Image by Ridho Ibrahim

RAJA AMPAT

11-nights itinerary

Situated just off the coast of West Papua, Raja Ampat is a chain of 1,500 paradisiac jungle-clad islands heralded as one of the most biologically diverse marine habitats on earth. A medley of steep limestone isles cloaked in thick tropical jungle and edged with white sand beaches makes cruising Raja Ampat naturally beautiful, not to mention the diversity of coral and fish beneath the waves.

Often described as one of the most extraordinary environments on the planet, Raja Ampat is located off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula on West Papua. The name translates as ‘Four Kings,’ referring to the main islands of Misool, Batanta, Waigeo and Salawati, which are in turn surrounded by 1,500 wild islands with pristine beaches and limestone cliffs plunging into aqua seas.

Above water, the islands’ cultural heritage is diverse, with prehistoric cave paintings and relics from bygone eras, while recent history is visible in cave bunkers and seabed wreckage from World War II. Intrepid visitors can trek through the jungle, learn about kampong life in local villages, visit sea turtle rookeries and pearl farms and explore the coastal mangroves by sea kayak.

Planning Travels

DAY 1: SORONG

You will be met at Sorong airport by the yacht’s crew and transferred to the harbour, a 20-minute drive. Once you have settled in onboard, the yacht will depart Sorong and begin the cruise to the islands of Raja Ampat while you enjoy lunch on deck. If time allows, go snorkelling or try a check dive before you watch the sun go down with a cocktail. Dinner will be served under the stars.

DAY 2, 3 & 4: MISOOL

This morning, the yacht will reach the southeast end of Misool. You’ll awake to a shimmering pastel sunrise and enjoy a decadent breakfast on deck, with tea and coffee served by your crew. This chain of tiny islands carves the area into hundreds of narrow channels concealing lagoons, coves, cliffs and limestone overhang, caves and endless pristine beaches. Here in Raja Ampat’s southernmost island, you’ll spend three days exploring Misool’s treasures.

The surrounding dive and snorkel sites have been voted some of the best in the world: Boo Windows, Magic Mountain and more, a myriad of exhilarating and relaxing underwater pursuits. Above water, you’ll explore the ethereal “Gua Sacral” ancestral caves of Tomolol, a former burial site of indigenous Papuans. Swim through a cathedral-like cave coated in orchids and discover ancient cave paintings edging the crystal blue surface.

There’s a pearl farm nearby where you can see how the local’s forge a living in these remote parts. Powder sand beaches await your footprints, and you can claim one as your own for as long as you like, hunting for shells or picnicking in the shallows.

DAY 5: PENEMU

A cluster of rocky limestone domes makes up the Penemu Islands. Draped with tiers of green vegetation, the islets encircle a shallow green bay and a walking trail along the rocky hills leads to a look out with magnificent views of the lagoon, its outlying islands, and the ocean beyond. Nearby lie some of the most celebrated snorkelling and diving sites in the area, where turtles float over intricate coral gardens and Manta rays meet large schools of game fish in nutrient-rich currents.

DAY 6:THE PASSAGE

Rise at dawn for the best chance of spotting a rare Red Bird of Paradise. Your cruise director can accompany you on this jungle hike of around 45-minutes to reach the bird-watching platform, where you can keep your eyes and ears open for signs of this elusive bird. After breakfast, take in the statuesque mushroom islands of Kabui Bay, marking the entrance to a narrow channel of water through which strong currents run with each tide, forming a saltwater river with plentiful coral and fish-life

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DAY 7 & 8:WAYAG

The Wayag Islands are an interminable green maze that comprise the most visually stunning scene in Raja Ampat. Wayag offers a spectacular backdrop for water sports and beach time. Climb the island peak behind the anchorage for a panoramic view of turquoise waterways through the rock formations or play castaway among the deserted beaches as the sun melts into another Raja Ampat sunset and the chef cooks up a feast.

DAY 9:WOFOH

Here, two islands are connected by a shallow reef, which makes for a wonderful spot for beach combing, paddle boarding and kayaking. The west coast of Wofoh is also home to one of the most beautiful coral walls in the area, plunging into clear blue water depths with a mixture of soft corals, hard corals and barrel sponges. Schooling surgeonfish and barracuda can be spotted here as well as the elusive unicorn fish.

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DAY 10: KRI PENINSULA

This morning, you’ll awake to the sound of tropical birds calling from the jungle. Mioskon Bay is a spectacular spot where you can snorkel in the mangroves, or kayak mirror still waters along the verdant coastline. Famed for its fish-life and coral slopes, the Kri peninsula offers some of the most exquisite underwater vistas in Raja Ampat. Nearby, the island of Mansuar is home to a village where you can head ashore for a glimpse of local culture.

DAY 11: BATANTA

Dampier’s tidal surges carry planktonic feasts that attract Manta rays near Arborek Island. Spend time diving or snorkelling over the sandy bottom and wait for the mantas to pass, swooping past with curious eyes in an elegant underwater ballet. After lunch onboard, head ashore to Arborek village. Communities in Raja Ampat primarily make their living from sustainable fishing and pearling, with around 18 villages in the region, all of which are very small and hospitable

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OTHER LOCATIONS

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Life Enhancing Moments.