Our Top Dive Sites in Raja Ampat

We did all our Raja Ampat diving in February 2018 amd 2019, from the land-based eco-resorts Papua Paradise and Misool respectively.  Given the large geographic distance between the two locations, we expected some differences but overall, the diving in Raja Ampat is phenomenal!  These are just a few of our favourite sites below.


Pianemo Jetty is where you start the climb to the viewpoint of Raja Ampat seen in virtually all travel brochures featuring this region. Underwater, the sights are just as impressive. The coral at lovely sites such as Melissa’s Garden were in very good condition, colourful and full of fish.

These healthy reefs are a playground for all kinds of shark: blacktip (the most common), whitetip (often seen resting on the sandy bottom) and grey (very shy and mostly observed swimming away into the blue). There are also many wobbegong sharks, including one very large individual lying in full view of divers on top of a giant plate coral.

The Three Jetties

The three jetties are Arborek, Sawandarek and Yenbuba and they are famous for a reason. Underneath each of them are green turtles (including the biggest individual we've ever seen), astounding numbers of fish and showy soft coral. Also present in healthy populations are giant clams.

Above water, you can visit the idyllic-looking local coastal villages and play with the kids who are very friendly and curious. A little bahasa indonesia goes a long way here and if you're female, you'll have dress modestly. 

Cape Kri

This is a site best dived in strong current – as currents attract fish - and Cape Kri is renowned for being a living gallery of regional fish species. When we were here, we saw mantas. A LOT OF MANTAS. Huge oceanic ones – distinguished by white markings on their head –  spanning 4m across who were all too keen to get a close look at us. When we weren't admiring the manta ballet, there were huge schools of barracuda, bumphead parrotfish and much more. Note that manta season means visibility isn't fantastic but that's something we were quite happy to trade off.

Pulai Wai

While Manta Sandy is often written about, Papua Paradise boasts its own manta cleaning station at Pulau Wai (Wai Island). This spot  is just minutes from the resort and offered us front-row seats to so much manta action. 

Birie Island

All around Papua Paradise, which is located on Pulau Birie (Birie Island), was outstanding reef, and we explored them from morning to dusk and even after dark. The species we came across spanned from the very big – rays, turtles, barracuda, sweetlips – to the very small: baby cuttlefish, mandarin fish, tiny walking sharks, orang utan crab, upside down jellyfish and harlequin shrimp.

Misool (Batbitim local reefs)

Misool is both the name of a luxe eco-resort on Batbitim Island and a region, where a large swathe of reefs are protected by the Misool Foundation, the charity arm of the resort. Being a no-take zone, the schools of fish here are large and fearless, while the coral is in absolutely splendid condition. A great number of sites here are named after Interesting rock formations such as Birthday Cake, Tank Rock, Boo Window and a personal favourite, Magic Mountain.