Your ultimate guide to Raja Ampat, where oceans collide


The 1500 islands, cays and shoals that make up Raja Ampat lie on prime real estate at the heart of the Coral Triangle, a biodiversity hot spot where the Pacific and Indian Oceans collide.

Likened to the “Amazon of the seas,” this tropical labyrinth holds one of the world’s highest densities of marine life with over 1000 species of fish and three-fourths of all known corals. Divers and snorkelers alike dip into the aquamarine waters here in search of wildly-patterned carpet sharks, massive manta rays and pygmy seahorses. Up above, they find bungalows perched over the ocean and palms curving toward pearly beaches devoid of any footprints.

Each of the main islands – or “Four Kings” as they’re known – hides its own wonders, including mesmerizing mushroom-shaped outcrops, placid turquoise lagoons and misty hills where flamboyantly-feathered fowl parade across the canopy in search of a mate. To visit now is to experience a virgin paradise on the verge of discovery. 

Here’s everything you need to know to plan the perfect trip to Indonesia‘s Raja Ampat.

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Waigeo is home to the region’s small capital

If sleepy Raja Ampat has any whiff of a buzz, you’ll find it on Waigeo or its satellite islands Gam, Kri and Arborek. Home to the region’s diminutive capital, Waisai, this is the most logical base from which to plan journeys further afield. Waigeo is the place where British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace based himself in 1860 while studying the birds-of-paradise, a group of 44 lavishly attired birds only found around New Guinea and north-eastern Australia. Research in the jungles here played a pivotal role in his landmark theory of evolution through natural selection, which…

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