Raja Ampat, The Hidden Paradise

Papua Explorers Eco Resort is located in the islands of Raja Ampat, which is on the northwest tip of the Bird’s Head Peninsula of West Papua. Raja Ampat translates into English as Four Kings. The name comes from a local mythology that tells about a woman who finds seven eggs. Four of the seven eggs hatch and become kings that occupy four of Raja Ampat biggest islands. These are Salawati, Batanta, Waigeo and Misool. Whilst the other three eggs in the mythology become a ghost, a woman, and a stone.

Raja Ampat is a stunning archipelago comprising over 1,500 small islands. These host thousands of species some of which are endemic to the region. It’s a relatively new regency which separated from Sorong Regency in 2004. It encompasses more than 40,000 km² of land and sea. This also contains Cenderawasih Bay, the largest marine national park in Indonesia. It is a part of the newly named West Papua (province) of Indonesia which was formerly Irian Jaya.

The famous Dampier Strait is a wide water channel that separates the Raja Ampat islands of Waigeo and Batanta. Here we find the most popular dive sites of Raja Ampat with their stunning beauty. It is named after British navigator William Dampier. Our resort is directly at the coast of the Dampier Strait, in the south of Gam island./p>

History shows that it was once a part of Tidore Kingdom, an influential kingdom from Maluku. Yet, after the Dutch invaded Maluku, the Netherlands claimed it shortly. The people of Raja Ampat live in small settlements that are spread around the area. Although traditional culture still strongly exists, they are very welcoming to visitors. Their religion is dominantly Christian and almost every village has a small church.

The main occupation for people around this area has been fishing, since the sea dominates the area. The lifestyle in the villages of Raja Ampat is simple and many of the inhabitants are children. Therefore, it is so important to us to improve the livelihood of local communities. Empower them in our journey of conservation and sustainable tourism is equally significant. We invest in a sustainable, long-term relationship with our neighboring village Yenwaupnor and other surrounding villages of Raja Ampat.

The majority of our employees come from the Raja Ampat area. We train them in various roles, such as dive guides, captains, cooks, carpenters, electricians, wood carvers and boat builders. Further, our Sunday school provides children an interesting environment to learn English, math, geography and conservation. We conduct field trips to clean up beaches and compare healthy reefs with unhealthy reefs. Further snorkel sessions with sharks and mantas provide a great opportunity for these kids. It helps them to understand the value of their home, so they can protect it for the coming generations.

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