One of the most beautiful archipelagos in the world
Until the last few years, the 1,600 largely uninhabited islands of Raja Ampat have remained a closely guarded secret. Meaning ‘Four Kings’ in Indonesian, these majestic islands encompass a rare sense of ancient, mysterious and natural wonder made all the more spectacular by their dream-like tropical setting.
A haven for scuba divers, Raja Ampat’s rich waters are home to more varieties of marine life than anywhere else on the planet as well as 75% of all known coral species. This is 10 times greater than the entire Caribbean. Underwater exploration is a must-do activity when chartering in these far-flung cruising grounds, where you can see anything from gliding rays, peaceful bull sharks and excitable dolphins to fleeting glimpses of tiny pygmy seahorses.
Step ashore and find an intense fusion of natural beauty amongst dense emerald jungles, ancient undiscovered caves and the whitest of white sand beaches. The four largest islands in the archipelago are Waigeo (home to the small but fast-growing regional capital Waisai), Batanta, Salawati and Misool. The islands are a favourite with bird-spotters with feathered species ranging from magnificent sea eagles to the endemic and exotic Red Bird of Paradise.
Much of the life here carries on as it has done for thousands of years, with ancient cultures still a part of daily life amongst the tribal villages. These fascinating communities offer a unique window into the past and demonstrate why such a special place should remain protected, unspoilt and celebrated for its raw, instinctive beauty.
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