Raja Ampat islands has a deserved reputation as one of the best places in the world for snorkeling, diving and underwater photography, but from what we’ve seen on the internet, few seem to realize that the snorkeling in Raja Ampat is also among the world’s best. The range of habitats and marine life in the ocean’s top few metres is just astounding. Even better, most accommodation in Raja Ampat has fantastic snorkeling available right at the door.
Some homestays offer snorkeling equipment for hire, but it’s best to take your own – you won’t want the experience diminished by ill fitting fins or leaking masks.
The islands has so many places to snorkeling, from shore of your lodges or homestay to deep snorkeling using boat, its home of manta rays with other pelagics.
Safe Snorkeling, It’s worth noting a few safety issues to be aware of when swimming or snorkeling in Raja Ampat…
Currents: Some places have strong currents when tides are running. Fins are a must if you don’t want to be a cork in the stream. Keep checking your position relative to the shore – especially if you don’t have a guide. Conditions can change quickly.
Reef protection: Look. Don’t touch! That includes walking over coral to enter the water. As well as the damage done to corals by handling or crushing underfoot, coral grazes or cuts are notoriously prone to becoming infected. Some species can also sting you quite badly. You shouldn’t attempt to handle any kind of marine life. There are many small and pretty animals on the reef that can do you a lot of harm. Blue-ring octopus, cone shells, lionfish – it’s a long list. They won’t bother you if you don’t bother them.
Marine animal hazards: There’s a more in depth look at this subject in our health and medical FAQ. As long as you follow the “don’t touch” rule the only animals you’re likely to have a problem with are jellyfish. Many of them are virtually invisible. Wearing a lycra skin suit is the best method of protecting yourself from these and Raja Ampat’s other main risk…
Sunburn: Sunscreen and/or lycra protection is a must. Snorkeling in Raja Ampat is so good that a couple of hours can go by like a blink of the eye. You’ll never regret the snorkeling, but you’re bound to regret being fried so badly you have to stop.
Dehydration: It seems wrong that you can become dehydrated while spending all day in the water, but you can. Remember to drink!