If you have never been to Raja Ampat, getting there is half the battle. First you must fly to Sorong, and then take the public ferry over to Waisai . Then, you must hire a speedboat to take you to the island that your hotel or resort is located on. Before you leave, you must also secure a marine pass for the area. What I loved about the Raja Ampat Dive Resort is that they made all of this hassle so easy to deal with. The owner met me at the airport when my flight came in. He took care of my marine pass, and since we had five hours to wait for the ferry, took me to his family’s home in Sorong and let me use the wi-fi to get on the internet. He even invited me to have lunch with his family. This was definitely turning out to be one of my most unique and treasured hotel experiences. He then got on the confusing and crowded ferry with me, for which I was very grateful. The speedboat from the resort was waiting for us, and we took the short ride to Waigeo, the island where the Raja Ampat Resort is located.
We passed hundreds of palm trees and tropical jungle on the short boat ride over. I have never been to a place so untouched and still in its natural form. The bungalows are made of wood and are very comfortable. I liked the fact that there were lots of shelves and hooks which made organizing my things very easy. There is an outdoor bathroom with a toilet and a cold shower. There is a fan to keep you cool. It is not what many Americans may think of when they hear the word resort. It is very simple, but a very comfortable and nice place to stay. I will mention that there isn’t very much privacy. The bungalows are duplexes, and you can even hear your neighbor snoring at night. I recommend bringing a hammock if you have one. That would have made a perfect addition to the front porch. I love that they have tried to have as little impact on the surrounding environment as possible. They have left the mangrove and other trees which surround the waterfront, so from your room, you can see the water lapping at the shore, but for a full ocean view, you need to go out on the boat jetty. The water is so clear that you can even see the fish and the coral reef without even getting in the water. There are some deck chairs on the jetty, too, if you feel like lying in the sun.
You are given three meals a day with part of the package, and the food is very good. It is better than other similar places where the food was included with your stay. Also, it was nice to see that they didn’t skimp on breakfast like many places do. There were fried eggs, crepes, fried bananas, and noodles to choose from. I also had mentioned that I really like fruit and they made me a fruit bowl to take to my room, and put fruit out for every meal. The bananas were the best bananas that I’ve ever eaten in my life. They are very small with very thin peels and the sweetest bananas that I’ve ever had. There is room temperature water to fill your water bottle with as well. I asked them to stick mine in the freezer since I like mine cold, and they happily obliged. Beer is hard to get on the island or any other beverages, so if you wish for something besides water, I recommend bringing your own.
And of course, the main reason that people come to Raja Ampat is for the diving. Raja Ampat Dive Resort also offers diving packages, and I was grateful as they let snorkelers like me ride along at no extra cost on the dive boat. The snorkeling and diving is some of the best in the entire world. I saw the most colorful coral that I’ve ever seen. I had the opportunity to snorkel with sharks, manta rays, schools of barracuda, and the most variety of fish that I’ve ever snorkeled with. Raja Ampat has the largest amount of biodiversity you will ever find in the ocean anywhere in the world. I also thought the dive guides did a great job, and I felt very safe with them. They also let me use their fins and snorkel masks. You do need to me a strong swimmer, though. The currents in Raja Ampat are very strong, and the boat isn’t always right beside you while you are snorkeling.
I can’t imagine a more hospitable place to stay than the Raja Ampat Dive Resort. I believe they are also the only place on the islands that are flexible enough to let you decide the dates you will arrive and leave. Most resorts make you come and go on set dates. The service was great, and the staff was very friendly. I loved that they were always singing. Sometimes, if I wasn’t awake yet, they came and sang to me that my breakfast was ready. I always wish I could have someone sing me awake! They will make your trip stress-free, and a trip worth remembering.