Raja Ampat in July

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Juli124

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So, ever since that one lazy sunday 9 years or so ago, when I was just lying on the couch, nursing a slight hangover and a documentary about Misool and Raja Ampat was on TV, I've been dreaming to go there. First finances wouldn't allow it and then other things happened. Now, our 2 sons are old enough to stay with grandma and grandpa so my husband and I are free to travel. :)
Raja Ampat is high on the list for this year. Well it was last year but pandemic and all wouldn't allow it.

So long story short, I'm now trying to plan a 2-2.5 week long vacation for the two of us. Logistically, the best time to go would be mid-end of July as kid's daycare closes and they spend thos 2-3 weeks at their grandparents' anyways.

We could probably also get a November trip to work. But I'm hesitant due to Covid usually acting up in Europe around that time. We also get sick a lot more around that time due to daycare viruses and what not. But who knows, that has also happened in the summer.

Anyways, I've read anything from "it's totally fine to travel in July" to "the water is rough and diving and trips might not happen". As this will be a once in a lifetime trip for us and will eat up all of our travel/extra-expenses budget, I want to get it right. Or a right as possible and know the risks I'm taking.#

We're both certified divers but don't have a whole lot of experience. My husband less than me. I'm AOD certified but that was a long time ago. For those reasons, we need a resort with a good dive center.

My main questions are:

1) Does anyone have experiences with Raja in July/August? How bad is it?
2) Any recommendations for resorts? Sorido and Misool are way out of budget. I'm thinking about Cove Eco and another resort to start the vacation, somewhere near Dampier. Was thinking about Raja Ampat Dive Lodge, Kri Eco or maaaaybe Papua Paradise (though that might push the budget too much). As my husband doesn't want to dive a whole lot, we need a nice hang out spot in front of the room and we prefer a private bathroom. Not sure about A/C vs fan. That might not be a deal breaker.
3) Weird side question: I'm terrified of spiders. Can anyone calm my nerves that there are not huge spiders hanging out in the rooms on the regular? :D I'm really fighting my fear on that one because I really don't want to not go because of that.

Thanks so much for any help!
Cheers,
Julia
 

Centrals

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3) Weird side question: I'm terrified of spiders. Can anyone calm my nerves that there are not huge spiders hanging out in the rooms on the regular? :D I'm really fighting my fear on that one because I really don't want to not go because of that.
There is NO dangerous spider in Indonesia.
Huge spider can easily be removed from the room but how about outside eg. along the walking path, under the roof etc etc.
 
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Juli124

Juli124

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That's actually good to hear! I'm more or less okay with them being outside. I just don't want them where I sleep. 😅 I'm aware the risk is there, just... don't know, what I wanted to hear. Maybe that they don't usually wander into the rooms, haha. ^^
 

stepfen

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Welcome to SB Julia.
I don't know how reassuring this might be to you, but just in case, although my wife hates spiders big time too, nevertheless she really enjoyed our 1 week long stay in Raja Ampat 3 years ago. And we stayed in a homestay ( Stay Raja Ampat: The best Raja Ampat accommodation & travel information source ) - not in any resort. It was so nice (for her only topside as she doesn't dive) and our kids (3 and 5 years old back then) loved it so much that she didn't mind spiders, sleeping on a mattress lying flat on the floor of a hut (with mosquito net), sharing toilets, the limited food options, all the trouble going there etc.

As for July period I can't help as both times I've been there were around November/December. From what I have heard diving Raja Ampat is nice year around. In summer months conditions might occasionally not be perfect (high winds / choppy seas), but still very doable most of the time if you are land based (liveonboards is another story). Usually there are fewer or no mantas in summer, but other than that it is still very nice.

Also keep in mind that all the info about resorts etc you will find online will be referring to pre-covid times. Even if wide scale tourism will be allowed by then, nobody really knows how things will be in July, which operators will manage to survive 2+ years of inactivity, what level or service they will be able to offer even if they manage to open etc.

All the best
 

Centrals

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Bring a big size mossie net to keep all the insects away while asleep.
Chemical warfare should keep them from venturing into you room. Not environmental friendly I am afraid.

The home stay mentioned ^ does provide you with big net but do bring needle and thread in case you need to sew the hole. NO deposit to pay(huge bonus). Islands hopping etc etc. Far far better than LoB.
No private bath room but how about a hammock on the porch?
Not sure if they are still in operation?
 

Grm

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May still be a bit out of your price range but I have just come back from Papua Explorers Dive Resort and they are fantastic so if you can afford do it, I do not regret the expense and the diving will stay in my memory forever
All bungalows have their own bathoom, no air con but I didn’t miss it - and their own sun decks.
They can schedule the dives and locations depending on conditions, current and your experience which in one of the advantages being land based , even their house reef can be very good. Kayaks are available too if your husband wants to pass the time while you are diving
Did not see 1 spider, just 1000s of fish
 

Cali_diver

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I have been to Raja at least two times in July. It was nice because there weren't as many divers. We didn't go south though because it was mixed destination LOB trip. The diving was great... lots of Wobbegong sharks swimming freely not just hiding under the bommies. Had a great time. Going back again in June if stars align. 🤞🤞
 

Darnold9999

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Can’t comment on July but did enjoy Papua Paradise. Private bathrooms, no air con (as I recall) but not an issue at all as the bungalows are built over the water and not too hot at all. They have two house reefs - on either side of the island so one is always diveable.

The concern I would have is there is not much else to do but dive. The island is small so you would need to leave to do anything but dive or hang out at the bar, restaurant or your room. I walked around the island once in about two hours. I didn’t see much in the way of other tours offered when I was there. Didn’t specifically look however so they could be available. All very nice so if that is what you want then an excellent choice.

Would also be concerned about how these resorts survived covid and if they still offer a good experience with the possible loss of key staff.
 

Darnold9999

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PS. I hate spiders. Only saw one at PP in the roof at the entrance to the restaurant - huge creature. Surprisingly I got used to him pretty quickly. Unless you are on a liveaboard you will see them if you look. I just don’t look and they stay hidden otherwise the geckos get them and pretty much every room in RA I have ever been in in Indonesia has a gecko.
 

CarstenS

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Welcome to SB! I have been to Raja Ampat four times total in January, March, April and December, so I cannot speak to July. Given the biodiversity and the fact that some great dives were close to shore (and even right below piers, e.g. at Sawandarek and Arborek), I assume that wouldn’t be a dealbreaker for me. Of the places I‘ve been to, my best experience was with Agusta Eco Resort, smack in the middle of Dampier Strait. Their „Papuan Cottages“ have no AC but private baths and worked well for us. Not sure what their post-Covid ops and charges are, do check. A bit difficult to get to, but worth the effort IMHO. Hope you make it to RA, many of my best dives ever.
 
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