Best time to visit Raja Ampat

Temperature & rainfall

This is a year round destination, but for divers, the best time to visit Raja Ampat is September to April, when large numbers of manta rays are present at cleaning stations. For the very calmest waters and best visibility, visit in November, December, January, February and March. In July and August, the usually calm seas can get rough so diving may sometimes be limited or suspended. Water temperature, though, is a constant 28°C-30°C, with 10-20m visibility. The windiest months are June to October, which can make jungle walks treacherous. For divers, May to August is low season as it is unusual to find manta rays at the cleaning stations.

Things to do in Raja Ampat

What to do in Raja Ampat and what not to do

What to do in Raja Ampat...

The beautiful reefs of Raja Ampat are showing remarkable resistance to global marine issues such as climate change, coral bleaching and disease, and conservation projects aim to preserve the region’s exceptional biodiversity. You can help. Join a volunteer holiday, doing marine conservation research and survey dives, and working with the community to educate local people on environmental issues, sustainable fishing and the benefits of protecting marine areas.
Explore beneath the waves – you’ll find some of the best diving in the world here. Reefs are healthy and plentiful, home to a dazzling array of fish, and on a single dive you can spot manta rays, giant clams and pygmy seahorses, schools of barracuda and even the endemic wobbegong shark. There’s also good muck diving to observe ‘macro’ life – small fish, molluscs and ‘critters’ – plus amazing snorkelling accessible from the beach. Read up on how to dive responsibly before you go though.
Bring your binoculars and spot the exotic and abundant birdlife here. Around 160 species of birds live around Birie and Batanta Island. Look out for noisy cockatoos and parrots, beach kingfishers, hornbills and raja shelducks, and the two species of bird of paradise that are endemic to Raja Ampat, the Wilson’s and Red.

What not to do in Raja Ampat…

Expect a multi activity holiday. Raja Ampat is very much a marine destination. Some islands have viewpoints, there are a few waterfalls and walking trails, but exploring inland is not easy as island interiors tend to be jungly and steep. Most life takes place underwater, on the water or by the water.
While the diving is exceptional in Raja Ampat, this isn’t the best place to come if you’re a beginner. This remote region attracts experienced divers who are prepared to pay top dollar to travel all the way here and can cope with the strong currents that swirl around some of the best sites. Beginner divers can be catered for, and resorts and volunteering holidays sometimes include PADI Open Water Diving certification, but new divers will miss out on the most thrilling sites and drift dives. Medical support services are extremely limited, too, and all divers need to take out comprehensive insurance which covers evacuation and treatment, in case of an accident.
Raja Ampat’s fragile environment can easily be damaged by products containing harmful agents. So don’t bring toiletries or sunscreens that are heavily perfumed or antibacterial; instead, seek out natural products. Limit the plastic you bring, too, remove excess packaging and don’t bring non rechargeable batteries, since waste disposal is challenging and recycling facilities limited.
If you'd like to chat about Raja Ampat or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Rosy & team.
01273 823 700

Raja Ampat travel advice

tips from our friends in Raja Ampat

Ben Stokes is co founder of our leading supplier of Raja Ampat holidays, Dive Safari Asia. He dived and travelled around the world for 10 years before setting up the company and has ample advice on visiting Raja Ampat:

What diving experience is needed?

“For Raja Ampat, 30 open water, Advanced Certification dives are recommended. It’s not really an entry level destination. The diving is quite shallow and you get rapid currents moving around the islands, so it can be quite challenging for divers. Obviously it depends a little bit on where you dive; what kind of areas. You can stay at resorts and get taken to more sheltered areas. But really, because of its location and the cost of getting here, it’s worth having experience otherwise you won’t be able to go to the best sites, which tend to get a bit of current.”

Who travels to Raja Ampat?

“On our small group diving holidays, clients tend to be 40-plus years old. Diving here is for fanatical and enthusiastic divers who dive for three or four hours a day, every day. You can get trips tailored for families though, as the snorkelling is incredible here. You can see manta rays, amazing coral, baby reef sharks, turtles, all just by snorkelling. The reef comes up very close to the shore, and it’s very shallow, 3-4m. You can also take boat trips to different islands or go sea kayaking. So, there’s snorkelling that might appeal to families, and full on diving for experienced divers. Those are the two groups that enjoy Raja Ampat.”

Responsible tourism tips

“We encourage people to be aware of how they use sunscreen, how much they apply, and to buy sunscreen from responsible brands. People are often applying it several times throughout the day because it’s so hot, and it’s not properly absorbed, and all the chemicals wash off and can harm the reef. Also, anything you take with you should have minimal impact, so that’s shampoo, shower gels, that kind of thing. Try to use products without harmful ingredients in them and take away all your rubbish. Some resorts are more environmentally conscious than others, so aim for those that are doing good work.”

What to do beyond the water

“Raja Ampat has stunning scenery – it’s a really incredible island paradise – but there’s not a huge amount to do that’s land based. It’s very much a destination for water based holidays. The way the topography works, you can’t really get into the islands, there’s beach then jungle then cliffs and really steep ridges, so there’s not much trekking and you can’t really get into the interior. There are some viewpoints which are lovely, you can do bird watching and there are one or two waterfalls, but really it’s a marine destination.”
Written by Joanna Simmons
Raja Ampat diving project, Indonesia

Raja Ampat diving project, Indonesia

Dive and conserve the stunning coral reefs of Raja Ampat

From £1095 15 Days ex flights
Raja Ampat and North Sulawesi diving holiday

Raja Ampat and North Sulawesi diving holiday

Group adventure to North Sulawesi and Raja Ampat Dive Safari

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North Sulawesi and Raja Ampat snorkel safari

North Sulawesi and Raja Ampat snorkel safari

Group adventure snorkel and land safari to Indonesia

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Photo credits: [Page banner: Alexandra Rose] [Temp Chart: Ratha Grimes] [Help Desk: Max Mossler] [What diving experience is needed: Ratha Grimes] [Who travels to Raja Ampat: Kevin Dooley] [What to do beyond the water: bubusbubus]
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