Fantasy Islands: Raja Ampat, Indonesia | Adventure Kayak Magazine | Rapid Media
Fantasy Islands: Raja Ampat, Indonesia Photo: Seth & Jenn Koebernick

1,500 islands are waiting for you in this paddler's paradise

Ready for adventure? We’ve roamed the world’s oceans and lakes to compile this look at eight of our favorite island escapes, from lounging in the palm trees of the South Pacific to paddling with whales in the Bay of Fundy and gazing at grizzlies in Alaska. We’ve also included one escapade that’s so daring, it may never be repeated.  

More than 1,500 small islands fringed by vibrant coral reefs and blue water mangroves make Raja Ampat a paradise for paddlers. Nestled in northeastern Indonesia’s West Papua province, the archipelago is home to the richest marine biodiversity found anywhere on earth. The warm waters teem with life, forming the livelihood for the local Papuan people. Over the last 20 years, the archipelago and its sprawling marine park have emerged as a leading example for sustainable ecotourism. The Raja Ampat Research & Conservation Centre (RARCC) supports the locals in developing community-based projects such as traditional homestays. Perched on stilts above the emerald waters, these palm-thatched guesthouses offer warm Papuan hospitality and authentic cuisine. Through the non-profit organization, Kayak4Conservation, locals have also learned the art of fiberglass boatbuilding, crafting a fleet of fully equipped sea kayaks. Crystalline waters reveal whales, manta rays, sea turtles, sharks and end- less varieties of reef fish, all visible from the seat of a kayak gliding amidst the labyrinth of limestone...


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