Raja Ampat is not just one of the world’s best diving destinations, it’s also an amazing destination for snorkelers and non-divers who want to explore the area’s unspoiled coral gardens without having to don heavy diving equipment to swim deep into the depths below. While diving is a thrilling sport for many, we understand that it is not for everyone, which is why Raja Ampat snorkelling is always a great option.
The great thing about Raja Ampat is that it is located right in the centre of the Coral Triangle which is a Marine Protected Area. This means that it is teeming with undersea life. As mentioned in our previous blog post, Raja Ampat is home to the highest concentration of incredible marine and coral reef biodiversity in the world – over 550 different species of corals, 700 types of molluscs and over 1600 species of reef fish, all in the most beautiful and pristine turquoise water you’ll ever see.
The area is astonishingly rich in marine biodiversity, with over 75% of the world’s marine species found here. In some locations, you could even spot harmless baby reef sharks swimming along the shores! In other locations, you can be sure of coming face-to-face with several different shark species, sea stars, eels, sea turtles, manta rays, schooling fish and reef-building corals. If you’re lucky you might even spot whales and dugongs.
Best Raja Ampat Snorkelling Spots
From our boat Jelajahi Laut, we’ll traverse the peninsula to explore Raja Ampat’s beautiful, remote and almost untouched network of islands, bays, shoals and cays. You could easily swim and snorkel from the surface in all of the popular dive sites, and trust us when we say, there are many wonderful spots to explore.
So if you’re thinking of exploring Raja Ampat as a snorkeller, we would definitely recommend it along with a fantastic liveaboard experience aboard our stunning ship, Jelajahi Laut. Let’s take a look at some of the best and most popular snorkelling sites here in Raja Ampat:
This is a great site for all levels of divers and snorkelers with mild to medium currents. Friwen Wall is actually a limestone wall located near the island of Friwen Bonda, just a short boat ride away from Friwen Island. The water here is shallow enough for a wonderful snorkelling experience; you can look forward to viewing a splendid underwater world with corals and sponges in all colours of the rainbow. Amongst the vibrant corals, you’ll be able to spot a wide variety of critters and macrolife like Puffer and Porcupine Fish, Pygmy Seahorses, Nudis, Crustaceans and more. On Friwen Island itself, you can relax on stunning white sand beaches and head to the jetty to snorkel amongst schools of colourful fish.
Batanta is the smallest of the four main islands that make up Raja Ampat. It’s remote, covered with dense jungles and has a high mountain with a peak that’s almost always hiding in the clouds. Here, you’ll find incredible snorkelling amongst the untouched coral reefs, and on land, there is an abundance of rare birds and wildlife and even waterfalls and jungle trekking for the adventurous. Batanta is the furthest island away from Waisai and offers some of the very best snorkelling with spectacular underwater reefs almost right off the shore. You might even be able to spot dugongs, which are attracted to the seagrass beds located in the north of Batanta. While there, don’t forget to explore the smaller islands that make up Batanta’s north coast.
Manta Sandy is an incredibly popular diving and snorkelling site and one of the Dampier Strait Marine Protected Areas (MPA) in Raja Ampat. It is rich in plankton and is also a cleaning station for a large population of manta rays. Beginners should proceed with caution as there are strong currents. That aside, snorkelling here is a must-do – no avid snorkeller or diver would want to miss out as Manta Sandy is known as one of the best places in the world to come as close as possible to a manta cleaning station. This is also a fantastic chance for you to get as close as possible to these gentle and majestic giants as they glide through the water, some with wingspans of 6 or 7 metres!
Located to the northeast of the island of Kri in the Dampier Strait, Sardine Reef is a small oval-shaped underwater “hill” which is covered with a dazzling combination of soft and hard corals and gorgonian fans. The area is teeming with marine creatures of all colours and shapes including large schools of Fusiliers, Surgeonfish, Snappers, Damselfish and Butterflyfish. There are also predators like the Barracuda, Spanish mackerel, Giant Trevallies and several types of Jacks as well as whitetip, blacktip and grey reef sharks. If you look hard enough, you might spot a Tasselled Wobbegong hiding in the seabed below and some Oceanic Triggerfish, Bumphead Parrotfish and Napoleon Wrasse.
There are obviously many more incredible snorkelling sites in Raja Ampat to explore but the above should be sufficient to give you an idea of what to expect. The best and most efficient way to reach these sites would be with a liveaboard like Jelajahi Laut which would allow you to maximise your dive time, explore multiple dive sites even in the most remote areas and have a safe and comfortable space to return to with accommodations, meals, and other amenities all included.
Raja Ampat Snorkelling With Jelajahi Laut
Our luxury mid-range liveaboard Jelajahi Laut is built from the ground up by experienced divers. Jelajahi Laut – which means “explore the oceans” in English – can accommodate up to 14 guests with six cabins and ensuites with hot water and AC, a large sun deck with air-conditioned dining and living rooms. All meals are included as well as fresh water, tea, coffee and soft drinks, while snorkel gear and park fees are extra.