Here are some details about trip costs & logistics:
- Fee for tourist tag to enter Raja Ampat is Rp1,000,000 (for KITAS holders as well as foreigners), and a large part of that money goes to conservation efforts in Raja Ampat, so it is important to purchase it.
- Raja Ampat Tourism Management Office where you purchase your tourist tag is in the J.E. Meridian Hotel and easily walkable from the airport (leave the airport, turn right, it is a block down on the left hand side of the street).
- Ojek (motorbike taxi) should be Rp10,000 from J.E. Meridien Hotel to ferry
- Boat leaves at 2pm daily
- Fast Marina Express Boat is Rp120,000 for economy (I recommend ditching your seat and sitting up stairs where you can get some air, although you will miss the Middle Eastern musicals with subtitles in Indonesian)
- Boat back to Sarong leaves at 2pm daily, except Saturdays when it leaves at noon.
- For Women traveling alone: I would suggest wearing shorts that go at least to your knees, t-shirts, rash guards and board shorts (instead of bikinis). Even dressed in loose-fitting pants and t-shirts, I got some unwanted male attention. At Waiwo, I made a point of staying covered, but was still a bit uncomfortable with the stares, requests for pictures, etc from the Indonesian men. At Kornau and Biodiversity, wearing a bikini or tank top would not have been a problem, but as a woman traveling alone, I still thought it was better to keep covered.
- Don’t stay at J.E. Meridian Hotel in Sarong. The room they tried to give me had wet, ripped wallpaper, the air was thick with the smell of mold, and there were stains on the sheets.
- It is really, really helpful to speak at least a little Indonesian; Raja Ampat is really remote
- Things to bring:
- Thread and needle to mend mosquito nets
- bug spray
- malaria meds (there are four types of terrible malaria in Raja Ampat, so this should be considered mandatory. I took doxcycycline, which is inexpensive and the only side-effect I experienced was burning easily on my face)
- CASH! (Only the fancy hotels in Sarong could take cards and there were no ATMs that I saw anywhere in Raja Ampat)
- Your own snorkel, mask and fins if possible (depending on where you stay, they may or may not have quality equipment and/or fins in the right size)
- Underwater camera!!!
- Books/journal—there is a lot of mellow down time to read/write/be
- Any antibiotics, topical creams, etc you think you might need
- Booze (it is really hard to find beer/alcohol in Raja, so if you’re set on having a sunset beverage and you’re at a homestay, you will want to bring your own)
- Keens/tennis shoes/ something that is not flip-flops if you are interested in trekking. At least in Gam, the path was thick with sharp limestone.
- Non-Indonesian snacks if you want them (all the food I encountered, except at Raja Ampat Biodiversity Dive Resort was Indonesian, and even then it was mostly Indonesian, so if you desire other types of treats, bring them)
- Assume it will be difficult or impossible to get about anything you think you might need, so pack accordingly
Waiwo Dive Resort, Pulau Waigeo
Rp500,000 a night (includes 3 meals a day plus water/tea/coffee)
Waiwo was a 20min drive from the ferry in Waisai, and they sent a car to come get me from the ferry. It is nice accommodations for a budget that are aimed at Indonesian clientele. I had my own little bungalow (a cement structure with my own bathroom, running shower and electrical outlets that could be used while the generator was running at night). The snorkeling out front was good, not mind-blowing but solid, and they have their own dive shop on sight with gear for rental and a really talented guide, Jecky, (he has logged over 2,000 dives) available for trips. It was a relaxing and comfortable place to land and get my feet in Raja Ampat.
Snorkel trips: Costs are dependent on where you go, but US prices. I went to Arborak Village, Manata Point and Yembuba Conservation Area with a guide + boat (with no covering, so bring a sarong to shield you from the sun), and it cost Rp1.700.000.
- only one woman working at the resort and Jecky spoke English, so communication was difficult
- A bit far from good snorkeling/diving, so there is a cost to get to the sites
- electrical outlets in room (which work all night as the generator runs)
- experienced and knowledgeable guide
- close to ferry, which makes arrival and departure easy
- locks on doors (made me feel safe when traveling alone)
- snorkel and mask free to use
Koranu Fyak Bungalows, Pulau Kri
Rp250,000 a night (includes 3 meals a day plus water/tea/coffee) plus Rp300,000 for boat to the island
Robbie will come pick you up in a motorboat (whose engine may or may not be working well) and bring you to the beautiful island of Kri. The place is set up as palm thatched rooms on the beach. Really simple, really beautiful.
- structures made from dried leaves, so some leak
- no locks on doors
- one communal squat toilet
- one communal bucket shower
- I would carefully consider whether diving here is a safe choice (equipment is outdated or non-existent, there is no oxygen on the boat, the staff appear to be self-trained as opposed to actually certified). For snorkeling, the equipment was fine.
- electrical outlets in dinning space with many outlets to charge devices while the generator is running at night
- snorkel and mask free to use
- spectacular drop off just out front teaming with life (I saw turtles, eagle rays and a multitude of other life along that drop off)
- Robbie speaks excellent English and some other family members have good English as well
Snorkel trips: If you go with divers, it is only Rp100,000 per trip (which is great) but you will not have a guide to help point out all the amazing, harder to spot ocean life.
Raja Ampat Biodiversity, Pulau Gam
Rp1,000,000 a night (includes 3 meals a day plus water/tea/coffee) plus Rp500,000 for boat to the island
Biodiversity will come pick you up in a nice, new dive boat with a cover to protect you from the sun. The resort is gorgeous palm thatched rooms with a touch of elegance on a beautiful stretch of beach. Dinners are served communally and delicious, warm affairs.
- no locks on doors but lock box in office where you can keep things if desired
- one communal toilet
- one communal bucket shower
- highly trained dive instructors/owners from El Salvadore and Spain
- electrical outlets in room (which work from 6:30-10:30 while the generator runs)
- spectacular coral garden and drop off just out front teaming with life (I saw 6 devil mantas, half a dozen black tipped sharks and a multitude of other life)
- beer available (Rp35,000 a can)
- best food I had in Papua
- you can take a guided hike at 5:30am to go see the Bird of Paradise perform its mating dance (if you are lucky, and there are females for them to perform that morning) along with spotting and hearing tons of other birds. Rp100,000
Snorkel trips: If you go with divers, it is Rp150,000 per location, but you will not have a guide to help point out all the amazing, harder to spot ocean life. (I was only there one night and spent some of that hiking to see the Bird of Paradise, so I just snorkeled at the amazing coral garden out front)
http://shop.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/indonesia-travel-guide-10/?lpaffil=lpcomsearch-shoplinks (you can just download the chapter about Papua for $4 (US))