Diving Raja Ampat is synonymous with discovering exceptional marine biodiversity, so much so that there are more marine species found in the archipelago's waters than anywhere else on earth. And so it goes without saying that Raja Ampat also boasts a huge number of endemic species. This is one of the main reasons the area is so popular with scuba divers.
What is an endemic species?
A species that is described as endemic can only be found in one particular geographical location. This could be an area as small as a single pond or cave, or as large as a mountain range or country. Endemic species are often under threat because their range is so limited; any damage to their environment could wipe out the whole species.
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What sort of endemic species can I find in Raja?
Raja Ampat is home to at least 40 types of coral and 35 types of fish that are found nowhere else. This is due to the islands' remote location, allowing species to evolve independently from other Southeast Asian varieties. On top of this, Raja's waters are swept through cyclical ocean currents, facilitating species distribution at all levels. Here are some species you might expect to spot during a Raja dive:
Papuan garden eel - only discovered in 20210, this small, sand-colored eel is a very difficult spot, even for the most patient eyes.
Mantis Shrimp - Raja has no less than eight endemic species of mantis shrimp, easy to spot with their rainbow coloring.
Raja Ampat epaulette shark - a type of walking shark that searches for prey by 'walking' across the seabed on its fins.
Tasseled wobbegong shark - another shark species that live on the bottom, camouflaged against the rocks ready to suck in prey.
Find out more about photographing these amazing creatures in the Underwater Photographers Guide to Raja Ampat.
How Do I Dive Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat can be dived from a liveaboard or a resort, and the diving is so great that it is down to personal preference as to which you choose. There are a wide variety of liveaboards offering a range of itineraries, and they generally depart from Sorong.
Resorts are available in a range of styles and budgets, but for access to some of the best diving check our Papua Paradise Eco Resort on Birie island.