Raja Ampat and Wakatobi Snorkeling Trip

Join This Amazing 17 Day Resort Based Safari to Two Abundant Coral Triangle Destinations

November 2-18, 2024

Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to visit two of the best snorkeling spots in the world! This Raja Ampat and Wakatobi snorkeling trip includes stays at both Papua Explorers Resort and Wakatobi Resort. From each resort it is easy to access the abundant coral reefs teeming with fish and creatures in these wonderful areas of Indonesia and the Coral Triangle.

Sea fan and school of fusiliers you could see on this Raja Ampat and Wakatobi Snorkeling Trip

This trip begins at the stunning Papua Explorers Resort, in the heart 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.

Three manta rays at the surface in Raja Ampat

The trip continues at the luxurious Wakatobi Resort which is situated at the geographical center of the Coral Triangle. The islands in the Wakatobi National Park have been preserved from large-scale tourism. As you snorkel around Wakatobi you will see healthy reefs with hundreds of different coral species, that extend for hundreds of meters in all directions. The resort has a truly fantastic house reef easily accessed from the resort’s pier.

Snorkelers over a healthy hard coral reef in Indonesia

Watch this quick video to get a sense of what to expect snorkeling Raja Ampat and Wakatobi.

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.

This small group tour (16 snorkelers + guide) is exclusively for snorkelers. Guided by a member of Ben’s team you will explore some of the richest, healthiest and most bio-diverse reefs to be found on Earth. Ben’s team handles everything from start to finish, meaning you can relax and enjoy every moment of your trip.

World map with Coral Triangle highlighted

The Raja Ampat and Wakatobi Travel Itinerary

Both Raja Ampat and Wakatobi are located in Indonesia. You will book your international flight into Jakarta where your tour begins. You will spend some time recovering in a comfortable Jakarta hotel and then your group will fly together overnight to Sorong in West Papua. From there you will transfer to Papua Explorers Resort by boat, where you will spend the next seven nights.

Raja Ampat and Wakatobi Snorkeling Trip Map

After the last night at Papua Explorers you will be transferred by boat back to Sorong and your next group flight to Bali. On arrival in Bali you will check in to the Novotel Airport Hotel for the night. The next morning you will take an early charter flight to the private airstrip, and be transferred to Wakatobi Resort, where you will spend the next seven nights.

After the last night at Wakatobi Resort, your group will fly back to Bali, where the tour ends.

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 aerial view
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.

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.

Spadefish next to reef wall in Raja Ampat

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.

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 the rooms 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. 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!

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.

Snorkeling in Wakatobi

The resort is located within the Wakatobi National Park, a UNESCO Marine Biosphere Reserve. It’s the third largest marine park in Indonesia, and has been described by Jacques Cousteau as “Underwater Nirvana”.

We have visited Wakatobi and easily recommend it. The reefs are very healthy, and the resort and service are perhaps the best we have experienced. Their snorkel boats are also excellent, with full shade, a big bathroom, and good ladders.

Aerial View of Wakatobi Resort and Its Jetty
Nudibranch at Wakatobi

Wakatobi Resort is an ideal base for a snorkel tour. You have unlimited access to the house reef during your stay and two 105 minute boat snorkeling sessions per day for six days.

The house reef offers a combination of shallow corals and sea grass areas, and you can also swim right along the top where the wall drops down into the deeper blue. The corals right along the top of the wall are shallow and a joy to snorkel. And the wall is covered in beautiful corals and sponges.

You can see larger fish schools and creatures along the wall edge. We saw lots of turtles, both Green and Hawksbill here. And the shallow corals near the drop-off are full of smaller tropical fish schools. Blue spotted rays are common, as are eels. We also found Stonefish here, which was a first.

We also found a number of Leaf Scorpionfish around Wakatobi and lots of beautiful nudibranchs.

Shallow coral head with many damselfish in Wakatobi
Banded Sea Krait over a mixed leather coral reef in Wakatobi
Shrimp cleaning mouth of an eel in Wakatobi

Surely one of the most impressive house reefs for any resort location in the world, this magnificent wall and reef top offers flexible snorkeling opportunities throughout the day and night.

Wakatobi also offers excellent service for snorkelers – all trips are accompanied by professional guides, well versed in the marine life on the reefs. Your gear is loaded onto the day boats for you, and towels and snacks are provided onboard.

Staff are available to help with water entry and exits, and all snorkel sessions have boat surface support to ensure your safety. Even while snorkeling the house reef, staff wait on the jetty, ready to collect snorkelers in the private “taxi” boat.

What Is Wakatobi Resort Like?

Wakatobi Resort is completely secluded. You reach it by both a charted flight from Bali, which lands on a private airstrip, followed by a short speed boat ride.

Despite its location, the resort offers beautiful, luxurious accommodation built in tune with the environment using ethically and locally sourced materials and labor. They also offer other creature comforts like a full-service spa.

Aerial View of Ocean Bungalows at Wakatobi Resort

Your Ocean Bungalow is air-conditioned and has a minibar, coffee pot, towels, hair dryer, and safe. Each bungalow has an indoor bathroom and a spacious Asian spa-style outdoor shower. You can also hang out on your roomy balcony’s comfortable lounge beds with sea views, or in your private lounge chairs with umbrella on the beach. Your bungalow offers internet access via satellite.

Inside Ocean Bungalow at Wakatobi Resort

All food is included, and served at the Beach Restaurant. The food at the resort is refined, and the professional chefs combine fresh ingredients to create a variety of Indonesian, Asian, and international dishes. All special dietary requirements will be catered for (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc.).

Wakatobi Resort's Beach Restaurant

And at the end of the day, the Jetty Bar offers the ideal location to take in a wonderful Wakatobi sunset and watch the stars come out, along with your favorite drink – be it cocktail, wine, beer or juice.

Aerail View of Wakatobi's Snorkel Tour Boat

Large wooden boats complete with gear up areas and full canopy for sun protection are used for your daily snorkel sessions. Each boat has a marine toilet with a shower, as well as fresh water bins for equipment and cameras. The average travel time from the resort to the snorkel sites is 15 minutes. You will enter and exit the water via ladders on the side of the boat.

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.

Trip Date:
November 2-18, 2024 – One double occupancy room and one female share space available.

Trip Price:
$9,695 US per person (Twin/Double Share)

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.

Inclusions:

  • 1 day stay at a Jakarta hotel with dinner
  • Domestic flights with 44lbs (20kg) checked luggage allowance in economy class (Jakarta – Sorong – Bali – Wakatobi – Bali)
  • All group transfers
  • 7 nights at Papua Explorers Resort in Superior Over-water Bungalow with full board (all meals)
  • 3 boat snorkels per day for 6 days in Raja Ampat
  • Unlimited Papua Explorers Resort house reef snorkeling
  • 1 night Novotel Bali Airport with breakfast
  • 7 nights at Wakatobi Resort in Ocean Bungalow with full board (all meals)
  • 2 boat snorkels per day for 6 days in Wakatobi
  • Unlimited Wakatobi Resort house reef snorkeling
  • Escorted by a guide from Ben’s team

Exclusions:

  • Travel and health insurance
  • International flights and visas
  • Snorkel gear rental
  • Beverages, spa treatments, sundries, and gratuities
  • Raja Ampat Marine Park Permit – $100 US (subject to change)

Trip Organizers
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 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

Papua Explorers Resort

Wakatobi Resort Website


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