Wow....I have to say this is the best resort my husband and I have ever stayed at! It had everything we were looking for, and was run by diligent, detail-oriented, efficient, and very friendly staff! We really couldn't have asked for anything more!
What really mattered to me on our trip to Raja Ampat was to go to a place that featured the main dive sites (Kri, Manta Sandy, Passage, Fam, etc), offered many dives per day (4), and also had birdwatching and topside activities. Papua Paradise had all of this and more, including beautiful accommodations and amazing food....we were really happy and loved every day of our two weeks there!
Their dive schedule is very flexible, and you can dive as little or as much as you want. My husband and I were there to dive, and were pretty much in the water the entire time, and they were wonderfully accommodating and organized....we ended up doing 48 dives in the two weeks we were there, so needless to say, if you like diving, they have you covered! Their system is very organized and efficient, and you can go on local dives close to the resort, or go on "day trips" to other areas such as Kri, Manta Sandy, and Fam. A huge plus is they have reliable, fast, amazing boats to take you to the dive sites....their largest boat had 3 200 hp Yamaha outboards, and their mid-size boat had twin 150's, so you don't waste much time at all in transit! It was great not to have to deal with diesel fumes on the boats either, and all the boats (they had 4 I believe) were in great condition and well taken care of (something that is not always seen at certain resorts)!! We really appreciated that!
Their dive sites are very varied, as the ones closer to the resort are usually less current and more focused on macro life, and the ones farther out are sometimes more current and more big fish. We saw all the quintessential Raja Ampat marine life while we were there, so many different species of fish it will take a while to go through all my pictures and ID everything! It was very amazing to see such healthy reefs, with pristine conditions that have been basically untouched by human impact...all the coral species and fish species are a biologists' dream!
They have wonderful dive guides as well that show you around the area and are top-notch at spotting smaller critters like the Pygmy Seahorses and such. Our dive guide was Frangky and he was AMAZING!!! We loved him, he was such a great guy and went above and beyond to spot things for us...he really made the diving there awesome, as we saw soo many critters on dives with his excellent spotting skills. I am really into Syngnathids, and with Frangky we saw 4 species of Pygmy Seahorse, a pipehorse, multiple species of pipefish, shrimpfish...the list goes on! All the other dive guides there were also very good, we went on a few dives with Deni, Nikko, and Nimbert, and they were all very great guys!
Topside, the islands of Raja Ampat are breathtaking, and even though we spent most of our trip diving, we were still able to enjoy the beauty of the islands, and usually between dives they take you to villages or just island beaches to relax a bit and have a wonderful surface interval. Some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen, and we were lucky in that almost every day we were there it was bright and sunny!
They also had many birdwatching excursions, and I was planning to do their bird-of-paradise trip, but time got away from me and we simply just did too much diving to fit it into our trip! I'm sure it was amazing though, as we did do their hornbill cruise, and saw so many hornbills flying into the jungle and roosting for the night....it was awesome! Also saw palm cockatoos and white cockatoos, different types of pigeon, kites, herons, and lots of other species of bird that live around the area. They had around 3 birdwatching excursions, and also an excursion to a waterfall on Batanta (larger island, right next to Birie, the smaller island the resort is on) that I wish we would have done, as it looked beautiful! I guess that's our excuse to come back!
As for the rooms, they were breathtaking....over water bungalows with outside decks, western bathrooms, ample charging areas for cameras and such, and a big bed with a mosquito net encircling it. I was wondering about mosquitoes, but it was never an issue, they provided mosquito coils for the room, and also ample bug spray, so everything was just fine and I never got bit up very bad at all. Yes there are bugs and lizards, but to me, that was part of the appeal of the place! Actually, that is what I came there to see, all the wildlife was an added bonus!
As for the food....it was amazing! Always different options, and it was served buffet-style, which was perfect so you can get as much or as little as you want....they provided all the great Indonesian condiments as well, which was a huge plus for me, I put kecup manis on everything! Usually at every meal they would offer a soup, a rice, a fish, a chicken or beef, a vegetarian or egg dish, and mixed vegetables. Their chefs were really good also, as everything was very well prepared. They also had homemade bread, it was awesome, and fresh fruit and desserts too. They would also have cakes and such (sometimes pisang goreng....yay!!!) after the afternoon dive too that were always wonderful! Yes I ate a lot of food, and yes it was amazing! The kitchen staff was also very friendly and attentive, and always smiling!
In fact, everyone that worked there was very friendly, and the people really were the "cherry on top" of the trip! Everyone was so nice, friendly, always smiling, it was a great atmosphere, and even though everyone was busy (they were expanding so lots of extra projects around) they always made time to be cheerful and wonderful to the guests.
The resort was run by managers Chris and Leah, and they really made the place what it was...they were amazing, very passionate about the Papua Paradise, and had huge attention to detail and it showed in everything at the resort. The organization and quality of the resort was second to none, and because of this we would love to go back and visit anytime, and I will definitely recommend it to any of my diver friends wanting to go to Raja Ampat. There were many times during the trip after seeing other operations at dive sites, and being sooo thankful we were at Papua Paradise!! So thank you, thank you so much for making our time in Raja Ampat memorable and amazing! It really was paradise on earth and the most beautiful area I have ever been to in my life!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Built on an idyllic tropical island, surrounded with pristine reefs and unspoiled flora, Papua Paradise Eco-Resort, situated in the heart of Raja Ampat brings you closer to Mother Nature at her best. With all essential standards of service and comfort, combined with personalized service making Papua Paradise an unforgettable holiday for divers, snorkelers, bird watchers and nature enthusiast.Papua Paradise Divers is one of the very few PADI dive resorts in Raja Ampat. The diving facility operates according to best safety standards, tailor made service and professional approach. With this standard, numbers of divers diving at the same time are maximum 4 divers with 1 guide, guiding you through the underwater world of Raja Ampat, with over 1300 fish species and 540 coral species, considered as the heart of the world’s coral reef biodiversity, making Raja Ampat the richest coral reef ecosystem in the world.Our four vessels are purpose built for divers and all contain drinking water, coffee/tea and cakes, fresh towels, the latest safety equipment, and crew standing by for assistance. Small diving groups and experienced guides make your underwater experience unforgettable. Dive with manta rays, sharks, and shoals of schooling fish; explore the slopes of nudibranch, pipefish, and all the best macro in the region; discover the best of Raja Ampat diving in all its spectacular diversity.The island is teeming with exotic bird life, lush jungle foliage, and a spectacular array of fauna. Just a short boat ride from the sites of several endemic Bird of Paradise species, the resort offers specialty birding trips, jungle treks to waterfalls, and world class diving in the heart of Raja Ampat.Built in traditional style, entirely out of locally-sourced materials, and in partnership with the inhabitants of the local island village, Papua Paradise offers an exceptionally high standard of comfort and service, while maintaining eco-tourism values.Our spacious sea breeze-cooled bungalows contain modern hot & cold fresh water showers, comfortable beds with bed veils, tea and coffee facilities, a hammock and cushioned deckchairs facing the sea. Directly beneath the room balconies our nursery of juvenile black tip reef sharks can be seen, and moray eels, blue spotted rays and various other beautiful tropical fish are a constant presence along the house-reef. ... more less