There are more than 1,300 varieties of fish and 75 percent of the planet’s hard coral species here. At its heart is the MahaRaja Eco Dive Lodge, whose mission is to be one of the most eco-friendly dive accommodations on Earth. Through conservation efforts in the sea and earth-friendly living on land, the resort has created a refuge for all manner of sea creatures and the opportunity to experience them as ethically as possible.
Mahasti Motazedi created the resort because there was nothing like it in existence. Motazedi, who is a master scuba diver trainer and has been diving for 12 years, was looking for a place where diving respects the natural environment and doesn’t leave a footprint. “I didn’t find a place like this, so I decided to create it,” she says. Although diving is all about enjoying underwater life, it often leaves a negative impact — like leaked boat fuel, destruction of coral, fishing and trash left behind — on the environments that host that life.
Accommodation is eco-friendly and traditional. There are five Papuan round wooden bungalows, called Honais, which are built over the ocean and offer biodegradable toiletries and solar lanterns — the complex is mostly solar-powered. When guests register, they are required to take a pledge, agreeing to respect all marine life, leave all coral untouched and leave no trace. That even means no sunscreen, which can pollute the water.
GO THERE: MAHARAJA ECO DIVE LODGE
Location: Fly to Domine Eduard Osok Airport in Sorong, West Papua, Indonesia. From there, guests are picked up by the resort and taken to the lodge by (pink) boat.
Cost: A “Short Stay Package” (5 day, 4 nights) costs 325 EUR ($360) per person per night, and includes four meals, which are vegan. The per-person cost reduces with the number of people in your party.
Pro tip: If you can get a group of 10 or more together, you have the whole island to yourselves.