On our recent trip to Raja Ampat, we had an opportunity to stay and dive at the Papua Paradise Eco Resort, a beautiful eco-conscious property located right in the heart of Raja Ampat.
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The resort is set on a small uninhabited Birie island, in Central Raja Ampat and consists of 26 overwater bungalows set on the long stretch of the house reef. It’s a perfect place to stay for those looking to experience diving in Central Raja Ampat, as many of the dive sites in the region are located just a short boat ride away from the resort.
But even if you don’t dive, Papua Paradise is one of those destinations that we would recommend to anyone looking to enjoy the pristine beauty of this region.
Accommodation at Papua Paradise Eco Resort
There are two types of accommodation options at Papua Paradise Eco Resort.
Superior Bungalows: these spacious 70m2 rooms feature an ensuite bathroom with a shower, as well as a verandah offering a fantastic view of the ocean. The bungalow is equipped with a Queen Bed and out on the verandah, there are sunbeds and a hammock to enjoy the sunset in comfortable luxury.
Deluxe Bungalows: the 85m2 Deluxe Bungalows offer a bit more space and a few more couches for day time lounging. There is a King Bed, a desk as well as an ensuite bathroom with an outdoor shower. The 2-tiered verandah features a daybed, as well as a sundeck with sunbeds.
All bungalows are made with teak wood furniture and are built with primarily locally, sustainably sourced materials.
Despite spending most days in the water, we really enjoyed our overwater bungalow. The highlight of the bungalows is definitely the reef in front. The water was filled with tons of fishes, beautiful corals, and even a few resident sharks! The sunsets on the verandah did not disappoint either!
Food at Papua Paradise Eco Resort
A stay at Papua Paradise Eco Resort is on a full board basis, so all meals are included in the nightly rate. Meals are served at the Seaview Restaurant that overlooks the pristine house reef, with plenty of action under the surface.
The restaurant serves a variety of European and Indonesian dishes in a buffet-style setup. The choices vary daily, offering a good selection of meat, fish, and great vegetarian dishes. There was always a dessert station with lots of treats and a fruit station for those worried about overindulging.
We were impressed to learn that a lot of the produce at Papua Paradise is actually sourced locally. Many of the ingredients, such as bananas, jackfruit, cassava, water spinach, as well as other greens and more are purchased from the nearby villages, and many other vegetables and fruits come from their own vegetable garden on site. Some other items, like yogurt, bread, cakes, as well as pasta and ravioli are all homemade and are served fresh.
Another highlight of our stay at Papua Paradise Eco Resort was our afternoon at the Spa! Housed in an overwater bungalow the spa offers the most amazing views of the house reef and the ocean.
The spa offers a variety of treatments, including traditional and aromatic massages, scrubs, body treatments and facials.
We opted for an hour-long traditional massage and were really happy with our treatments. The best part was the opportunity to relax and take it the beautiful views of the ocean with a cup of fresh ginger tea after our massages.
Sustainability at Papua Paradise Eco Resort
The resort takes extra care of their water usage and waste management to ensure minimal impact on the environment. We were pleased to see the resort taking small actions, like no single-use plastics, natural and biodegradable toiletries in the showers. As well as bigger conservation actions, like the preservation of the reef and education of locals.
The majority of the staff at Papua Paradise Eco Resort come from the nearby villages, and it was wonderful to see their love for the resort and for the opportunities it has given to them and their families.
Diving in Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat is definitely one of the best diving locations in the world, and it’s a destination that many dive enthusiasts visit over and over again. So despite it being our second time in the region, we still loved our stay at Papua Paradise Eco Resort. We spent 3 days at the resort and enjoyed 2 local dives and 3 dives around Fam Islands.
The onsite PADI 5 Star Dive Centre, Gangga Divers runs a well-organized dive operation. Diving in Raja Ampat is suitable for any level. Guests at Papua Paradise varied from beginner divers with less than 20 dives under their belt to experienced pros with over 1000 dives in their logbook.
The beauty of diving with a team from Papua Paradise is that they can select dive sites based on your experience level. So if you are not comfortable in strong currents or want to see a wreck or a particular reef, it can be easily arranged.
There are a number of diving destinations available to guests at the resort, ranging from local dive sites to more remote dive sites near the Fam Islands, Masuar Islands, as well as the island of Kri.
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A day trip to the Fam Islands is a must for any visitor to Raja Ampat. The trip to Fam Islands from the resort is about 90 minutes and includes 3 dives as well as a trip up to the beautiful viewpoint overlooking the islands. This is the postcard view that made Raja Ampat famous!
Dive Packages at Papua Paradise Eco Resort
Guests staying at Papua Paradise Eco Resort can pre-book a set number of dives or an all-inclusive dive package (max 4 dives per day). Trips to Fam, Masuar and Kri islands are extra but are well worth the investment.
Diver Safety at Papua Paradise
Papua Paradise takes diver safety seriously and that definitely gave us a peace of mind! Their boats are fibreglass and able to accommodate from 1-12 divers, so it’s never crowded on board.
All boats are equipped with Oxygen, First Aid Kit, life jackets, drinking water and sun cover. Towels & camera crates are made available so if you are diving with serious camera gear, you know that it will be well taken care of.
Other Tours in Raja Ampat
There are a number of non-diving tour options that you can take from Papua Paradise. These are perfect for non-divers, or for the last day of your holiday when diving is not an option.
We opted to get our heart rate up and joined a local guide for a Waterfalls Hike on our dry day. The waterfall is located on Batanta Island, about 30 minutes from the Papua Paradise Eco Resort. The hike to the waterfalls took about 40 minutes and offered a nice jungle experience.
Some of the other trips available from Papua Paradise include:
- Birds of Paradise Tours. Birds of Paradise are native to Papua, and they can be reliably spotted on a neighbouring island about half an hour away from the Papua Paradise Eco Resort. If you’ve never had a chance to see a Bird of Paradise in person then it’s definitely worth it.
- Arefi Village Tour: Arefi is a small fishing village of about 600 people. It’s home to many staff members of the resort. The tour lasts only 2 hours but offers an opportunity to say hello to the locals and learn more about their life on the island.
- Hornbill Island Sunset Cruise: This tour will take you to the aptly named Hornbill Island, where dozens of hornbills can be spotted flying across the sky shortly after sunset.
- Mangrove River Bird Cruise: The mangroves growing around Batanta Island are striking to see on their own, but they also play host to all sorts of birds that you won’t see anywhere else in the world. You’ll see numerous species of birds that call the region home, from kites to eagles to egrets and more. If you’re a bird-watcher or a nature photographer, then you’ll likely never have an opportunity better than this one.
There was no shortage of activities and dive sites to enjoy during our stay at Papua Paradise. Our 3 days at the resort flew and our only regret was that we didn’t have time to stay for longer.
Is diving in Raja Ampat on your travel wish list?
Disclaimer: Our stay at Papua Paradise Eco Resort and our dives in the region were provided courtesy of Lotus Hotels. However, all opinions expressed in this article are our own.