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  • Indonesia: Raja Ampat Snorkeling
Overview

Raja Ampat is guaranteed to take your breath away

At a time when many healthy coral reef systems are dwindling worldwide and remote destinations are becoming increasingly accessible, Indonesia’s Raja Ampat Islands are still relatively unknown — despite boasting sublime tropical beaches, crystal clear waters, and a thriving reef system that happens to be one of the most biodiverse places on earth.

Located at the heart of the Coral Triangle — an area of pristine marine habitat stretching from the Philippines to Timor to Papua New Guinea — the Raja Ampat archipelago consists of four large islands and more than 1,400 smaller islands and islets. At first glance, the lush jungles, white sand, and turquoise waters collide in an otherworldly paradise, but the true wealth of this region lies under the surface. An abundance of life thrives in these warm waters, including more than 1,300 species of fish, five species of rare and endangered sea turtles, and 75% of all known species of coral — more than 600.

Even the most seasoned traveler will be awed by the primeval ecosystems, untouched reef flats, secluded bays, tangled mangroves, and hidden coves we discover on this journey. Our guides and boat crew have spent decades exploring these waters, and based on their extensive knowledge, will chart each day’s course to optimize the snorkeling experience.

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Itinerary &
Accommodations

Itinerary & Accommodations

Day 1

Jakarta to Sorong

Whether you have chosen to arrive in Jakarta a few days early or are arriving on Day 1, this afternoon we meet at Jakarta's Bandara Hotel, located near the airport. We'll gather there for a welcome dinner and tour orientation this evening, and you will have a room to rest and relax in until we board our overnight flight to Sorong.

Accommodations
Bandara International Hotel

Bandara International Hotel
Jakarta, Indonesia

A resort-style experience and the convenience of an airport hotel. Conveniently located near the Jakarta Airport, the Bandara Hotel offers four-star accommodations upon arrival to and departure from Indonesia. Amenities include full service dining, an outdoor pool, fitness center, and spa. A true luxury oasis to book-end long travel days!

Day 2

Transfer to the Mermaid I

  • Activity Overview: Snorkeling
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Activity Length: 1-2 hours

Upon arrival in Sorong, we head to the harbor to meet the Mermaid I, our floating home for the next 10 days. We'll meet the crew, settle into our cabins, and relax over lunch. This afternoon we depart for our first snorkeling site at the island of Batanta, one of Raja Ampat's four major islands. As we cruise, the afternoon is yours to catch up on rest, peruse the books on marine biology in the shipboard library, or relax on deck and take in the spectacular views.

If there is time, we'll have a brief introductory snorkeling session before tonight's shipboard dinner. Our onboard meals will include a variety of Thai, Indonesian, and Western dishes prepared from fresh local ingredients by Mermaid I's skilled chef. This evening, our guides will present a detailed description of tomorrow's snorkel sites and activities.

Accommodations
Mermaid I

Mermaid I
Raja Ampat, Indonesia

This luxurious 92-foot, 8 cabin yacht will be our home throughout the tour. The advantages of a liveaboard are many, aside from the luxury of the yacht itself. Our mobile accommodation provides maximum flexibility to speed to the snorkeling sites where our guides know the very best habitats to explore, amending each day’s plans in response to winds and weather, which impact the habits of fish and possibilities for comfortable snorkeling with clear views of the stunning underwater environment.

Day 3

Batanta Island

  • Activity Overview: Snorkeling and hiking
  • Activity Level: Easy to Moderate
  • Activity Length: 4-6 hours snorkeling, 1 hour hiking

The smallest of the "Four Kings," Batanta lies at the southern edge of the Dampier Strait. Though close to Sorong, the island is sparsely inhabited, and parts of its jungle territory remain unexplored even today. As a result, it is a haven for birdlife, including black and white cockatoos, eclectus parrots, doves, and sea eagles.

At the shore, we may see walking sharks among the mangroves' aerial roots. In the water, keep a lookout for rays, bumpheads, barracudas, and the wobbegong shark.Batanta's spectacular marine haven provides a grand finale for our adventure. At our snorkeling site, the shallow reef is composed of an array of hard corals in every color imaginable.

Accommodations
Mermaid I

Mermaid I
Raja Ampat, Indonesia

This luxurious 92-foot, 8 cabin yacht will be our home throughout the tour. The advantages of a liveaboard are many, aside from the luxury of the yacht itself. Our mobile accommodation provides maximum flexibility to speed to the snorkeling sites where our guides know the very best habitats to explore, amending each day’s plans in response to winds and weather, which impact the habits of fish and possibilities for comfortable snorkeling with clear views of the stunning underwater environment.

Day 4

Penemu

  • Activity Overview: Snorkeling
  • Activity Level: Easy to Moderate
  • Activity Length: 4-6 hours

Penemu is surrounded by colorful, shallow coral reefs. Today we visit one of the best snorkeling sites in the region -- Melissa's Garden -- which is comprised of three jungle-clad limestone islets accessible only by boat. Our plunge into these warm, tropical waters transports us to a dazzling underwater assemblage of hard and soft corals that cover nearly every square inch of ocean floor. The reefs along the shoreline host a variety of colorful fish and sea sponges that we'll learn to identify.

Working with the tides, we anticipate two 3-hour snorkeling sessions today; one shortly after breakfast and another following lunch and time to rest. A drift snorkel session may also be possible depending on the strength of the current. Our guides' decades of experience in these waters give us a distinct advantage, as they will continuously adjust the itinerary in response to conditions in order to maximize the number of species of fish and corals we see. Throughout our adventure, snorkelers are 100% supported by easily-boarded dinghies to return to the yacht at any time.

Taking advantage of cooler temperatures and more active birds, we end the day with a short hike on one of the Fam Islands. We'll ascend sturdily constructed stairs to a point roughly 200 meters above sea level, where we'll be rewarded with breathtaking 360-degree view of beautiful coves, hidden lagoons, white sand beaches, pure turquoise water, and neighboring islands.

Accommodations
Mermaid I

Mermaid I
Raja Ampat, Indonesia

This luxurious 92-foot, 8 cabin yacht will be our home throughout the tour. The advantages of a liveaboard are many, aside from the luxury of the yacht itself. Our mobile accommodation provides maximum flexibility to speed to the snorkeling sites where our guides know the very best habitats to explore, amending each day’s plans in response to winds and weather, which impact the habits of fish and possibilities for comfortable snorkeling with clear views of the stunning underwater environment.

Day 5

Alyui Bay and Waigeo Island

  • Activity Overview: Snorkeling
  • Activity Level: Easy to Moderate
  • Activity Length: 4-6 hours

Cruising overnight to Waigeo Island, we wake up this morning anchored in Alyui Bay. Waigeo is one of the legendary "Four Kings" who ruled the islands in the 15th century. The southern coast of Waigeo is punctured by Alyui Bay, known for passages of strong currents rich with nutrients that support a dazzling amount of life along the island's shallow edges. Expect to see a mosaic of colorful life, as this area has particularly wonderful otherworldly corals and nudibranchs.

In the shallows, we find bright blue sea stars, hard and soft corals, and sea sponges. We'll swim alongside many species of fish, including damselfishes, butterflyfishes, angelfishes, lizardfishes, Moorish idols, boxfishes, wrasse, and clown anemonefishes. If we are lucky, we may even see dolphins in the area or the tasseled wobbegong shark!

This evening, we will have ample time to relax on deck. Books on marine biology in the onboard library offer ample opportunities to familiarize ourselves with the types of underwater life we may continue to encounter. Or perhaps, you may opt to simply watch the sun set and take in the scenery around us! As with many nights, our guide will also offer a short presentation.

Accommodations
Mermaid I

Mermaid I
Raja Ampat, Indonesia

This luxurious 92-foot, 8 cabin yacht will be our home throughout the tour. The advantages of a liveaboard are many, aside from the luxury of the yacht itself. Our mobile accommodation provides maximum flexibility to speed to the snorkeling sites where our guides know the very best habitats to explore, amending each day’s plans in response to winds and weather, which impact the habits of fish and possibilities for comfortable snorkeling with clear views of the stunning underwater environment.

Day 6

Wayag Islands

  • Activity Overview: Snorkeling
  • Activity Level: Easy to Moderate
  • Activity Length: 4-6 hours

This stunning group of islands, located northwest of Waigeo and a few kilometers north of the Equator, resemble giant mushroom caps emerging from the sea.
We'll begin our morning snorkeling session at a site along a seaward reef, where we may see passing sea turtles and large groups of fusiliers and snappers. The reef harbors a variety of coral species, including fields of branching staghorn, table corals, and some of the largest giant clams in the world. This is also a great location to spot juvenile fish using the branching corals as a refuge from predators.

In the afternoon, we board our dinghies to cruise through the maze of limestone islands, stopping at several locations for birding and snorkeling opportunities. This area is often used as a birthing ground for reef manta rays. The second largest species of ray in the world, they often grow up to 11 feet, and with luck, we may see one of these large, graceful gliders.

Accommodations
Mermaid I

Mermaid I
Raja Ampat, Indonesia

This luxurious 92-foot, 8 cabin yacht will be our home throughout the tour. The advantages of a liveaboard are many, aside from the luxury of the yacht itself. Our mobile accommodation provides maximum flexibility to speed to the snorkeling sites where our guides know the very best habitats to explore, amending each day’s plans in response to winds and weather, which impact the habits of fish and possibilities for comfortable snorkeling with clear views of the stunning underwater environment.

Day 7

Alyui Bay and Waigeo Island

  • Activity Overview: Snorkeling
  • Activity Level: Easy to Moderate
  • Activity Length: 4-6 hours

We return to this area today to explore sites within Alyui Bay, snorkeling coral-lined channels and fringing reefs that hug the shoreline. There will be ample time for leisurely morning and afternoon sessions in the water, and building on the familiarity we've gained from evening presentations, we will be able to readily identify many of the types of fish and corals we see.

Waigeo Island is home to both the red and the Wilson's bird of paradise, as well as the western crowned pigeon, and various parrots, doves, hornbills, raptors, and honeyeaters. In total, Raja Ampat is home to more than 250 bird species, and with enough interest we can plan a special birding excursion for today. Around here, there will be many opportunities for incidental sightings as well.

Accommodations
Mermaid I

Mermaid I
Raja Ampat, Indonesia

This luxurious 92-foot, 8 cabin yacht will be our home throughout the tour. The advantages of a liveaboard are many, aside from the luxury of the yacht itself. Our mobile accommodation provides maximum flexibility to speed to the snorkeling sites where our guides know the very best habitats to explore, amending each day’s plans in response to winds and weather, which impact the habits of fish and possibilities for comfortable snorkeling with clear views of the stunning underwater environment.

Day 8

Yangeffo

  • Activity Overview: Snorkeling
  • Activity Level: Easy to Moderate
  • Activity Length: 4-6 hours

In the crescent-shaped channel between Gam and Yangeffo, we snorkel amidst mangrove forests, extensive fringing reefs with their delicate rainbows of coral, and schools of young fish. The habitat here is particularly unique. Unlike the brackish water that usually surrounds mangroves, the sea around Yangeffo is blue, clear and pristine. In these shallows, we can inspect delicate hard coral, the bizarre Archer fish, schools of tiny needle fish, and brightly colored soft corals that grow on mangrove roots.

 

Accommodations
Mermaid I

Mermaid I
Raja Ampat, Indonesia

This luxurious 92-foot, 8 cabin yacht will be our home throughout the tour. The advantages of a liveaboard are many, aside from the luxury of the yacht itself. Our mobile accommodation provides maximum flexibility to speed to the snorkeling sites where our guides know the very best habitats to explore, amending each day’s plans in response to winds and weather, which impact the habits of fish and possibilities for comfortable snorkeling with clear views of the stunning underwater environment.

Day 9

Mansuar and Kri

  • Activity Overview: Snorkeling
  • Activity Level: Easy to Moderate
  • Activity Length: 4-6 hours

Cruising east from Pef, we reach Mansuar and Kri, two elongated, hilly islands on the southern side of the Dampier Strait. Today's snorkel sites are some of the best seaward reefs in Raja Ampat, and where tourism began in the area.

Today, we are sure to see sharks and huge schools of fish, including bumphead parrotfish, barracudas, unicornfishes, snapper, and thousands of reef fishes. Another common attraction in this area: sea turtles!

Accommodations
Mermaid I

Mermaid I
Raja Ampat, Indonesia

This luxurious 92-foot, 8 cabin yacht will be our home throughout the tour. The advantages of a liveaboard are many, aside from the luxury of the yacht itself. Our mobile accommodation provides maximum flexibility to speed to the snorkeling sites where our guides know the very best habitats to explore, amending each day’s plans in response to winds and weather, which impact the habits of fish and possibilities for comfortable snorkeling with clear views of the stunning underwater environment.

Day 10

Frewin

  • Activity Overview: Snorkeling
  • Activity Level: Easy to Moderate
  • Activity Length: 4-6 hours

Before venturing into the water today, we'll take an early walk on a nearby island in the hope of sighting the Red Bird of Paradise and other exotic birds.

The shallow seaward reefs reveal tremendous density and diversity, making Frewin and neighboring Frewin Bonda among the sites most favored by snorkelers. We will snorkel along "Sea Fan Alley," and be swept by the current along the edges of the passage between nearby Gam Island and Waigeo. Today's spectacular display includes soft corals and massive sea fans in the shallow water, plus huge schools of reef fishes like giant bumphead parrotfishes.

Accommodations
Mermaid I

Mermaid I
Raja Ampat, Indonesia

This luxurious 92-foot, 8 cabin yacht will be our home throughout the tour. The advantages of a liveaboard are many, aside from the luxury of the yacht itself. Our mobile accommodation provides maximum flexibility to speed to the snorkeling sites where our guides know the very best habitats to explore, amending each day’s plans in response to winds and weather, which impact the habits of fish and possibilities for comfortable snorkeling with clear views of the stunning underwater environment.

Day 11

Flight to Jakarta

Today we say a reluctant farewell to our floating home and return to the Sorong airport for our flight back to Jakarta. After checking in at our group hotel, the Bandara Jakarta, there will be time to relax and refresh before our farewell dinner at the hotel this evening.

Accommodations
Bandara International Hotel

Bandara International Hotel
Jakarta, Indonesia

A resort-style experience and the convenience of an airport hotel. Conveniently located near the Jakarta Airport, the Bandara Hotel offers four-star accommodations upon arrival to and departure from Indonesia. Amenities include full service dining, an outdoor pool, fitness center, and spa. A true luxury oasis to book-end long travel days!

Day 12

Departure from Jakarta

After breakfast you will transfer to the airport for your flight home, or perhaps continue on your own independent journey.

Accommodations

Please note that this is a typical itinerary, and actual activities may vary due to weather conditions, local events, and to allow serendipity to play a hand in your experience. Accommodations are as outlined in the itinerary, although we reserve the right to change these or the order visited should the need arise.

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Dates &
Prices

Dates And Prices

2019
Trip Length

12 Days

Trip Dates

Jan 11-22, 2019

2019 Land Cost

$7,795 Per Person


Internal Airfare

$575 Per Person

Jakarta-Sorong-Jakarta

Single Supplement

Limited singles - reserve early!$0

See single supplement policy below.

What's Included

  • Expert leadership
  • All accommodations
  • All meals beginning with dinner on Day 1
  • Select beer and wine with included dinners
  • All on-tour transportation, including airport transfers
  • All activities as noted in the itinerary
  • All gratuities except for those for your guide, which are at your discretion
Single Supplement Policy

Accommodations (hotels, tents, cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. If you reserve at least 120 days prior to departure, you may be eligible for a reduced or free single supplement.* This is generally limited to the first one or two solo travelers to reserve, and the reduction is outlined in the pricing for each trip. Please note, free or reduced single supplements are not combinable with other offers or promotions.

If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. If you reserve at least 120 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement in the amount of 50% of the standard single supplement* (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary). Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early!

*This may not apply to certain trips with unique accommodation arrangements. Please see specific trip information for more details.

What To
Expect

What To Expect

Trip Rating

Boundless Journeys' trips are designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. Indonesia: Raja Ampat Snorkeling is rated 2, easy to moderate, on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the most strenuous). No prior snorkeling experience is necessary for this trip. On some mornings or late afternoons there will be opportunities to simply stroll the pristine white sand beaches. Some days there may be dinghy excursions and short hikes that may include stairs.

Meeting Point

The Bandara Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia on Day 1 of the tour.

Departure Point

After breakfast at the Bandara Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia on Day 12.

Traveling to and from

Most convenient airport: Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Jakarta, Indonesia.

International airfare is not included in the price of your trip. Please contact your local travel agency or the airlines directly to make any arrangements you may need. If you would like assistance booking airfare, Boundless Journeys can request flights from our travel agency partner.

About the snorkeling on this trip

This trip is appropriate for both experienced and novice snorkelers. Our guide provides basic snorkeling instruction for anyone who needs it, and without exception novice snorkelers are delighted by the experience of learning to snorkel in one of the world's most pristine locations. Daily snorkeling outings will last 2-3 hours each in the morning and afternoon. These are 100% guide-accompanied, and supported at all times by at least one, and often two easily-boarded dinghies. The amount of time spent in the water each day is up to each guest, and snorkelers can be returned to the expedition yacht at any time, though most will want to spend every possible minute in these warm waters enjoying the wonders of this unique environment. While some limited snorkeling equipment may be available for you to use, you should plan on bringing your own snorkel, fins, and mask.

Weather

The islands of Raja Ampat straddle the equator, though most of them reside in the southern hemisphere. As such, weather is hot and humid year-round, with almost daily rain showers occurring in the early morning or late afternoon. Daytime temperatures hover around 86° F (30° C) and do not fall much at night. Water temperatures average around 82° F (28° C), though cooler temperatures may occur if persistent rains create a thin layer of cool freshwater on the surface. You may obtain more detailed weather information on www.weatherbase.com.

Sorong, Indonesia

January

High: 79
Low: 88

When to go

Raja Ampat can be visited year-round, though between July and September the usually calm seas can get quite rough. For the calmest waters and best visibility for snorkeling or diving, aim for a visit between November and March. The region receives the heaviest rain from May to October.

About the yacht

Liveaboard Yacht, M/V Mermaid I

This luxurious, 92-foot yacht will be our home for nine nights of this tour. The advantages of a liveaboard are many, aside from the luxury of the yacht itself. Our mobile accommodation provides maximum flexibility to access the snorkeling sites where our guides know the best habitats to explore. They will amend each day's plans in response to winds and weather, which impact both the habits of fish and currents that allow for comfortable snorkeling with clear views.

Mermaid I carries us close to secluded snorkeling spots and allows us to spend time on deck savoring the views or relaxing in the saloon, instead of packing and unpacking. The yacht also has a wide purpose-built dive and snorkeling platform at the stern, with two exit ladders, fresh water showers, and camera rinse tanks. Those who are eager to preserve some of their snorkeling memories in photos will be able to care for their cameras, and re-charge them for a few hours each evening as well, using cabin outlets.

Amenities include two outside decks, one with shaded seating and one sundeck with a sunshade and cushioned sunning beds. The saloon is equipped with a large flat screen TV/DVD player, and boasts an excellent selection of books on marine life. Each cabin has panoramic sea view windows, an en suite bathroom, refrigerator, and TV/DVD player, as well as bathrobes, toiletries, and plenty of fluffy towels. We enjoy delicious Thai, Indonesian and western cuisine aboard Mermaid I, served in the saloon, where large windows allow you to savor your meal without missing a single spectacular view.

 

Cuisine

While Raja Ampat's infrastructure has expanded in the last decade due to an increase in tourism, gourmet cuisine is not to be expected. Most dishes feature fish and rice. Meals on our yacht are made with with fresh, local ingredients as much as possible, and are prepared in a variety of Western, Thai, and Indonesian styles of cooking.

Guides

Featured Guides

About Our Guides

With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work—the mark of a truly great leader—our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own. Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. You will be informed of the guide for your trip one month prior to your departure.

$7,795 / person* *airfare not included
12 Days
Reserve This Tour
  • Departure Dates: Jan 11-22, 2019


Activity Level 2 Easy to Moderate

Easy to moderate snorkeling, 2-5 hours per day

Read about our Activity Levels
  • Group Size: 9-13 Guests

Make it Your Own!

This trip can be your own adventure by taking over one of our scheduled dates, or we can request a fresh one.

Prefer a Custom Tour?

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