Jewel of Raja Ampat Tour

Without doubt one of the most beautiful island archipelagos in the world, cruising the Raja Ampat is a truly unforgettable experience. Characterised by steep, jungle-cloaked coastlines, hidden lagoons, and mushroom-shaped islets dotted throughout the clear, turquoise waters, Raja Ampat is one of the world’s most unique and captivating ecological areas.

During the ten day cruise, you’ll explore one of the least visited, but most enchanting areas on the planet, glimpsing rare creatures in their natural habitats and visiting places that remain relatively untouched. As well as breathtaking tropical scenery, Raja Ampat has an abundance of wildlife. Many of the fish, corals and crustaceans that call these waters home are found nowhere else on earth. You don’t have to be a diver to explore this teeming underwater world; you’ll snorkel daily, exploring the kaleidoscopic coral reef and its vibrant inhabitants. Nor do you need to be a seasoned birdwatcher to spot and enjoy the dazzling birdlife. Witness the weaving, bobbing dance of the red birds of paradise as they flit through the rainforest canopy; listen out for the shrieks of the crested cockatoo parrots; glimpse the beating wings of the hornbills high overhead.

When you’re not discovering the colourful wildlife of sea and sky, you’ll explore mysterious caves; swim with thousands of stingless jellyfish; dive into jungle waterfalls; and discover prehistoric cave paintings etched by humans of past. All this and more awaits on your cruise to the “Last Paradise on Earth.”

Transporting you in style through the archipelago are beautiful, hand-crafted wooden pinisi ships - traditional vessels for the seafaring people of Indonesia that have been passed down for centuries. Comfortable cabins and lounging areas offer all the luxuries of the modern world, with en-suite bathrooms, air-conditioning and decadent furnishings above and below deck.

Departure Dates:

  • 15th October 2019
  • 16th November 2019
  • 18th December 2019
  • 30th December 2019
  • 5th January 2020
  • 11th January 2020
  • 17th January 2020
  • 29th January 2020
  • 10th February 2020
Duration
10 days
Options
Group basis, Escorted
Start your journey
Rice Terraces

Trip highlights

  • Chance to spot nature’s most mesmerising creatures, from the rare bird of paradise to dolphins and giant sea turtles
  • An unforgettable experience swimming in jellyfish lake, floating alongside thousands of (stingless) jellyfish
  • Sea kayak around one of the most picturesque island chains in the world
  • Visit small Indonesian villages, take part in caving expeditions led by local guides, and learn about the pearling processes at the region’s pearl farms

You’ll arrive in the West Papuan port town of Sorong: the gateway to Raja Ampat. A leisurely transfer will take you to the harbour, where the Ombak Putih or Katharina will be waiting at anchor. Once you’ve settled into your cabin, the cruise director will introduce you to the vessel’s facilities and safety procedures. The adventure begins with a southerly course for the stunning Misool archipelago - the second largest island in Raja Ampat, surrounded by towering limestone rocks and home to a number of ancient cultural sites. Dive into the crystal clear waters for an invigorating swim on the way. Then, spend your first evening dining al fresco on the main deck, chatting to the passengers and crew, and watching the sun set over the ocean.

Overnight on the boat. Full Board basis.

Wake at dawn to see the sun rise over the picturesque Misool islands, bathing the entire scene in golden light. The archipelago has been subject to ‘karst dissolution’ - the bases of the small, jungle-clad islets eroded over time by the tides - presenting a spectacular sight, with dramatic rocks seeming to appear abruptly from the waves. You’ll spend your first day soaking in the incredible surroundings and exploring the underwater marine wonderland. Jump in a sea kayak and paddle through the azure water; spot exotic birds sunbathing on the rocks; or simply relax onboard and enjoy the sunshine and the scenery. After a day well-spent island hopping through the archipelago, the boat will moor up for a tranquil night floating in Misool’s Tomolol Bay.

Overnight on the boat. Full Board basis.

After a sumptuous breakfast, the boat tenders will take you into the heart of Tomolol Bay to explore its mysterious dome-topped cave - one of Raja Ampat’s most intriguing features. Swim, snorkel or float through the partially submerged cave, gazing up at the cavernous grotto and its astonishing icicle-esque stalactites. Those feeling adventurous can paddle through the dark waters to the opposite mouth of the cave. The cruise will then meander its way to the mesmerising jellyfish lake, where you will have the once-in-a-lifetime experience of swimming among thousands of pink (stingless!) jellyfish. The day's adventure doesn’t end there; returning to the boat you’ll delve deeper into the maze of karst islands. Here you’ll explore mystical skull cairns in sea-cave cemeteries, and discover prehistoric cave paintings - thought to be 3,000 to 5,000 years old - depicting human figures, huge human palms, fish, flowers, tools and vessels. While you doze through the night, the boat will cruise north to the island of Batanta.

Overnight on the boat. Full Board basis.

After a full day of underwater exploration, Batanta offers a change of scenery and a chance to stretch your legs on a thrilling hike through the island’s jungle-clad interior. Anchoring at the foot of charming Arefi village, nestled on the north coast of the island, local guides will take you through the mangrove waters to the starting point of the trek. A gentle walk along the riverbed leads to the first of two jungle waterfalls, with a small pool providing a welcome cool off. Fit and adventurous travellers may then choose to continue the uphill climb along the rocks, to the second, larger cascade. Eventually leaving the wilderness behind, enjoy a swim and snorkel in a nearby spot before the cruise moves north to the island of Waigeo.

Overnight on the boat. Full Board basis.

The cruise will awake in the south of beautiful Mayalibit Bay - the huge, wild and tropical bay at the heart of Waigeo, Raja Ampat’s largest island. The bay, splitting the island down the middle, is entered via a narrow fjord-like channel that meets the ocean just east of Waisai. When the tide is high, the huge volumes of water flowing in and out of Mayalibit transform the channel into a powerful, swift-flowing river. After breakfast onboard, you’ll hop on dinghies to Lopnitol Village, where one of the villagers will guide the morning spelunking (caving) expedition. The group will be taken to two dramatic and contrasting caves that display the fascinating underground formations of the karst landscape. After lunch, you’ll freshen up with a well-earned swim and snorkel, before heading to Sapokren Village on the southwest tip of Waigeo Island to meet with a local NGO leader. Talks will discuss illegal logging, community development and (hopefully) details of a new FFI (Flora & Fauna International) project in these areas.

Overnight on the boat. Full Board basis.

Arising before sunrise, the group will follow the footsteps of famous naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, in a pre-dawn quest to find the remarkable and exquisite red bird of paradise - one of the species that Wallace was most eager to collect. Luck providing, you’ll catch a rare and privileged sight of the birds elaborate courtship dance as day breaks over the forest canopy. Whether or not the birds are spotted, the rainforest expedition is a wonderful adventure. Emerging from the trees, attention will turn from sky to sea, as the Ombak Putih makes its way through the Dampier Strait: home to Raja Ampat’s most magnificent coral reefs. If it’s really your day, you may get the chance to snorkel among some of the areas larger marine creatures, attracted to the strait’s nutrient-rich currents. Think dolphins, manta rays and giant sea turtles. The action-packed afternoon will finish moored off Pulau Arborek, in front of idyllic Arborek Village. This small island can be easily circumnavigated on foot, giving you a sense of authentic Asai culture, and a glimpse into the lives of the villagers living in this isolated place.

Overnight on the boat. Full Board basis.

The western coast of Waigeo provides another full day of adventure. The morning begins exploring Wofoh: three paradise islands linked by stretches of pristine coral reef, surrounded by the clearest turquoise waters. Use the tenders or kayaks to cruise around the islands, or dive in for a closer look at the technicolour reef and its inhabitants. If you’re looking for a chance to simply relax, why not plot on the white-sand beach? During the afternoon, the cruise moves northwards to Aljui Bay, home to the Cendanda Pearl Farm, one of the largest producers of high-quality seawater pearls in the region. Pearling is an important industry in Indonesia and you’ll spot a number of pearl farms during the cruise. The farmers may permit the group to visit their facilities, where you’ll learn more about the local pearling processes. That evening, the cruise makes its way across the equator to the northern hemisphere, on the journey to the islands of Wayag.

Overnight on the boat. Full Board basis.

Few areas in Indonesia - or the world - can match the natural splendor of Raja Ampat’s Wayag islands. Numerous uninhabited, incredibly picturesque islands sprout out from the sea in a burst of green, looking like little mushroom tops. The beauty of these karst spires is perhaps only equalled by the startling colours and vibrant life of the reefs below the ocean surface. Nature has worked her magic carving the islands into a chain of hidden coves and emerald lagoons; narrow channels and jagged rocks; dark caves and shaded, fine-sand beaches. For the daring, there are some spectacular - but almost vertical - cliff climbs that reward you with magnificent panoramas of the surrounding scenery. A quiet night will be spent here at anchor beneath the stars.

Overnight on the boat. Full Board basis.

Raja Ampat’s most breathtaking and renowned island chain, the cruise will spend the following morning continuing to make the most of the unique Wayag region. Spend your last day in true island-style, navigating the maze of mushroom islands, and stopping to dive in and snorkel in the water. As afternoon approaches, the compass will be set to return to the southern hemisphere, on the journey back to mainland West Papua. The final evening will be enjoyed with a full-house farewell dinner with captain and crew, where you’ll have a chance to reminisce on the adventures of the trip.

Overnight on the boat. Full Board basis.

After one last refreshing dip in the ocean and light refreshments on a nearby island, the cruise will make its way back to the harbour of Sorong. Bid farewell to the ship and her crew, and take any last photos. The tenders will then take you ashore for your transfer to the airport.

Overnight on the boat. Full Board basis.

Included

  • Operated with English speaking guide
  • Cruise fare includes full board
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • Excursions
  • Use of bath and beach towels
  • Limited laundry service
  • Use of snorkelling gear, sea canoes and other recreational equipment
  • Transfer to and from the ship to the airport

Not included

  • Visa arrangements
  • International/domestic flights (from or to Sorong)
  • Meals other than mentioned above
  • Camera/video entrance fees
  • Personal expenses (alcoholic beverages, laundry more than determined, telephone etc.)
  • Crew and tour leader gratuities
  • Transfer to and from the meeting point in Bali
  • Travel insurance
  • Other services not clearly indicated in inclusions above