life compared to any other place on earth. Since this news, hardcore divers worldwide have been steadily flocking to the area to experience this natural wonder. It has since then, made its way to many lists as one of the best diving destinations in the world.
Unlike many other world-class diving spots, you do not have to dive deep here to experience the underwater marvels. The marine life that can be viewed just a few meters below water surface here is pretty astounding, steadily spreading the reputation of Raja Ampat as also being one of the top snorkeling destinations in the world. In fact, it is stated that you often never have to go really far from where you are staying to have an amazing snorkeling experience. Most of the homestays, hotels and resorts in the area have pristine house reefs for you to explore.
While rising sea temperatures around the world have caused many corals reef to bleach, scientists were surprised on how the coral reefs in Raja Ampat have not only survived, but thrive in relative warm sea temperatures just a couple of meters below the water surface, making it extremely conducive for us to enjoy the rich marine life without any diving equipment. One of the highlights in the area includes snorkeling among mangrove roots on Gam Island. Usually, it is not possible to snorkel in mangrove areas as the water is usually muddy with near zero visibility. The water in the mangroves of Gam Island is very clear, making possible to explore the marine life amongst the sea grass and mangrove roots. In some areas you can even find corals growing on mangrove roots! Other highlight for snorkelers would be Manta Point, where it is possible for us to swim amongst these gentle giants as they feed near the water surface.
Thanks to the remoteness of this place, which is located on the far east of Indonesia, west of Papua New Guinea, it doesn’t look like mass tourism will be reaching Raja Ampat anytime too soon. If you are always on a lookout to explore pristine marine and natural environments, now is the perfect time to visit this place. In the past couple of years, the tourist infrastructures have developed to a point where it has become relatively ‘easy’ to get there (with fixed plane and ferry schedules). With that said, the remoteness of its location have also made it one of the more expensive places to visit in Indonesia.
For a comprehensive guide to visiting and snorkeling in Raja Ampat do visit www.StayRajaAmpat.com. It is an amazing website with lots of up-to-date details and guides to visiting this marine wonderland. Also, do enjoy the photo captures and the snorkeling videos below (all taken during snorkeling excursions in the Raja Ampat).