The newest It Destination for luxury travel is Indonesia’s Raja Ampat archipelago, a group of more than 1,500 islands off the tip of West Papua. Widely known as “the last paradise”, it’s one of the few places on Earth teeming with wildlife, both above and below water, that remains untouched by mass tourism.
Above water, Raja Ampat—the name means “four kings”, a reference to the four main islands—offers Jurassic-like scenery with its emerald green waters, white sand beaches and conical karst islands scattered across the sea. Below, as part of the Coral Triangle spanning Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, and the Solomon Islands, it boasts the richest marine biodiversity on earth. In fact, a record-breaking 283 species were recorded in a single dive at Cape Kri, and some dive sites are so “fishy” that they are jokingly referred to by the locals as fish soup.
Until recently, getting to Raja Ampat was neither easy nor comfortable, as it involved a five-hour flight from Jakarta to the West Papuan port of Sorong, where the only accommodation options are local homestays or liveaboards (dive boats that you live on), and both options lean towards the rustic.
However, for travellers who’d prefer to explore Raja Ampat without compromising on luxury, there’s Prana by Atzaro. Famously chartered by the Kardashians in late 2018, the yacht was commissioned by the owners of the glamorous Atzaro hospitality group in Ibiza to become “the world’s most luxurious liveaboard”.
This is no exaggeration. The 55-metre yacht, built in the style of a phinisi, a traditional twomasted Indonesian sailing ship originally used for transport and cargo, features some 900 square metres of useable space across four levels. With nine spacious suites, Prana by Atzaro is like a floating five-star hotel with all the modern amenities a luxury traveller has come to expect.
From basic needs like air conditioning, hot showers, Wi-Fi (when in range), and same-day laundry to indulgences spa treatments, rooftop yoga, an openair cinema and slow-pressed juices and smoothies on tap, guests are completely spoiled on Prana by Atzaro.
Itineraries are fully customisable, but we recommend leaving the trip planning to the cruise director and captain, who have been sailing the waters of Raja Ampat for decades. Daily excursions include hikes at the break of dawn to see the mating rituals of birds of paradise, vertical climbs up limestone cliffs to take in the panoramic views of Wayag island, and close encounters with villagers.
Prana by Atzaro offers an impressive range of watersports facilities, including diving, snorkelling, wakeboarding, water skiing, stand-up paddleboarding, sea kayaking, and even fishing.
Between it all, guests are treated to a delicious mix of Asian fusion and Western dishes created by a talented kitchen team who can pretty much whip up anything you want (they’re also masters at vegan and vegetarian cuisine). Do as much or as little as you want. With just 18 guests onboard and hardly anyone else around during the entire trip, it’s hard not to feel like you’ve got Raja Ampat all to yourself. And if that’s not your idea of paradise, what is?
If you are planning to have a travel to Raja Ampat, don’t miss a chance to visit these 5 beautiful dive spots.
- Depth 5-25m
- World-famous dive site where a record-breaking 283 species were recorded in a single dive
- Depth 15-20m
- One of the world’s best places to watch groups of manta rays swimming, flipping and dancing together
- Depth 18-25m
- A colourful dive site with rabbitfish, sea snakes, lionfish, pygmy seahorses and the elusive bearded wobbegong shark
- Depth 5-10m
- An easy dive off the jetty with playful batfish, angelfish, anemones, clownfish and giant clams
- Depth 5-20m
- Beautiful black coral gardens populated with plenty of snapper, sweetlip, barramundi and grouper
Prana by Atzaro sails year-round in Indonesia: Raja Ampat from December to April, Komodo National Park from June to October, and the Spice Islands in November. The yacht is available for private full charter, with rates ranging from US$12,500 to US$18,000 per night. For enquiries, contact email@example.com