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 our newsletter or like us on Facebook 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

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