13 Day Resort Based Trip Exploring the Abundant Reefs of Alor, While Also Learning Shallow Freediving Skills
May 13-25, 2025
We are thrilled to let you know about this very unique trip to snorkel the incredibly alive reefs around the islands in the Alor Regency of Indonesia, using the remote Alami Alor Resort as your base. Your guide will be world renowned freediving instructor Emma Farrell, who will be helping you learn shallow freediving skills, so you can dive down in safety and comfort. Being able to dive safely down to 15 feet (5m) is a wonderful skill for a snorkeler to have, to get a closer look at the unique life under the waves, and also to take better pictures.
We (Galen and Nicole) stayed at and snorkeled from this resort in 2019 and these were some of the most alive reefs we have ever seen. They were diverse and abundant with the coral and fish life that you would expect from the Coral Triangle, the epicenter of marine biodiversity in the world. Many of the pictures on this page are from that trip. And Galen has also received freediving instruction from Emma. So we can easily recommend this snorkeling workshop.
This trip is being run by our partner and friend Ben and his team. Based in the U.K., they are experts in the Coral Triangle, run amazing excursions, and have a great appreciation for the underwater world.
Where are Alor and Alami Alor Resort?
The Alor Regency of Indonesia is made up of 15 islands, nine of which are inhabited and six are uninhabited. Alami Alor is on the largest island in the regency, Alor, as is the capital Kalabahi.
The island and the way of life there feels very far flung to us westerners and is a treat to experience. The islands are rugged and volcanic creating beautiful scenery.
For this Alor snorkeling and freediving workshop trip, you will book your international flight into Jakarta. Once you arrive, you will be met and transferred to the Jakarta Airport Hotel, for a night’s stay and dinner with your guide and group.
As a group you will fly out the next morning to Alor. At the Alor airport, you will be met by staff from Alami Alor Resort and transported there to spend the next 10 nights of your trip.
Alami Alor Resort is in a secluded setting on a large bay. The location of the resort allows for short speed boat trips out to visit reefs around the neighboring islands, including Pura, Pantar, and Ternate.
At the end of your stay you will be transferred back to the airport in Alor for your return flight to Jakarta. Since the flight arrives in the evening, your trip includes one more night in a hotel at the Jakarta Airport.
Who Is Your Shallow Freediving Instructor?
Emma Farrell is one of the world’s leading freediving instructors and the author of One Breath: A Reflection on Freediving. She has been teaching since 2003 and is a multi-agency freediving instructor trainer, having taught programs through RAID, SSI, and AIDA. As a founding member of the AIDA Education Commission, Emma has written courses that are taught internationally, as well as her own specialty freediving and breathing courses.
Her work with gold medal-winning Olympic and Paralympic athletes over the last decade has resulted in her unique Breathing Optimization program, which has helped people across the globe improve their breathing, lung function, and health, no matter their age, physical condition, or ability.
An accomplished educator and public speaker, Emma has appeared many times on television and in print media, as well as acting as a consultant on short and feature films and documentaries.
What Will the Shallow Freediving Instruction Be Like?
The house reef in front of Alami Alor is perfect spot for freediving instruction. In addition to the two snorkel sessions each day by boat, you will also have the opportunity to take some freediving classes and in water training with Emma. The goal is to achieve comfortable dives in the shallow 10-16 foot (5m) range, and the maximum depth will be 26 feet (8m). Anyone who wishes to take the training will attend an initial “Introduction to Freediving” talk and the first in-water session. The group will be split into smaller groups so that everyone gets personal support and instruction.
After the initial safety classes are attended, you can also choose to take two additional in water sessions with Emma and her assistant, or you can choose to snorkel more if you prefer.
For the first session, the focus will be on correct breathing, weighting, and safety for freediving and for taking photos underwater and exploring the reefs. Emma will look at each individual’s equalization, body positioning, finning, duck diving, and technique. Correct breathing both before and after the dive will be taught as well as techniques for relaxation in the water. The instructors will also try to discover what each participant would like to work on improving throughout the week.
Everyone who is interested in learning more can have at least two additional sessions with Emma to work on achieving their goals as set out in the first session above. In addition, throughout the week, Emma may offer more talks on will offer master classes on breathing optimization and stretching, equalization, and sinus massage, and will also do a talk on freediving for interested parties.
Galen’s Personal Experience With Emma’s Teaching
Right before COVID hit, I (Galen) was on a liveaboard trip in the Cayman Islands with Emma. I received instruction from her, and found her to be very skilled and helpful, and I quickly improved my freediving skills.
I had been shallow freediving without instruction for many years, so was full of bad habits. She was very patient with me though. Through her instruction on the boat I learned so much about how to properly use weights, relaxing, diving posture and technique, and how to breathe. I also feel so much more informed about what you should not do that is dangerous, most of which I had done in the past.
In a very short period Emma helped me greatly improve my freediving skills. I get under easier, and use much less energy and air, and I feel much more confident about the right way to do things. She teaches a recovery breath once you reach the surface that is remarkable, and could save your life.
Below is a video Emma took of me after some of her instruction (I made it black and white and added the music). There are still things to be improved for sure. But the big improvement is just how relaxed and comfortable I now feel on shallow dives.
What Is Alor and the Snorkeling Like?
Alor is one of Indonesia’s last frontiers, and is remarkably undeveloped. Very few tourists visit the area, and you will likely be the only group on the reefs, besides an occasional local canoe fishermen or some curious kids from the local villages.
Locals have never used destructive fishing practices and as a result we can confirm the reefs remain in their virgin condition.
You will occasionally see traditional fish traps (see picture below) used that are both beautiful and seem to have a low impact on fish populations. And we were pleased to see very little trash in the water or on the shores.
Alor was previously difficult to access because of a lack of infrastructure, so this archipelago is largely unspoiled. Now several airlines offer flights from major Indonesian cities, via Kupang.
The main islands are Alor and Pantar, and between them is a strait of world class reefs.
Alor is very special in our hearts for how untouched and diverse the reefs are and we believe it has some of the finest snorkeling to be found anywhere. Most of the reefs you explore are fringing an island, with a shallow shelf to explore and sometimes a gorgeous wall that drops off into the deep blue.
While you will see lots of fish, particularly a crazy abundance of smaller reef fish, and larger fish schools of spadefish, fusiliers, and jacks, what really stands out for us about Alor is how incredibly diverse the fields and walls of coral life are, and how healthy they were. Every spot we visited seemed like a different ecosystem, with very different colorful corals, sponges and anemones, and the most marine biodiversity we’ve seen.
Of course the chance to see mola mola and dolphins (we saw both), and whales (we did not), adds to the thrill.
Also of note about Alor, and probably one of the big reasons the reef is so healthy, is because there is a large tidal range, and with that strong currents in the area. This flushes a lot of water through the reefs, full of nutrients. Because of this, Alor is a place to snorkel with a very experienced guide.
Even though there can be currents at times in Alor, there are plenty of places to hide from it for your freediving tutorials. You will start with easy sites with as little current as possible, to allow for a gentle introduction.
You will have nine full days plus some time on your arrival day to snorkel from the Alami Alor Resort. Each of the full days you will have two guided snorkel boat trips to the best reefs in the area.
There is also an excellent house reef that is full of life to explore. It is a shallow shelf, accessed from the pier and ladder, that has healthy corals, small reef sharks, nudibranchs, spadefish, mandarinfish, and lots of other reef fish. It also offers a perfect grounds for freediving training.
Watch This Short Highlight Video
What Is the Alami Alor Resort Like?
Alami Alor is an intimate resort situated on a remote and quiet bay which combines luxury accommodation and delicious locally inspired food. There are seven waterfront bungalows, and it will be only your group at the resort. The bedroom is air-conditioned, and there is an open air garden bathroom. There are plenty of outdoor loungers.
Guests can enjoy full breakfast, lunch, and dinner served in the dining room, family style, at the communal dining table. They serve an assortment of dishes influenced mostly by tropical Indonesian and Asian style, but also international cuisines. We found the food to be healthy and delicious, with excellent cocktails available at your own cost.
Alami Alor can accommodate most special diets such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and so on.
The resort has two boats with shade covers. So each day your group will go out in two boats. These boats are big enough to handle a bit of weather, but small enough to drop you off and pick you up right up close to the reefs. You drop into the water from the sides of the boats, and get back on from solid stainless steel step ladders on the side of the boats (you can just see the ladder retracted in the picture below). You return to the resort for lunch between outings.
Trip Details and How to Sign Up
This is a small group charter and we expect it to fill quickly. Your spot is reserved with your deposit. Contact Ben below for deposit instructions.
May 13-25, 2025
$6795 US per person sharing
Single Person Supplement: $1500 per person
The initial deposit for this trip is $400 US per person. At 12 months before departure there is a $600 US per person interim deposit, and at six months there is another $1000 US per person interim deposit. The final balance will be due three months before departure. A few payment options are available including debit and credit cards.
Individual travelers – Ben will happily find someone of the same sex for you to share a room with. If he cannot find you someone, no single supplement surcharge will apply.
- 2-nights accommodation at a Jakarta airport hotel
- Round trip domestic flights, transfers, and connections (Jakarta – Alor – Jakarta) with 40 lbs of luggage
- 10 nights accommodation at Alami Alor Resort with full board (all meals and snacks)
- 2 guided boat snorkels per day (morning & afternoon) for 9 days
- Unlimited house reef snorkeling
- Freediving instructor on site and in the water with you for the duration of the tour
- Snacks, tea, coffee, refilled water, and Wifi
- International flights and visas
- Snorkel equipment
- Travel and health insurance
- Soft drinks and alcoholic drinks, general sundries
Ben and his U.K. based team are the organizers and leaders of this trip (more about them below). Galen & Nicole from TropicalSnorkeling.com are promoting this trip, but all signups, trip organization and payments are made to and managed by Ben’s team. TropicalSnorkeling.com does receive a referral fee in exchange for promoting the trip, at no extra cost to attendees.
How to Sign Up or Learn More?
Use the contact form below to contact Ben and his team to request more information about them and express your interest in signing up. They will get back to you shortly with full details.
More About Ben and Our Partnership
Ben (pictured with Nicole) is our friend and snorkeling trips partner. He and his team are based in the U.K. and have over 20 years of experience guiding in Asia and beyond. He has been running his own business since 2010 and is primarily offering guided snorkeling trips, but he started with diving. He began offering snorkeling specific trips because he was aware that snorkelers often get the short end of the stick when thrown in with divers. He and his team love the freedom and low stress of snorkeling, and are very aware of the different needs of snorkelers versus divers, in terms of the reef depth, and calm surface conditions needed.
From our experience going on two of his snorkeling trips we found them very well organized, the guides were fantastic and very helpful, and the underwater experiences were exceptional. Snorkeling groups really get the benefit of all of Ben and his guides’ years of experience in the water, and with different resorts and liveaboards.
All of his trips are small groups of 12-18 guests, or with a similar ratio of snorkelers to guides. These are premium trips including nearly everything you will need, accommodation, meals, transportation, and more.
His company is licensed and insured. Barring extreme circumstances they do not cancel trips, and all funds are held in a trust until the trip is completed giving you 100% financial security if they or any of their suppliers go out of business before the trip happens.