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Snorkel the vibrant waters of the South Pacific

West Papua: Spice Islands and Raja Ampat

Example 12 Day Cruise aboard Coral Discoverer
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Experience Raja Ampat and the magical lands of the Spice Islands in this 12-day small ship cruise exploring the cultures and scenic beauty of Papua New Guinea. Snorkel, kayak, swim, and dive in Raja Ampat's brightly-colored reef systems and join locals for a guided walk through Pulau Gam's rainforest. Enjoy local traditional music performances at Kwatisore Village and learn about the local community and culture through traditional custom dances and games.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Embark in Darwin
Day 2 : Crossing the Timor Sea
Day 3 : Bandaneira | Spice Islands
Day 4 : Hatta Island, Spice Islands
Day 5 : Mamala Island & Saparua Island
Day 6 : Sawai
Day 7 : Folley & The Stone Gardens of Misool
Day 8 : Kofiau Island
Day 9 : Wayag Island
Day 10 : At Sea
Day 11 : Cenderawasih Bay | Kwatisore Village
Day 12 : Roon Island
Day 13 : Disembark in Biak | Fly to Darwin


  • See Banda’s famous Kora Kora canoes as they glide across the water
  • Travel through the streets of Bandaneira and explore a nutmeg plantation
  • Snorkel, dive and kayak Hidden Bay's reefs and limestone karsts
  • Land on Wayag Island's white-sand beaches and swim, snorkel, kayak or hike


Coral Discoverer

Places Visited


Trip Type

  • Small Ship

Activity Level


Trip Snapshots

Snorkel the vibrant waters of the South Pacific Access the shore aboard the specially designed expedition vessel Xplorer Colourful children of Papua New Guinea A day ashore remote islands Access the shore aboard the the Zodiac

Day 1 Embark in Darwin

This afternoon board Coral Discoverer at Darwin’s Fort Hill Wharf, where there is time to settle in before your departure. In the evening, join your fellow travelers, the Captain, and his crew at the Captain’s Welcome Drinks in anticipation of what promises to be a remarkable journey discovering Raja Ampat and the Spice Islands.

Day 2 Crossing the Timor Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Spend the day at leisure as the ship crosses the Timor Sea towards Bandaneira. Join your Expedition Staff in the ship’s lounge for an interesting introduction to your journey, and the many experiences that can come over the next days.

Day 3 Bandaneira | Spice Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the middle of the Banda Sea lies an enchanted fragment of history, the center of the Spice Island trade. Originally the world’s sole source of nutmeg and mace, these nine tiny islands have attracted traders since at least 2,000 years ago. In the 16th century, European explorers discovered entire continents in their quest for these islands. On the approach to Banda Island the outline of Gunung Api Volcano, with its thin plume of smoke drifting from the summit, is clearly visible. See Banda’s famous Kora Kora canoes in action - with up to 38 oarsmen aboard they are a sight to behold as they glide across the water. Later in the afternoon there is time to explore Fort Belgica. Built by the first Governor General of the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) in 1611, the fort is extremely well preserved and provides an interesting insight into Dutch colonization. Join the locals for a traditional dance and music performance before enjoying a glass of champagne as the sun sets over the fort.

Day 4 Hatta Island, Spice Islands

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
This morning enjoy the opportunity to immerse yourself with local guides in the colors and aromas of the Spice Islands. Travel through the streets of Banda Neira, past the remnants of mansions constructed during Dutch colonialism on a town tour. See the museum, the former VOC Governor’s Mansion visit the old church, enjoy water activities and finish with traditional dancing and tastings of local treats on the waterfront. There is the option to go snorkeling and diving in clear turquoise water over the nearby unique submerged lava flow.

After lunch, bid farewell to Banda Neira and head for a neighboring island within the Banda Archipelago – Hatta Island. Famous for exceptional snorkeling and diving at the edge of the reef just 5m off the shoreline. Admire vibrant corals and sea creatures of all shapes, sizes and colors home to turtles, dolphins, sea horses, great coral gardens and plenty of fish. Later there is the opportunity for a guided walk through the village, to visit school children, and then to explore a local plantation of Pepper Trees and Nutmeg Trees.

Day 5 Mamala Island & Saparua Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Start the day arriving early at Mamala Island (Also referred to as Molana Island). This uninhabited private island is home to 85 species of trees, Pacific Monitor Lizards (Varanus Indicus), Moluccan Scrubfowl (Megapodius Reinwardtii) and Coconut Crabs. Molana Island has been known since the Portuguese colonial era. The island still contains the ruins of a hospital built by the Dutch, whose construction was interrupted by the Japanese occupation in World War II. Residing on a large reef cluster that emerges to the surface makes for rich marine life surrounding the island. Snorkelers can take advantage of the shallow corals and clear water with easy viewing of unique corals and plentiful fishes. Experienced lucky divers keep your eyes out for the underwater cave that connected to a well in the center of the island.

Head East to Saparua Island where you are welcomed by merrily singing school children. The area holds an important spot in history books which we learn at Fort Duurstede, a 17th-century Dutch fort with a complicated backstory that spans centuries. Here men and boys give us their war dance with shields, swords and cultural adornment.

Day 6 Sawai

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Sawai is a little slice of paradise located on the Central Northern side of Seram Island, Maluku. Sawai village is one of the oldest villages in Maluku, with houses that extend out over the water. Spend the day exploring the beautiful clear waters and reefs along with grand cliffs and Manusela valleys of Manusela National Park. Not far from the location of the reef, there is a big gap and height that can be entered and a beautiful spot for bird spotting.

Say farewell the Spice Islands as we make our way to Raja Ampat.

Day 7 Folley & The Stone Gardens of Misool

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Raja Ampat’s literal meaning ‘The Four Kings’ is because this archipelago comprising over 1,500 small islands, cays, and shoals are surrounding four main islands: Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati, and Misool. Today, visit Folley on the top East side of Misool.  Here take in the picturesque beauty that is Balbulol, where five high cone-shaped cliffs rise from the turquoise waters in a line like emerald Christmas Trees. Enjoy swimming and kayaking water activities here.
There are more than 1000 ancient rock paintings have been discovered in Misool in over 60 sites. Red-colored rock paintings on several cliffs a show form women’s hand with long tapering fingers. There are also paintings of marine fauna such as sharks, tuna, dolphins, several sticks, canoes, overlapping abstract images, line and symbol of fertility.

After lunch, visit Yapap, the best natural pool in the world. This huge primordial pool is adorned with impressive karst formations which look more like chess pieces than rocks. Its turquoise seawater is so clear that the sand and coral reefs on its shallow ocean floor are clearly visible from the surface. Swimming and diving here is incredible. You'll also visit Dafalen Love Lake. It is an excellent place for lovers, friends and family to swim together in this symbolic lake of love. You can optionally climb up into the summit of the rock to see the heart-shaped lake from above.

Day 8 Kofiau Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Make your way to Kofiau Island, another island of the Raja Ampat region. Be welcomed by local village dancers on a “flatform boat” as they lead us ashore to Kampung Deer. Local guides lead us through as you explore the village. A local long-boat transfer takes you to the next village Kampung Awat where you can enjoy an Opening Sasi ceremony and beach BBQ. Spend the afternoon snorkeling, bird watching and exploring other villages.

Day 9 Wayag Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Discover the lagoon’s white sand beaches and maze of limestone karst ‘gumdrop’ islands as we explore in zodiacs and aboard Xplorer. After lunch, those keen on an energetic climb up famous Pindito Peak will be rewarded by breathtaking views over the island and its spectacular lagoon. Alternatively choose to relax with a swim, snorkel, guided glass bottom boat tour or kayak paddle.

Day 10 At Sea

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
A relaxing day at sea, join the Expedition Leader and Guest Lecturers in the lounge for an informative introduction to Cenderawasih Bay.

Day 11 Cenderawasih Bay | Kwatisore Village

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Awake as you enter Cenderawasih Marine Park in search of the biggest fish in the sea, the beautiful Whale Shark. This region is one of the few places in the world where it is possible to swim with these majestic animals and you may have the chance for an early morning snorkel amongst them.

Then head ashore with your expedition team and local guides to see the local village and learn about the interesting customs and traditional lifestyle of the West Papuan people. You will notice the difference in dancing, adornment, instruments and people of West Papua in comparison to the culture witnessed on the Islands prior. Enjoy a last swim off the nearby beach before you join your fellow travelers for the Captain’s Farewell Drinks and reminisce over what has been an unforgettable adventure exploring the Spice Islands and Raja Ampat.

Day 12 Roon Island

  • Ship
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Just below the surface resides a Japanese plane wreck with big black corals, gorgonians, big lionfish, glassfish, shrimps and many more. Snorkellers on the surface can still clearly see the wreck when the weather cooperates and the water is still.

Afterwards, you can hope to explore Yende village where the locals play bamboo flutes and locally-made drums, and perform traditional dancing. The young men and women decorate with white body and face paint, wearing grass skirts, shells and beads, with the odd cassowary feather or coconut head-dress.

Day 13 Disembark in Biak | Fly to Darwin

  • 1 Breakfast
This morning join a private jet for your flight from Biak to Darwin (additional expense). Enjoy a short tour of Biak town before departing for Darwin.

Coral Discoverer

Per person starting at
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Main Deck B
Averaging 195 sq. ft. Three cabins located on the Main Deck, equipped with twin portholes, desk, sofa, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.
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Main Deck A
Averaging 195 sq. ft. Six cabins located on the Main Deck, equipped with twin porthole windows, desk, sofa, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.
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Promenade Deck B
Averaging 160 sq. ft. Four cabins located on the Promenade Deck, equipped with picture windows, desk, telephone and Junior King bedding.
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Promenade Deck A
Averaging 195 sq. ft. Eighteen cabins located on the Promenade Deck, equipped with picture windows, sofa, desk, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.
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Bridge Deck
Averaging 195 sq. ft. Five cabins located on the Bridge Deck, equipped with picture windows, sofa, desk, telephone and your choice of Junior King or twin bedding.


Solo Travelers:
Solo cabin occupancy is limited and based on availability in Promenade Deck B cabins only. Single supplement is an additional 50%.

Important Fare Information:
Rates are posted based off of the current exchange rates from Australian or New Zealand Dollars. Please contact us for current exchange rates.

This itinerary is an indication of the destinations hoped to visit and activities on offer. While every effort will be made to follow this itinerary, the Coral Discoverer reserves the right to vary this itinerary to make allowances for weather, tidal conditions and any other event that may affect the operation of the vessel.

Cruise fare includes:
• Accommodation in selected room grade for the number of nights as listed in each itinerary
• All meals
• House beer and wine during lunch and dinner service
• 24-hour soft drinks, tea, and barista-style coffee
• Captain’s welcome and farewell drinks
• Access to islands, marine, and national parks
• Guided tours on Xplorer expedition vessel, zodiacs, glass-bottom boat, and kayaks
• Touring as described in each itinerary
• Services of expedition staff and lecturers including briefings and knowledge-sharing sessions
• Port taxes and government charges imposed by government authorities

Your cruise price does not include:
• Pre and post flights, transfers and hotels
• Entry visas/travel permits
• Travel Insurance
• SCUBA diving charges 
• Items of a personal nature including but not limited to phone and internet communications and bar charges (outside of the included drinks package as highlighted), laundry charges and souvenir purchases
Payment & Cancellation Policies
Travel Agents
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Everything was amazing! The planning with Adventure Life went smoothly. The actual trip was fantastic! One of the best trips I have experienced. The cruise staff members were knowledgeable and attentive. I will be writing more about this on the blog!
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