Join This 18 Day Extraordinary Exploration of the World’s Most Abundant Reefs From Two Stunning Resorts
February 15 – March 4, 2025
If you want to experience the best snorkeling in the world, this Raja Ampat resorts snorkeling trip is for you! You will get to snorkel in both the north and the south of Raja Ampat, Indonesia, which is the most marine biodiverse area in the renowned Coral Triangle, and also on Earth. This is our favorite destination to snorkel in the world, and you get to do it from two fantastic resorts, Papua Explorers Resort in the north, and Misool Resort in the south.
This trip begins at the stunning Papua Explorers Resort, in the north part of the Raja Ampat archipelago. Just a short boat ride from the resort are many snorkeling sites with some of the most diverse marine habitats found anywhere on the planet. You will find healthy coral gardens packed with hard and soft corals that carpet the island slopes all the way up to the surface. Masses of fish life explode from the reefs, with good chances of swimming next to bigger fish such as manta rays, reef sharks, and schools of barracuda and jacks.
Next you will be visiting Misool, a very remote eco resort in southern Raja Ampat. This private reserve is focused on conservation and sits in the middle of a 500 square mile Marine Protected Area and No Take Zone. Misool’s reefs are absolutely brimming with life. Thanks to their conservation efforts it is one of the rare places where sea life is not only flourishing, but has increased in health and diversity in recent years. Right off the docks you can see schools of trevally and Bumphead Parrotfish. Green turtles and walking sharks are common.
This 18 day 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.
This small group trip of 12 is exclusively for snorkelers. It is a unique opportunity to experience a guided remote adventure filled with fantastic reefs, beautiful landscapes, and remote island resorts.
The Raja Ampat Resorts Snorkeling Trip Itinerary
Raja Ampat is located in Indonesia, in the heart of the Coral Triangle. It is a regency of over 1,500 stunning islands, the primary islands being Salawati, Batanta, Waigeo, and Misool, and it includes Cenderawasih Bay. Raja Ampat translates as Four Kings in English, referring to the four largest islands.
This tour begins in Jakarta and includes a stay in a comfortable Jakarta hotel with a group dinner to introduce your guide and fellow snorkelers. Then you will take an overnight flight as a group to Sorong in West Papua.
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 remote 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 spend a night in a comfortable hotel. In the morning your group will be picked up by staff from the Misool Resort, and transferred to their large boat. There is a 4-5 hour boat ride to another remote resort island, in a comfortable large yacht, with air-conditioning, restrooms, and snacks available.
After spending seven nights at the beautiful Misool Resort, you return by boat to Sorong, to stay one more night in a comfortable hotel, before flying back to Jakarta, which is the end of the guided tour.
Snorkeling in North 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.
We snorkeled this area in 2023 and found it to be exceptional!
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 North 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
You will have seven nights in an overwater bungalow that 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 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.
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!
Snorkeling in Misool, South Raja Ampat
Misool’s reefs are absolutely brimming with life. Thanks to their conservation efforts it is one of the rare places where sea life is not only flourishing, but has increased in health and diversity in recent years. The Misool Marine Reserve protects around 300,000 acres (nearly 500 square miles) of remote islands and the underwater marine life.
In 2020 we experienced likely the best snorkeling of our lives at Misool, and we started donating monthly to their conservation foundation, because we were so impressed with the good they are doing. It is extraordinary! Many of the underwater pictures in this section we took during that trip. Watch the video below, to get a sense for what Misool is all about.
“There is greater biodiversity — that is to say, a larger number and greater diversity of fish, coral, and mollusks on these reefs than anywhere on earth. A single football field-sized patch of Misool’s reefs has nearly five times the number of coral species as the entire Caribbean Sea.” – Marine biologist Dr Mark Erdmann
Because you are staying at Misool Eco Resort you will have the opportunity to snorkel right from the beaches, to your heart’s content. As you can see in the picture below there is a north lagoon, a south lagoon, and the reef to either side of the dock to snorkel, with neighboring Marsemol Island also available. We found the house reef snorkeling to be outstanding. There are areas full of healthy corals, with fish in the thousands. Seeing small reef sharks and turtles is nearly guaranteed. The house reef alone will keep you happy for many days.
In addition to unlimited house reef snorkeling, you will have 12 snorkel boat sessions to nearby reefs. Night snorkels will also be on offer and are worth a try as you may get to see the wonderful walking sharks.
The snorkeling topography in Misool generally consists of a shallow shelf of reef right next to an island shoreline, that gradually gets a bit deeper, and then in most places the bottom drops off quickly into much deeper water. So on nearly every snorkel you have the opportunity to see shallow areas packed with corals and small reef fish. You can also snorkel over the drop-off, with vertical walls covered in colorful soft and hard corals and tunicates. Over the drop-off and out in the blue water you have the chance to see large schools of fish, huge Napoleon Wrasses, sharks, and turtles.
Misool easily has more fish than any other location we have ever snorkeled. Fish populations, variety and sizes are simply beyond description. There were times right on the house reef where we would watch a school of thousands of beautiful fusiliers cruising by that never seemed to end. From endless clouds of little reef fish, to larger schools of much larger fish like jacks or trevallies and Bumphead Parrotfish, to gorgeous anemones and their resident anemonefish, snorkeling in Misool is like being in a National Geographic or Blue Planet special.
And nearby there are a few manta ray cleaning stations where it is common to see these giants.
Coral health and variety was astounding overall. The bright colors and variety of hard and soft corals were a joy to see.
In addition to fish and corals, you can also see beautiful nudibranchs, turtles, eels, octopus, squid, cuttlefish, seahorses, and the gorgeous giant clams, night snorkeling with walking sharks, and the many giant manta ray encounters.
Your snorkel boat in Misool is a spacious fiberglass speedboat with enough room to easily store snorkeling equipment. The boats do not have a toilet onboard but do offer a full canopy for sun protection and a ladder to help exit the water.
What Is Misool Eco Resort Like?
You will be spending seven nights at Misool Eco Resort. The resort was built entirely with reclaimed wood using their own saw mills on site. Your group will be staying in the South Beach Villas. That means your room is on or above the beautiful South Beach, which has wonderful snorkeling a short swim out. It is one of the most picturesque beaches we have ever been on.
Your room will have air-conditioning, an open-air private bathroom with hot water, and a veranda with lounges.
All food is included, and served at the beachfront restaurant. You can expect Asian and Western cuisine, with an emphasis on fresh, local, organic produce, and fish line-caught outside their no-take zone. They can accommodate dietary needs and restrictions with advance notice. There are four meals served a day (second breakfast anyone?), plus snacks, and afternoon tea. Alcohol is an extra cost item, and pork is not served.
You may also choose to partake in the resort’s wellness spa treatments at The Lookout or in your own room. They offer massage and beauty treatments that feature their signature products, created every morning in their kitchen.
Trip Details and How to Sign Up
We expect this trip to fill quickly. Your spot is reserved with your deposit. Contact Ben below for deposit instructions.
February 15 – March 4, 2025 – One double occupancy room available.
$8350 US per person double occupancy – Deluxe Overwater Bungalow at Papua Explorers Resort and South Beach Villa at Misool Resort
Single Supplement: $2,350 US
The initial deposit for this trip is $800 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 12 weeks before departure. A few payment options are available including debit and credit cards.
- 1 night at a Jakarta hotel with welcome dinner
- All group transfers and domestic flights with 44lbs (20kg) checked luggage allowance in economy class (Jakarta – Sorong – Jakarta)
- 7 nights at Papua Explorers Resort in Deluxe Overwater Bungalow with full board (all meals)
- 6 days of 3 boat snorkels per day in North Raja Ampat
- Unlimited Papua Explorers Resort house reef snorkeling
- 1 night at a Sorong hotel with dinner and breakfast included
- 7 nights at Misool Resort in a South Beach Villa with full board (all meals)
- 12 boat snorkels in Misool
- Unlimited Misool Resort house reef snorkeling
- 1 night at a Sorong hotel with dinner and breakfast included
- Accompanied by a guide from Ben’s team
- Local snorkel guides at each location
- Marine Park Fees
- International flights and visas
- Travel and health insurance
- Snorkel gear rental
- Beverages, spa treatments, sundries, and laundry
- Spa services
- WiFi at Misool Resort
Ben and his U.K. based team are the organizers and leaders of this trip (more about them below). Galen and 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.