The Papua Blog

When to go to Raja Ampat

Whether for diving, cruising or resort stays, find out when is the best time to experience paradise.

Words and photos by Laura Sakalian

Wondering when to plan your trip to Raja Ampat? The purpose of this article is to help you determine the best time to visit Raja Ampat. The answer is not a simple yes or no. The perfect timing depends on several factors, such as your specific destination within Raja Ampat, the type of trip you’re planning, whether you prefer cruising or staying at a resort, and whether you’re interested in diving or snorkeling.

Thanks to Raja Ampat’s equatorial climate, the region welcomes visitors all year round, maintaining warm sea temperatures and stable weather conditions. While October to April is often recommended as the ideal time to visit, we can assure you from personal experience that Raja Ampat is wonderful any time of year.

Check out our blog article for straightforward tips on How to get to Raja Ampat

Let’s find out more!

Raja Ampat enjoys a tropical climate, maintaining warm and humid conditions throughout the year. Daytime temperatures hover around 31°C (88°F), dropping only slightly to an average of 25°C (77°F) at night. Fancy a nighttime dip into the sea from your bungalow? Absolutely possible!

Is there really no rainy season in Raja Ampat?
In the tropics, rain can occur any day of the year. There’s no time to visit Raja Ampat when rain can be entirely ruled out. However, prolonged rainfall is rare. Many travel guides suggest that the best time to visit Raja Ampat is from October to April. Indeed, from October to April, the likelihood of rain in Raja Ampat decreases, but when it does rain, it tends to be heavier. Short showers are more common during this period, making it slightly drier overall. For us, the risk of rain isn’t a decisive factor! What’s more critical is considering the windy season in some areas.

Windy Season in South Raja Ampat
Most visitors to Raja Ampat spend their time in the northern part of the archipelago. However, if your plans include South Raja Ampat and the Misool Islands, be cautious from June to mid-September, as this area experiences a distinct windy season. While not every day brings a storm, the winds can make small boat navigation challenging. This poses a challenge for homestay travelers, with the ferry being the only way to reach southern Raja Ampat during these months.

The weather we want
Rainfall is usually short-lived

What is the best time to go on a cruise in Raja Ampat?
As mentioned above, the sea becomes a bit rougher from June to mid-September due to the wind. In northern Raja Ampat, this is not much of an issue, but in southern Raja Ampat, it can prevent smaller boats from cruising. Therefore, liveaboards tend to avoid the southern part of the archipelago during these months. However, cruising in the north and central Raja Ampat is feasible all year round.

Why is there so little availability from June to August?
The majority of Raja Ampat yacht cruises are scheduled from October to June, allowing the boats to relocate to Komodo for the rest of the year, as the diving season in the Komodo Archipelago runs from June to August. Consequently, the number of boats in Raja Ampat is significantly reduced from June to August, making it challenging to find availability. It’s advisable to book well in advance if you wish to go on a cruise during these months.

Discover our exclusive Raja Ampat accommodations and cruises

Is there a best time for diving in Raja Ampat?
Much like the general travel season, the diving season in Raja Ampat is also considered year-round, again thanks to the region’s equatorial climate. However, the most recommended time for diving in Raja Ampat is from October to April. During these months, sea conditions are generally calmer, and underwater visibility is at its best, often exceeding 30 meters (about 100 feet).

In essence, Raja Ampat is always open to visitors. The distinction lies in the archipelago itself. There is no best time to travel to the north and central parts of Raja Ampat, where there isn’t a significant rainy season, and many of the islands boast their own microclimates. These northern and central areas are perfect for divers and snorkelers, offering numerous sites that would take more than a lifetime to explore. However, if you’re planning to visit the southern part of Raja Ampat (the Misool Islands), it’s best to avoid traveling there between June and mid-September.

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