Explore Some of the Best Dives Sites in the World
The 2,000km of coastline of Raja Ampat in this isolated corner of Indonesia is a marvel of marine riches. It is the heart of the Coral Triangle with more biodiversity than anywhere else on the planet – a special place for divers which tops most people's bucket list. It is brimming with splendid dive sites with more being discovered all the time. Here is a selection of the finest discoveries so far - some for novices, others for the more experienced and a few of the most challenging.
Without a doubt, the favourite place for beginners in Raja Ampat is Manta Sandy. From October through to April this one of their favourite cleaning stations and when the arrive they come in squadrons. Shallow, safe and truly awesome.
This wonderful site was discovered and named after a guest diver on exploratory dive. He stumbled upon a submerged rock at 5m descending down to 20m which is covered with life - watch out for the phantom pipefish and wobbegongs under overhangs. At most expect a gentle current, often there is none.
This small island is completely surrounded by coral. Great for those with only a few dives in their logbooks - it is no more than 20m, but there is plenty to see. Whitetip sharks hang out in the deepest zones and there are dense schools of yellow snappers in the shallower areas. A safe and easy to explore cave is another highlight.
This group of islands is stunning both above and below the water. With moderate currents and depths it is a relaxed dive. Look out for carpet shark, mimic octopus and the bicolour angelfish.
Batu Lima, or Five Rocks in English, is the favourite site for many visitors. It descends to 24m and its walls are covered with corals and surrounded by fusiliers, batfish and surgeonfish. Around the five adjacent rocks, blackspot and whitetip sharks can often be found.
Brimming with marine life, this Raja Ampat dive site is frequented by wobbegong sharks. Due to the wide variety of species found in Mioskun—yellow snappers, trevallies, giant clams and moray eels – this is one of the iconic sites.Inspect the gorgonians carefully for pygmy seahorses.
This Raja Ampat dive site is perhaps the most commonly visited. Chicken Reef is 20m deep, has a sandy floor and is packed with garden eels, schools of black snappers, fusiliers and butterflyfish. What’s more, the large quantity of small fish attracts predators, and it is common to see barracudas, whitetip sharks or trevallies in search of food.
One of the top Raja Ampat dive sites. Between the islands of Waigeo and Gam, there is a narrow canal where a small ecosystem of unique corals have emerged. Despite not being a deep dive spot, just 15m, it calls for a certain degree of self-confidence underwater to navigate the narrow passage and penetrate a small cave. A great place to spot weird and wonderful nudibranchs and look out for the multi-colored borgoña fish.
Its name is a faithful reflection of why this site is so special. Misool Island's authentic kaleidoscope of corals. Vibrant, varied colours on a great wall of coral inhabited by nudibranchs and pygmy seahorses. An unforgettable and beautiful experience!
For The Expert
This is one of the most famous sites, because of its huge oval-shaped reef. It isn’t just known for the size of its reef, but also for the large variety of species that inhabit it - from schools of clownfish, butterflyfish and fusiliers which all attract barracudas, jacks, wobbegong sharks, and whitetip sharks.
One of the most fascinating and pretty spots. During the Second World War, the US Navy confused the area with a Japanese man-of-war and bombed it, leaving the topography very different from the rest of the archipelago. Small caves and crevices are inhabited by sweetlips or tunas. The point itself is a wonderful coral garden where you can find sea serpents, carpet sharks and tortoises swimming.
One of the deepest and most famous Raja Ampat dive sites, Cape Kri holds the record for the number of fish species on one site. Marine biologist Gerald R Allen spotted 283 species in a single dive. And the coral is equally amazing.Watch out for schools of humphead parrotfish and Napoleons.
As the name suggests, this Raja Ampat dive site is magical. The deep blue colour of the water, with its great visibility and filtered light, create a perfect atmosphere that will remain engraved in your memory. Due to its 30m depth, of 30m you often see manta rays, moray eels, bigeye trevallies and gray sharks. Without a doubt, one of the area's signature dives
• Reynaldo Corral Andaluz is managing director of Raja Ampat Biodiversity Resort