Raja Ampat is a snorkeler’s paradise. This archipelago in Indonesia is pristine and appears practically untouched by civilization except for the pearl farm and one small village that we visited. Not only are the waters very warm and clear, they are teeming with incredible biodiversity.

We snorkeled over beautiful hard coral reefs, saw myriad species of fish and invertebrates, explored mangroves, and drifted through a channel of gorgeous sea fans, soft corals, and nudibranchs. On land we checked out bats in a cave and searched for (and saw) a very rare bird of paradise. I have had the pleasure of going to Raja Ampat twice and can’t wait to go back again. One can spend hours in the water day after day and never run out of interesting things to see.

–Photos and text by Vicki Gutgesell, 18-time Wilderness Travel adventurer, Raja Ampat: The Misool Islands

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