Divers, set your compasses.
The little-known Raja Ampat chain of islands is developing a global reputation as an ecologically rich and unspoilt paradise. An archipelago in Indonesia’s West Papua province, it comprises 1000 sparsely populated tropical islands with the winning triumvirate of turquoise waters, powdery beaches and coral reefs rich in marine life.
It’s fast becoming a mecca for divers of all abilities, who are keen to experience an underwater wonderland of manta rays, pygmy seahorses and wrasse and to see schools of redtooth triggerfish and the psychedelically beautiful mandarin fish.
In this area broadly committed to marine conservation, ecotourism is the name of the game. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up the creature comforts at resorts such as Misool (misool.info), on the privately owned island of Batbitim, where bungalows jut out over the water and sunset was made for cocktails. Quite the opposite, in fact. Above water and below, paradise awaits.