Indonesia is a vast area and has a lot of marine tourism objects which each has their own unique features. For you that enjoy diving, choosing where you want to have your vacation and also satisfy your hobby of diving becomes a certain consideration. Wakatobi vs Raja Ampat, which one do you think is right for you?
We will describe it in detail so that you won’t get confused anymore. Both are equally beautiful, only they are located in a different place and with different size areas. More than that, Indonesian underwater nature that is second to none! Now let’s talk about Wakatobi:
Location of Wakatobi Islands
Isn’t the name unique? Wakatobi is actually an acronym for four islands located there, Wangi-wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko. This Regency is located around Sulawesi Islands, in North Sulawesi Province. Open your map, and when you see an island that looks like the letter ‘K’, then it is the big island. While Wakatobi islands are around its waters.
Wakatobi is smaller than Raja Ampat, only 832 square kilometers and its inhabitant also not more than 100,000 people. Therefore, its stunning nature stays clean and pristine. Due to its amazing underwater nature, Wakatobi is declared as a national park for the marine conservation of corals, fauna and its habitat.
When we are talking about Wakatobi diving, then it begins with the fact that it is located at the world’s epicenter of coral reef biodiversity. It is no surprise that UNESCO designated this place as the Marine Biosphere Reserve, and because of that, diving in this place is a good idea or even a dream come true for avid divers. In its clean and pristine waters, you will be amazed by the greatest variety and diversity that this island offers. This place has 850 different coral species, a really huge number compared to the Caribbean that has only around 70 species.
With its rich biodiversity, people have voted Wakatobi diving as one of the best places in the world to dive. The seafloor is covered with corals that are home to colorful fish everywhere. If you’re looking for a spectacular dive site rich of marine life, Wakatobi is the perfect place for you. There are over 40 dive sites located in Wakatobi, but the best ones are House Reef, Cornucopia, Coral Garden, and Roma.
Arriving at Wakatobi, you will need a place to stay during your vacation. To make your vacation even more exciting, there are luxurious dive resorts you can choose. Wakatobi Dive Resort offers private-island-like bungalows. Each room is facilitated with stair directly lead you to the beach.
Another place to stay is Patuno Dive Resort in Wangi-wangi Island. This is the entrance gate to Wakatobi National Park. There is also an airport here named Matahora which means that it will be easier to get to this resort compared to other places.
There is also cheaper resort in Wangi-wangi Island named Wasabi Nua Alan in Poros Sombu Street. The resort is built on a coral rock. A simple wooden bridge is built over the sea that connects to other islands. This is certainly a unique place to stay!
Another resort that is no less pretty is Hoga Dive Resort in Hoga Island, Kadeupa. This place is the favorite spot for professional divers. Despite the humble and simple looks, the view from this place is stunningly beautiful.
Wakatobi vs Raja Ampat; Which One is the Best?
Now we have discussed the general information about Wakatobi Island. If we have to compare between Wakatobi vs Raja Ampat, which one do you think is the best? Let’s see even closer on these two hidden gems in Indonesia.
Wakatobi offers excellent scuba diving with its pristine reefs. Due to its outstanding coral and biodiversity, this place is famous for high density and variety of marine lives. Diving in this place, you can find Pygmy Seahorse, rare species of Nudibanchs, and also Ghost Pipefish. Although it has an amazing collection of small creatures and critters, this place is not the best spot for big fishes. However, you still might be able to spot Blacktip Reef Sharks, Whitetip Reef Sharks, and Grey Sharks. Eagle Rays and Turtles can be found here too.
The tropical climate with the sun shining all year round make it possible to dive all year in Wakatobi. Rainy season comes in January and February, but it is not too bad. You should book in advance in April – May and in September – November since these are the peak season for diving. The current is usually gentle, but certain dive sites can have very strong current, so you have to be careful.
Wakatobi Islands are not only perfect for diving but also perfect for snorkeling. Just jump into the House Reef located in front of the bungalows. Most dive sites in Wakatobi also perfect for snorkeling, so you can just swim around in many places here.
While Wakatobi is located in North Sulawesi, Raja Ampat is located in West Papua Province. Raja Ampat consists of four huge islands named Misool, Waigeo, Salawati, and Batanta, and also hundreds of small islands. Raja Ampat is located in the Coral Triangle, makes it famous for the biodiversity, just like Wakatobi.
What makes Raja Ampat special is that it has 537 species of interconnected coral buildings. At least 75% of coral species in the world can be found in Raja Ampat. These abundant corals make Raja Ampat voted as the richest coral bed in the world. With the healthy growing corals, this place is home to a variety of marine biota. 1000 tropical fish species are found here and some of them have not even been found in other locations before.
A variety of small fish can be found here, from Reef sharks, gobi fish, snapper fish, parrotfish, groupers, doctor fish, damselfish, wrasse fish, butterfly fish, and many more. Dugong, manta rays, turtles, and sharks are also found in Raja Ampat waters. You just have to know where to find them.
Just like Wakatobi Island, Raja Ampat also has lots of dive spots you wouldn’t want to miss. Some of them are suitable for beginners, but others might need advanced licenses. Melissa’s Garden, for example, offers beautiful coral reef parks with stunning color. This place is also suitable for all licenses. Meanwhile, Cape Kri is equally famous for its diverse species living here. However, you have to be an expert diver and have at least 50 dives track records since the current is really strong and can be dangerous for beginners.
It is difficult to compare Wakatobi vs Raja Ampat since both are equally stunning. Both are perfect for diving, and also liveaboards adventure. However, it might be easier to go to Wakatobi than Raja Ampat. But if you don’t mind to go a little further to the remote place in Papua, Raja Ampat is a perfect place.