ContentsQUICK ANSWER – THE BEST RAJA AMPAT LIVEABOARD TRIPSCOMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST RAJA AMPAT LIVEABOARD BOATS RAJA AMPAT LIVEABOARD REVIEWSKIRA KIRAPINDITOBLUE MANTADAMAI ICALICO JACKMSY WAOWHOW TO CHOOSE A LIVEABOARD IN RAJA AMPATWHAT MONTH OF THE YEAR YOU PLAN TO GO?WHAT MARINE LIFE DO YOU WANT TO SEE?LOOKING FOR SOME EXCLUSIVITY OR REDUCED GROUP SIZES?WHAT’S YOUR BUDGET?DIVING ITINERARIESTRADITIONALNORTHERNSOUTHERNVIDEO – SCUBA DIVING IN RAJA AMPATBEST DIVE SITES IN RAJA AMPATCENDERWASIH BAYTHE FAR NORTHTHE FAR SOUTHDAMPIER STRAITMISOOL Located to the northwest of the New Guinea island of Indonesia, the Raja Ampat archipelago is comprised of over 1,500 small, beautiful and isolated islands. It’s also considered part of the Coral Triangle which contains the richest marine biodiversity on Earth. Its beauty, diversity and abundant marine life is what makes a Raja Ampat liveaboard trip the ultimate dream of any diver. When it comes to what you can see underwater, Raja Ampat surprises even the most well-traveled diver. Diverse is the best adjective to describe this place. It has soft corals, hard corals, caves, WWII wrecks, drop offs, shallow reefs, black and white sand bottoms, currents, calm waters, macro diving and big fish. In other words, if you don’t like diving here, you might not like diving at all! Diving in Raja is not for budget travelers. However, most of the expenses are related to logistics and transportation, not the diving itself. However, if you are going to pay to come all this way, you better get to dive and explore what the islands have to offer and that’s when a liveaboard is your best option. Being a prime destination for scuba diving, there are many diving liveaboards operating in Raja Ampat. To help you choose the right boat for preferences and budget, we’ve put together this quick guide that shows you the best boats and some things to consider when it comes time to book. For more of our liveaboard recommendations, check out these popular articles: Caribbean | Bahamas | Belize | Cuba | Turks & Caicos North Pacific | Galapagos | Guadalupe | Socorro | Cocos South Pacific | Australia | Palau | Fiji | French Polynesia | PNG | Solomon Islands South East Asia | Komodo | Similan | Tubbataha | Sipadan | Burma Red Sea & Middle East | Egypt | Sudan | Oman | Djibouti Indian Ocean | Maldives | Seychelles QUICK ANSWER – THE BEST RAJA AMPAT LIVEABOARD TRIPS CALICO JACK (Overall) CHECK ON PADI TRAVELCHECK ON LIVEABOARD.COM KIRA KIRA (Budget) CHECK ON PADI TRAVELCHECK ON LIVEABOARD.COM BLUE MANTA (Photographers) CHECK ON PADI TRAVELCHECK ON LIVEABOARD.COM DAMAI I (Wrecks & Whalesharks) CHECK ON PADI TRAVELCHECK ON LIVEABOARD.COM MSY WAOW (Luxury) CHECK ON LIVEABOARD.COM PINDITO (Extended Itineraries) CHECK ON LIVEABOARD.COM COMPARISON TABLE – THE BEST RAJA AMPAT LIVEABOARD BOATS RAJA AMPAT LIVEABOARD REVIEWS KIRA KIRA Photo Credit: Kira Kira Liveaboard BEST FOR → BUDGET With a maximum of 8 guests onboard, this is one of the region’s most relaxed boats. If you can forgo a few creature comforts, it is without a doubt Raja Ampat’s most affordable option, too. Small dive groups, family style meals, and a flexible dive schedule complete the casual atmosphere. CHECK OUT LATEST PRICE & AVAILABILITY PINDITO © Copyright by Tomas Reich, used through Pindito Liveaboard BEST FOR → EXTENDED ITINERARIES For many liveaboard divers, Raja Ampat is a once-in-a-lifetime trip. If 10 days in the park just isn’t enough, this boat’s incredible 17-day journey might be your top pick. With four dives a day and free Nitrox on offer, this is an excellent value for adventurous divers with time on their hands. CHECK OUT LATEST PRICE & AVAILABILITY BLUE MANTA Photo Credit: Blue Manta Liveaboard BEST FOR → PHOTOGRAPHERS Individual camera rinse tanks, a state of the art indoor photo production room, blow-dry area, cabins equipped with extra charging stations, and small dive groups make this boat the region’s best pick for divers traveling with camera equipment. The best part of diving on this vessel is spending time with other photographers and veteran divers. CHECK OUT LATEST PRICE & AVAILABILITY DAMAI I Photo Credit: Damai I Liveaboard BEST FOR → WRECKS & WHALE SHARKS This boat operates more trips to Cenderawasih Bay than any other. And, their diverse itineraries include options that focus exclusively on Cenderawasih’s whale sharks and wrecks or combine the region with a classic Raja Ampat itinerary. This boat also offers support for tech, sidemount, and rebreather diving. CHECK OUT LATEST PRICE & AVAILABILITY CALICO JACK Photo Credit: Calico Jack Liveaboard BEST FOR → ALL AROUND One of the region’s top-rated boats, the Calico Jack offers a wide variety of trips in Raja Ampat. Itineraries range between 6 and 12 nights, exploring some of the park’s most remote northern and southern dive sites. And, with only 10 guests onboard you are guaranteed plenty of personalized service. This liveaboard is an excellent choice for charters and groups of divers traveling together. CHECK OUT LATEST PRICE & AVAILABILITY MSY WAOW Photo Credit: MSY WAOW Liveaboard BEST FOR → LUXURY If you’re looking to get pampered, you’ve found the right boat. Spa services, chef-prepared meals, daily housekeeping, and free internet make the vessel feel more like a hotel than a liveaboard. Modern and dedicated camera facilities make this a favorite among photographers, too. CHECK OUT LATEST PRICE & AVAILABILITY PLAN & PREPARE FOR YOUR FIRST LIVEABOARD TRIPPLAN & PREPARE FOR YOUR FIRST LIVEABOARD TRIPThis free ebook will walk you through everything you need to know about liveaboard vacations...from how to choose a boat, to what to pack and more.UNLOCK THIS GUIDELET US HELP YOUGET YOUR SCUBA FIXFor more email-based advice and inspiration, select additional areas of interest below. GET STARTED DIVINGLIVEABOARD DIVINGDIVE TRAVEL DEALSDIVE DESTINATIONSGEAR UP FOR SCUBA UPDATE PROFILESKIP FOR NOW HOW TO CHOOSE A LIVEABOARD IN RAJA AMPAT Every diver is different just as every boat is not the same. Depending on your preferences, budget and schedule, some liveaboard trips might suit you better than others. The following are some important aspects to consider when choosing a boat for you and your dive buddies. WHAT MONTH OF THE YEAR YOU PLAN TO GO? Liveaboards operate in Raja Ampat between October and April, which is the dry season in Indonesia. However, it’s possible to dive between May and September, as liveaboards tend to go further east to Cenderawasih Bay, where you can dive with whale sharks in sheltered dive sites. The visibility gets reduced between October and April when the plankton blooms, but that also brings greater numbers of manta rays to the area. WHAT MARINE LIFE DO YOU WANT TO SEE? If you’re coming to Raja Ampat to see some specific marine life, you don’t need to worry about what specific month you come. Most of marine creatures can be spotted throughout the year. However, remember this is pure nature and you’re not diving in an aquarium. When it comes to wild animals, you always need a bit of luck to spot them! LOOKING FOR SOME EXCLUSIVITY OR REDUCED GROUP SIZES? Raja Ampat is a remote place so you can expect dive sites to be uncrowded. However, there are some liveaboards that cater to smaller groups. Tiger Blue is one of them. WHAT’S YOUR BUDGET? Liveaboards in Raja Ampat range from $2,500 to $5,000 depending on the type of boat, duration of the trip and itinerary. Particularly, there are many possible itineraries and trip lengths, so make sure you check them out when comparing several operators. Also, don’t forget to check what fees are not included in the price of the trip before you book. There is normally a “Port & Park fee” that is not included (around $200 – $250) and some liveaboards also charge for nitrox, hotel tranfers and fuel surcharges. Did you see any boat that interests you? In the following section you’ll find the main features of each boat has with a link to check the latest prices and availability. DON'T MISS OUT...DIVE TRAVEL DEALS SENT DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX!Never miss a great deal again. Get a weekly update of special offers and last minute deals on scuba diving liveaboard trips. DON'T MISS OUT...DIVE TRAVEL DEALS SENT DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX!UNLOCK SAVINGS DIVING ITINERARIES Raja Ampat is a large geographic area, and there are endless possibilities for liveaboard itineraries in the region. Where your boat goes will depend on the season, trip duration, price point, and goals of the divers onboard.Many liveaboards venture outside of Raja Ampat, and not only during the monsoon. If you’re hoping to pack a little bit of everything into your trip, look for “best of Papua” itineraries. These routes visit historic WWII shipwrecks, Papua’s pristine reefs, and the famous whale sharks of Cenderawasih. TRADITIONAL Traditional routes in the park include northern itineraries, focusing on the remote waters north of Sorong and southern courses exploring the area around Misool. Both options are excellent for experienced divers and offer a variety of environments like reef and muck. NORTHERN Northern voyages exploring the Dampier Strait are perfect for a wide-angle photo safari, fast-moving currents, and manta cleaning stations. Divers can expect plenty of big fish, and all around challenging dive conditions. Visibility in this region varies greatly. SOUTHERN Southern trips around Misool often voyage into the Bana Sea and take on world class macro “bug hunts” around Ambon. The south is known for up-close encounters with wildlife of all sizes, including hammerheads in the Banda Arc. High-speed currents, rare wildlife, and quickly changing dive conditions define this stunning region. VIDEO – SCUBA DIVING IN RAJA AMPAT BEST DIVE SITES IN RAJA AMPAT CENDERWASIH BAY Though not officially a part of Raja Ampat, this marine park is visited by liveaboards during the monsoon season. The main attraction is a guaranteed chance to dive alongside feeding whale sharks. But, historical WWII wrecks and vibrant coral reefs make the region 100% worth a visit. THE FAR NORTH If you’re serious about spotting a pygmy seahorse, these northern walls are a good bet. Multiple species reside here, with some individual fans housing groups of six or more. This area is also reliable for nudibranchs, clingfish, squat lobsters, and crinoid shrimp. Photographers should plan for an extra-tiny macro shootout. Consider a snoot for super macro shots. A photographer’s favorite site, The Passage, is one of this region’s most spectacular. THE FAR SOUTH The Banda Sea, and Raja Ampat’s most southern sites are some of the region’s most remote. These waters are an excellent place to spot large pelagics like hammerheads and mantas. But, anything can happen out there including encounters with orcas, dolphins, and whales. Photographers should plan for a wide-angle adventure featuring plenty of schooling fish, and supersized subjects. The most dived site in this region is Boo Rock. DAMPIER STRAIT This stretch of cleaning stations promise manta sightings on nearly every dive, often in large numbers. You should expect strong currents at this shallow site, and most operators secure their groups with reef hooks. Photographers should plan for non-stop wide-angle action. Popular dive sites include Manta Ridge, Manta Sandy, and Sardine Reef. MISOOL With some of the best visibility in Raja Ampat, this region is a great place to take in the intense biodiversity of Indonesia’s coral reef. It is also a favorite for photographers in the park. Great hammerhead sharks patrol in deep water, while the shallows are home to a stunning variety of coral and reef fish. If the current allows, slow down and search for macro life. Ghost pipefish, pygmy seahorses, nudibranchs, and flatworms are among the most exciting finds. Misool’s best-known dive sites are Kaleidoscope and Fabiacet. LIVEABOARD DIVINGTABLE OF CONTENTSLIVEABOARD DIVINGTABLE OF CONTENTS 1. LIVEABOARD GENERAL ADVICE 4. LIVEABOARDS BY PRICE 2. LIVEABOARDS BY LOCATION 5. LIVEABOARDS BY TYPE OF DIVING 3. LIVEABOARDS BY MONTH 6. LIVEABOARDS BY SPECIAL NEEDS 1. GENERAL ADVICE 2. LVs BY LOCATION 3. LVs BY MONTH 4. LVs BY PRICE 5. LVs BY TYPE OF DIVING 6. LVs BY SPECIAL NEEDS Disclosure: The Adventure Junkies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. We also use other affiliate programs like REI, LeisurePro, Diviac and Liveaboard.com.