Summary : Join a voyage offers an exotic blend of culture and nature, showcasing the incredible diversity of enigmatic Indonesia. Excellent snorkeling and diving are highlights of this expedition with Bunaken National Marine Park, a World Heritage Site, and three full days exploring the Raja Ampat archipelago—considered to hold the richest variety of marine species on the planet. Enjoy numerous nature walks and Zodiac cruises which reveal stunning scenery, pristine beaches, and luxuriant tropical landscapes. Step back in time as you visit remote fishing villages and the mysterious and mystical world of the Asmat.
Activities : Birding, Diving, Hiking, Snorkeling
$14,980 to $21,280
Board your independent flight to Singapore. Lose a day crossing the International Date Line.
Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel, with the afternoon at leisure. Gather at the hotel this evening for a welcome dinner and overnight.
This morning return to the airport for your flight to Manado. Upon arrival enjoy a city tour visiting the open air produce market and the North Sulawesi Provincial Museum where a local guide presents the history of the region. This afternoon board the Caledonian Sky.
The phenomenal biodiversity of Bunaken has been protected as a national park since 1991 and its crystal-clear waters offer some of the best snorkeling and diving in Indonesia. Spend the morning here, exploring the reefs and drop-off walls adorned with myriad soft corals. Dense schools of blue-striped and yellow-tailed fusiliers are some of the 100 species of fish you may spot here. After lunch, visit Siladeng Island for additional snorkeling and diving opportunities.
Tiny volcanic Ternate is situated just west of Halmahera. This island was once, along with its neighbor Tidore, the only source of cloves in the world. Caught between the tug of the Dutch and Portuguese for its spicy riches, Ternate offers fascinating cultural and historical sites including two impressive forts. After a stop at the local market, enjoy a traditional cultural performance.
More than 1,500 karst limestone islands make up the majestic archipelago of Raja Ampat. The marine environment here, known as the Bird’s Head Seascape, is heralded as the most biodiverse on earth and includes 75 percent of all known coral species and more than 1,220 types of reef fish. Spend three days enjoying this unsurpassed coral wonderland and the abundant marine life that calls it home. Birders go ashore to look for species such as the red bird of paradise, sulphur-crested cockatoo, beach kingfisher, varied honeyeater, spice imperial pigeon, and singing starling in the dense forests.
The spectacular Mommon Peninsula is covered in forest, often veiled in wisps of cloud. A strong river empties into the sea as a beautiful waterfall and, if tides permit, you may land on a small nearby beach. Snorkeling and diving reveal huge and colorful soft corals fed by channels teeming with fish.
This afternoon the ship drops anchor off Aiduma Island for snorkeling and diving in the aquamarine waters. Dazzling soft coral “forests” teem with colorful reef fish, including dinner plate-sized blue-ring angelfish, six-bar angelfish, and lionfish.
Ten thousand square miles of mangrove forest, bamboo, and sago palms have long sheltered the Asmat region from outsiders. At high tide the ship enters the shallow channel of the Flamingo River to anchor for the night near the village of Agats, the regional capital of the Asmat.
A remote riverine world is revealed as Zodiacs carry you along narrow waterways lined with the entwined branches of thick mangrove forests, home to Torres Strait imperial pigeons, sulphur-crested cockatoos, and bright red lorikeets. As you make your way upstream, villagers—whooping and chanting in elaborate warrior gear and war paint—paddle vigorously toward you in intricately carved canoes. You are escorted ashore, where enthusiastic welcomes await. A walk along elevated wooden boardwalks leads to a cathedral with superb carvings, and museum with displays of ancestor poles, drums, body masks, shields, daggers, and skulls; a reminder that cannibalism was practiced by the ancestors of some villagers. Asmat woodcarvings are known for their powerful lines and coarse, expressive motifs, and are widely considered by collectors and scholars to be among the world’s finest. With your anthropologist helping you to communicate, you have the opportunity to purchase carvings directly from village artisans.
Enjoy a relaxing day at sea and attend informative lectures as you sail into the Torres Strait.
Australia’s northernmost point, Thursday Island lies in the strategic Torres Strait. Settled in the late 19th century, its early fame rested on pearling by Japanese fishermen. During WWII, Australian and American troops were stationed at the base here. Explore the small sleepy town and take in the sweeping view from Green Hill Fort, built in 1893, then return to the ship for lunch. There is free time this afternoon to explore on your own.
Attend lectures today recapping your experiences.
This morning disembark in Port Moresby and enjoy a short city tour. After lunch board your flight to Brisbane and check in to your airport hotel for dinner and overnight.
Board your independent flight, arriving in the USA the same day.
All accommodations in hotels and onboard as outlined in the itinerary, all meals onboard and group meals ashore, including soft drinks, beer, and wine with lunch and dinner; arrival and departure transfers on group dates; services of the expedition staff, including lectures, briefings, slide/film shows; all group activities and excursions; landing and port fees; all gratuities; emergency medical coverage (maximum benefit per paying passenger of $25,000)*; evacuation coverage (maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000)*.
All air transportation; excess baggage charges; airport arrival and departure taxes; transfers for independent arrivals and departures; passport and/or visa fees; travel insurance; items of a personal nature such as laundry, bar charges, alcoholic beverages (other than listed above), email/fax/telephone charges.
*Emergency Medical & Evacuation Insurance:
Emergency medical coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $25,000 is included in the cost of this expedition, as well as evacuation coverage to a maximum benefit per paying passenger of $100,000. Insurance is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, PA. The policy will contain reductions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions. All coverages may not be available in all states. Please note this coverage does not cover you against trip cancellation or for additional days of travel prior to and/or after the expedition trip dates. ExpeditionTrips strongly advises all clients to purchase travel insurance which includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage for the entire duration of your trip.