Sulawesi and Raja Ampat Snorkeling Trip
For Snorkelers Only, Spend 15 Days Exploring the Coral Triangle From Two Stunning Resorts
October 2022, March and October 2023, April and October 2024
Join a small group of lucky duck snorkelers who will explore the Coral Triangle in Indonesia, from two stunning remote island resorts. Your first stop is Bunaken National Marine Park in Sulawesi, and you will be staying right in the park at the remarkable Siladen Resort (pictured below). The reefs here are rich with healthy corals, schools of fish in great varieties, and a healthy turtle population.
After a quick exploration of volcano vistas, and a rain forest wildlife trek on Sulawesi, you will travel to the equally amazing Papua Paradise Eco Resort in Raja Ampat. Raja Ampat is home of the most species of fish and corals in the world, the Papua Paradise is close to a tremendous variety of excellent snorkeling reefs.
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 trip is exclusively for snorkelers, and is a great value for a 15 day remote adventure filled with fantastic reefs, beautiful landscapes, and some interesting top side attractions.
Where in the World Do You Get to Snorkel?
You start this Indonesian snorkel safari by flying into Manado Airport in North Sulawesi, and then take a short drive and boat ride to Siladen Resort island, which is within the Bunaken National Marine Park.
You will have five nights at the Siladen Resort, using it as a home base to explore by boat different snorkel spots close by.
Before leaving Sulawesi your group will travel to the Gardenia Country Inn for one evening, on the island of Sulawesi. This area offers stunning views, and you will take a day tour and hike to explore a volcanic crater and lake. The next day you will take a tour of Tangkoko National Park, to explore the rain forest. You will stay that evening at the Novotel Hotel in Manado.
The next morning, you will fly to Sorong, and upon arrival be transferred by car and boat to the Papua Paradise Eco Resort. You will have seven nights at this fantastic destination where you will take several boats trips a day to neighboring reefs for snorkeling adventures.
After your stay at Papua Paradise you will be transferred back to Sorong where you will catch your final flight to Jakarta.
More About Sulawesi and the Siladen Resort
After your flight to Manado, you will be staying at the Siladen Island Resort for five nights. The island is in the Bunaken National Marine Park, which offers huge biodiversity and rare and endangered animals.
The 343 square miles of protected marine park boast an astounding variety of hard and soft corals, beautiful fans, seven species of giant clams, 33 types of butterflyfish, Bumphead Parrotfish, and a massive variety of other fish species.
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.
Snorkeling along the shallow shallow reef tops allows you to see colorful corals and abundant fish life in warm tropical waters. There will be six full days of snorkeling, from the excellent house reef, and from two all snorkeling boat trips per day to different unique reef areas.
When it comes to an exclusive island experience Siladen Resort is hard to beat. Your private, well appointed accommodations are meters from a white sand beach with beautiful garden views. The resort has a pool, lounge, and spa to pamper yourself with a massage or scrub.
The rooms are air-conditioned. And the restaurant serves an excellent and delicious mix of international and local dishes. They are usually able to accommodate guests with special dietary requirements.
Volcano and Jungle Land Tours on Sulawesi
After leaving Siladen you will journey inland on the island of Sulawesi, and drive towards Mount Mahawu, where you will take a tour of a volcanic crater rim, and to see a volcanic lake, and enjoy sweeping views of the Bunaken Islands. You will stay the night at the lovely Gardenia Country Inn. This lodge offers rooms with en-suite bathrooms, private balconies, and beautiful views.
The next day you will travel to Tangkoko National Park which is in the north of Sulawesi, for a tour of the rain forest. You have the opportunity to see crested black macaque monkeys and a variety of tropical birds in their forest habitats. After one more night at Novotel Hotel in Manado, you are off to Raja Ampat.
About Raja Ampat and the Papua Paradise Eco Resort
You will spend seven nights at Papua Paradise Eco Resort, which is ideally located close to the best snorkeling reefs in the area, in the heart of Raja Ampat. Each morning and afternoon you will venture out by boat to explore neighboring reefs, returning for lunch between. The resort also has a stunning house reef fronting your overwater bungalow, that you can snorkel any time.
Raja Ampat is considered the biodiversity center of the famed Coral Triangle. With nearly 1,500 species of reef fish, 600 hard corals, giant clams and many turtle species, it’s not hard to realize you will have an extraordinary experience. It is snorkeling heaven. You have a high chance of seeing manta rays, turtles, and pelagic life as well.
In shallower coral areas you can expect to see swarms of small reef fish like damsels, fusiliers, and anthias. In slightly deeper waters you can enjoy sighting tuna, trevally, and mackerel.
Also included will be a full day trip to the Fam Islands, which offers great snorkeling spots and walking trails to viewpoints.
The reason Papua Paradise offers such riches is because it is located on the Dampier Strait that has a strong flow of water full of nutrients that supports the large abundance of marine life.
Yes, there are currents, and having a good level of fitness is a good idea, but you should not expect to have to swim against a current for any length of time, and instead with float with the currents. The guides are very good at choosing the right times to get in the water, and always get in the water first to gauge the conditions. And there is always a boat close by.
Under the docks of the resort you will commonly find schools of spadefish, surgeonfish, and barracuda, with beautiful sponges and soft corals clinging to the piers.
At the many locations you will visit each day by boat you can expect to see a wonderful variety of underwater ecosystems, from shallow coral fields dense with soft and hard corals of all colors and types to steep drop-offs with larger species of fish schooling below. The resort house reef is huge and healthy. You can see “walking sharks” in the evening in the shallows, mandarinfish, small reef sharks, and wobbegongs.
The resort is not only in an ideal location, it is also a joy to relax in when you are not out snorkeling. Your beautiful overwater bungalow has an en-suite bathroom, and is backed by a lush jungle and white sandy beach.
Each room has a private balcony with comfortable seating and hammocks, for enjoying the island views, sunrises, and sunsets. And there is an ocean view spa for getting those tight leg muscles loosened up.
There are comfortable places to sit and talk with your new friends in the common areas.
The Seaview Restaurant overlooks the house reef, and is an excellent place to watch sunrises and sunsets while you dine. The restaurant serves an international mix of of local and European offerings, buffet style. Much of the fresh ingredients and fruits are sourced locally, and specialty items are imported. Most all diets can be accommodated.
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.
2022 Trip Dates:
October 14-28 – Trip full, request to be waitlisted below.
October 29 – November 12 – Trip full, request to be waitlisted below.
2022 Trip Price:
$6060 US per person (Twin/Double Share)
Single Person Supplement: $800
2023 Trip Dates:
March 11-25 – Trip full, request to be waitlisted below.
October 22 – November 5 – Available.
2023 Trip Price:
$6260 US per person (Twin/Double Share)
Single Person Supplement: $800
2024 Trip Dates:
April 3-17 – Available.
October 2-16 – Available.
2024 Trip Price:
$6460 US per person (Twin/Double Share)
Single Person Supplement: $800
The initial deposit for this trip is $400 US per person. 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.
- Domestic flights in Economy Class with 20 kg/44 lbs of luggage allowance – Manado – Sorong – Jakarta
- Group transfers throughout
- Accommodation and full board (all meals)
- Services of snorkel guide throughout
- Entrance fees, Tangkoko National Park fees and Bunaken Marine park fees
- 20 x Snorkel boat sessions, including island tours and excursions
- Dolphin watching trip
- Full day trip to Fam Islands
- International flights (booking available on request)
- Snorkeling equipment
- Travel insurance
- Soft drinks and alcoholic drinks, laundry and general sundries
- Spa services
- Raja Ampat Marine park fees (paid locally) – US$100
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 one of his snorkeling trips we found it 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. And for where they visit, and how packed they are with experiences, they are affordable.
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.
Note: Our suggestions are based on knowledge of the area. We hope you find them helpful. You can help us if you use the link(s) below. We may make a small commission, at no extra cost to you.