Indonesia Snorkel+Dive

Best Snorkelling in Raja Ampat: Our 15 (Favourite) spots!

(NEW SPOTS ADDED - MAY 2019) When it comes to a good snorkel, it’s fair to say that we have some pretty high standards. We’ve been fortunate enough to have sampled some of the world’s finest reefs from the Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Philippines and Indonesia, but snorkelling in Raja Ampat was always number one on our bucket list.

Our guide to the best snorkelling in Raja Ampat

Here’s our guide of the best snorkelling in Raja Ampat. Raja Ampat is a world class snorkelling destination. In total we’ve spent almost 6 months in the region, exploring the many reefs throughout the Dampier Strait.

The sheer diversity of this pristine habitat is outstanding. The longer we spend here, the more apparent it has become that every island in Raja Ampat offers a new and exciting environment to explore.

Our 15 favourite snorkel spots in Raja Ampat

(1) Sauwandarek Village

Raja Ampat snorkelling sauwandarek village

Sauwandarek Village is located on the Southern coast of Pulau Mansuar, nestled in a picture perfect cove. Sauwandarek has something for everyone, and easily offers some of the best snorkelling in Raja Ampat.

There are a number of famous jetty’s in Raja Ampat, but we feel Sauwandarek’s is totally underrated! It’s beautiful underside is covered in colourful sea fans and soft corals amongst a mixing pot of friendly Angel Fish, Groupers and a resident Napoleon Wrasse.

Around 100 metres from the shore, in front of the jetty is Sauwandareks ‘sweet spot’. Out here in the blue there is a cleaning station where the big fish like to hang out. Colourful Sweet Lips, Giant Groupers, Trigger Fish, Reef Sharks and a school of bright blue and yellow Fusiliers easily make this one of the most scenic spots for snorkelling in Raja Ampat.

The house reef runs the entire length of the beach. Follow this along and discover a mind-blowing variety of marine life such as the giant sleeping Turtle, even more Reef Sharks, Groupers and swirling schools of Barracuda.

The warm clear shallows have a lot to offer too. There are healthy soft corals, pretty anemones, baby Black Tips and hungry Turtles, so don’t forget to check out this area as well. Once you’re wrinkly from all the snorkelling, dry off on the jetty or wander around the tiny village and play with the local children.

Coral: Excellent
Small Fish: Excellent
Big Fish: Excellent
Current: Mild to Medium
Experience: Beginner
Entry: From the jetty at high tide or the shore at low time

View in Google Maps

(2) Yenkoranu Jetty

The reef running from Yenkoranu to Mambetron Homestay on the North Shores of Kri is a classic Raja Ampat snorkelling spot. Entry is made from the jetty of Yenkoranu. From here, follow the drop-off along the coast to the black and white buoys at Mambetron.

The reef has a good mixture of hard and soft corals, along with excellent marine life including big schools of blue and yellow Fusiliers, Red Tooth Trigger Fish, large patterned Pufferfish, Black Tip Reef Sharks, Turtles and much more.

It’s clear visibility and unchallenging conditions give this veteran reef its good name. Personally we prefer something a little more risqué, but nonetheless it is hard to find fault in this very pretty drop-off. For children and beginner snorkelers, this is a great place to start.

Coral: Very Good
Small Fish: Very Good
Big Fish: Very Good
Current: Mild to Medium
Experience: Beginner
Entry: From the jetty at Yenkoranu Homestay, then head west

View in Google Maps

(3) Friwen Wall

Raja Ampat snorkelling friwen wall

Friwen Wall, a sliver of limestone next door to the tropical island of Friwen Bonda can be found near the Eastern tip of Pulau Gam… And the snorkelling here is sublime.

Depending on the current, work your way slowly along Friwens rocky under-hang. The wall itself drops off abruptly, but concentrate on the clear shallow waters and you will soon discover an alien underwater world.

The unusual coral infrastructure at Friwen Wall is kaleidoscopic. Its huge gorgonian fans in yellows, pinks and reds, black coral, purple pipe corals, swaying soft coral and iridescent sponges make this spot a feast for the eyes!

This pristine reef and healthy topography is home to an array of strange critters and heaps of impressive macro life such as Boxfish, Puffer and Porcupine Fish, Pygmy Seahorses, Nudis, Crustaceans and more.

Friwen Wall can be reached by boat, where it is possible to access a jetty and a small beach on the opposite side of the island.

Coral: Excellent
Small Fish: Excellent
Big Fish: Good
Current: Mild to Medium
Experience: Beginner
Entry: Make your entry depending on way the current is running and start or end your snorkel at the jetty.

View in Google Maps

(4) Sawinggrai Village

The pretty village of Sawinggrai located on Southern Gam, has just as much to explore underwater as it does overwater. Being mindful of the current running along the coastline here (it can be strong) enter from the main floating jetty, or approximately 2km to the right of the village, past Nudibranch Homestay depending on its direction.

Floating atop the drop-off you will see an interesting mixture of hard and soft corals plus plenty of colourful reef fish such as Butterfly Fish, Batfish, Blue and Yellow Boxfish. Although the shallows will call for your attention, don’t forget to keep your eyes on the blue as the big stuff has a habit of appearing out of nowhere. Expect to see Reef Sharks, Eagle Rays, Turtles, maybe even a passing Manta. The jetty itself is a great place to hang out, especially if you like looking for little things like Nudis and Mantis Shrimp. It’s also a great place for night snorkelling.

Coral: Very Good
Small Fish: Very Good
Big Fish: Very Good
Current: Medium to Strong
Experience: Intermediate
Entry: Depending on the direction of the current, enter via the jetty or by boat

View in Google Maps

(5) Arborek

Best snorkelling in Arborek

The tiny island of Arborek, reminiscent of a Maldivian Atoll, is famed for its jetty and the schools of fish spinning around it.

It is true that on a good day, the jetty is impressive. However in our humble opinion this site has been somewhat spoilt by the number of day tripping boats which moor here. Sometimes the volume of boats vs people far outweighs the fish.

Avoid the hoards by snorkelling out to the right of the main jetty to a special spot between the 2nd jetty and Barefoot Conservation. Around 100 metres from the shore, during the hours of 3 and 6pm there is a fish feeding frenzy!

Snorkelling Arborek around this time could honestly rival a dive. Shoals of glistening Mackerel open their wide mouths in unison as hunting Tuna and Giant Trevally chase them over mounds of pretty coral heads. If you’re lucky you may even spot a Shark, or a passing Manta or two!

Keep following the reef around past the Barefoot Conservation jetty and be greeted by a beautiful shallow reef of hard and soft corals, big fish and small. Before long you’ll reach an outcrop of hard coral where a huge family of Bumphead Parrotfish like to feed.

For us, we found some of the best snorkelling in Raja Ampat on Arborek. It’s a great place to stay and to visit on an excursion.

Coral: Very Good
Small Fish: Excellent
Big Fish: Good
Current: Mild to Strong
Experience: Beginner
Entry: From the main village jetty

View in Google Maps

(6) Beser Bay

Snorkelling in beser bay

There are several different spots to explore here which make this super special homestay an excellent choice for serious snorkel enthusiasts. The main house reef runs along the opening to the bay, looking out to Arborek. Keeping the mangroves to your left, follow this healthy reef for as long as you can. The best bit is at about 100km along. If you’re a strong swimmer its possible to reach the first village. This stretch is full of life and constant surprises. We’ve spotted Octopus, Mantas, Eagle Rays, Cuttlefish, Reef Sharks, Boxfish, Puffers, Seasnakes, Turtles, Dolphins and even Dugongs!

Be aware not to enter and exit the bay at low tide. The corals are incredibly shallow, making it almost impossible to reach the drop-off after a certain point. If you wish to snorkel at this time, it is better to enter at the bungalows of Ano Homestay. By swimming alongside the karst limestone outcrop to the left, it is possible to circle round to the front of the house reef, but be careful of the current on the way back.

The rear of the island is dotted with karst limestone islets, offering interesting snorkel opportunities and plenty of rocky under-hangs to explore. We love the weird coral sponges and brightly coloured anemones. If you enjoy hunting for critters such as Seahorses, Pipefish and Nudibranches then this is your place!

Beser Bays surrounding lagoon is yet another great place to snorkel. These warm shallows act as a nursing home for baby Black Tip Sharks, Blue Spotted Sting Rays, Squid, Clownfish, Clams and of course the famous Walking Shark. If you like to night snorkel, expect to see huge Sea Slugs, Crocodile Fish, Scorpionfish, Crabs, Punching Shrimp and many other critters in the sand.

After spending just over two months here, we consider Beser Bay and its surrounding reefs as one of the top homestays for the best coral snorkelling in Raja Ampat.

Coral: Excellent
Small Fish: Excellent
Big Fish: Excellent
Current: Medium to Strong
Experience: Beginner to Advanced
Entry: Best during high tide

View in Google Maps

(7) Citrus Ridge

If you fancy going a little further afield from the main Dampier Strait, then we recommend the mystical Citrus Ridge. This intriguing spot is tucked between a mangrove channel hidden in the southern most depths of Gam.

It’s fairly well-known to liveaboards, so the likelihood is you won’t be the lone boat, but trust when we say that this site will leave you feeling incredibly remote.

Enter the drop-off at the broken jetty in front of the beach and follow the reef back round to the main channel of water, keeping the mangrove forest to your right. It gets pretty deep in places, but the water is crystal clear with visibility up to 15 metres.

If you enjoy freediving this is an excellent place to do so. Impressive pastel soft corals sway gently on the sea floor, while the shallow areas offer brightly coloured sponges in all shapes and sizes. Balls of mesmerising Fusiliers can be found relaxing on top of the reef.

After approximately 500 metres, make the bold crossing over to the opposite side of the channel, keeping a look out for boat traffic. You’ll feel like a small fish in a big ocean, but trust us its worth the slightly nerve-wracking swim. On the other side, follow the reef along to the left.

The best spot is at the tip of the land mass. There is a lot to see here – the highlight for us was a huge Wobbegong Shark swimming towards us. The surge can be strong, but riding the bright turquoise waves makes for an exhilarating snorkel!

Coral: Excellent
Small Fish: Very Good
Big Fish: Excellent
Current: Medium
Experience: Intermediate / Advanced
Entry: From the broken jetty stilts by the beach

View in Google Maps

(8) Tamaku Reef

Raja Ampat snorkelling tamaku reef

Hidden in the depths of Manyaifun, en route to Wayag, is Tamaku Reef. You might have trouble finding it, but trust us, it is well worth the wild goose chase. This long, thin atoll rises within one metre of the surface and it really is what coral reef dreams are made of!

Warm, clear waters lap around the outskirts of a pristine reef, offering a variety of eye-popping hard and soft corals and a wide array of fish species. We were particularly impressed by the volume of colourful Anthias and hunting Black Tip Reef Sharks. When you picture some of the best snorkelling in Raja Ampat, this could well be it!

Coral: Excellent
Small Fish: Excellent
Big Fish: Very Good
Current: Mild to Medium
Experience: Beginner
Entry: By boat

View in Google Maps

(9) Yenbuba Jetty

Raja Ampat snorkelling yenbuba jetty

Probably the 2nd most famous jetty in Raja Ampat is Yenbuba, on the tip of Pulau Mansuar. But there is more to this place than just stilts in the water as a healthy reef runs either side and is home to many wonderful fish, in all shapes and sizes. The jetty offers pretty fans and soft corals, plus the local kids who love to dive-bomb in from the top!

From here, snorkel across to the island of Kri past the tiny islet of Raniswor. This exciting and adventurous crossing is advised for the more confident snorkeller, since the current running between the two islands can be strong. But if you make it, expect to see lots of big stuff like Sharks, Puffers, Triggerfish and Turtles.

Coral: Very Good
Small Fish: Excellent
Big Fish: Excelllent
Current: Medium to Strong
Experience: Beginner to Advanced
Entry: Via the jetty

View in Google Maps

(10) Mangrove Reef

Just to the left of the main entrance to the mangrove channel leading to Citrus Ridge, is Mangrove Reef. This rarely visited dive site stretches along Gam for at least 1km. And from our experience, it is not for the faint-hearted. Depending on the conditions, the surge mixed with a strong current can be hard work.

However, this extreme snorkel spot will reward you no end with it’s excellent visibility, stunning coral formations and impressive schools of fish. Trevally, Jacks, Tuna, Barracuda, Fusiliers, you name it, they are all there. The reef is untouched, unusual and teeming with life. This site really sums up what it is all about for us and easily offers some of the best snorkelling in Raja Ampat. Just be sure your boat captain is in sight in case you need a break from the waves.

Coral: Excellent
Small Fish: Excellent
Big Fish: Excellent
Current: Medium to Strong
Experience: Advanced
Entry: By boat

View in Google Maps

(11) Cape Kri

Raja Ampat snorkelling Cape Kri

One of the most loved sites for diving and snorkelling in Raja Ampat, but it is not for the faint hearted! This vast cape reaches across from the Eastern tip of of Kri to the island and sandbank of Pasir Timbul.

For snorkellers, it is important to get the timing right with Cape Kri. If the current is too strong, it is easy to get blown off course. Fins are a necessity at this site.

The reef itself is deep, so be prepared to spend a lot of time looking down into the blue. However, your efforts will be compensated by big pelagics and vast schools of fish. This thrilling snorkel will set pulses racing.

Further along from the cape, just off to the left of the small island of Pasir Timbul, there is some excellent snorkelling to be had. We don’t know the official name of this site (maybe its just an extension of Cape Kri?) But, if you can get your boat to moor at the island we highly recommend checking this spot out. The reef here is much shallower and easier for the less experienced.

Coral: Very Good
Small Fish: Very Good
Big Fish: Excelllent
Current: Medium to Strong
Experience: Intermediate to Advanced
Entry: By boat

View in Google Maps

(12) Otdima Reef

Using the village of Yenbekwan on Mansuar and Papua Explorers on Gam as rough landmarks, Otdima is somewhere in between the two, in the middle of the Dampier Strait. It took a few attempts before we found it, but when we did, the reward was well worth our efforts. A reef rarely frequented, we love its detachment from boats, land and any other people. It is a place to be alone with the ocean.

For snorkelers, it is recommended to visit at low tide since the reef is 4-5 metres at it’s shallowest. If you freedive, this is heaven. The coral is mostly hard, but it is vast, and smothered in small fish. In fact it is probably one of the single most fishy snorkel spots we’ve ever been to.

Highways of different species drift in between the corals, everything is alive and moving. While all of this action is going on, full size Black Tip Sharks advance from the blue while Eagle Rays occasionally grace their presence. It is a reef full of surprises and worth spending time on to truly appreciate.

On the topside, swimming in the open ocean is a pretty cool experience. Pods of dolphins play on the outskirts of the reef, teasing you with their presence. For divers, the current here is known to be strong, but in our snorkelling experience it was relatively mild (or maybe we got lucky). Either way, make sure your boat stays close in case you need assistance.

Coral: Excellent
Small Fish: Excellent
Big Fish: Excellent
Current: Mild to Medium
Experience: Intermediate / Advanced
Entry: By boat

For location please comment your interest and we will email you the coordinates.

(13) Batu Lima

Best snorkelling in Batu Lima

Batu Lima or ‘5 Rocks’ is a small outcrop of, well, rocks located 300 metres or so from Yenanas Beach on Pulau Gam.

This unusual formation of nooks and crannies is a fun place to explore as the resident schooling fish glisten and swoop in and out of its dark spaces offering plenty of hiding places from prying snorkellers and divers.

Around the rocks, there are many coral bommies covered in beautiful gorgonian fans. Making your way across the channel and back to the beach, there is more reef to explore but be careful of passing boats and an occasional current.

Yenanas’s house reef is a stunning coral garden with next to no current, so perfect for inexperienced snorkellers.

Coral: Very Good
Small Fish: Very Good
Big Fish: Good
Current: Medium
Experience: Intermediate
Entry: From Yenanas Beach

View in Google Maps

(14) Kapisawar Jetty

Technically this could be classed as an extension of Beser Bay, since the drop-off runs from the homestay all the way along the mangroves to the village of Kapisawar on Gam. It’s a pretty epic snorkelling session to go there and back (approx 6km total) so we often get dropped off at Kapisawar Jetty, and snorkel back home from there.

Aside from a couple of homestays hidden in the mangroves, this is not a well-known snorkelling site, but we confirm that it is worth a look-see. This reef is intact and breathtakingly beautiful. The current can be strong, turning into more of a drift in places, but floating above this incredible coral is simply a joy. It’s also worth noting that after a storm or high waves, this area can be susceptible to low vis and a collection of debris on the surface. But don’t let this put you off, keep your head down and enjoy the view.

The marine life is all you could ask for. We’ve seen Mantas, Eagle Rays, Reef Sharks, Turtles, Cuttlefish, Seasnakes amongst many other species of fish.

Coral: Excellent
Small Fish: Very Good
Big Fish: Medium
Current: Medium to Strong
Experience: Intermediate to Advanced
Entry: From Kapisawar Jetty

View in Google Maps

(15) Secret snorkelling spots

Raja Ampat is known to be one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. It is also an area which is vastly unexplored. During our most recent trip (2018/19) we set out on a mission: to find some new locations and secret spots!

By scanning a satellite map of the area, we embarked on a number of exploratory snorkel trips. With help from our local boat guides (and a little trial and error) we discovered a whole new set of reefs – pristine, untouched and far from other traffic. Some of these sites are not that easy to find, neither are they for the less experienced snorkeller, since their current conditions can be more unpredictable.

We wish to protect these special areas, so have decided not to promote them on our list. However, if you’re serious about snorkelling and you like getting off the beaten track, please drop us a comment below and we’ll email you the coordinates to these secret snorkel spots.

Tips for snorkelling in Raja Ampat

Some of the best snorkelling in Raja Ampat was more wild and free than anywhere else we’ve experienced! However the wilderness doesn’t come without its challenges, so we have a few first-hand tips to share with you.

Currents and safety guidelines

Raja Ampat is renowned for its strong currents. It is important to know when it is safe to swim, as a strong current could lead to unpredictable situations. In a place as remote as Raja Ampat, this is potentially very dangerous.

Currents are felt more so during a snorkel, as they run closer to the surface, but it can be possible to evaluate the situation from above. Look for tell-tale signs such as areas that are flat and glassy mixed with swirling choppy water.

If you think you can feel a strong current building, stay as close to the reef or rocks as possible and turn the snorkel around or head back to the shore if you don’t feel safe.

If you’re heading out alone, tell someone where you’re going and give them a rough direction. Whether this is a friend, fellow guest or homestay owner its important for people to know where you are, especially when snorkelling in such a remote location.

Be sure to avoid contact with all marine life, including the reef. Coral stings for example, can be incredibly painful and hard to heal in hot and humid places such as Raja Ampat.

Snorkel Clothing

The waters in Raja Ampat are alive and brimming with life! There can be a lot of plankton, swaying fire coral and little stinging jellyfish so cover up with full length rash guards (tops and bottoms) to protect your skin.

Although the sea is warm here, after hours of snorkelling you will start to feel cold. These extra protective layers will come in handy. Plus you’ll be protected from the sun and more respectful to the local people.

Ear care and cleaning

Ear infections are rife in Raja Ampat. If you are unfortunate enough to get one, they will put a stop to all of your underwater activities.

Take preventative measures and always flush out your ears with freshwater. We cannot stress how important it is to administer disinfectant drops, to dry and clean your ears after snorkelling. We use a homemade mix of alcohol and white vinegar.

Snorkel Gear

We highly recommend wearing fins while snorkelling in Raja Ampat. Not only will they help you glide through the water, but if you get caught in a current, fins make a huge difference. They really are for your own safety. We really like the Mares Avanti Quattros, which are specifically designed for handling strong currents.

We prefer to use open back fins which allow for reef shoes or booties to be worn. These are a bit of a necessity in Raja Ampat! Navigating your way out to a reef over sharp dead coral at low tide is painful. We wear the Mares Equator 2mm dive boots, which are super comfy and pack down really small, so a great choice if you are travelling light.

Rental equipment is very hard to come by here, especially if you’re staying in a traditional Papuan homestay so it is best to bring your own mask, snorkel, fins and reef shoes.

Lastly with all these insanely beautiful reefs to explore, an underwater camera is a must! We use the GoPro Hero 5 mostly when freediving for wide angle and video, and the Sony RX100 M3 which is excellent for capturing macro, stills and video.

For more information don’t forget to check out our essential packing list for snorkelers.

Discovering the best snorkelling in Raja Ampat

 Raja Ampat Jetty snorkelling

We soon learnt that whether you are a lover of the big stuff, colourful coral reefs or tiny macro, there is never a lack of life. The only downside is, that snorkelling in Raja Ampat may be impossible to beat…

Have we been spoilt for life? Quite possibly! But thats ok, we’re already planning our next trip 😉 Want to go? Check out our Raja Ampat Travel Guide.

Did you enjoy this snorkel + dive guide and want to read more like this? Subscribe to the Remote and Afloat newsletter for regular updates!


  1. Good afternoon. Excellent blog with a lot of highly detailed information. I got the links on tripadvisor and will be visiting RA from end of January till mid-February. I’ve got a few basic questions about the region and wonder if this is an appropriate place to post them?

    1. James – Many thanks for your comment. Really pleased to hear you’ve found the blog helpful, also great to know where you found us!

      Sure no problem, this is the best place to post any questions you have, we shall look forward to hearing from you soon.


      1. Hi Nick. One question I have is about various trips you can take from whichever island you’re staying on. How long is a typical “day trip” from start to finish? What sort of day trips are offered from Arborek and Kri (the two places we’ll be staying)? And one trip specifically, from Arborek to Piaynemo, I’ve been keen to do a high resolution panorama of the karst islands for ages and just wondering what time of day (if you even know) is best so that the sun is to my side or back. I’d hate to visit only to find the sun is in front of me and the trip is so short that I can’t wait around till the lighting is better. A final question: as the homestays are very basic, I’m guessing they don’t provide towels, so we’re going to need to pack a couple?

        1. Hi James – The length of your trips is entirely up to you and the guests you may be sharing the boat with, but they would usually last anywhere between 3 to 5 hours. Homestays are generally very flexible – there is not a time limit from our experience and if you want to take a full day trip a lunch box can be arranged. We personally like to get out early, leaving around 8am so we can be back between 1-2pm. Homestay’s will normally take you wherever you wish.

          The sun will be on your back from afternoon until sunset for the Piaynemo viewpoint photo. Arborek is not so far to Piaynemo so I am sure you will have ample time there, as long as the weather treats you kindly.

          Yes most homestay’s have towels, just in case, we always travel with Microfibre towels which are very handy since they pack down well and dry quickly. I hope this answers your questions but give us a shout if anything else comes to mind.


          1. Hi Nick. The boats used to transport people between islands…. are they similar to the longtail boats in Thailand? And I’m curious which camera you used for your underwater photos (they look very good). I’m using an Olympus TG-4 which gets good results (once I remove all the back-scatter on Photoshop). From the looks of some of the photos I’ve seen from RA the water seems even more clear that what I saw in the Maldives or Philippines….

          2. Hi James, In terms of their size and open-top nature, the local boats in Papua are quite similar to Thai longtails, however they are nearly always powered by Yamaha or Suzuki outboard engines which are considerably faster and more efficient than the ones you see in Thailand.

            The current underwater photos and video footage on our blog have been shot with a GoPro Hero 5, however our new camera is a Sony RX100 M3 which we much prefer. We’ve heard great things about the Olympus series too!

            Visibility in Raja Ampat varies greatly from day to day throughout the year. However May to September probably offers a better chance of clearer visibility as plankton subsides during these months. The drawback to this means less mantas and other big fish action. Generally though, we found the visibility to be less than the locations you have mentioned.

            Thanks again for your comments and for subscribing to our blog.

            Best wishes, Nick

          3. Hi Nick. Are the boats used to transfer between islands similar to the long-tail boats in Thailand? As well, just curious which camera you used for your underwater photos. They look very sharp and there doesn’t appear to be much back-scatter in the photos at all…. the water must be very clear.

          4. I posted similar messages twice…. I thought I unwittingly unsubscribed from your site, so I posted again. Guess I was wrong…. 🙂

          5. Thanks very much Nick. We’ll be in RA next week, so now time to get ready to enjoy the trip. Have a great nite ~~

    1. Hi Sammy,

      Thank you so much for your comment, we are so pleased that you have enjoyed our website and found the blog helpful to planning your trip!

      I am writing to you from our bungalow at Beser Bay, we really hope you love it here as much as we do.

      Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

      Nick & Claire.

    1. Hi Frank,

      Thanks so much for your comment and for the update on Friwen Wall. We are very saddened to hear this news. We’re travelling in Raja Ampat again right now, but haven’t made our way over there yet.

      We’ve spent the past few weeks on a snorkel exploration in the region discovering some new sites, and what we have found has been truly mind blowing – We really hope the reefs stay that way.

      Anyway, enjoy your trip to Raja Ampat and wishing you a very Happy New Year!

      All the best,
      Claire & Nick.

    2. I have visited Friwen wall two times with a gap of two years. Seems that the reef is losing corals i think due to tourism since a lot of people snorkel there with sunscreen wich is finally chocking the polips of the corals.. a paradise is getting lost. Such a pitty

  2. Thanks for this.

    Based on your data we did a 4 night expedition. We did two days at Waranus homestay (there are multiple adjoining homestays as alternates) where we did;

    Sauwandarek Village, Yenbuba Jetty, Waranus house reef and Cape Kri (we were here at high tide so the currents were not strong).

    On the way to Beser Bay (where we spent 2 nights) we did Friwen wall, Aborek and added Manta point which was not on your list. This was a highlight, swimming metres away from Mantas.

    The inlet where the Beser Bay homestay is based is a nursery and around the night high tide the fauna is mind blowing. Every night there were dozens of baby sharks and stingrays right under your sleeping quarters. Whatsmore, walking sharks were everywhere, especially on the waters edge between the huts. Have a spotlight handy.

    We saw the walking sharks hiding during the day under rocks under the large rock opposite the bungalows (about 50m away).

    While snorkelling in front of the Beser Bay huts during the day there were many sea snakes. Garfish were hunting and fishing eagles? were taking fish as we reclined on our verandas.

    The house reef is healthy with abundant clown fish. Go left out of the inlet and keep 50 to 100m offshore (directly in front of the mangroves which go all the way to the local village).

    It worked well and all worth a visit.

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience with us Geoff! Really pleased that you found our information useful. We love the reefs around Beser Bay too, the marine life there is impressive. Having just returned from our forth trip to Raja Ampat, we will be updating this post shortly with a number of new discoveries, including an excellent place to see the Mantas.

      All the best, Claire & Nick

  3. Your lives and this website are fabulous, congratulations! Active seniors hoping to check RA off our bucket list and could use your help. Lots of great detailed info. Many variables to this questions but here goes-can you recommend your top 2 snorkeling locations/home stays for seniors who are a bit timid in the water but love the experience. Our goal is to see assorted marine life with mostly house reef from the shore excursions. Wife not a big fish eater and a bit worried about homestay menu offerings-loves rice, noodles and veggies. Love the homestay option with opportunity to see villages and meet the locals. Many trips to Indonesia, hope to add Raja to our memory book. Many thanks for your good work!

    1. Hello Christa, Thank you so much for your comment. Great to hear you’re ticking off that bucket list and considering a trip to Raja Ampat. Good for you! Have a look at Yenros Homestay on Gam which has a small, protected house reef. Neighbouring Yenanas Beach/Batu Lima is also a very nice spot with a healthy reef.

      If you’re looking for assorted marine life, the village of Sauwandarek on the island of Mansuar is an excellent location in a large protected bay. The snorkelling here is accessible from the shore at high tide or jetty – its one of our favourite spots. Unfortunately there are no homestays in this area, so the only way of reaching it is by taking an excursion. Another good place would be Friwen Wall. It’s a gentle drift snorkel that has beautiful corals. Raja Ampat can have strong currents, so you do have to be careful (we strongly recommend packing your own fins).

      Yes the homestay experience is wonderful and in our opinion is the best way of truly experiencing Raja Ampat. If you’d like to explore local life, Sawinggrai and Kapisawor villages on Gam, Arborek or Friwen Bonda are all worth a visit.

      Regarding food, fish and eggs are the main source of protein on the menu, however this does vary from homestay to homestay. We loved the food (and pretty much everything else) at Beser Bay on Gam, however we wouldn’t necessarily recommend this homestay to you, as getting out to the reef can be challenging. Most Papuan families are quite accommodating so I’m sure if you notified the kitchen with your wife’s requirements they would do their best to cater to you. We’re big fans of the veggie dishes served in Raja Ampat, often delicious aubergine and coconut curries, lots of greens too.

      Hope this helps answer your questions, if you need any more info then do let us know – Claire & Nick

  4. Hi, Claire & Nick

    I would like to know : how did you manage to go to Tamaku Reef ? In which homestay were you based, then? How much did this trip cost? In your last stay, did you returned there? If yes, did you noticed any changes?

    1. Hi Marine – We took a rather intrepid day trip from Beser Bay Homestay on Gam to Manyaifun, and visited Tamaku Reef as part of the excursion. It cost us 4 million IDR for the boat (split between 8 people). Although we thoroughly enjoyed the experience/adventure, we would not necessarily recommend visiting Tamaku or Manyaifun on a day trip since it takes around 2-3 hours to reach from Gam/Kri/Mansuar. The journey is long, through open waters and sea conditions can be unpredictable. Also Tamaku is not the easiest reef to find, so you really need a boat captain who is familiar with the area. You would probably be better off finding a homestay in Manyaifun if you wanted to visit Tamaku. Although we have not personally stayed there, a good friend (also a regular Raja Ampat traveller) recommends Bon Wauw Homestay.

      We didn’t go back to Tamaku during our most recent trip to Raja Ampat, so cannot comment on any changes, however we did venture out past the western tip of Gam (enroute to Manyaifun) to sample some of the lesser known reefs, which were absolutely spectacular and very untouched. This area is really off the beaten track so can only imagine that Tamaku it is still intact. Will be updating this post shortly with newly discovered snorkel spots – so please watch this space 😉 Thanks for your comment – Claire & Nick

      1. Hi Claire & Nick

        I am so glad to read you and very impatient to read your update! 🙂
        The trip from Gam is indeed very expensive (divided by 8, it seems more reasonable but it should be, as you add, better to start from Manyafun area itself. Thanks for your advice.
        I hope you’ll give details about the western tip of Gam spots in your next update ( I also hope that ” shortly” is not at the indonesian time but at the western time… well, that it means really soooon because I am really eager to read more from you about the last trip).
        So, of course, I keep an eye on this space!

        1. Hehehe aww we thank you for both your eagerness and patience Marine 🙏🏽 We’re aiming to have the update posted within the next two weeks, currently working our way through heaps of snorkel footage from the trip (plus another exciting project in the pipeline 😉) We’d be happy to drop you an email once its live if you like?

          1. Sure! (Great news!)
            I guess the choice is hard! I will remain impatiently patient for the next two weeks! 🙂 Will we know more about the other exciting project in the pipeline ?
            I try to organize a future 5 weeks trip in November in Raja Ampat (a dream from many years). so all your feedback are very precious to me.

  5. Hello
    We stay at Kamar Raja homestay on West Waigeo who bring us at Tamaku reef last february. I think most of the coral is dead, but perhaps they do not bring us at the good place ?
    I made a video of Tamaku reef in youtube (search : tsarabanjina + tamaku), perhaps you can recognize the areo (or not) ?
    In the same area you have Aljui bay, I think it is the most beautiful spot I ever saw (youtube : tsarabanjina + aljui bay) but no big fish.
    Please can you give me your secrets spots ?

    1. Hi Catherine, thank you for your comment! We watched your YouTube footage, it is really beautiful. It’s hard to say from the video whether this is the same spot, however we know from experience that Tamaku Reef is not easy to find (unless your guide/homestay knows the area very well). We visited a number of other reefs in Manyaifun which did have a lot of dead coral and showed signs of bleaching, but Tamaku was pristine. Look out for an email from us with the secret spots – Nick

      1. Ok Thank you, I think they do not bring us at the good area (so sad).
        Do you sent the mail with secrets spots ? I do not receive it ..
        Best regards.

  6. Thanks a lot for you excelent Info
    we whants to go to Raja Ampat in October
    so your Info is very fine for us
    We Whants to stay at the Raja Ampat Biodiversity

    Much Greetings Ralf

    1. Hi Ralf, thank you for your comment! We’ve stayed in the homestay next door to Raja Ampat Biodiversity and can say that the resort looks very nice, the house reef and beach are beautiful! Have a great trip – Nick.

  7. I have been two times to remote places on Raja Ampat. I cannot dive since my ears wont let me. I would love to get the secret spots in a private mail since i definatelly want to go back! is my e mail

    1. Hello Toby, thanks for sharing your experience of Friwen. In our opinion the snorkelling in Raja Ampat rivals the diving 😉 Will drop you an email with the secret spots as soon as possible – Nick.

  8. Hy, thanks for your useful suggestions, we planned a trip in a RA in August, we are experienced snorkellers and beginners divers. We would like to explore some of your secret snorkelling spots, can you disclose to us and suggest how to reach this spots? Did you have a local guide from Homestay? Can we get in touch with?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Fil, thank you for your comment and for subscribing to our blog 🙂 No we didn’t have a guide, only a boat captain from the homestay who helped us navigate to the sites using google maps. We had to check the conditions ourselves and use our best judgement, so we do recommend that if you go to the secret sites you are a confident swimmmer and experienced in currents, especially as they are mostly open ocean. Will drop you an email with coordinates as soon as possible – Nick.

  9. Hi
    Thanks for such great contribution. I have been to some spots in your post and I plan to revisit R4 next year. Grateful if you could share with me your secret sites?

    Thank you

  10. Hi Nick

    Great Information and really appreciate the effort, We arrived in Raja Amapt on our yacht back in December 2018 and love it so my much have decided to stay for the rest of the year. We are avid snorkelers and have already checked out many of your suggested site,s some many times.
    Would really appreciate the information on Otdima Reef and any other site information you have on file

    Murray & Carol

    1. Hi Carol & Murray, thanks for your lovely comment. Wow you lucky things, you’re literally living our dream!! We completely relate to you falling in love with Raja Ampat and not wanting to leave… Will drop you an email with the details as soon as possible – Nick

  11. Hi Nick,

    Thank you so much for all the wonderful, helpful information. Can you please send me an email with the secret snorkeling spots. We are avid snorkelers and will be heading to RA in November.

    Also, if you had to recommend one homestay with the best house reef for the most phenomenal snorkeling which would you recommend?

    Thanks so much!!

    All my best,

    1. Hi Elizabeth – Thank you for your comment, we’re so pleased you’ve found our blog helpful. Amazing, November is a great time to visit as you’ll have a good chance of snorkelling with the mantas. Have you read our homestay reviews and recommendations yet? We’ve outlined all aspects, including each house reef. Our personal favourite is Beser Bay on Gam. The snorkelling around this area is vast and varied, with so many reefs to explore. Other than that, the homestay itself is absolutely fantastic. In our opinion, it offers the full package! Look out for an email from us with the secret spots. Thanks again – Nick

  12. Aloha Nick,
    Would love details on the secret snorkeling spots please. Fantastic blog, what an adventure!
    Thank you,

  13. Hi,

    thank you for your great post!
    we are at raja ampat in two weeks with two kids. Would you sent us the location of your secret spots? That would be very kind 😉

    have a nice day,

    1. Hi Marc, thanks for your kind words! Look out for an email from us with the secret spots – please note that they may not be suitable for children as they are mostly open ocean with current.

  14. hi Nick and Claire,
    We are returning to Raja Ampat in a few weeks, and we can’t wait to be one with the ocean and sea marine life again. I also plan to print out this blog entry to have the list of your best 15 snorkel sites to share with our homestay mates, but can you please send me your secret snorkel sites too? I’ve read many of your blog posts and they are such a useful resource guide for the whole world. Thank you for sharing, and also reminding everyone we have a part to play in being nature conservationists in our own ways, as we partake in Mother Nature’s beauty.
    Also do you have any spots you love around Batanta?

    1. Hi Sheila,

      Thanks for your kind words, we’re happy that you found our guide helpful. I’ve just sent you the coordinates to our other spots, please check your email (also junk/spam folder just in case).

      We also might be in Raja Ampat in a few weeks time, maybe we will cross paths. Have you decided on a Homestay yet?

      1. Nick thanks for the secret coordinates, yes, we are going to be staying at Biryei Homestay on P. Birie, next to P. Batanta from Sept 7-14. We’re really excited about this trip, because we’re bringing along my best friend, my sister and her Danish husband. We plan to use Biryei as a base, and travel to various islands such as Mansuar, Kri, Wai, Arborek, Dayan, and Piaynemo. This will be a reconnaissance trip for my sister and partner as they are divers/snorkelers, so they can find out more about the vibes of the various islands and where they may want to stay in the future when they return for dive trips. I’m pretty sure they will all be returning to R4 in the future as they live in Singapore now and R4 is at their backyard. My husband and I live in Seattle USA now, and we have to travel a very long way to reach R4. We are so envious of them. We cannot wait to get back into the blue waters and immerse ourselves into nature and snorkel again.

        1. You are very welcome Sheila. Sounds like you have a great trip planned, the journey from Seattle is well worth it. I don’t doubt for a second that your sister and her husband will return, we’re also doing our best to get back there as much as possible whilst based in asia. It is too good not to! Enjoy the snorkel spots and hope we see you out there.

  15. Thanks Claire and Nick for your super helpful travel tips on Raja Ampat. I’m planning a trip next year and my friend and I are keen snorkelers and divers, so I’ve read all of your recommendations. Would love to see your list of secret snorkel spots too if you’re happy to share them with us? We are both nature lovers and would be very respectful of the marine life in the area. Thank you for sharing your knowledge! This blog has been the best resource I’ve found.

    1. Thanks for your kind feedback Tori, it means a lot to us! Great to hear you are planning a trip to Raja and of course we’d be very happy to share our secret spots with you. Look out for an email from us (please check your junk/spam folder just in case) – All the best, Claire & Nick

  16. you are a god send, just what us snorkelers want! so informative and now I can’t wait go to to RA next year. I only have 1 week to spare and thinking of doing 3 nights in Beser bay, 3 nights at Kiri island and 1 night in some other island. Can your recommend the best and easy acces from these 2 islands? Also I will be going on my own, if I were to rent a boat with the captain for a day how much will that be? I also would love to know the secret spots that you mentioned. Thanx in advance and just know that your blog is helping a lot of us and is making my planning much easier

    1. Hi Shamsul, based on your current itinerary I would recommend Arborek, which is easily accessible from Beser Bay. It offers something different from both Gam and Kri, since there is a vibrant local village. The snorkeling opportunities are also good, with easy access reefs directly from the shore. A one night stay would be ideal.

      Regarding boat rental costs, these really depend on the distance you wish to travel. For a snorkel trip from Beser Bay to Sauwandarek jetty on Mansuar for example, you should expect to pay approx 800-1mil IDR. Since you are travelling alone, our recommendation would be to try and arrange boat trips with other guests from your homestay (this is common practice) to help spread the cost. It is also a lot of fun.

      Look out for an email from us with the secret spots, please double check your junk folder just in case. Thanks for commenting, appreciate your feedback and glad we can be of help – All the best, Nick

      1. thanx Nick, i will certainly look more into that. I am also thinking about staying 1 night in Pyanemu Island as i saw how amazing the photos online . Have you been?

  17. Sorry for my bad English. We are starting soon, I hope our journey of a lifetime to Raja Ampat.
    We love snorkeling. Thanks to your website, we already have an outline of our travel plan.
    I have a question: do you recommend to book accommodation for the entire stay, or only the first place and then search already on the spot?

    Best wishes,

    1. Hi Jack, thanks for your comment! You don’t necessarily have to book in advance as homestays are generally very flexible. However, arranging accommodation out there can be quite challenging due to a lack of phone signal and unreliable internet. Walk-ins are possible, but don’t forget that there are many islands to choose from and most homestays can only be reached by boat.

      If you have a particular homestay in mind, I would recommend making a reservation via especially if you travel during the peak season of Nov-Jan. There is no payment upfront, so you have nothing to lose by pre-booking, but if you decide not to stay, do cancel with the homestay at least a few days prior so they can make the room available again. Hope this is helpful and have a great time – Nick

      1. I’m sorry to reply so late, but I found your email in spam just now.
        We are going to RA next week, so happy 😊.
        As you suggest, I made more reservations in remote places. On the last days of our trip, on Kri, we’ll find something on the spot, I hope.
        Can You share some of Your secret spots around Gam and Kri, please.

        Thank You so much – Jack


  18. Hi guys

    Thanks so much for your comprehensive guide!

    I am a solo traveller and an avid (although beginner) snorkeler. I want to travel to Raja Ampat this November and will have around 5-7 days. I really want to have the option to do day trips on boats to more remote parts of the islands for snorkelling. How do you arrange the boat trips? Is it just through the homestay? Do you think they would take 1 snorkeler?

    Also, I really want to see Mantas, sea turtles and baby sharks. Where is the best place to snorkel to see these?

    Thanks !!

    1. HI Kirsty,

      You can arrange boat trip excursions with your homestay host. Most homestays have their own private boats which are used for day trips or excursions for the homestay guests. You pay for the day trip depending on the distance (gas and time), and the excursion cost is divided on how many guests are on that trip, so if you are alone, you can always try to find other guests from the same homestay or nearby homestays to share costs.

      Pulau Dayan is famous for manta ray sightings. In November, they are more commonly seen. I saw 5 in Batanta, near Pulau Birie. We snorkeled and saw sea turtles everyday, sharks as long as 5 and 6 ft were common. Our favorite places to snorkel for big fish and big schools were Yenbuba jetty and Sawanderek jetty on pulau Mansuar. Pulau Dayan was good for micro stuff, saw anemone and tiny shrimp and lots of small colorful coral that made up a kaleidascope underwater garden. Some of the best snorkeling can be done around Pulau Wai, and Pasir Timbul Kri Batanta.

      1. Hi Kirsty, greetings from Raja Ampat! Sorry for the delayed reply, we have been travelling for the past couple of days. The best way of arranging boat trips is directly with your homestay host, who will be happy to take you whether you are a solo snorkeller or not 🙂 A little tip is to try and get a group of snorkellers together (other guests from your homestay) so you can split the boat cost, as fuel prices are notoriously high in Raja Ampat.

        Great to hear you are planning a trip in November! This is the beginning of manta season. There is a fantastic spot in the open ocean between Beser Bay on Gam and the island of Arborek, where we have found numerous mantas. We recommend going out to find them on days where the ocean is completely flat (like glass) so you can spot them from the surface. If you stay at Beser Bay homestay, the team here can arrange a manta snorkel trip for you. The homestay sits in a lagoon which attracts baby black tip reef sharks. They usually appear at dusk and dawn, and love to hang around the stilts of your bungalow 🙂

        Turtles are a common siting at most snorkel spots in Raja Ampat, but we can definitely recommend Sauwandarek on Mansuar and the cape between Kri and Yenbuba jetty where they are commonly spotted!

        Hope this is helpful for you & wishing you a fantastic trip – Claire & Nick

  19. Hi Nick, I need some recommendation for homestay 3 or 4 days with a greater possibility to see manta rays. I do only snorkelling and I was already at Raja Ampat 3 times , ones at homestay at Kri island, once 7 days on boat to Wayag island and also on a boat to Misool islands. I also went once to Komodo islands. I saw those wonderful creatures only once for short time on my trip to Wayag and we almost missed that. On other trips I was not so lucky. I will probably take a boat tour again but I want add to that a few days at some home stay where I would have more opportunity to see mantas. I am planning to go to Raja Ampat in February next year.

    1. Hi Gojko our recommendation would be to stay at homestays located either on the south western end of Gam, West Mansuar or Arborek. Here, you will be in close proximity to some of the best manta snorkel spots, such as manta sandy, manta ridge and on calm flat days they’re relatively easily spotted at the surface around these sites. Many homestay’s will have their own spots to see mantas, but unless the seas are very flat sitings can be difficult.

      Our favourite homestays in this vicinity would be Beser Bay/Ano on Gam or Kayafyof on Arborek, all of which we can recommend to you. Thanks for your comment, enjoy your trip – Nick

  20. Hi.thanks for the info, very useful post
    We are planning our third visit to Raja Ampat in 3 weeks . we dont want to spend too much money in snorkelling trips to the more popular places like Fam, Kabul bay ,airborek Wayag because we have been there already So we are thinking in stay in sawandarek (now there is 2 homestays there) and maybe Eastern Gam (it looks like there is great beach snorkell there) Also Batanta looks great for snorkell . Have you been there ?
    We would like to know about your “secret spots”,having in mind we have been already in the most popular snorkelling/diving spots.
    Thanks a lot

    1. Hi Eva, Your third trip – Fantastic! The snorkelling from Sauwandarek is very good, especially if you like big fish. It never fails to impress us, so we would recommend it if you haven’t been there already. The village also has a beautiful beach. From there, you can hike into the jungle to explore a hidden lake. We tend to find the snorkelling better towards the west of Gam, have you been to Citrus Ridge or Mangrove? (Several of our secret spots are in this area). We’ve yet to reach Batanta, but are in Raja Ampat now and plan to scope out more new reefs, so watch this space! Look out for an email for us with the coordinates for the secret snorkel spots. Thanks for your comment and maybe see you on a reef somewhere in the next few weeks! All the best – Nick

  21. Hi,

    Thanks a lot for your blog, it really helps us to arrange our upcoming trip on Raja Ampat!

    We plan to stay 5 nights there over the new’s eve. We will mostly be diving and we chose Kri as an island to stay. But snorkelling is also important to us.

    We are still hesitating between two homestays: Byuk Beya (north east) and Warahnus (south west). We read only good feedback about the first one that appears to be comfortable and well managed (but maybe a bit far from the best snorkelling spots of the island). The second one seems to be better located (I mean better house reef) but we read some bad comments about hygiene… What would you recommend?

    Finally, which dive site you recommend one Kri (considering we will not be travelling with our own and that we are both Advanced)?

    Many thanks in advance for your help and your overall work!


    1. Hi Jonathan, sorry for the late reply, we are in Raja Ampat now with limited internet connection. Yes that’s right, from Byuk Beya it would be quite difficult to reach some of the better snorkel spots around Kri. We’d recommend staying on the south or western tip of the island, where you can snorkel the north west coast (the reef between Mambetron and Yenkoranu) and the stretch between Kri and Mansuar, where you can swim across to Yenbuba jetty.

      We have stayed at Warahnus (maybe you’ve read our review?) and although the house reef is good and the location very convenient, the comfort and cleanliness levels were lower than other homestays in our experience. Take a look at Frida’s or Turtle homestay as an alternative.

      The dive centre we recommend would be Soul Scuba, based at Yenbuba homestay on the north west coast. Their equipment is new and they run a professional operation. Yenbuba homestay would also be a good option for you, they have nice bungalows and the location is central.

      If you did decide to stay on the south side of Kri, there is a path which leads to the other side of the island, so you can still access Soul Scuba dive centre.

      Hope this info is helpful. Enjoy your trip! – Nick

  22. Thanks for your beautiful and informative website! My wife and I are planning the logistics for a return trip to Raja Ampat. We 1st went in 2012 and have been wanting to get back. It was amazing. Would love to hear from Sheila R. about her flights to Raja as we also live in Washington (Whidbey Island).

    1. Hi Andrew! Thanks so much for your comment and sorry for such a late reply, we are in Raja now with limited internet. Wow 2012 that’s awesome, we can totally relate with you wanting to get back. Thank you Sheila for such a detailed response! Hope you enjoy your trip (we have no doubt that you will 😉) All the best, Claire & Nick

  23. Hello Andrew (our fellow Washingtonian),

    So glad you mentioned my name because that’s the reason why I’m replying. 🙂 Singapore Airlines very recently launched a direct flight from Seattle to Singapore, which cuts down our travel duration and saves us money. No longer do we need to have long flights and transits in HK, Seoul or Tokyo Narita anymore. We can fly direct to Singapore, which makes Asia much more accessible to us. My husband and I just made this trip to Raja Ampat (our 2nd visit in a year) this past September via this flight and we prefer it much better.

    If you are traveling after January 2020, you can get return flights on Singapore Airlines for US$950 plus or minus, which to us, is a huge deal. We used to have to pay $1500 or 1600 plus additional Alaska Air flight to San Fran.

    From Singapore, we traveled on 2 budget airlines to reach Sorong. I don’t mind sharing with you some of our travel details if you are keen on such matters. It’ll give you a brief idea of how long you’d need to travel, and how much tickets cost etc. We chose these specific flights because we had 3 other travel companions who had to work Mon – Fri and they could only take a few vacation days off so we did our best to maximize time on the Raja Ampat islands and as little as possible traveling or transiting at airports. Of course, also taking in account the ferry schedule from Sorong to Waisai.

    Travel to –
    Departure Changi Singapore (via Air Asia) —> Jakarta
    QZ 265 | 19:35 – 20:30 | 1h55m
    Sept 6, Friday evening (Each ticket to and return – US$167.97 USD)

    Departure Jakarta (via Garuda Indonesia) —> Sorong Regional Airport
    Garuda Indonesia 682 | 00.30 – 06:35 | 4h5m
    Sept 7, Saturday wee early morning (Each ticket to and return – US$625.00)

    Departure Sorong ferry terminal —> Waisai ferry terminal
    Sept 7, Saturday | 09:00 – 11:00 | 2 hr express ferry ride, ( VIP air con room with confirmed seats is IDR 167,000 each, roughly US$12 one way. )
    Return back –
    Departure Waisai ferry terminal —> Sorong ferry terminal
    Saturday | 14:00 – 16:00 | 2 hr express ferry ride, ( VIP air con room with confirmed seats is IDR 167,000 each, roughly US$12 one way. )

    Departure Sorong Regional Airport —> Jakarta Airport
    Sept 15 Sunday Garuda Indonesia 683
    SOQ to CGK Sep 15, | 08:25 – 10:10 | 3h45m

    Departure Jakarta Airport —> Changi Airport (Singapore)
    Sept 15 Sunday QZ268 | 18:20 – 21:15 | 1h40m

    The 2 budget airline websites are
    BUT you have another option, which we took during our first Raja Ampat trip,

    Garuda Airlines is very expensive, but we had to choose this airline simply because of the arrival and departure times, we had to accommodate for our other travel companions. But Batik Air is just as fine.

    The first trip we made last December, we stayed a week in Kamar Raja homestay in West Waigeo, and then a week in Biryei homestay in Batanta. This 2nd September trip, we stayed only in Biryei homestay. Hope you found this information useful for your planning.

  24. Hi Nick, How are you? Congratulations for your fantastic webpage. We love snorkeling and we have been in amazing places in Indonesia like Bunaken, Banda Islands, Wakatobi and Raja Ampat. We want to go again to Raja next year. It’s very sad to hear that Friwen Wall is getting worse because of tourism, I always wear lycras instead use sun cream. I would appreciate if you can send me the secret spots. We plan to go to Misool, Batanta, Kabui Bay and Aljuy Bay? Any recommendation?


    Juan Carlos

    1. Hi Juan, Thanks for your comment and apologies for the delay in getting back to you, we’ve been in Raja for the last two months! We visited Friwen Wall a couple of weeks ago and although it is still beautiful, it was very sad to see the top layer damage that the corals have sustained. Many of the sea fans are now gone. Our secret snorkel spots are located in the central Dampier Strait region (not the places you mention above) however we’re still happy to send you the coordinates if you do plan on visiting this area? Thanks, Nick

  25. Thanks a lot for your effort! I will be in Raja Ampat in February, for approximately 2 weeks. I am looking for a basic resort offering vegetarian (non-spicy) food, great snorkeling right from the beach/ jetty. I am mainly interested in bigger stuff and I am an experienced snorkeler. But my co-traveller will possibly hang out at the beach mostly and not spend as much time underwater. So a beach would be nice.
    An the option to do short jungle walks whenever we might get bored. Not sure if we are asking too much and should consider switching resorts during our stay to get all of it.
    Aaaah, very important detail: We love our sundowner beer 🙂 Can I expect to get this in any resort?
    I also like your approach not to share the secret spots publicly. And I would be very happy to hear about them by email. And why not offering the option to donate for your efforts? I would definitely be willing to do so!

    1. Hi Marco, thanks for your comment! We just returned from two incredible months in Raja. Are you planning to stay in one of the resorts, or at a homestay?

      We only have experience with the homestays, who are able to provide vegetarian meals as long as you let them know beforehand (we recommend reiterating this on arrival). You can expect things such as delicious veggie curries, Indonesian fried corn fritters, tempe and of course, rice. As for the resorts, I am sure they are familiar with catering for all but better to check with them directly to be sure.

      With regards to sundowners, again these should be freely available at the resorts, however this is not always possible from homestays. Occasionally some places will keep stock, but they are often warm as there is no refrigerator. If you make a request with your hosts, they will usually be very happy to pick up beers for you from the nearest source – either a local village shop, or from Waisai. I can confirm that cold beers are available on the island of Arborek, and at the small shop in Sawingraii village, on Gam.

      Based on your specifications, we would recommend looking at Sauwandarek village, on the island of Mansuar. The snorkelling here is fantastic (one of our favourite spots) and the house reef can be accessed directly from the beach / jetty. Here you will find huge schools of fish, giant groupers, barracuda, sharks, turtles, napoleon wrasse… There is no shortage of big stuff.

      As for your friend, the beach is stunning and perfect for relaxing. There is also a small village with lots of friendly locals, plus a jungle hiking trail which takes you past a hidden lake and over to the south side of the island.

      There are no resorts in Sauwandarek, only homestays. Although we have not stayed there personally, we have looked at Erens Guesthouse which is a brand new place with two fantastic bungalows right on the beach. These have ensuite bathrooms and beds, which is a bonus!

      We will gladly send you the secret snorkel spots by email, and donations can be made to our Paypal Account. We’ll send our details to you in a PM.

      Thanks so much – Nick

  26. Thanks so much! Of course I meant homestays, resorts are beyond our budget and we prefer basic accomodation and more authentic contacts.
    I‘ll check Sauwandarek/ Erens- sounds perfect.
    Looking forward to your mail!

    1. Hi Marco, you’re very welcome. We’ve already sent you the email, so please double check your junk folder just incase it’s ended up there. Thanks so much! Nick

  27. Hi, we are a group of mature snorkellers !, trying to plan our first trip to Raja Ampat . We thought about staying on a few islands , possibly 5 nights each place. Wondered
    about travelling between islands, and also in your opinion the best places for us to snorkel. Your sites have inspired us !.

    1. Hi Sandra, thanks for commenting and happy to hear we have inspired your travels! Travelling between islands in the main Dampier Strait (Gam, Kri, Mansuar, Arborek, Piaynemo) is very easy to do. Your homestay host can arrange day trips and transfers to pretty much anywhere within this region, and journeys take approx 30mins -1.5 hours depending on sea conditions and where you are going. You could definitely stay 5 nights per island then move on, however do consider that boat transfers are costly, but as you are a group you can split the cost. It’s tricky for us to suggest the best spots for you without knowing a little more about your skill level, for example are you experienced snorkelers confident with current? Do you like open ocean reefs, or prefer snorkelling off-shore?

      1. Thanks for your comments. We are quite experienced snorkelers, done Sipidan , Ningaloo and Barrier reefs. First preference would be off shore, followed by open ocean reef . Not so confident if current really strong. Good to hear traveling between islands in main Dampier strait easy. Thanks for your help, it is appreciated. Sandra

  28. Hi Nick,

    Thank you so much for making our choices easier, it’s so difficult to pick best places to visit when you have so many of them ! 🙂
    We have been to RA twice already, on the way to the third one!
    I’d be grateful if you could share the coordinates to the other spots please

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Justyna, great to hear that you are planning your third trip… sounds like you’ve been bitten by the Raja Ampat bug too 😉 Thanks for commenting and glad we’ve been able to help with your decision making. Look out for an email from us with the coordinates. Best regards – Nick

  29. Hi Nick
    We are a snorkeling group that comes in January for the second time in R4.
    We stayed and will stay again in the bay of mayalibit bay at mayalibit bay cottage wonderful place, comfortable and great hosts.
    We made 6 snorkeling trips in the west area of R4 and we were very excited.
    We would be very grateful if you would indicate the coordinates for the secret places discovered.
    With thanks,

    1. Hi Horia, we’ve never stayed in Mayalibit Bay but your place sounds great! Hope you have an amazing 2nd trip and look out for an email from us with the coordinates. All the best – Nick

  30. Hi Nick, thank you for all the information about Raja Ampat. We are staying on Gam in februari and would like to visit all the best snorkeling sites. Can you send me the coordinates of the secret spots? Thanks again for all the great info!

  31. This is such a great resource! Thank you 🙂

    I also read Clare’s post before you went to Raja Ampat and how nervous she was. I’m the same :-/ Thanks to her for sharing so candidly!

    We’re staying on Pulau Dayan, going up to Jou Suba homestay in West Waigeo then finishing off at Doberai resort in South Waigeo. Each homestay I looked at on the website looked stunning, we will have to keep going back like yourselves!

    I know it’ll be amazing but with the extreme remoteness, even getting to the first island before dark (hoping everything runs on time!) and strong currents the worrier in me is at full throttle! Will be a good experience to let go of my inner control freak though. 🙂

    Great blog!

    1. Rosie thank you so much for your feedback, it means a lot to us! As soon as you discover the beauty of Raja all those worries will be long gone. Let go and be brave, we promise it is so so worth it! ☺️ Warmest wishes – Claire & Nick

  32. Hi Claire & Nick,

    So cool and useful blog! We’re really happy to find you and got some nice ideas for our trip to RA this spring. Can you send me the coordinates/location of your secret spots please? We’re not really divers but crazy about marine life so we would appreciate to hear about your best experiences.

    And maybe you have some experience in N/NW Batanta?

    Thanks a lot in advance, stay cool mates!

  33. Hi and thanks for a great blog!

    Planning a trip to RA in a year or so, got a couple of questions for you. 🙂

    I’ve heard there are dugongs in the area, have you seen any or do you know if there are any in the area? Would love to take a swim or snorkel with those quties!

    As first time visitors to RA who likes to snorkel both from shore and boat would you recommend Kri or Beser? We plan to split about 5 nights at Arborek and 9 nights at either Kri or Beser.

    Would also love if you could mail the secret snorkeling spots to me.

    Tanks! 🙂

    1. Hi Jim! Thanks for commenting, great to hear you are planning a trip to Raja Ampat. Yes, we have snorkelled with them on several occasions just off of the Beser Bay house reef. 4-6pm is usually the best time to spot them. We do consider these to be incredibly lucky sitings as they are very shy and rare creatures. Batanta is also know to be a good area for Dugongs, but of course nothing is guaranteed 🙂

      It really depends on what your preference is when it comes to snorkelling! The house reefs around Kri are great if you want easy access directly from the shore. They are very suitable for beginners / less confident snorkellers, as the conditions are generally not challenging, plus there is an abundance of marine life – especially turtles and reef sharks. However, Kri is the most popular island, so the reefs tend to be a hive of activity with boats and people.

      Beser Bay is more of a secluded homestay. There are many reefs to explore, making it one if the most diverse and interesting areas for snorkelling. It is also close by to lots of great open ocean reefs which can be reached by boat. Generally we’d say these are less easy to access and a bit more challenging than the reefs around Kri, but that gives them an edge in our opinion! Hope this helps.

      We’ll drop you an email about our secret spots. Thanks again – Claire & Nick

  34. Hi Nick! Thanks for your informative post.

    I want to see large sharks and large fishes. Which locations can I snorkel to see them in Raja Ampat?

    Also I want to stay in a over water bungalow where I can see baby sharks from the bungalow itself. Do you have any recommendations for those?

    1. Hi David, thanks for your comment and great to hear you are planning a trip to Raja Ampat!

      We’d recommend snorkeling at Sauwandarek Village which is situated on the island of Mansuar. Here you should see plenty of adult black tip reef sharks, giant napoleon wrasse, barracuda, big turtles and an abundance of schooling fish. Under the jetty is really amazing for freediving with many different fish species!

      Another great spot for pelagics is the southern tip of Gam where there are several locations including Citrus Ridge and Mayhem. In our experience, there is definitely no lack of sharks, you may also see schooling bumphead parrotfish plus some mind-blowing corals!

      We also suggest Cape Kri for big fish action. This is a dive site, but its also possible to snorkel as long as you are a confident swimmer. Check out our recommended snorkel sites above for a full review of each!

      If you would like to see baby sharks under your bungalow, we recommend Beser Bay homestay (our personal favourite). The bungalows sit on stilts over a shallow lagoon which is like a nursery for baby sharks, stingrays and many other critters!

      Hope this info helps, good luck with your trip and have an amazing time!
      All the best – Claire & Nick

      1. Hi Nick

        Thanks for the reply. In Beser Bay can we see the sharks in the morning?

        I remember reading that they only come in the night. I’d like to take take nice pictures of the shark, which is why i prefer to see them in the morning.


  35. Thank you for your super informative blog specifically geared towards snorkeling as I have found most of my online searches tend to return results based more around diving.

    I am considering going to Misool Eco Resort. Have you snorkeled in any of the areas around there? What are your recommendations?

    If I was to add on and spend a 3 or 4 more nights North Raja Ampat where do you suggest I stay that would be accessible to some of your favourites spots like Beser Bay or any other spot that would typically have mantas that are visible while snorkeling?

    Thank you so much in advance for your guidance.

    1. Hey Carla, thanks for your comment.

      I haven’t snorkeled in any of the areas around Misool so unfortunately can’t offer any recommendations for south R4.

      If snorkeling is your highest priority in central R4, I would recommend you stay at Corepen, as you can join the dive boat as a snorkeler. They also have a smaller excursion boat you can charter and go to any of the snorkel spots mentioned in this post. I would also recommend the homestays at Sauwandarek village, purely for there location to great snorekeling off the jetty. Besar Bay homestay is next to some of the best Manta spots in R4, but as you are only thinking of staying 3-4 days, Corepen would be easier to arrange trips. Alternatively the dive resorts on Gam or Kri are well positioned to get you to these spots.

  36. This is such a great blog! You covered good spots so well. I live was born and Flores and love to snorkel. Komodo is so beautiful as well, and if you can here, please come visit. There are places like Manta Point, Padar, Batu Bolang and so much more! You will love it here. We have a local tour company and covid hurt the local economy so bad so we are hoping it comes back very soon. thank you! – Jejey!

  37. Just wanted to say a huge thank you for providing so much tangible information about snorkeling and Raja Ampat in general. I feel very fortunate to have stumbled across your blog! Hoping to visit in the next year or two once things are (hopefully) more normal again. All the best to you.

  38. This information is fantastic! I’ve spent about 5 years trying to piece together information about Raja Ampat from various websites and books and have tons of questions. It would be a small group of friends who would go with me hopefully within the next 2 or 3 years (probably in a future November), and we’d do snorkeling. The swimming skills would be beginner to intermediate, so I am planning on trying to avoid areas with strong currents, which admittedly limits options. I would personally love to see crinoids. Spotted eagle rays would also be great as well as various sharks (wobbegongs and others would be great), nudibranches, and random other things like sea snakes, cuttlefish, octopus, gastropods (we know to be wary of cones), and anything odd or unusual. I was thinking of staying in Arborek for a few days and using it to see Piaynemo and Melissa’s Garden and snorkeling near the Arborek jetty and such. I think I’d like to do another location- we don’t have tons of time, unfortunately- maybe Nudibranch Homestay or Beser Bay and see if we can also do some hikes on land, too, to see birds-of-paradise and rainforest fauna and flora. Though, I’m also debating places like Warahnus Homestay, the Friwen area, and Batu Lima Homestay. I guess I’d like to see a diversity of species as much as possible- not try to repeat seeing the same species and habitats time and again- and realize this may be my only time going halfway around the world to Raja Ampat, so I want to do it right. So, feel free to modify or suggest changes to the plan. I would really like to see some crinoids, those are my top priority!! It doesn’t need to be a million of them, just a snorkel or two that has a good amount and not too deep is ideal, if that is something that can be planned- I realize that they are mobile. Thanks for all your information, your thoroughness and attention to detail has been a big help. 😀

    1. Thanks for your comment Pete.

      As a group of beginner to intermediate snorkelers I wouldn’t recommend Melissa’s garden, the corals here although stunning, are a bit too deep to be fully appreciated by snorkelers, unless free diving is your thing. Sometimes the current can also be strong at this spot. As an alternative I’d recommend snorkeling Fam Wall from early morning to mid-day.

      Arborek is not one of our favourite locations and the jetty is actually rather average in terms of coral. I’d swop this for Sawanderek Jetty on South Mansuar anyday of the week.

  39. Hi,
    thanks for a incredible blog!it’s all very useful.

    We would be interested to staying in Beser Bay Homestay but would seem with works in progress of restructuring, do you have any news about?
    Are equally good others homestay in that area?

    Do you have some information of Manyaifun? Its interesting for snorkeling?

    Would also love if you could mail the secret snorkeling spots to me.


  40. It’s always challenging to separate good snorkeling info from marketing hype. Thanks for the site. My wife & I are experienced snorkelers and are starting to plan a trip to RA area. We’d be very interested in getting GPS coordinates for the “secret” spots you’ve found. We’re also looking at the Sulawesi area. Any tips for that region?

  41. What an excellent find and source of information, thank you so much for putting it together. We are about to embark on our journey around raja ampat soon aboard our boat. Your post is filling us with excitement. If you have the time could you share those secret spots with me please? Meanwhile, I’ll be browsing your website. Thanks again

  42. Hi Nick,
    I have used your guide to plan our trip to Raja. (It’s awesome). We are planning to go to Batanta and I can’t find much information on snorkeling there. Have you come across any blogs similar to your that might help us. You seen to be the best source of info for the area.
    I can’t thank you enough for writing this.

  43. Amazing article, thanks a lot for the detailed informations on the snorkel spots.
    Could you share the location of the secret snorkel spots ?
    All the best 😉

  44. Hi Nick,

    Thoroughly enjoyable read! This has been my go to source for planning my Raja Ampat holiday. In particular my wife cant dive due to her ears so great snorkeling is massive for us.

    Would be hugely appreciated if you could send me through the secret spots information!

    Once again thank you for such a great resource

  45. Hi Nick,
    would love to get your list of secret snorkeling spots. Were in RA a couple of weeks ago and planning another trip next year. Thanks in advance

  46. Hi
    First of all thanks for all this information. We are on 2022 and still is a very good post.

    We want to know the secret spot you mention. Can you send them to me email please??

    Thanks for all the work doing this list.

    Regards from Chile

  47. Hey thank you you so much for these tips. We are planning our third trip to Raja Ampat, so far have seen Eastern Gam / Mansuar Kri. Now looking for snorkelling spots in the same league as Sauwandarek / Yenbuba jetty (in terms of fish schools / big fish).

    Have you been to Dayan / Batanta ? It is a long way off from Mansuar/Kri area but description on stayrajaamapat makes me really curious.

    Besar Bay / Western Gam is tempting as well. How is Besar Bay in terms of big fish, compared to Sauwandarek / Yenbuba?

    If you read this, would love it if you can send the secret spots as well.

  48. Hi, thank you for all of this wonderful information. My husband and I are going to Raja Ampat for four weeks from late February through late March and would really appreciate learning more details about your favorite “secret” snorkeling spots.

    Also, is there anyplace in Sorong that sells white wine?

    Thank you!

  49. Your blog is fabulous! Convinced us to visit Raja Ampat.
    You recommended Misool Eco Resort, but they are full for the next three years.
    Is there another similar resort you can recommend? We cannot wait to get there!

  50. What a wonderful website and blog post! This is an extremely helpful resource for planning our first trip to Raja Ampat in October 2023!

    I´ve snorkeled before, but my girlfriend is an absolute beginner. In fact, she´s just learned how to swim last year (we are in our 30s). We will improve her swimming skills before going to Indonesia, but I think it is best to focus on rather easy dive spots, without strong currents. If possible, we would like to see colourful soft corals and smaller fish. Big fish would be a nice addition, but it´s not our focus. We would like to stay in homestays or cheap resorts.

    Based on this blog post, the northern side of Kri island, as well as the southern coast of Mansuar seem to be a good fit, is that correct? Do you have any other recommendations, as far as beginner snorkelling spots are concerned – perhaps a bit less touristy than Kri? Are there good beginner spots around Gam and Friwen island?

    I´m also curious about the current health state of the coral reefs described in this post. It looks like this post was written in 2018? Have some of the reefs mentioned here suffered from economic changes and bleached? Has the amount of fish decreased, perhaps even increased in specific locations?

    Would also would love to join the mailing list with the secret snorkeling spots, if there is one suitable for beginners.

    Thank you very much in advance for helping us out!

  51. Raja Ampat, located off the northwest coast of Papua in Indonesia, is considered one of the best snorkeling destinations in the world. With its pristine waters and abundant marine life, it offers a truly magical experience for snorkelers of all levels.

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