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Kri Eco Resort (Papua Diving)


Kri Eco Resort, the final frontier.

Being a dive instructor myself doubled with a tropical marine conservation background, I have been around and seen some beautiful places, both above and underwater, and had high expectations in regards to nature & wildlife going to Raja Ampat.
What i got was way beyond my highest expectations, and even more.
After a 2 hours boat ride from the coastal town of Sorong, the beautiful and lush islands boarding the Dampier strait come to view, densely covered with a thick tropical vegetation and nearly no sign of human activity, one of the islands being Kri.

If you are a diver, be aware, once you've stepped into the blue there, no place will ever match the abundance and diversity of species you can find underwater. It was overwhelming, and being a keen underwater naturalist & photographer, there was so much to see that I thought I was gonna go epileptic, frantically pressing the shutter button of my camera !

Kri Eco Resort has the advantage of being central to most of the 'to do' dives in Raja Ampat, which are once again unrealistically rich.

They also organise day trips to dive some of the more remote places (the Fam islands, The Passage, etc..) which are most definitely worth the surcharge (about 60 Euros/person) as the topside scenery is always as stunning as the underwater part.

I was telling the dive guides -as half a joke-, after a couple of days "I'm gonna stop diving after this trip, there's no point in going anywhere else after that !".

The dive guides -the ones I dived with-, Ross, the English resort & dive manager, Melky & Eddy are professional, friendly and knowledgeable, able to find a Wobbegong shark or spot the tiniest pigmy seahorse.

Enough about the diving as I could go on and on for ages !

Regarding the resort itself, it only adds to the feeling of final frontier. Everything is built out of material coming from the island, yes, wood, and it gives an incomparable charm. So yes, everything is made of wood in a traditional Papuan style and perfectly blends with the environment.
It is basic, yes, but the rooms are spacious & clean, with 24 hrs electricity, equipped with fans. There is no hot running water: the bathrooms are the typical Indonesian 'mandi', which consists basically in pouring water over yourself using a bucket. Vivifying !
Oh, and you do get hot 'mandis' after night dives though !

The food is great and the Papuan ladies, bless them, cooked us basic but delicious & healthy meals 3 times a day, with a variety of veggies, fish, chicken, beef, pork and rice.

The founder & owner, Max is a friendly and singular character, somewhere between Indiana Jones and Doctor Livingstone.
He first came something about 30 years ago and never really left and has some incredible stories to share about his past adventures in the region.
He is also very keen on preserving the local environment and culture of the Papuans and is a pioneer in local conservation efforts.

The rest of the staff, mainly Papuans are extremely friendly, despite the language barrier and always helpful.

The bottom line is that when I first booked my stay there i thought "that's a lot of money" but once there, I thought it was worth every penny. It is not an easy operation to run, it is extremely remote, pretty much anything beside wood and fish has to come from the mainland.
More importantly in my opinion, it benefits the local communities by bringing jobs to several nearby villages.

Would I go back? In the blink of an eye ! I am actually already planning to go back later this year.

Having seen so many beautiful places in my travels, i had lost, somewhere along the way, the enthusiasm of discovering a new exotic place. Kri / Raja Ampat re-triggered this almost childish feeling of excitement and adventure.

Go there and you'll never forget it.

Visited on 05/2012 - Submitted on 03/01/2014
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