When most divers envision a layover, it involves expensive airport food and maybe a foot massage. When traveling to Raja Ampat, the options to indulge in such activities include Jakarta, Bali, and Manado. While going via Jakarta can get you there in one day, after flying for two days to get to Indonesia, a pleasant stopover would be a welcome alternative - especially if that alternative involves awesome diving.
While Bali also offers excellent diving, it still requires another overnight stay in Makassar to reach Sorong, the gateway to Raja. The answer is Manado and the nearby Lembeh Strait. The aptly named "Critter Capital of the World", Lembeh Strait is is home to some of the best macro diving in Indonesia.
Lembeh Resort and its dive center Critters@Lembeh is easily reached by a two hour car ride and a ten minute boat ride from the Manado Airport. Tucked away in a tropical garden setting, the resort offers the perfect stopover for those traveling to Raja Ampat. Why?
- Luggage - when transferring to a live aboard it is imperative that your luggage arrive. With delays of luggage common during international travel, giving yourself the added time of a few days in Lembeh can allow that left luggage to catch up with you.
- Photo Pro Services - With few exceptions, most people haven't used that camera gear in awhile or maybe came with a new setup. With the only full time Photo Pro in Lembeh, the Critters@Lembeh Photo Center can help you hit the ground running though one of their courses or help solve any problems you might have with your equipment.
- The Diving - the diving in Lembeh is spectacular. A destination in its own right, it also makes for a great place to get in some dives on the world famous critterful black sand slopes. What better way to start your trip that with some frogfish.
- Forgot Something - the city of Manado has most of the modern conveniences and plenty of shopping malls (including several camera stores and dive equipment stores) as well as a modern hospital.
Our group has spent the last two and a half days in Lembeh and leave tomorrow for Raja Ampat with all our bags, our jet lag under control, and some excellent photos on our laptops. To find out more about Lembeh Resort and Critters@Lembeh visit their website to make your next layover a fun one.
Fantasea FG7X II
Ikelite Housing for Nikon D500
I-DiveSite Venom 35s
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