North Sulawesi and Raja Ampat Snorkeling Trip

Enjoy 16 Days Exploring the Abundant Coral Triangle From Two Beautiful Island Resorts

April 8-23, 2025
October 21 – November 5, 2025

This amazing North Sulawesi and Raja Ampat snorkeling trip gets you in the water in two incredible areas of the Coral Triangle in Indonesia. You will be based at two beautiful remote island resorts. Your first stop is Bunaken National Marine Park in North Sulawesi, and you will be staying right in the park at the remarkable Siladen Resort. Your second destination is famed Raja Ampat Marine Park, and you will be staying right in the park at the stunning Papua Explorers Resort.

A very fish coral reef wall in Bunaken National Marine Park

In Bunaken you can expect to snorkel shallow reefs and walls fringing the islands and the Sulawesi “mainland” inside the park. Reefs have a great mix of soft and hard corals and have many fish in good variety. Bunaken is known for its many turtles, which you will see on nearly every snorkel. It is also an area known for tiny gorgeous creatures like nudibranchs and has innumerable anemones with resident colorful anemonefish.

In Raja Ampat you will get to experience some of the most diverse marine habitats found anywhere on the planet. You will snorkel in at least two Marine Protected Areas including Dampier Strait. You will see lush soft corals, sea fan forests, and hard coral plateaus. You will have many chances to see manta rays, wobbegong (carpet) sharks and epaulette (walking) sharks, as well as several types of turtles, and a variety of colorful reef fish in numbers that boggle the mind.

Papua Explorers Resort aerial view
School of batfish with sea fans in Raja Ampat Indonesia

This 16 day remote small group adventure is exclusively for snorkelers. It 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.

Check Out This Short Video for a Preview of Your Trip

Where in the World Do You Get to Snorkel?

World map with Coral Triangle highlighted

North Sulawesi and Raja Ampat are in the country of Indonesia in Southeast Asia, and they are all in the area known as the Coral Triangle. The Coral Triangle has the most biodiversity of ocean life in the world.

This snorkeling trip begins when you arrive at the Jakarta Airport. You will meet your tour leader and spend the first night in a comfortable Jakarta hotel. There will be a group dinner on the first evening to meet your leader and fellow snorkelers.

North Sulawesi and Raja Ampat Snorkeling Trip Map

The next morning you will fly with your group to Manado in North Sulawesi. You will be picked up at the airport by Siladen Resort staff and transferred by car to a boat that will take you to the resort island. You will have six nights at the Siladen Resort. At the end of your stay, you will be transferred back to Manado.

You will stay one night in the Novotel Manado in preparation for your flight the next morning to Sorong.

After your flight arrives in Sorong, you will be met by staff from the Papua Explorers Resort and transferred by car and boat to your next resort island. You will have seven nights at Papua Explorers Resort. At the end of your stay you will be transferred back to Sorong.

In Sorong you will catch your last flight back to Jakarta where the trip ends.

Snorkeling in Bunaken Marine National Park

Siladen Resort island and surrounding reef seen from the air
Green Nudibranch at Siladen

The snorkeling in Bunaken National Marine Park is full of colorful vibrant reefs with high biodiversity. The 343 square miles of marine park boast an astounding variety of hard and soft corals, many sea turtles, giant clams, butterflyfish, triggerfish, and a variety of other fish species. Bubble and carpet anemones with red, orange, and yellow clownfish are everywhere. And watch for the tiny bright spots that are nudibranchs on the reefs.

There are some currents in the area, but your guides will make sure that you are snorkeling with them and will not need to swim against them.


Sea turtle in Bunaken Marine Park
Anemonefish in Bunaken Marine Park

The island reefs start very shallow near shore, then drop off into steep walls that plunge down into great ocean depths. These depths create ocean currents that bring cooler waters and nutrients, which is one reason why the reefs are so full of life and healthy.

There will be five full days of snorkeling, with three boat snorkel sessions per day to different unique reef areas. You can also snorkel from the nearby house reef anytime you choose. Night snorkels will also be offered.

One morning will be spent out on the boat looking for the resident super-pod of dolphins.


Hard coral reef at Siladen
Huge school of Barracuda at Siladen

The Siladen Resort snorkel boats are large wooden boats with shade covered areas for getting on your gear, and also a sun deck. You will also find a toilet and fresh water soak and rinse tanks on board. Exiting the water is via a ladder on the side of the boat.

Siladen Resort's snorkel boat

What Is Siladen Resort Like?

When it comes to an exclusive island experience Siladen Resort is hard to beat. Siladen Resort and Spa is set around a large pool, with bungalows dotted around the manicured garden and beachfront, each with ensuite facilities, air conditioning and private patio. The resort faces west towards the mountain island of Manado Tua and the gorgeous sunsets.

Your private, well-appointed accommodations are meters from a white sand beach with beautiful garden views.

Siladen Garden View Villa
Siladen Resort open-air bathroom

The rooms have ensuite open-air bathrooms, air-conditioning, a desk, TV, and private patios.


Siladen Garden View Villa Interior
Siladen Resort Restaurant dessert option

The restaurant is usually set up under the trees on the beach for lunch and dinner and in an open air dining room for breakfast. It serves an excellent and delicious mix of international and local dishes, usually buffet style. They are able to accommodate guests with special dietary requirements with prior notice.

There is a bar next to the pool with access to the beach where you can have a drink after your long day of snorkeling.

The resort has a full service spa where you can choose to pamper yourself with a massage or scrub.


Siladen Resort's Beach Restaurant at sunset

One Night in Manado

After departing Siladen Resort, you will be transferred to the Novotel Manado for a one night stay in preparation for your morning flight to Sorong in Raja Ampat.

Snorkeling in Raja Ampat

You may have heard of the incredible underwater biodiversity of the Coral Triangle area of Indonesia. Well, Raja Ampat is known to have the most species of marine life in all of the Coral Triangle. There are nearly 1,500 species of reef fish, 600 species of hard corals, seven giant clams species, seven species of sea turtles, and 57 species of mantis shrimp. And pelagic life is abundant in the area.

Huge school of fish over a coral reef in Raja Ampat
Papua Explorers Resort, overwater bungalows and house reef
Belly of a manta ray in Raja Ampat

You will have unlimited access to the house reef and three 60-75 minute boat snorkel sessions per day for six days. On both the house reef, and the many other reefs close by that you will visit by boat, you can expect to experience healthy coral gardens dense with hard and soft corals in perfect snorkeling depths. In fact Raja Ampat is known for excellent snorkeling in particular because of the amount of life on the shallow reefs. You will find large volumes and varieties of fish schools, and will have good chances seeing bigger fish such as manta rays, reef sharks, and schools of barracuda and jacks. Night snorkels will also be offered.

Why is there so much life around the Papua Explorers Resort? The resort is located on the edge of the Dampier Strait, in the central region of a marine protected area. The strait pumps nutrient rich waters through the area which supports an abundance of marine life, large and small.

You will experience a great variety of underwater ecosystems, all close to the resort, from shallow fringing reefs to sea mounts, walls, and manta cleaning stations.

Beneath the surface swarms of small fish such as damsels, fusiliers, and anthias mill about on the reef flats, while not too far away large schools of tuna, trevally and mackerel congregate. Spadefish, surgeonfish, and barracuda gather under docks and around reef points, while angelfish and butterflyfish decorate both the reef flats and jagged coral towers. Expect fields of soft corals like you’ve never seen them before, and hard coral reefs are healthy and abundant as well.

Colorful dendronyphthya soft corals in Raja Ampat

Weather permitting, there will be a full day tour to the famous Fam Islands and their marine protected area, with two snorkel sessions on spectacular reefs with gorgeous sea fans, soft corals, and abundant sea life. There will also be a visit to the iconic viewpoint of the karst islands and turquoise lagoons.

There are strong currents in the area, but the guides are experts at picking snorkeling spots at the right time, and there are myriad snorkeling spots that are protected in almost all weather conditions. So, although you should have a good level of fitness, you should not expect to have to swim against a current for any length of time, and instead will float with the currents.

Papua Explorers Resort snorkeling tour boat

A comfortable covered speed boat will be used for the short trips out to each snorkel site daily, and it has two motors for redundancy. There will be snorkel guides and a captain on each boat.

You will drop into the water from the side of the boat, after the guide checks the conditions and currents. Re-boarding the boat is via a wooden ladder that is lowered over the side. So some strength is required for getting back in the boat, although you will be assisted as needed.

What Is the Papua Explorers Resort Like?

Papua Explorers Resort bungalow over the water

Papua Explorers Resort is very eco-friendly, both in how it was created and how it is run. They also created the Raja Ampat SEA Center, which is an NGO dedicated to conserving Raja Ampat’s marine life through Science, Education and Awareness.

They won the 2019 Sustainability Award first place prize from the ADTO (Association of Dive Tour Operators). They are a good place to support.

Your overwater bungalow is built in traditional Papuan style with local materials, but with modern comforts. All bungalows are equipped with a bathroom, including a shower with hot water, a ceiling fan, a mosquito net, a working desk, and a comfortable seating area.

The rooms do not have air-conditioning, but with them being over the water and with the ceiling fans, they are cool. Enjoy sunsets and sunrises on your spacious veranda, with a hammock and comfortable lounge chairs. You also have your own stairs down into the sea. There is satellite based WiFi internet available in the common areas.

Papua Explorers Resort inside overwater bungalow
Papua Explorers Resort restaurant over the water at night

The resort restaurant also sits over the water, and is an excellent place to view the stunning surroundings. You will be served traditional Indonesian cuisine as well as international comfort foods and snacks between snorkels. The resort can accommodate most special diets such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and so on, with prior notice. But, it is a remote destination and specific food items may not be available.

In addition to your spacious rooms and the restaurant there are also some common areas that are great for chatting with new friends and for relaxing.

There is even an open air spa where you can get a massage to relax those snorkeling legs!

Trip Details and How to Sign Up

This is a small group trip and we expect it to fill quickly. Your spot is reserved with your deposit. Contact Ben below for deposit instructions.

Trip Dates:

April 8-23, 2025 – Available.
October 21 – November 5, 2025 – Available.

Trip Price:
$7250 US per person (Twin/Double Share)
Single Person Supplement: $1500

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. At six months before departure there is a $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 to avoid the single person supplement. If he cannot find you someone, no single supplement surcharge will apply.

Inclusions:

  • Domestic flights in Economy Class with 20 kg/44 lbs of luggage allowance (Jakarta – Manado – Sorong – Jakarta)
  • Group transfers throughout
  • 1 night in a Jakarta hotel with dinner and breakfast
  • 6 nights Siladen Resort in a Garden View Bungalow with full board (all meals)
  • 5 days of 3 boat snorkels per day from Siladen
  • Dolphin watching trip from Siladen
  • 1 night Novotel Manado with dinner and breakfast
  • 7 nights Papua Explorers Resort in an Overwater Bungalow with full board (all meals)
  • 6 days of 3 boat snorkels per day from Papua Explorers, including full day trip to Fam Islands
  • Accompanied by a guide from Ben’s team
  • Marine park fees

Exclusions:

  • International flights (booking available on request)
  • Snorkeling equipment rental
  • Tips
  • Travel and health insurance
  • Soft drinks and alcoholic drinks, laundry and general sundries
  • Spa services

Trip Organizers
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 and Nicole in Alor

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.

Learn More About the Resorts

Siladen Resort Website

Papua Explorers Resort


Completed Trip Dates

With a slightly different itinerary

2022
October 14-28
October 29 – November 12

2023
March 11-25
October 22 – November 5


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