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Dive Review of Papua Paradise Resort in
Indonesia/Raja Ampat

Papua Paradise Resort: "World class diving in Raja Ampat", Nov, 2018,

by Graham McGregor, Kilmacolm, GB (Top Contributor Top Contributor 39 reports with 22 Helpful votes). Report 10669 has 2 Helpful votes.

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Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments Getting there and away

It is a long haul to Papua Paradise Resort – no matter where you are coming from. You need to get to Sorong airport. There are direct flights from Jakarta, but only a couple a day (and they seem to all leave Jakarta at around midnight, getting in to Sorong around 0630). You can also connect via Makassar but most visitors are from Europe and the USA, making Jakarta the most convenient international airport for connectivity. I found Jakarta surprisingly easy to connect through. Most international flights arrive into Terminal 3, which is a nice, modern terminal. The domestic flights depart from Terminal 1 or 2. However, moving between terminals is quick and easy as a new Skytrain connects all terminals. We allowed 5 hours for our connection. 3 hours would have been fine.

Papua Paradise appears to be the only resort in Central Raja Ampat which has a dedicated transfer boat from Sorong. Other resorts appear to require you to get a local ferry.

A representative of the resort meets you at Sorong airport and you are transferred to a local hotel, which is perfectly good. We arrived at the hotel and were told that we could have both a complimentary breakfast, complimentary lunch and the use of the hotel facilities until we were picked up at 1230 for our 1300 transfer by fast boat to the resort. The transfer takes 1 and a half to 2 hours.

Resort facilities and food

Papua Paradise Resort has 16 “superior” and 10 “deluxe” over water villas. The General Manager, Peter, told us that they limit the number of guests to 44 at any time.
We had a “superior” villa configured with two (twin) single beds. The “deluxe” villas are a bit bigger and feature a king size bed, which I don’t think can be configured as a twin.
The rooms are charming, of wood construction and feature the bed(s) a couch, a table and chair. There is a separate bathroom with shower and a decent outside balcony with a couple of chairs and a couple of loungers. The view is north west, so great for sunset!
There is no air con but a standing fan is provided. We found this didn’t help enough on the first night and we were uncomfortably hot. The next day the resort provided a second fan which helped. The resort offers a free laundry service, which was a real boon and meant we packed lighter than normal. It does take up to 3 days for your laundry to be returned.

The Dive Centre has a small air-conned room for camera, with charging facilities.

There is comfortable bar area and a roomy restaurant. The food was sufficient, always served buffet style. At breakfast, there was an egg station which will cook omelettes, fried eggs etc. to order. Dinner always had salad options, a soup, two meat/fish options and a vegetarian main plus vegetables. The food was generally tasty, although this isn’t haut-cuisine!

The clientele was mainly divers, with some snorkelers. Mostly couples, with virtually all from Europe or the USA. The average age of folks at the resort is apparently 48.
There is a spa. Apart from diving and snorkelling, the resort has bird watching including special trips to view rare Birds of Paradise.

Diving

There is a large covered jetty with a room to store your gear at night. Nitrox is free and I asked for a larger (1.5 litre) tank which was also free. Nitrox fills were in the range 30 to 32.

The resort has 10 dive boats, of varying sizes holding 2 to 12 divers. Dive guides are allocated maximum 1 guide to 4 divers. We had one guide for the two of us all week.
There are three categories of dive site: “Local” dive sites which are about 10 to 20 minutes away. Further away sites which are up to 45 minutes away. Trips to both these categories of site are free. There are a few trips to further flung sites like the Fam Islands. These trips take up to an hour and a half and cost €75. If diving the local sites, you do two tank dives in the morning; return to the resort for lunch; do one tank afternoon dive and then have a choice of Twilight or Night dive. Further away sites involve a surface interval on a small island after the first dive; a pre-packed lunch stop at a local jetty and an afternoon dive before returning to the resort. Again, a Twilight or Night dive is offered. One of the further away sites is a manta cleaning station. Although not quite in season (which runs December through April), we saw 3 to 4 mantas up close on each of our 4 dives there. Most of the further away sites are at Cape Kri. The Cape Kri area itself is mainly wall/slope diving with some strong currents involving hooking in. We only had a couple of dives which involved hooking. The other area is Mansour, which involves diving on sloping areas around a number of jetties.

The corals (hard and soft) are abundant, diverse and healthy everywhere. The fauna was also diverse. Macro lovers will appreciate the Pigmy Seahorses; Orang Utan Crabs; Nudibranchs; Pipefish; Peacock Mantis Shrimp etc. Although not overly shark-y, we saw sharks on most dives – mainly Blacktip Reef sharks; also, Whitetip Reef sharks and we saw one Grey Reef shark. We saw Wobbegong Sharks on 25% of our dives. Lots of Turtles; Stingrays; Bumphead Parrotfish; Cuttlefish, Stonefish. The schooling reef fish were there in numbers and we saw Yellow Tail and Black Tail Barracuda; Black and Red Snapper; Jacks; Giant Trevally; Tuna; Sweetlips.

Most people seemed to be on the resort’s “Unlimited Dive” package which was in the price and comprised 3 day dives and either a Twilight or Night dive. We completed 20 dives over 6 days. Dives were nominally 60 minutes but we completed several of 70-75 minutes. All were good and several were great. We never had more than 6 divers on our boat, more often 4 and on several dives (including one complete day) we had the boat to ourselves (2 divers plus guide). We don’t particularly care for Night dives, although I heard they were good. Not many divers seemed to take up the Twilight or Night dives. We asked if we could complete the fourth dive as a day dive. Although not their normal procedure, the dive staff let us do this if we were the only divers wanting a fourth dive.
Water entry is backwards roll and there is a ladder to re-enter the boat. You hand up your weights; then your BCD and finally your fins before climbing the ladder. The boat crews were great, they will assemble your gear; help you on with it and take care of your camera. Our guide, Deni, was very knowledgeable and a good spotter.

The weather was fine for diving. We had several heavy rainfalls but mostly at night and never during our surface intervals. Otherwise it was fine, sometimes sunny and around 30C. Time-consuming, although not particularly difficult to get to, Papua Paradise is a good dive resort with great quality of flora and fauna. Boats are uncrowded and (apart from a couple of dives at Cape Kri) we were the only divers on the site. It probably gets busier in the area at the height of season in March/April, with many liveaboards coming through, but there are enough sites that the crew will find you a less busy spot. The resort itself caps the number of guests and never felt particularly busy even when full. The Resort will provide you accommodation; “unlimited” diving and flights from/to Jakarta from about £2500 per person twin-sharing. I strongly recommend you go before the area gets much busier – which it will, given the quality of the diving.
Websites Papua Paradise Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Galapagos; Socorro; Palau; Sipadan; Truk; Malapascua; Komodo; Ticao Island; Maldives; Red Sea; Caribbean; Cuba; Hawaii; Florida; Cozumel; Spain, Seychelles, Mauritius, Oman, GBR; Raja Ampat
Closest Airport Sorong Getting There See report

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy, rainy, cloudy Seas calm, choppy, currents, no currents
Water Temp 29-30°C / 84-86°F Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 15-40 M / 49-131 Ft

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Nominally 60 minutes but relaxed. We completed several 70-75 minute dives
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks Lots Mantas Squadrons
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 5 stars Tropical Fish 5 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 5 stars
Large Pelagics 5 stars

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities 5 stars
UW Photo Comments Separate area for UWP in dive shop. No separate tanks on boats but crew handled cameras carefully.
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Report currently has 2 Helpful votes

Subscriber's Comments

By peter bernstein in FL, US at Nov 22, 2018 07:50 EST  
Good report-- did you go to see the Birds of Paradise? How far does one have to go to find them ?? We are avid divers BUT wife wants to see a B of P !!
By report author: Graham McGregor in Kilmacolm, GB at Nov 22, 2018 08:11 EST  
I didn't go to see the Birds of Paradise - few guests appeared to. We spoke to one couple who were going. There appear to be two different types - both of which require a boat trip and a bit of hiking through the jungle to get to. The Wilson's Bird of Paradise is apparently the rarer. You need to leave the resort at 0430 and take a boat for an hour or so to the island where they are. Apparently the trip itself is lovely - very atmospheric. You then hike through the jungle for about 30 minutes arriving just after dawn. I didn't get the impression that the hike is terribly arduous but it does involve a bit of a climb. The Red Bird of Paradise trip is slightly shorter, involves a hike but not a climb. The resort website has some details.
By BRADLEY CONDO in CO, US at Nov 22, 2018 11:54 EST  
A ‘big’ 1.5 liter tank?
By report author: Graham McGregor in Kilmacolm, GB at Nov 22, 2018 12:27 EST  
Ah! Slip in the decimal place, thanks for pointing it out. Of course I’m referring to a 15 litre tank!!
By peter bernstein in FL, US at Nov 25, 2018 09:34 EST  
Thank you for your response- we plan to go on January
By report author: Graham McGregor in Kilmacolm, GB at Feb 06, 2019 09:29 EST  
Hope you enjoyed and your wife managed to see the Birds of Paradise?
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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