Raja Ampat: Heaven on Earth

Small groups of uninhabited islands  rise abruptly from the sea to form a spectacular panorama of rugged karst cliffs that tower over tiny mushroom-shaped rocks dappled along crystal blue waters.  The wild jungle vegetation that clings to the rocks provides a stark contrast with the powdery white beaches sprinkled nestled in secluded coves.  This is Raja Ampat, an archipelago comprised of over 1,500 small islands, cays, and shoals located in the Indonesia’s far eastern waters of Papua. 

This marine wonderland has long cast its  spell on visitors, whether they be scientists, photographers, kayakers, spelunkers, birders or beach-combers. But Raja Ampat is perhaps most famous in the snorkeling and diving community, as the area lies in the heart of the coral triangle, the most bio-diverse marine region on earth. Marine enthusiasts travel across the globe to dive Raja Ampat’s channels and nutrient-rich bays to bask in the beauty of some of the most colorful and flourishing reefs on earth.

Raja Ampat also boasts a startling diversity of habitats to explore above the waters. From the stark wave-pounded slopes that drop away beneath the karst cliffs to picturesque lagoons, staggering karst caves, and powdery white beaches, Raja Ampat is a tropical heaven on earth.

When Matt Malerba, one of our own Sea Trek Tourleaders,  was recently offered an opportunity to see Raja Ampat from the sky, he jumped at the chance.  Though he has long guided guests underwater, through the jungle or on waterfall treks, seeing the marine park from the sky was a first!  While snapping some beautiful photos he eagerly scoped out some new spots for our upcoming Raja Ampat cruises this year.

Matt and I have always  felt just how lucky we are to share this incredible corner of the earth with our guests, and now we have the pleasure of sharing the view from the clouds with you too. We hope this view from the heavens makes it clear why we are thrilled to be guiding our guests through Raja Ampat.  There’s simply no place like it on earth.



Mathieu Malerba and Jennifer Hayes began their love affair with Indonesia and it’s waters working as dive guides in Komodo National Park in 2008.  Since then they have extended their exploration to land; diving, trekking and guiding throughout the remotest parts of the archipelago. Lovers of the outdoors Jen and Matt are eager to share their knowledge, experience and passion for the region both above and below the water.  They have designed a special itinerary specially geared towards Sea Trek explorers and  that samples all their favorite spots and activities in Raja Ampat.  Exploring the regions’ reefs will take center stage, enhanced by talks and presentations on marine life with an emphasis on fish identification to further enrich snorkeling in the world’s most bio-diverse seas.  Land activities such as jungle treks, spelunking, waterfall walks, paddling through lagoons, discovering deserted beaches, and searching for the Bird of Paradise will make this voyage any nature-lover’s trip of a lifetime.