Want to visit the world’s largest variety of biodiverse marine and coral life? Then Raja Ampat is the place you will not want to miss. It is truly a lost world, a land that time has forgotten in its untouched beauty. They boast they have the world’s best scuba diving and snorkeling and a visit to Raja Ampat, it is easy to see why.
You will discover macrofauna, pygmy seahorse, frogfish, bumphead parrotfish, blue water mangroves, unusual mammals and birds not found anywhere else in the world. A great location that is unspoiled by tourists, remote and not overfished is not easy to find. Raja Ampat has all this and more with the lowest population in all of Indonesia. Your visit will take you to an area that is pristine, laid-back and uncommercialized.
Where In The World Is Raja Ampat?
Raja Ampat is located in a group of islands in the middle of the Coral Triangle of Indonesia. Known as the Crown Jewel of the Coral Triangle, Raja Ampat, near New Guinea in Eastern Indonesia, has more than 2,500 small reefs and islands. The name Raja Ampat means four kings because of its nearby location to the four large mountainous islands. The entire protected marine area covers close to 3 million square acres.
Spanning between the Indian and the Pacific Oceans it is home to an extensive habitat of almost 1,500 different coral reef fish species and over 500 reef coral species. This type of concentration in sea-life is said to be the biggest concentration of coral species in the world. A new species of fish and coral are still being discovered.
Compared to the Caribbean, which has just over 60 reef coral species, you can see why the diversity of the life here offers so much more for the divers and snorkelers. The waters are shallow and perfect for the new or laidback snorkeler. For the experienced diver, it has much to offer with a shark preserve and home to the whale shark, the largest shark in the world.
Raja Ampat Worlds Highest Coral Species – Great For Snorkeling
Containing 75% of the all the coral species in the world, it is home to the highest marine biodiversity in the world. This fact was discovered only 15 years ago by marine scientists. Significant steps have been taken to preserve and protect this area, and it has now been declared a marine protected preserve.
The many types of coral life diversify the marine life that lives along theses reefs as well. It is home to many rare types of mammal species and fish that are not located anywhere else on earth. The epaulette shark, otherwise known as the walking shark, has developed the ability to walk on land as well as be an avid swimmer. It can walk on the reefs, the seafloor or hold its breath to search for food on land.
Another rare sight is the abundant megafauna, the larger of the megafauna is the manta ray, whale shark, and sea turtle, 17 species in all. Raja Ampat’s waters are so full of reefs and shallow water habitats that it concentrates the various species of the megafauna in a smaller area. Which makes encountering these incredible mammals and fish so much more likely than any other place to dive in the world.
On The Bucket List!
So why should Raja Ampat be on your bucket list?
- Discover an abundant and concentrated variety of sea-life in a small area
- The largest collection of coral reefs newly discovered to have over 75% of the world species of coral reefs in the world
- Perfect water temperature year round, between 80-86 degrees Fahrenheit and the average visibility underwater is between 50-100 feet
- Declared a sanctuary for manta rays and sharks, this area has the largest of the sharks, the whale shark as well as the whitetip, blacktip reef shark and the gray reef shark
- The rare Red Bird of Paradise only place found in the world is on four tiny islands in the Raja Ampat area
- Home to 25 different species of mangrove trees
- Not your typical destination, it is unspoiled and not a heavily traveled destination
The Best Way To See It
Offered in the area are cruises, live-aboard schooners trips, and adventure tour packages. The best way to see all of the many areas is to stay on the water and visit each area of interest from just above. Since there are so many islands to see a tour is a good idea. To come out to the archipelagos from land each day would be possible but you would be able to use your snorkel vacation or dive time more efficiently if you were already aboard a vessel ready for your dive.
Many complete packages are offered and waiting for you to visit the amazing Raja Ampat and see why this is a must do and a definite entry on your bucket list.
What Snorkeling Equipment Do You Need?
After you have arranged your snorkeling vacation in Raja Ampat your going to need snorkeling gear. If you don’t have your own you probably want to purchase some. Renting gear can be unhygienic. The latest trend in snorkeling gear is a snorkeling full face mask, this has the snorkel and mask attached all in one. They are great for beginners and experienced snorkelers. With 180 degree views and easy breathing through the mouth and nose. No more choking on water with a traditional snorkel and the lens fogging up too!
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