12 Must See Sights & Things to Do in Raja Ampat, Indonesia


The iconic seascapes and limestone pinnacles of the Raja Ampat Islands in Indonesia, have graced the covers of many travel magazines but what else does this ‘Last-Paradise-On-Earth’ region have to offer for discerning cruisers? Here are a select few places to visit and things to do when you go off the grid and enjoy a luxury private cruise in Raja Ampat…

Spectacular Sunsets

Be prepared for a show like no other as the sun sets over the ocean in the Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia. Watch the sun disappear behind the horizon while creating brilliant orange-red skies that will take your breath away. The only background noises to distract you from your viewing are the gently lapping waters and occasional fish jumping in the sea. The show only ends temporarily while you catch a restful night’s sleep in one of el Aleph’s luxury cabins. If you are an early starter, head back on deck for an equally mesmerizing sunrise.

Sunset Raja Ampat
Sunsets in Raja Ampat are a truly spectacular display of rich and vibrant colours


World Class Snorkeling

It’s hard to imagine one ever having seen enough of Raja Ampat from the surface, yet underwater there is a whole other world just begging to be explored too. Snorkeling is a must for anyone who wants to witness one of the most pristine marine environments on Earth, firsthand. From the moment you take a glimpse of Raja Ampat’s coral reefs you’ll experience a sensory overload and a craving for more. Raja Ampat snorkeling displays some of the richest reefs on the planet and reveals a realm that is teeming with life and bursting with colour. Relax in the tropical warm waters as scenes from National Geographic play out before your very eyes.

Scuba Diving in Raja Ampat

To scuba divers all over the world, Raja Ampat is known as an underwater playground at the epicenter of marine biodiversity. The phenomenal range of marine life species found here is unrivaled and the sheer abundance of fish will leave you spellbound. Raja Ampat diving is a year round affair but the peak season is from November to March when there are the most manta rays at the cleaning stations.

If underwater photography is of interest to you there is no better canvas than Raja Ampat. And with a private yacht charter you’ll be able to dive some of Raja Ampats most iconic and remote dive sites.  Taking a look deeper beneath the surface in Raja Ampat is a truly unforgettable experience.

Fishing Raja Ampat
Ampat’s rich waters are the lifeblood of local communities


Fishing Traditions in Raja Ampat

The rich waters of Raja Ampat are the lifeblood of the local communities and have been for as long as time can remember. Fishing is a way of life and a source of food so it’s no surprise that as we approach inhabited islands we are often greeted by fishermen in their dugout canoes and, as we approach the shore, the local children are often splashing carefree in the shallow waters. The locals fish for subsistence using traditional methods which range from ‘spearfishing’ to using a single line with bait and even traditional fish traps. Our crew will be happy to introduce you to these methods – which are a lot of fun to try out.

One of the highlights of visiting the region is that in Raja Ampat tourism remains underdeveloped and as such, it’s a step back in time when compared to other destinations in Indonesia.

Local People

The warmhearted local people of Raja Ampat are incredibly friendly and they are often very curious to see these strange travelers from the west. Visiting a local village is a wonderful opportunity to gain an insight into local life and meet the people. As we stroll around the simple villages you can’t help but be moved by the free-flowing smiles, laughter and genuine care-free happiness. Don’t be surprised if the village children want to have a photograph taken with you!

Birds of paradise Raja Ampat
The Cenderawasih bird of paradise is just one of numerous rare species in Raja Ampat


Birdwatching in Raja Ampat

From some of the most exotic species of birds on the planet, including birds of paradise, endemic species and sea eagles, Raja Ampat’s birdlife is incredibly diverse. Particular highlights include the iconic Cenderawasih Bird of Paradise (above) which is found around the village of Sawingrai, as well as other Birds of Paradise including the Red Bird of Paradise and the highly distinctive Wilson’s Bird of Paradise. These incredible Raja Ampat Bird’s of Paradise are an impressive sight – not only for keen ornithologists.

Dolphin and Whale Spotting

Numerous species of dolphins and whales are found either resident in Raja Ampat or migrating through the area. Few travelers have the privilege of viewing these incredible marine mammals as they cruise through the region, occasionally breaching the surface and allowing for a sighting.  Our experienced crew has expert eyes when it comes to spotting cetaceans at the surface and a sighting is always an excellent opportunity to stop and passively observe these creatures in their natural surroundings.

Raja Ampat Cuscus
The cuscus bear is a tree dwelling marsupial found in Raja Ampat


Unique and Endemic Wildlife

Wildlife in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, is not only beneath the waves and amid the treetops. On land, Raja Ampat’s islands play host to countless endemic species which range from marsupials through to reptiles and everything in between.

The Cuscus is a tree-dwelling marsupial which demonstrates how the unique fauna of this region is from Australasian descent – a throwback to the times when larger landmasses were connected, rather than divided by stretches of water. The monitor lizards found lazing among the trees and re-warming in the sun are often over a meter in body length and are completely harmless – but still make for an excellent photography opportunity. And as you venture deeper into Raja Ampat’s primary rainforests (often just a few meters from the shore) you’ll often find a plethora of busy butterfly species on the move.

Things to do raja ampat
Raja Ampat’s night skies are perfect for star gazing – watch out for shooting stars on deck.


Stargazing from Deck

Raja Ampat is one of the rare places on the planet where (due to there being little or no light pollution) the stars shine so clearly and brightly it’s easy to believe you can reach out and touch them. Relax on deck with friends and loved ones and watch as the night sky literally comes to life with a blanket of silver jewels glimmering overhead. Spotting constellations has never been easier and don’t forget to make a wish on the shooting stars.

Mount Pindito: Wayag Island, Raja Ampat

You’ll experience no shortage of beautiful scenery as you cruise through this stunning region but an elevated view is simply unbeatable – and Mount Pindito on Wayag Island, Raja Ampat, offers captivating panoramas. A short, yet exhilarating and rewarding trek to the top of this peak reveals a turquoise seascape punctuated by uninhabited limestone pinnacles and the only limitation here is your imagination. Sit back, soak up the view and you can’t help but feel inspired.

Mount Pindito Raja Ampat
The views from the top of Mount Pindito are nothing short of inspiring – the medium level trek to the top is well worth the rewarding view


Disappearing Islands

Raja Ampat’s low-lying geography results in several disappearing islands – or sand bars. There are several sandbars that are only visible for a few hours a day at low tide before being reclaimed by the ocean until these pristine sands next appear at the will of nature. These forever-virgin beaches of Raja Ampat offer the most exclusive experience on Earth – your own private white sand beach amid tropical waters, an offer that’s only ever available for a limited time!

If you’d like to witness these disappearing beaches, let our crew know – they know all of the best spots!


Lush green mangrove forests (below) are one of the most distinctive coastal eco-systems in Raja Ampat where they act as nurseries for juvenile fish and birds. Snorkeling, sea kayaking or paddleboarding through the mangroves is a unique experience where the overhead tree canopy combined with Raja Ampat’s corals creates a unique melting pot of reef and rainforest.

Things to see


Cruising Raja Ampat Onboard El Aleph

Of course, these are only a few of the many things to see while cruising Raja Ampat – it is impossible to list them all here. A private charter on board El Aleph assures you of total luxury from start to finish and you’ll be able to choose your cruising route to take in all that you want to see and do. Our dedicated and experienced crew are there to ensure that your luxury private charter is everything you dreamed of and more – whether you want a candlelit dinner on a virgin, white sand beach or a family barbecue with cocktails under the stars – we’ll make it happen.

El Aleph is fully equipped with sea kayaks, snorkeling and scuba diving equipment, donut ring, bodyboard, water ski’s and more, so there is always plenty to do onboard and in the water when you are not onshore. For those who want to take the cruise at a more relaxed pace, there is nothing better than watching the tropical landscape pass by in this incredible region that really does take you off the grid.

A Raja Ampat luxury cruise with el Aleph is suitable for anyone who appreciates the finer things in life. During your Raja Ampat cruise with us, you and your loved ones, family, and friends will be making memories that last a lifetime. 

To make a reservation or inquiry, please contact us on info@elalephcruising.com.

Please note that for your comfort, luxury and privacy we only take bookings for full charters and not for private cabins.


Sarah Wormald

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