Raja Ampat on a budget

Raja Ampat on a budget: Weighing up the options

How much does it cost to visit Raja Ampat?

Depending on the accommodation you choose, your base cost can be as low as 250,000 Indonesian Rupiah per day per person for your accommodation and meals.

Added to that will be:

With good planning, a two week trip from Bali to Raja Ampat including return flights, 4 full day snorkeling and island visit trips, a Bird of Paradise visit, boat transfers between homestays and one night in a mid-range hotel in Sorong prior to departing can be had for about USD 2000.00 for a couple travelling together.

Accommodation prices in Raja Ampat

Homestays provide budget accommodation in Raja Ampat, but while they offer the cheapest accommodation in Raja Ampat, they are not cheap compared to similar accommodation in other tourist destinations. Reasons for this are explained in greater detail in our Raja Ampat accommodation prices article.

Local boat and fuel prices in Raja Ampat

Ignoring airfares and diving costs, the majority of most travellers’ Raja Ampat budgets will be consumed by local boat hire expenses.

Boat travel in Raja Ampat is unreasonably expensive. The main reason for this is because fuel prices in Raja Ampat remain well above the nationally regulated (and subsidised) price.

An Adjunct Inspector of Police was recently convicted for corruption involving the hoarding of fuel (and illegal logging) in Raja Ampat, but it’s doubtful that his conviction will do anything to reduce an entrenched problem.

Obviously, the further your homestay is from a public ferry port, the higher your transfer cost will be. Doing a lot of boat travel for snorkeling and sight-seeing will substantially add to your trip costs.

This article discusses boat travel costs in more detail and provides a guide to the prices you can expect.

You should also carry extra Rupiah for unexpected expenses:

Ferries occasionally have engine trouble. Sudden tropical storms can delay small boat travel. A pickup may not show. Fuel may become impossible to obtain. The Raja Ampat Homestay Association has plans in place to minimise disruption to essential travel in these situations, but it’s best to have the cash on hand to pay for an extra day in Sorong, Waisai or at your island accommodation if necessary.

You should carry enough cash in Indonesian Rupiah to pay for all your expenses in Raja Ampat – see our Money, Banks & ATMs page for more about this.

So how do I do Raja Ampat on a budget?

If your budget’s tight, the following will help keep costs down:

  • Pick a homestay central to the attractions you want to visit.
  • Plan boat tours to avoid covering the same route twice.
  • Travel in boats with lower capacity engines (eg 15 horsepower)  to minimise fuel consumption.
  • Stay in a homestay near Waisai to eliminate homestay boat transfer costs.

Comments

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  1. Wes on

    Hi,

    I am planning on visiting Raja Ampat in August. I plan to stay a week and wonder what the best (budget)option is:

    – Stay on one island and visit other places from there. I would choose a homestay on Kri and explore other island from there.
    – Divide days (2/3 days) per island I would like to visit.

    Do you have other tips to reduce costs and to plan the trip?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Wes

      If you want to explore a few islands, then it would be cheaper to choose a few homestays on or near the islands you want to visit. That way you will not be going to and fro. Boat transport consumes a substantial part of most visitors budgets, so it’s best to plan a route to avoid backtracking. If you haven’t already seen it, our step by step guide contains links to a heap of tips and the answers to the most common questions that visitors ask.

  2. Kelvin on

    Hi I am likely to go with LOB and will end my trip in Sorong. May I know what can I do after the LOB if I want to extend my stay for 2 nights? What else can I do or see? Or should I just return after the trip? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kelvin

      Given the travel time between Sorong and Raja Ampat, that’s not really enough time to see much Kelvin. You could consider one of the homestays close to Waisai for snorkelling and seeing Birds of Paradise. Hope that helps!

  3. Camila on

    Hello, me and my husband are going to raja ampat tomorrow abd we are staying in raja ampat dive lodge in pulau mansuar. I would love to visit other islands, such as arborek and pianemo, but they charge us$ 650 for the boat, which is too expensive for us. How can we contact other people staying in homestays and resorts nearby to arrange a day trip and share the costs? Thank you!

    1. USD650 to Arborek? That’s crazy! We’re sorry Camila – we don’t know what to tell you. The average price to visit Piaynemo (much further than Arborek) from homestays on Kri is about IDR 5,000,000. Even cheaper from homestays on Arborek. Maybe your resort could take you there? You would probably have the best chance of meeting other people to share with on Kri. Just one more reason to book homestays instead of resorts!

      1. Camila on

        Thank you! The resort charges us$ 650,00 for the boat. As we have no one else to share it will be very expensive for us. I will try to contact the homestays in Kri.

  4. Jarno on

    Hello SRA,

    Do you have any particular recommendations to tourist who travel alone?

    What would you recommend to find travellers to split costs e.g. activities/stay/transport between the islands with?

    Would you recommend to put off booking untill meeting others on the ferry/islands?

    I will be travelling independently to Raja Ampat to stay from sat 04/06/17 (08:45 in Sorrong) untill sat 04/20/17.
    Thank you for the informative website! :)

    Cheers,
    Jarno

    1. Hi Jarno –

      You’re welcome to post your itinerary over on our facebook page to help meet up with other travellers. Talking to all the other travellers on the ferry from Sorong to Waisai is another good way to find someone to share transport costs with.

      You certainly won’t have any trouble finding accommodation if you go without booking, so that’s a possibility too.

  5. Barbara Ibba on

    Hello, you write: your base cost can be as low as 250,000 Indonesian Rupiah per day per person for your accommodation and meals.
    But looking at the page with individual homestays price have not found any accommodation that would cost less than IDR 350,000 per person. Is It Correct ? Me and my boyfriend would like to stay in raja ampat to dive about 3 weeks, so is very important for us know if there are homestay accommodation less than 350,000 idr. Thank you

    1. Hi Barbara –

      Both Yenkoranu and Mangrove have rooms available for 500,000 per couple and Koranu Fyak has them for 550,000, so it’s still possible, but yes – we should probably rewrite that to make 350 the average. Thanks for the reminder! :)

      1. Barbara Ibba on

        I have another question for us, if possible. The prices of the homestay and diving change depending on the period ???
        because we are planning for the period from end-December to mid-January !!! Thanks Barbara

        1. Prices are the same all year Barbara. They don’t change according to season.

          1. barbara ibba on

            many thanks

  6. jari mäkelä on

    hi there.
    I just booked homestay from 3 different locations,one to each week that im spending at raja ampat.
    im just wondering that “all that island hopping will bankcrupt me in the end”..am i rigth or wrong?
    im sure that there is someone who can tell me petrol costs between birie-kri-waigeo.
    could that be 1000 000 IDR each?
    Thank you.
    Jari

    1. Hi jari –

      Even with the high fuel prices in the islands and on a long trip like Waisai to Birie, fuel costs are nowhere near 1,000,000. Obviously, trip prices need to cover boat and engine maintenance and depreciation and operator wages, not just fuel costs, but even so, most boat travel in the islands is still much more expensive than it should be. Market forces will eventually change that, but in the meantime all we can do is plan boat travel judiciously and avoid operators with boat prices that are way above the current average.

  7. Samantha Segaert on

    Hi everyone,
    I was just wondering how much extra money I should bring for buying things like sweets / nuts for the fishermen or the bags/hats from the local women ect.
    I have my diving and your money budgeted, but just not sure on how much extra to bring to buy these extra items.
    Thanks!
    Samantha

    1. Maybe an extra fifty dollars for souvenirs Samantha? Five dollars a day should be enough for the rest :)

  8. Wes on

    I noticed that many of the homestays and snorkel guide services mention that they do not provide the snorkel equipment, but instruct to bring our own. I don’t have…..do you have any suggestions of where I can rent snorkel equipment? Thank you.

    1. Sorry Wes – apart from the homestays that do have snorkelling equipment we don’t know of anywhere in Raja Ampat that offers rentals. The islands are very remote and undeveloped. You need to bring your own if you’re not staying at a homestay that supplies them.

      1. Wes on

        Thanks. IS there any place in Sorong that might be worthwhile to check on Snorkel rental equipment?

        1. Not that we’ve ever heard of. You can buy equipment there, but nobody rents it as far as we know.

      2. Thomas on

        Why you want to go to raja ampat when you dont have 50€ to buy your own snorkelling equipment?

      3. Claire on

        If you are planning on scuba diving in Raja Ampat are you also expected to have your own dive equipment?

  9. Eddie on

    Do you have a recommendation for homestays with snorkeling near to them and have guides for other wildlife? Can I book them when I arrive at Sorong airport? We don’t dive, just snorkel

  10. Youssef elyaakoubi on

    Hello, i love the site. There is à lot of info. I like to visit raja ampat in april for 3 nights What place can you recommand me for diving and to see big fish and also to see wild life in the jungle. And can you give me à estimate of the cost. We wil be travveling 2 person but just onze diver.

    I hope that you can be helpfull.

    Kind regards .
    Youssef.

    1. Hi Youssef – glad to hear the site’s useful for you – thanks!

      You can find all the homestays that offer diving on our Diving with Raja Ampat Homestays page. Click through to the individual homestays for prices.

      For information about jungle trekking and wildlife observation see our Land based adventures in Raja Ampat page.

      For prices, follow the links on the above pages to the individual homestay and guide pages. Hope that helps!

  11. sue on

    am interested to do a homestay in raja ampat in within the next few months
    Can you advise me if there are rodents on the island? My friend went to kadidiri and was visited by these creature on nightly basis.

    1. Hi sue – I’m not sure what type of rodents or which island you’re referring to, but regardless – the answer is yes. (I can’t think of anywhere except Antarctica that doesn’t have rodents!) West Papua is inhabited by a wide range of native rats and mice, many of which can be found on the islands. There are also animals like the tree shrew which look like rodents, but are not. If you want to avoid having them visit you, make sure any food you keep in your accommodation is securely stored in airtight containers.

  12. Nic on

    Be aware of the petrol shortage!

    I`m not sure if this comment should be be posted here. Anyway, In december 2013 we noticed a petrol problem on the islands. Yenbuba and Sawinggrai village had temporarily completely run out of petrol. There were 100 metre long queues in front of gas stations in Waisai and Sorong and the fuel was limited per person. If this happens, it may affect your transportation to and from the islands or diving trips, so keep an eye on it and at least make sure you have got enough time on your hands to get back to Waisai to catch the ferry. Whenever the fuel was hard to get, it had an affect on the price. While the price is currently (december 2013) Rp 6.500 per litre in Sorong and Rp 12.000 on the islands, it can be above 20.000 when only limited amounts of petrol are available.

    1. Stay Raja Ampat on

      Hi Nic – There’s a major problem with fuel supplies in the islands at the moment due to high level corruption. The supply is controlled by a single person who is apparently free to manipulate the market at will. I was there in December too and fuel (when available) was selling at up to 17,000 per litre. Travelling in 15HP longboats was the best solution…

      1. Nic on

        Yes, we heard from Amy we were there at the same time ;-) , she was to meet you a day after we met her. This petrol problem was on some time before december. You believe it is just some ‘simple” corruption issue..?

        1. Stay Raja Ampat on

          Yep. That’s what the people who know are saying. Shame…

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