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About Halmahera and Raja Ampat

Halmahera (via Raja Ampat)

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Halmahera – Raja Ampat

Halmahera, though politically part of the Maluku Islands, is a large rugged, volcanic island that is part of the original island arc that includes Raja Ampat. Located about 250 kilometers to the west of Bird’s Head Peninsula, West Papua, Halmahera gets far less traffic than its neighbor, Raja Ampat. Scientific surveys done in the both areas have found that between Halmahera and Raja Ampat there are over 600 species of corals (nearly 75% of all known species of reef-building corals) and more than 1500 species of tropical marine fish (about half of all known tropical marine fish).

Both Halmahera and Raja Ampat are breathtakingly scenic islands that offer a dreamy backdrop to the unspoiled underwater wilderness. The majority of the islands, especially the smaller islands and islets are made of limestone and the main islands are mostly volcanic in origin with deposits of limestone. Dense jungle and rainforest dominate hilly and rough terrain, making great habitats for over 500 species of birds including parrots, hornbills, and birds of paradise.

Our snorkeling tour takes us to the best shallow reefs and marine habitats of Halmahera and Raja Ampat as we explore these islands of paradise in the Halmahera Sea. Though our main focus will be on the incredibly rich underwater world, we will have opportunities to view rare or endemic birds, summit dramatic rock islands for incredible views, and relax on idyllic white-sand beaches. We have led over 30 snorkeling tours to this region and have come to know more than just a few islands and snorkel sites, largely unknown to other operators, that have some of the best reefs and scenery that Halmahera and Raja Ampat have to offer!

Alfred Russell Wallace and Wallace's Line

Wallace’s Line

Bird's Head Plate and the interactions between many of the plates in the region

Plate tectonics and Raja Ampat



Indonesian Throughflow transports an incredible amount of seawater from the Pacific Ocean to the Indian Ocean

Indonesian Throughflow


For more information about our Raja Ampat snorkeling tour, read our trip reports:
Raja Ampat trip report Nov 2017
Raja Ampat trip report Feb 2018

Click on a tour date below to read about trip details including accommodationspricing, and how you can join us!


Route map to coral triangle adventure's halmahera raja ampat snorkeling tour

Halmahera -Raja Ampat route

Our snorkeling tour begins and ends in Jakarta, Indonesia. One round trip, internal flight (Jakarta-Sorong-Jakarta). Upon our arrival in Sorong, we will board our boat and spend the next few days in Raja Ampat before heading west towards Halmahera. Four full days of exploring and snorkeling are set aside for Halmahera and the surrounding reef systems. Please note that although we visit many of the islands and island groups in the sample itinerary below, each of our departures is unique and that weather, tides, and opportunities to explore all play a role in the decisions about our daily schedule as well as the overall itinerary.

Day 1: Jakarta / Sheraton Bandara
Meals provided: D
Meet in Jakarta, Indonesia at our group hotel, the Sheraton Bandara, for the tour orientation and welcome dinner. As is often the case with our internal flight, we will depart for Sorong in the late evening, thus our ‘overnight’ will be in transit to Sorong. Overnight Sheraton Bandara

Day 2: Sorong / Transfer to liveaboard
Meals provided: B,L,D
Fly to Sorong and transfer to our liveaboard boat and have our boat orientation and lunch before we depart for our snorkeling adventure into the islands. Overnight on our expedition boat

Day 3: Batanta / Dampier Straight
Meals provided: B,L,D
What makes Raja Ampat truly special is the access snorkelers have to an amazing diversity of habitats. Just a few of the examples are shallow, protected lagoons with extensive coral gardens, exciting channels where soft corals, sponges, and tunicates of just about every color completely cover the substrate, and seaward reefs that support thousands of reef fish, turtles, sharks, and rays. Each area we visit will give us the opportunity to snorkel upon some of the healthiest reefs in the world.

Many of the fringing reefs of Raja Ampat are shallow and begin right from shore


On Batanta Island we will visit Dayang where the shallow reefs along the shoreline contain an mind-blowing diversity of hard corals in every color imaginable. Although it is hard to take your eyes away from the coral, a look out into the clear blue water may reward you with schools of snapper, turtles, and rays. This is also a good spot for finding the wobbegong shark, a type of carpet shark known only from this region of the world.

Day 4: Kofiau Island
Meals provided: B,L,D
We continue westward to the island of Kofiau, located about half way between Batanta and the southern tip of Halmahera. Kofiau is home to several endemic species of bird, but the relatively unexplored reefs around the island and islets are the true treasures that await us! Clear, vibrant reefs with a great diversity and abundance of reef fishes of all shapes and color.

Day 5 – 9: Halmahera
Meals provided: B,L,D
We will spend the next 4 days exploring the variety of reef types of Halmahera including shallow protected reefs, seaward reefs, lagoons, and fringing reefs. Halmahera is still known for its big schools of barracuda and jacks as well as its biodiversity. While this area does get visited several times per year, it still remains largely unexplored for snorkelers. Our excitement in being able to ‘discover’ new sites is almost as high as just having the chance to see further examples of pristine reefs in Indonesia!

Day 10 – 11: Raja Ampat
Meals provided: B,L,D
Many more snorkeling opportunities in Raja Ampat as we make our way back to Sorong.

Day 12: Jakarta
Meals provided: B,L,D
Internal flight back to Jakarta departs in the early afternoon, expected to arrive in Jakarta around 6:00pm. Overnight

Day 13: Internal departures
Meals provided: B

As always, weather and tides will help us plan our daily itinerary and with dozens of visits to Raja Ampat, we have developed quite an extensive list of places we want you to see. The challenge for us (and we are always up to it) is trying to show you it all during our time in the islands! Overnight on our expedition boat

Split shot depicting the healthy and diverse reefs of Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Over/under shot…

Day 12**: Sorong / Jakarta / Sheraton Bandara
Meals provided: B,L,D
Disembark for our connection to Jakarta. Check in to our group hotel, the Sheraton Bandara. Farewell dinner at the hotel. Overnight Sheraton Bandara

Day 13**: International flights or extensions
Meals provided: B


What to Expect

Halmahera and the islands of Raja Ampat straddle the equator, though most of the island of Halmahera is located in the northern hemisphere while most of the island of Raja Ampat reside in the southern hemisphere. As a generally equatorial island archipelago, weather year round is hot and humid, with almost daily rain showers occurring in the early morning or late afternoon. Daytime temperatures hover around 30º C (86º F) and  do not fall much at night. Water temperatures average around 28º C (82º F), though cooler temperatures may occur if persistent rains cause a thin layer of cool freshwater on the surface. We recommend having at least a full lycra to protect against the sun and possible no-see-um stingies that may be present in the water. We also strongly suggest a thermal layer consisting of at least a 2-3mm shorty if not full wetsuit. Our snorkel sessions can last up to 3 hours and we want everyone to spend the entire time in the water without the cause of cool temperatures to discourage that.

Currents around Halmahera and the islands of Raja Ampat may be strong. While we plan our snorkel session around the slack tides, we also have several sites where having water movement is an advantage. These drift snorkels allow us to cover large tracks of reef without having to swim too hard. Our snorkel sessions are 100% boat supported and they will be there at all times to assist anyone for whatever reason.

There will be opportunities to visit beaches for nature walks as well as the chance to climb up to the top of the islands for incredible panoramic views. The beach walks only require loose fitting clothes and foot protection that can get wet (e.g., sandals or neoprene booties). Our summit hikes require sturdy foot wear, though the hike is climbing a series of constructed stairs. A good pair of binoculars is a definite bonus! Birds like parrots, doves, and cockatoos are spotted nearly every day!

Please click on our page About our Tours to read about what a typical day of snorkeling looks like on most of our tour programs.

Join Us!

Click on the tour date to read about trip details including accommodations, pricing, and how you can join us!

Jan 21 – Feb 2, 2020

Please email us with any questions you may have about these trips.