Raja Ampat has several dive centers located on the islands, offering easy access to dive sites in the region. These centers are usually located near popular diving areas, such as the islands Kri, Mansuar, Batanta, Gam, and Arborek. More remote places like Waigeo and Misool, which are harder to reach and don’t offer as many options to dive with local dive centers and resorts, are perfect locations for a liveaboard trip.
Soul Scuba Divers is based on Kri island which is in the heart of Central Raja Ampat and is surrounded by all the famous dive sites just minutes away from the dive center.
You will help the local community on the Islands of Raja Ampat by diving with local dive centers as well as staying in locally owned homestays as the money you spend will help the families in the area. Raja Ampat is still not prepared to be able to host as many liveaboards as they do, as no mooring lines are available and in that way no money goes to the villagers as well.
A dive center and a liveaboard are both options for diving enthusiasts to explore the underwater environments of Raja Ampat. Have a look which option is more suitable for your needs.
Dive Center vs Liveaboard
Soul Scuba Divers Dive Center:
Location: Soul scuba Divers is located on Kri Island, in the center of Dampier Straight, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia.
When you reach Kri island, you have done the biggest part of your travels to get to Raja Ampat. You will not need to travel around to see all the best spots in the area if you are staying on Kri Island. So no need to think “Traveling further would give you better dive sites”. Our local dive spots as well as our adventure dive trip destinations are short boat rides away from the most famous dive sites. By diving from Kri Island with Soul Scuba Divers you will have a liveaboard like feeling whilst staying on land and helping the local communities earn their living.
Accommodation: There are multiple homestays on Kri Island for a reasonable price. But the easiest way is to stay at our beachside which offers 7 small locally owned homestays. We like to stay near/be close to our divers, as it is the easiest way for communicating and sharing each other's passion for scuba diving. It also offers you easy access to the dive center and you can enjoy other divers company. And don’t forget to join us on Saturday nights at the bonfire.
Pickups: Soul Scuba Divers also offer pickup and dropoff services for our divers from homestays located in other areas on Kri Island if the tides are high and our boats can come and pick you up. You also can reach our dive center by walking to us via the beach or threw the jungle.
If you are staying on other islands than Kri, your homestay will organize the pickup and drop off to the dive center. Ask your homestay for more information about this.
The best way for nature would be staying close by to us, avoiding the need for pick ups and drop offs. This will reduce the stress towards to environment.
Facilities: Soul scuba divers are building a new dive center on top of the water, connected to our jetty that has been existing there for a few years already. The new dive center will offer perfect views for the sunset and a lounge is for you to relax after diving.
Our dive trips include a hot drinks, snacks, and drinking water. We provide well-equipped, maintained equipment, and experienced dive guides. Guides are professionals and understand the needs of divers, ensuring a comfortable, safe and memorable diving experience.
Soul scuba divers own’s two boat named after Thibault’s grandmother and mother. Anna fits 12 scuba divers and does the locally diving trips. Aline fits 8 divers and it's very comfortable with adventure trips. In June 2023 we have also Thibaults “sister” joining us, so we are having our 3rd boat which will be used for courses and happy trips. We use 4-stroke engines for all of the boats and this is a better choice towards to environment instead of using 2-stroke engines.
Read more about our new dive center from our previous blog post
Dive schedule: Soul scuba divers offer more flexibility in terms of scheduling and activities. We don't follow a strict schedule and we can avoid the crowd as our dive site options are wilder. We have this feeling during low season and we know how to make it happen during high season, people feel special when they feel like having a unique experience.
When Cape Kri has 5 liveaboard parked in the near by we for sure change our plan to Sorido wall, the South part of the cape because we know fish are playing there, we are not diving names. This way you don't always know exactly the dive site names beforehand. Where we are bringing you will be epic dive sites and we want to give you this unique Raja Ampat scuba diving experience that all the divers are here for.
Blue Magic dive sites become super busy during November - March during liveaboard season and we call this dive site Bubble tragic during these months. Blue magic is so beautiful from May until November with visibility rising to 30-50 meters, without the ground of other divers. It's also very sad to hear the big chain of anchors hitting the bottom of the ocean floor making huge noise, you can see the impact of the noise of fishes swimming around everywhere like little panic rabbits in the headlights in front of the car. We also know that Oceanic Manta doesn’t visit this dive site that often anymore and they have changed to other cleaning stations near by. Havings this local knowledge we have a better chance to see these giants underwater.
Sama as Manta rays, fish and corals get impacted by the noise of anchors and 2-stroke engines which many of operators are using in the area. Our dive center uses 4-stroke engines which are a better choice for the environment.
Diving Experience: If you look into the Dive Sites which Soul scuba divers dive center offers, you can see a very similar ranking of dive spots to liveaboard does in Central and North of Raja Ampat. Our benefits are the local knowledge of all year diving in the area, we know exactly the time and tides to provide the best dive experience for our diver. Dive centers in Raja Ampat offer a range of dive sites, including vibrant coral reefs, underwater caves, and diverse marine life.
Variety of divers and diving: Dive centers cater to divers of various experience levels, from beginners to advanced divers. We take people with any kind of diving background. We have various 40 dive sites around locally for everyone's liking and level.
With day trips from the dive center, you can explore multiple dive sites each day.
Adventure trips are a good way to explore further way destinations like Piaynemo, Batanta, and Gam Island. These trips include diving and sightseeing, read more on our Adventure trip page.
Our Night dives to ensure you can do up to 4 dives per day!
We advise you to dive for 2 weeks to cover most of the dive sites that we have to offer.
Certification and Training: Soul Scuba Divers Dive Center in Raja Ampat offers SSI scuba diving courses from the beginner level up to the professional level. It's a great place to enhance your diving skills or obtain new certifications. We have 3 instructors onsite and offer a good selection of specialties.
We use a sandy lagoon near our dive center to make skills with the student to reduce the risk of breaking the coral's example in the Yenbuba jetty where we witness many divers wiping the corals away by not having control of the buoyancy. We are teaching beginner-level divers to do all the skills with neutral buoyancy, Students will have a strong knowledge of the control after finishing courses this way. It's also a very natural method since we don't clear our masks by kneeling on the sand while scuba diving.
If you get reminded by your buoyancy control or be advised to do extra training like skill refresh, please don't get offended. Our dive guides and Instructors are protecting the natural habits of Raja Ampat and want to share the awareness of beautiful marine creatures. Our team has a strong knowledge of what it takes for corals to grow and what kind of effort is needed.
Marine Conservation: We participate in protecting the area by collaborating with local NGOs like SEApeople. We organize weekly coral plantations in local areas where corals are damaged by anchors, divers, and natural causes. SEApeople are monitoring the corals, numbers of fishies, and coral-eating sea stars. Soul scuba divers are part of the monitor project to take data on different marine species. You can also be part of this weekly happening amazing opportunity to give back to the ecosystem of Raja Ampat while visiting all the beautiful dive sites here. You can also participate by donating to the SEApeople’s program here.
Lynn and Arno, CO founders of SEApeople are teaching the local people to become coral gardeners and local mentors for the community. Local coral gardeners share their awareness and knowledge with nearby villages and this has a huge impact in the area of Raja Ampat. Helping this program will secure the salaries of the staff, help with the materials needed for the coral restoration, and make sure this beautiful program has a forever lasting future. This is very important for the local community and future generations to be able to enjoy their land and secure their food source which is based on fish. There are multiple no-take zones in Raja Ampat which means areas are resting from fishing to ensure the growth of the fish population. Fishermen have many rules and regulations for where they can fish and with which method. Through SEApeople’s data taking, the research they have witnessed with their own eyes the growth of the corals and bringing the numbers of fishies to the better stage. Based on the heart of the Coral Triangle, where there is still hope for conservation programs, Lynn and Arno have chosen Raja Ampat for their home base and the location to share the knowledge and awareness of their studies.
We do regular beach cleanups in the areas where we visit the different islands for surface intervals and are role models in Kri island with waste management. It is heartwarming to see little local kids helping with the rubbish and they are also very proud of themselves afterwards. We still have many things to improve and we are doing great things step by step for the local community and the islands around. Reducing our waste and being a good environmental stuart is motivating the locals to follow our lead.
When people dump their trash into the sea or land, we among other local communities are the ones to take care of it. Most of these things are easy to hide from visitors but we want to bring awareness of the other side of tourism to everyone to see. We are also part of bringing tourism here and we think it is very important to give back to the community and mother nature by helping and organizing different environmental programs. It is very easy to think “there is someone who will take care of this” and forget the remoteness of the area. Unfortunately, we witness misbehaving regular basis during the busiest time in Raja Ampat.
Best time to visit: We dive all year around, read more in our previous blog post
Location: Liveaboards are designed for more extensive diving trips, often exploring remote or less accessible dive sites. These sites may be far from shore and inaccessible by day trips from dive centers. If you wish to see Misool, South of Raja Ampat, liveaboard is a good option. Soul scuba divers cover Central and most of the North parts same as liveaboard would.
Accommodation: A liveaboard is a boat or a floating vessel that serves as accommodation during a diving expedition. Divers live and sleep on the boat for the duration of their trip.
Facilities: Liveaboards provide diving equipment, meals, and other amenities on board. The facilities may vary from basic to luxurious, depending on the type of liveaboard.
Diving Schedule: Liveaboards typically offer multiple dives per day, sometimes up to four or more, depending on the itinerary. Divers may spend several days or weeks on a liveaboard, moving from one dive site to another. Liveaboard has made the schedule ahead for the divers which differs on Soul scuba divers policy of making dive plans around Raja Ampat.
Diving Experience: Liveaboards are generally preferred by more experienced divers who are looking for an immersive and uninterrupted diving experience. They often cater to advanced divers and may require a minimum certification level for participation.
Best time to visit: Most of the liveaboard offer trips from October - March.
Both dive centers and liveaboards in Raja Ampat offer fantastic opportunities to explore the region's incredible underwater world. Your choice depends on factors such as your preferred diving style, budget, time constraints, and level of experience.
Dive centers are suitable for day trips, flexibility, and a mix of diving and other activities, while liveaboards are ideal for diving trips to remote locations like Misool, the South part of Raja Ampat.
Good liveaboards are the ones who built their trips out of Central Raja Ampat because there are now enough land based operators in Central more knowledgeable and capable of creating a better experience for the guests than on liveaboards. Liveaboard is a good option if you want to explore the areas that doesn't have dive operators in the area or have very few options in the area. Locations like Misoon and Wayag are the areas where liveaboard trips make more sense.