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Juvenile parrotfish photographed while snorkeling in Raja Ampat on a coral triangle adventures snorkeling tour

Snorkeling the reefs of Halmahera and Raja Ampat!

google map of halmahera and raja ampat, coral triangle adventuresHalmahera, 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 150 miles (250 km) 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 exposes us to the best shallow reefs and marine habitats in Raja Ampat as well as give us the chance to snorkel new sites in Halmahera as we explore these islands of paradise in the Halmahera Sea. Though our main focus will be on the incredibly rich underwater world, we may have opportunities to view rare or endemic birds, summit dramatic rock islands for incredible views, or relax on idyllic white-sand beaches. This itinerary is perfect for those that want the guarantee of fantastic snorkeling in Raja Ampat combined with the thrill of exploration and discovery.


route map for coral triangle adventures snorkeling tour to Raja Ampat and HalamheraOur snorkeling tour begins and ends in Jakarta, Indonesia. Two one-way, internal flight (Jakarta-Sorong; Ternate-Jakarta). Upon our arrival in Sorong, we transfer to our boat and spend the first few days in Raja Ampat before heading west towards Halmahera. Weather and preferences will dictate our route to Halmahera. 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 / Anara Airport Hotel
Meals provided: D
Meet in Jakarta, Indonesia at our group hotel, the Anara Airport Hotel, 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 Anara Airport Hotel

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

Day 3 – 4: Raja Ampat / Batanta / Dampier Straight 
Meals provided: B,L,D
Raja Ampat is well known for its high levels of marine biodiversity, a result from being in an extraordinary location on the planet. Large volumes of water flow through the area (bringing food and new life) and its geology promotes speciation through habitat diversity. What makes Raja Ampat special to snorkelers is the access to all the habitats and diversity! Our first stop is the island of Batanta on the south side of Dampier Strait. Shallow reefs grow along the extensive shoreline and contain a mind-blowing diversity of hard corals. 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. Overnight: Gaia Love

Day 4 – 6: Misool, Raja Ampat
Meals provided: B,L,D
The next few days takes us to the steep and incredibly scenic groupings of limestone islands that lay just to the southeast of the main island of Misool. These majestic rock islands create a  diversity of marine habitats including intimate passages, current-swept channels, protected coral gardens, drop-offs, and seaward reefs where thousands of reef fish make their homes. Nudibranchs, octopuses, and cuttlefishes are also quite common on most of our snorkels, and we often are visited daily by pods of dolphins that play in the boat wake.  Overnight: Gaia Love

Day 7: Pulau Pisang
Meals provided: B,L,D
Pulau Pisang is lush tropical island residing about halfway between Halmahera and Misool. Shallow fringing reefs grow from shore on the north side, whereas steep vertical walls exist in the south. We plan to snorkel both habitats and hope that weather cooperates enough to spend time around the tiny islet, Batu Anyer. Overnight: Gaia Love

Day 8 – 12: Halmahera / Bacon Is. / Makian Island / Goraici Island / Jailolo
Meals provided: B,L,D
We will spend the next five days exploring the variety of reef types of Halmahera including shallow protected reefs, seaward reefs, lagoons, and fringing reefs. Halmahera is 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. We plan visit reefs around Bacan Island in the south, and make our way northwest visiting many of the islands that lie just offshore. These include Makian, Goraici Islands, Pulau Mayu, Tifore and Jailolo, one of the oldest marine rotected areas in Indonesia. 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! Overnight: Gaia Love

Day 13: Ternate / Jakarta / Anara Airport Hotel
Meals provided: B, D
Internal flight back to Jakarta departs in the early morning, transfer to group hotel and we’ll have our farewell dinner in the evening. Overnight Anara Airport Hotel.

Day 14: Internal departures
Meals provided: B


Mar 27  – April 09, 2025 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Gaia Love
Guides: Lee Goldman, Ethan Daniels
Length: 14 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$9000 USD per person, double occupancy
$12,000 USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
Sept 27, 2024: $4500 USD
Dec 27, 2024: $4000 USD / $7000 USD (single occ.)

Tour cost includes:

  • Accommodations throughout tour dates
  • All meals on days 2 through 13 (dinner on day 1 – breakfast on day 14)
  • All internal transfers including international arrival and departure transfers
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • All snorkeling and park fees
  • All gratuities

Tour cost does not include:

  • Round-trip international airfare
  • Additional hotel accommodations and meals as a result of travel outside of the program dates
  • Visa requirements including payments
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • International departure taxes
  • Extra / overweight baggage fees
  • Trip insurance (recommended; we recommend Travel GuardWorld Nomads, or Travel Insure)
  • DAN insurance (required unless personal insurance program has worldwide emergency evacuation services)
  • Additional accommodations while on tour in the event of flight schedule changes or events of force majeure
  • Fuel surcharges (if applicable)

Cancellation policy:
180 – 91 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
90 days or less prior to departure: 100% of tour cost

Please see our Terms and Conditions


We use the finest live-aboard boat in Indonesia to host us on our snorkeling adventures in  Halmahera and Raja Ampat, the M/V Gaia Love. In Jakarta, we stay at the Anara Airport Hotel in Terminal 3 of Soekarno–Hatta International Airport. Please visit our accommodations page for more photos or use the link to visit the live-aboard/resort website.


gaia love - coral triangle adventuresThe Gaia Love is a modern 40-meter steel hull vessel build from the ground up in Batam, Indonesia. Designed with a modern contemporary look and with an emphasis on diving in comfort, she accommodates up to 20 guests in ten spacious ensuite rooms: six on the upper deck and four on the lower deck. Each room is 20 square meters and has individual air-conditioning and ensuite bathrooms with hot water. Upper deck rooms feature an additional private outdoor balcony. Gaia Love has a total of four decks (lower, main, upper and top/sundeck). The lounge, restaurant, and camera room are located on the main deck. Adjacent to the lounge is the seating area for plated meals. At the rear is an over-sized dive deck that can accommodate up to 28 divers. The partially shaded sundeck is perfect for evening gatherings and relaxation under the stars.More photos 


Anara Airport Hotel in Terminal 3 used by Coral Triangle AdventuresAnara Airport Hotel is the only integrated hotel with Terminal 3 International Airport Soekarno-Hatta. We present you an experience a new level of comfort to indulge yourself all day. As the 4-star hotel, Anara Airport Hotel has deluxe rooms (28 sqm) with king or twin accommodations, free wi-fi, flatscreen TV with cable and satellite, work desk and chair, hair dryer, mini cooler, and coffee/tea maker. Explore authentic Asian and delightful international cuisines at the Selasih restaurant or relax in the ambiance of the Lobby Lounge. Onsite facilities include a wellness spa and gym and four functional/meeting rooms. The easy access from the international and domestic terminals combined with the elegance of a modern 4-star hotel makes Anara Airport Hotel the perfect choice for business and leisure travelers. More photos 


Halmahera and the islands of Raja Ampat reside within just a few degrees north and south of the equator. Weather year round is hot and humid, with the inevitable daily rain shower occurring in the early morning or late afternoon. Daytime temperatures hover around 86º F (30º C). Water temperatures average around 82º F (28º C), though cooler temperatures may occur if persistent rains cause a thin layer of cool freshwater on the surface. Currents around Halmahera and Raja Ampat may be strong at times. While we plan our snorkel session around the slack tides, we also have several sites where water movement in a linear direction 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 two dinghies will be there at all times to assist anyone for whatever reason.

There will be opportunities to visit beaches and shoreline for nature walks as well as the chance to climb (staircases) 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.

Please read more about our daily schedule.


The following list is a suggestion of things to bring and applies to almost all our trips. Specific items on a particular departure will be noted on the departure information.

-A good fitting mask, snorkel, and set of fins. If your equipment is brand new, please try it out in the pool. Determining the fit and function of your equipment in the pool includes doing several laps with all your equipment on. Doing several snorkel dives is also very beneficial. It is also important to clean your new equipment, especially your mask. Cleaning procedures for your mask include light scrubbing with toothpaste or dishwasher soap to remove the layer of silicon used to preserve the mask during shipping. Clean both sides of the mask. Doing this greatly reduces the chances of having your mask fog. Not doing this, even when using mask de-fogger, usually results in a fogged mask.

-A wetsuit, rash guard, diveskin, or any type of clothing that can be used for thermal and/or protection from the sun. We suggest bringing a full 3mm wetsuit and some type of core insulation like a vest or shirt made of 1 – 2 mm neoprene (e.g., Lavacore or Sharkskin shirts or vests). These items will not only provide thermal protection but protection from the sun as well. For those who feel that a 3mm suit may be too warm, please consider a full body skin or rash guard to ensure protection from the sun. With regards to thermal protection, remember the saying: It is better to have and not need, than to need and not have. One that note…

-Head protection in the form of a wetsuit hood, a cap, or even a bandana. Anything that can keep the sun off your head is extremely important. It is the most exposed part of our bodies when we are floating on the surface.

-Underwater flashlight on departures with a planned night snorkel

-Biodegradable sunscreen lotion. Sunscreen lotions can be harmful and even kill tiny larvae (baby marine life). It is fine to wear on land, but we highly discourage the use of sunscreen lotions in the water. A full wetsuit or dive skin will protect one from the sun much better than lotions and provide thermal protection. It is truly a win-win for everyone and the marine environment.

-Casual, lightweight, tropical clothing
-Sunglasses (and a spare in case you lose your main pair)
-Comfortable footwear such as active sandals (Teva, Keen, Merrell, etc.)
-Hats. We cannot stress the importance of a hat in the tropics!
-All our boats provide items like shampoo, soap, towels, etc. We bring this up because these items represent added weight or may leak.

Other items to consider:
-Lightweight rainwear to protect from the occasional afternoon shower


Cuttlefish can be found while snorkeling on many shallow reefs in Raja Ampat, Indonesia

Halmahera and Raja Ampat Trip Report

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