Best Raja Ampat Liveaboards [2022 Guide]

Looking for the best Raja Ampat liveaboards? In this travel guide, I am going to walk you through our top liveaboard picks in the area.

Located in the newly-named West Papua Province of Indonesia, Raja Ampat is an idyllic paradise known for its stunning palm-fringed beaches and amazing marine life.

This archipelago is made up of over 1,500 beautiful islands, making it every diver’s dream destination. You can easily spend a few weeks exploring the many dive sites in the area.

Raja Ampat is even said to have more marine diversity than the coral triangles of Indonesia, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea. In short, there are loads of things to see and explore underwater which is why liveaboards are quite popular in this destination.

Due to the large number of choices and variations in itineraries, choosing a liveaboard in Raja Ampat can be an arduous task. To help you out, we’ve put together a complete guide of the best Raja Ampat liveaboard boats ranging from budget to luxury.

Our Top Raja Ampat Liveaboard Picks

Cheapest Liveaboard in Raja Ampat

Pearl of Papua

Max Divers: 8

Rooms: 4 cabins

Bathrooms: 2

Best Mid-Range Liveaboard in Raja Ampat

Sea Safari 8

Max Divers: 21

Rooms: 9 cabins / AC

Bathrooms: 10

Best Luxury Liveaboards in Raja Ampat

Mutiara Laut

Max Divers: 14

Rooms: 7 /AC

Bathrooms: 7

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Comparison Table for Best Raja Ampat Liveaboards

Boat NamePriceGuestsShared CabinsPhotography StationExtended ItinerariesReviews
Pearl of Papua$14
Yes
Yes
No
Read Reviews
IIike$16
Yes
Yes
No
Read Reviews
Calico Jack$8
Yes
Yes
Yes
Read Reviews
SMY Ondina$$16
Yes
Yes
Yes
Read Reviews
Sea Safari 8$$24
Yes
Yes
No
Read Reviews
Raja Manta$$20
Yes
Yes
No
Read Reviews
Mutiara Laut$$$14
Yes
Yes
No
Read Reviews
Samambaia$$$14
Yes
Yes
Yes
View Reviews
Tiger Blue$$$14
Yes
Yes
No
Read Reviews

Best Budget Liveaboard Diving in Raja Ampat

Pearl of Papua

Max. Divers: 14 guests

Rooms: 7 cabins / AC

Bathrooms: 7

This 30m Raja Ampat liveaboard is led by a 12-member crew who are all highly knowledgeable about the area. The divemasters are able to navigate their way through the waters with ease.

While the ship is a luxury-style liveaboard, the price is definitely a lot cheaper compared to the other liveaboards in the area. Offering premium cabins, onboard massages, and delicious meals, this boat is a great choice for the budget-conscious.

The boat is outfitted with gear stations, rinse tanks, camera tables, and battery charging stations for underwater photographers. The Pearl of Papua runs multiple trips, varying from eight to eleven days, covering the best of what Raja Ampat has to offer.

What’s Included: VAT, Accommodation, Complimentary Toiletries, Transfers/pickups from Airport, Tanks, Weights, Belts, Divemaster Services, All Meals, Towels

Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Pearl of Papua.

IIike

Max. Divers: 16 guests

Rooms: 8 cabins

This traditional phinisi boat offers year-round trips all over Indonesia, including the Raja Ampat Archipelago. It offers competitive rates and has an almost 1-1 guest and crew ratio, making sure you’re in good hands.

When you’re not busy diving, you can lounge around on the sun deck or in the open-air lounge with a good book. People who have done this liveaboard rave about the delicious local and international meals served throughout the trip.

What’s Included: VAT, Accommodation, Tanks, Weights, Belts, Divemaster Services, All Meals, Towels

Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the IIike.

Calico Jack

Max. Divers: 10 guests

Rooms: 5 cabins /AC

Bathrooms: 5

In addition to running trips in the Komodo Islands, Calico Jack, a traditional 30m Indonesian sailing boat which is fitted with modern amenities and furnishings, also sails around Raja Ampat. The boat has a large galley and salon as well as a beautiful outdoor dining area.

This boat is a great choice for photography buffs as the Calico Jack has photography stations, with special storage for underwater camera setups. The diving platform is large and spacious, giving you room to gear up properly.

Power up after your diving with the delicious Asian fusion cuisine served onboard.

The boat has 8 crew members ready to help you make the most out of your dive trip.

What’s Included: VAT, Accommodation, Complimentary toiletries, Transfers/pickups from Airport, Tanks, Weights, Belts, Divemaster Services, All Meals, Towels

Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Calico Jack.

Best Mid-Range Liveaboard Diving in Raja Ampat

SMY Ondina

Max. Divers: 16 guests

Rooms: 8 cabins / AC

Bathrooms: 8

After undergoing a renovation in 2014, the Ondina was relaunched with 8 air-conditioned cabins with en-suite bathrooms, a large outside deck, and an entertainment/dining area.

The food is served buffet style and is a mix of both Asian and Western meals. One thing is for sure: you won’t go hungry when onboard.

The Ondina makes trips around Raja Ampat for nine to eleven nights, going to some of the best scuba diving sites in Raja Ampat. The divemasters are extremely helpful and knowledgeable, and will safely guide you around these pristine waters.

What’s Included: VAT, Accommodation, Complimentary Toiletries, Transfers/pickups from Airport, Tanks, Weights, Belts, Divemaster Services, All Meals, Towels

Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the SMY Ondina

Sea Safari 8

Max. Divers: 23 guests

Rooms: 12 cabins / AC

Bathrooms: 13

This beautiful 34m traditional Indonesian Phinisi boat is a great option for those who want comfort and luxury without having to break the bank. Equipped with 12 air-conditioned cabins with en-suite bathrooms and TVs, the Sea Safari is a comfortable choice for a memorable liveaboard experience.

You’ll get many day and night diving opportunities, and have the time to explore some of the uninhabited islands around Raja Ampat.

The boat has a spacious dive deck, indoor lounge with a full entertainment system, and a beautiful outdoor bar and sun deck. Nitrox is also available, if requested.

What’s Included: VAT, Accommodation, Complimentary Toiletries, Tanks, Weights, Belts, Divemaster Services, All Meals, Possible Fuel Surcharge, Towels

Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Sea Safari 8

Raja Manta

Max. Divers: 20 guests

Rooms: 10 cabins / AC

Bathrooms: 10

Formerly known as the M/V White Manta, the Raja Manta is a mid-range liveaboard and is one of the best options for those who want to experience Raja Ampat in comfort and style.

Dive amenities include Nitrox, full dive gear, camera tables, and rinse tanks. Guests can relax in their en-suite cabins or in the air-conditioned salon equipped with a large plasma TV and DVD.

The staff is incredibly friendly and attentive, making the whole dive experience fun and one of a kind.

What’s Included: VAT, Accommodation, Complimentary Toiletries, Transfers/pickups from Airport, Tanks, Weights, Belts, All Meals, Towels

Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Raja Manta

Best Luxury Liveaboard Diving in Raja Ampat

Mutiara Laut

Max. Divers: 14 guests

Rooms: 7 cabins / AC

Bathrooms: 7

If you’re looking to explore Raja Ampat in the most luxurious and best way possible, hop aboard the Mutiara Laut, a stunning 46m traditional Indonesian Phinisi luxury liveaboard.

The cabins are built with en-suite bathrooms, queen-sized beds, double wardrobes, and writing desks. The outdoor deck is a crowd favorite as you can lounge on oversized daybeds while staring at the string of islands around you.

After a full day of scuba diving, enjoy an onboard spa treatment or the delicious international cuisine prepared daily. The dive equipment is free of charge, and the crew and divemasters will help you navigate your way around some of the most stunning dive sites you will ever see. It explores the spectacular dive sites of Raja Ampat with 10-11 night diving trips.

What’s Included: Accommodation, Complimentary Toiletries, Transfers/pickups from Airport, diving gear, Tanks, Divemaster Services, All Meals, Free Nitrox, Possible Fuel Surcharge, Towels

Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Alila Purnama

Samambaia

Max. Divers: 14 guests

Rooms: 7 cabins / AC

Bathrooms: 7

The Samambaia sails in the areas of Raja Ampat, Banda Sea, Alor, and Komodo. While the areas are different in terms of topography, what’s similar is you will receive an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience aboard this ship.

The Samambaia is a new ship built in a traditional wooden style and is committed to giving you five-star service. The ship has 6 gorgeous wooden cabins, a gorgeous deck, and unbelievable meals from locally-sourced food.

While traveling on the Samambaia, prepare to have life-changing day and night dives in the best of Raja Ampat, as well as stepping off the boat for land excursions. Many itineraries include traveling through lagoons and coves, trekking through scenic routes, and visiting secluded beaches.

What’s Included: VAT, Accommodation, Complimentary Toiletries, Transfers/pickups from Airport, Tanks, Weights, Belts, All Meals, Towels

Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Samambaia

Tiger Blue

Max. Divers: 14 guests

Rooms: 5 cabins / AC

Bathrooms: 5

This luxurious 34m Raja Ampat liveaboard offers the ultimate five-star service for dive enthusiasts. The staff will go above and beyond to make your experience as enjoyable as possible.

From the executive chef whipping up delectable meals all day to the knowledge and experience of the dive crew who can expertly navigate you around the dive sites, the crew will take good care of you throughout the trip.

The 8-day trip often includes around 17 dives, taking you around some of the best areas in Raja Ampat. Luxury meets adventure as they organize the ultimate sea safari for guests to enjoy.

What’s Included: VAT, Accommodation, Complimentary Toiletries, Transfers/pickups from Airport, Diving Gear, Tanks, Weights, Belts, Divemaster Services, All Meals, Towels

Click the button below to learn more and check the prices and availability for the Tiger Blue

Raja Ampat Liveaboard Diving Highlights

In Indonesian, “Raja Ampat” translates to “four kings” which give tribute to the four main islands — Misool, Salawati, Batanta, and Waige — that make up Raja Ampat.

When diving in this area, one word describes it perfectly: diversity.

Expect to see it all! Home to over 1,000 types of coral fish as well as manta rays and sharks you probably won’t see anywhere else, Raja Ampat can easily stake a claim as one of the best scuba diving sites in the world.

Strong current, drift dives, cathedral swim-throughs, WWII shipwrecks, manta rays, dugongs, sharks, large pelagics, and a kaleidoscope of colorful soft corals. Scuba diving here is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience and is a must for avid divers.

With the growing popularity of Raja Ampat (although it still is logistically hard and expensive to get to), homestays and day dives are now also possible. However, the best way to see, discover, and make the most out of your trip to Raja Ampat is hands down by doing a liveaboard.

Boat stopover to see the Stunning view of Raja Ampat Islands
Boat stopover to see the Stunning view of Raja Ampat Islands

FAQ about Diving in Raja Ampat

Where is the best diving in Indonesia?

Good diving can be found all over Indonesia. A few popular areas are:
1. Bali
2. The Gili Islands
3. Komodo National Park
4. Sulawesi

and more. For a full list, check out our detailed guide on the best diving in Indonesia.

However, if you’re looking for a secluded place that has incredible wildlife, Raja Ampat is second to none. The best way to explore the diving here is through a liveaboard boat so you can really make the most out of your time there.

Is Raja Ampat good for diving?

Raja Ampat boasts of some of the best scuba diving in Asia and the world. Located in the Northwest of Papua, Raja Ampat is in the coral triangle which is why it is plentiful in marine life. It is home to over 1,200 various species of fish and corals and is generally unspoilt and abundant.

When is the best time to dive in Raja Ampat

In general, October to mid-December are the best times to go on a liveaboard in Raja Ampat. However, boats run during the entire dry season which stretches out until April.

Raja Ampat Diving: What You Need to Know

Best Time to Go Diving in Raja Ampat

While you can scuba dive all year round in Raja Ampat, liveaboard diving is very much dependent on the weather. That said, all the liveaboard companies plan their schedules in advance to get the best weather seasons possible.

As mentioned previously, October to mid-December are the best times to go on a liveaboard in Raja Ampat. However, boats run during the entire dry season as well.

Mid-June to September is generally a season that liveaboards tend to avoid as there is a higher chance of getting a few strong winds and rain. During those times, you might want to consider Cenderawasih Bay where whale sharks tend to commune or other diving sites in Indonesia such as liveaboard diving in Komodo.

raja-ampat-liveaboard

Raja Ampat Diving Safety

The currents in Raja Ampat can get quite strong but it is also the life force behind the incredible reef and marine life in the area.

The trick is to understand the currents and know how to go with it. The divemasters on every liveaboard are very knowledgeable about the water conditions and are seasoned divers within the area. Stick with them and you’ll be fine.

As Raja Ampat is located in a very remote place, medical facilities are limited. Most liveaboards will be strict in asking medical questions prior to your trip.

It is also mandatory for all guests to get travel insurance which would cover trip cancellation, evacuations, and dive accidents. Insurance is a must for most liveaboards and proof of insurance will be required upon checking in.

We recommend purchasing dive insurance from World Nomads for your diving adventures.

Best Dive Sites in Raja Ampat

Cape Kri

As far as sites in and around Raja Ampat go, Cape Kri is known to have the greatest diversity of marine life. Among the reefs, you’ll find schools of fish, barracuda, hawksbill turtles and even reef sharks.

You’ll likely spot large schools of fish such as trevally, bannerfish, emperors and more. If you’re lucky, you might also encounter whitetip or grey reef sharks.

Venture down to the base of the reef to find a sunken anchor from ancient times. Cape Kri doesn’t disappoint, especially if you’re into underwater photography.

raja-ampat-liveaboard-diving

Fabiacet

If you’re seeking the best visibility, take a visit to Fabiacet for clear waters and tons of different species of marine life. Be sure to take along your camera for unbeatable photos at a depth of 40 meters.

When diving at Fabiacet, you’re bound to catch sight of hammerhead sharks and possibly even a green tortoise.

While the current can sometimes be strong, this dive site is suitable for divers of all levels of experience so you shouldn’t miss it!

Misool Island

The second largest of the “four kings,” Misool Island is one of the most colorful underwater scenes you can find. The reefs are brightly colored, filled with all different kinds of corals and home to many species of fish.

The site is nicknamed “the kaleidoscope” because of this huge color variety, making it a prime location for photography, creature spotting and more.

For a unique experience, visit the Blue Water Mangroves where you can see a mangrove environment in great visibility.

Manta Ridge

Located in the middle section of Raja Ampat, Manta Ridge is a popular dive site because of its shallow waters.

It’s one of the best spots for sighting manta rays (hence the name) as there’s a manta ray cleaning station that draws the animals in. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a peek at an all-black manta ray which is rather uncommon.

Besides mantas, you’re likely to see reef sharks, turtles, and many species of fish.

For more on diving in Raja Ampat, check out our Complete Guide to Raja Ampat Diving.

Wild manta ray swimming in ocean

How to Get to the Raja Ampat

To access any of the islands, you will first need to get to the port of Sorong.

There are no direct international flights but you can fly into Sorong via Jakarta, Makassar, Ambon or Manado. Airlines include Lion Air, Xpress Airlines, Sriwijaya Airlines, Nam Airlines and Garuda Indonesia.

A return flight from Jakarta will cost you around $450 to 600 USD and flights from Bali are possible (with a stopover) and should cost around the same, but check schedules and book things in advance as some airlines may not fly every day.

From there, most liveaboard itineraries start from Sorong and will take you back there, traveling to some of the best scuba diving sites within Raja Ampat.

While most of your diving plus accommodations will be included, always double check if there are any additional park fees. Make sure you get whatever cash you need in Sorong; there are ATMs at the airport and near the port.

After your dive expedition, if you feel like hanging around the area, check out our complete guide to Raja Ampat which has some information on places to stay and what to do.

Best Diving Itineraries in Raja Ampat

Short Raja Ampat Liveaboard Trips

Because it’s rather remote and challenging to get to, short Raja Ampat itineraries generally run from between 5 and 8 nights to make the most of your trip.

The first day, you’ll be transferred to your vessel, meet the crew and receive a briefing about the trip. The following days you’ll spend traveling between dive sites, discovering all that lies beneath the surface.

A typical 8-night trip may grant you as many as 20 dives, so you’ll be able to see all that Raja Ampat has to offer.

Extended Raja Ampat Liveaboard Trips

If you’re interested in being out on the water for longer, there are liveaboards that offer trips lasting as long as 15 nights! That’s a ton of diving, lots of sun and a truly unforgettable vacation.

Take one of these extended trips and become an expert about the marine life throughout Raja Ampat. You’ll have the chance to travel to more remote sites, dive more, and really improve your skills and confidence in the water.

On longer trips, you may even have the chance for a land excursion. If this is something that you’re interested in, be sure to check your specific trip’s itinerary when booking.

Search for your dream Raja Ampat liveaboard now!

We hope our complete guide to choosing the best Raja Ampat liveaboard is useful. While choosing which boat to go with seems initially overwhelming due to the variety of options, narrow them down according to route and budget, and go from there.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. That means that if you book any of the liveaboards above, we get a small commission at NO EXTRA COST to you. This commission will help us maintain this site so we can keep producing awesome free content for you.


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Anna Faustino

Editor In Chief

Anna is the Editor in Chief of this blog and has been traveling the world for the last 9 years. She is passionate about discovering incredible food spots, good travel gear, and outdoor adventures. When she isn't outdoors, you can find her eating her way around the world.

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