The Raja Ampat Islands – A Marine Paradise
“Under the sea” are three words that were made even more famous by a singing Jamaican crab.
Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” aside, this is one of the tunes that will probably come to you when you travel to Raja Ampat. With numerous dive sites, underwater terrain that has not yet been fully explored, and an incredible sense of eco-diversity, Raja Ampat is a magical place.
Divers hit the jackpot when they go to Raja Ampat. Located at the tip of the Bird’s Head Peninsula, New Guinea, it comprises of 1,500 islands and islets, cays and shoals, which surround four of the largest islands—Misool, Salawati, Batanta, and Waigeo. This makes the name Raja Ampat even cooler, as it means “the Four Kings” which refer to the big islands.
Annually approximately 8,000 divers, photographers, scientists, and excited tourists make the trip there, enthralled by the natural phenomenon that makes it unlike any other destination offering similar experiences. Smack dab in a coral triangle, this is a place that nature blessed, and is the most bio-diverse marine region in the world.
While you’re getting diving gear ready to go, there’s so much more to learn about this incredible destination. Hundreds of coral and fish species, including dozens that are endemic, make this bio-jackpot home. It is a marine paradise in its truest form, with flora and fauna that leaves even the most experienced divers in awe.
Those that want to fill up their days with other activities, have a range of water-based options to choose from too. Kayaking, snorkeling, and more are available for tourists. With beaches that are not only clean but empty most of the time, it’s like having your personal marine getaway in a beautiful location.
While this is great for those who don’t like crowds, for Raja Ampat’s citizens it’s not so heartening. Easily accessible by plane from Bali or Jakarta, tourists still haven’t been taking advantage. The local community does not see much profit from fishing, timber, or minerals and a thriving marine tourism product could turn that around completely.
In the travel world, news spreads fast, so there’s no doubt that eventually The Four Kings—Raja Ampat, will see an influx of visitors who can’t wait to embrace it.
Jacqueline “Jackie” Jones is a Barbadian author and entrepreneur who spends more time lost in the virtual world than anyone should. Jackie loves meeting new people as much as she loves traveling, and she’s often guilty of “interviewing” unsuspecting strangers whether they want her to or not. When she’s not dealing with the day-to-day of running two businesses (Originz Multimedia and Waterway Media), or spending time with family and friends, Jackie turns to words and is an accomplished speculative fiction writer.