Overview – Diving in Indonesia

August 8, 2016
Boby Norman

With more than 20% of the world’s coral reefs, Indonesia boasts the most marine diversity of anywhere on Earth. 3,000 fish species, together with more than 600 corals, call this archipelago home, while mantas, turtles, sharks and dolphins are common residents. From the vibrant tourist resorts and dive schools of Bali and Sulawesi, to the liveaboards that cruise the remote waters around the Komodo National Park and Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia offers diving to suit all experience levels – shallow and pristine coral fields, challenging World War II wrecks, volcanic sea mounts, and a spectacular macro life. A mecca for dive enthusiasts, biologists and underwater photographers, Indonesia’s dive schools also offer introductory courses for novices at some of the cheapest prices found anywhere in the world while technical diving is becoming available more widely.

Cyanide/dynamite fishing, unregulated marine recreational activities, together with the effects of the 2004 tsunami, have threatened Indonesia’s abundant reefs and marine life, but the strengthening tourism economy has led to many areas being designated marine parks and sanctuaries to ensure their ongoing protection.

 

When to visit?

Sprawling over almost 2 million square kilometres and straddling the equator, Indonesia’s geography means that you can dive somewhere in the archipelago at any time of the year. It is located in the ecologically rich Coral Triangle and its huge biodiversity, spread across a range of destinations, allows you to find great diving no matter when you want to holiday. If you want to avoid the crowds, then travel outside of the peak period of July and August. May, June and September are usually dry in the south of the archipelago but rainy further north in Maluku and Papua. October to April is the best time to dive in these provinces when mostly dry conditions prevail. For those seeking a particular scuba diving experience or creature encounter, it is best to tailor you destination within the country depending on the time of year you want to travel. Or for those after a live aboard experience, there are various boats operating in the archipelago throughout the year, depending on where the rain is falling.

Sprawling over almost 2 million square kilometres and straddling the equator, Indonesia’s geography means that you can dive somewhere in the archipelago at any time of the year. It is located in the ecologically rich Coral Triangle and its huge biodiversity, spread across a range of destinations, allows you to find great diving no matter when you want to holiday. If you want to avoid the crowds, then travel outside of the peak period of July and August. May, June and September are usually dry in the south of the archipelago but rainy further north in Maluku and Papua. October to April is the best time to dive in these provinces when mostly dry conditions prevail. For those seeking a particular scuba diving experience or creature encounter, it is best to tailor you destination within the country depending on the time of year you want to travel. Or for those after a live aboard experience, there are various boats operating in the archipelago throughout the year, depending on where the rain is falling.

If you want to avoid the crowds, then travel outside of the peak period of July and August. May, June and September are usually dry in the south of the archipelago but rainy further north in Maluku and Papua. October to April is the best time to dive in these provinces when mostly dry conditions prevail. For those seeking a particular scuba diving experience or creature encounter, it is best to tailor you destination within the country depending on the time of year you want to travel. Or for those after a live aboard experience, there are various boats operating in the archipelago throughout the year, depending on where the rain is falling.

Diving Highlights

Indonesia has almost everything a diver could ask for. Warm waters fed by cold upswellings create plankton rich waters that support an incredibly rich diversity of marine life. From intriguing floor-dwellers, to majestic manta rays and turtles, to the tiny critters of the macro world, diving in the archipelago will satisfy all your underwater dreams. Add in some of the most pristine coral landscapes in the world and it would be hard to leave Indonesia uninspired.

manta-ray

While Indonesia has interesting diving around the tourist hubs of Bali and Lombok (as well as some of the cheapest intro dive courses in the world), experienced divers will need to venture to the less-traveled regions to be truly impressed. Liveaboards that ply the waters of West Papua, Komodo National Park and the Banda Islands allow you to access some of the more remote and untouched reefs, while the newly discovered sites at the northernmost tip of Sumatra and islands off the south east of Sulawesi are uncrowded and superb.

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