private island resort: s 02° 24.498, e 130° 55.635
Located in remote Raja Ampat, Indonesia, the resort island is a true tropical hideaway. Located just south of the equator, hidden in an archipelago of uninhabited islands. The resort island is fringed with powder-white beaches and pristine coral reefs. With a maximum capacity of just 40 guests and a staff-to-guest ratio of 4 to 1, Misool offers exclusive adventure holidays and transformative experiences in pristine nature
Misool is a private island resort and conservation centre located in remote southern Raja Ampat, Indonesia.
You’ll find the island hidden deep in an archipelago of uninhabited islands, 165 km (105 miles) from the nearest port, and the nearest village is 20 km away by boat. The resort is surrounded by the richest reefs in the world, at the very heart of marine biodiversity. There simply are no richer reefs on earth.
private island resort: s 02° 24.498, e 130° 55.635
Your stay at Misool directly supports the numerous conservation initiatives and provides sustainable employment opportunities to local people, entirely decoupled from the extraction of marine resources. You can read more about how your stay supports the conservation projects and the resorts sister charity, Misool Foundation, here
Misool Resort was built entirely of reclaimed tropical hardwoods, milled on site with their own portable sawmill.
The accommodations have been meticulously designed for comfort, privacy, and sustainability. All of the rooms feature Balinese-style open air bathrooms, air-conditioning, fresh hot and cold showers, mini-bars stocked with treats from around the archipelago, and handcrafted furniture and fittings.
The eight rustically luxurious Water Cottages are built on stilts over the North Lagoon, just steps from the Dive Centre and restaurant. In the same area, on offer are four slightly larger North Lagoon Villas.
On a powder-white beach, you’ll find seven South Beach Villas overlooking a blue water swimming hole. This beach is reached by a short but steep walk over the hill. Alternatively, a Water Taxi is reachable by radio and available at all times except very low tide.
north lagoon: water cottages
The Water Cottages are built on stilts over the water. For lazy afternoons with a good book, there is a hammock built right into the veranda. The view from your veranda is framed by a traditional grass roof, offering a high degree of privacy as well as shade. Stairs lead down from your veranda to the North Lagoon, and the House Reef is just a few fin kicks away.
north lagoon: villa utara
Villa Utara overlooks the House Reef and the spectacular dive sites of Fiabacet beyond. Steps down into the sea give easy access to the House Reef. This Villa features two en-suite bedrooms, a shared common area with a half bath, a loft, and a massive veranda. We especially recommend this Villa for families or groups of 4-6 friends. Private dinners can be arranged on your veranda.
north lagoon: villas nasnoos and wakachom
These two neighbouring villas are built on stilts over the House Reef. They feature a hammock built into the verandas. This is the ideal spot for early evening shark-gazing while the sun goes down. Villas Nasnoos and Wakachom each feature a master bedroom and an indoor living area with sofa. The sofa can be converted into another twin or double bed, and there is a partition to add privacy to the master bedroom. These Villas also have lounge seating sunken into the veranda as well as steps down into the sea. Perfect for 2-3 guests.
north lagoon: villa tabisasu
Villa Tabisasu is located on the eastern edge of the North Lagoon. This Villa, named after the local word for ‘orchid,’ features an en-suite bedroom and adjoining living area. The outdoor living-area face east and enjoys glorious sunrise views, all your own. This Villa is perfect for couples who appreciate a bit more space
south beach: villa waya biru
Villa Waya Biru is tucked into the jungle under a wild almond tree, this Villa features unrivalled views over the far southern horizon, with the powder-white South Beach just a stone’s through away. This octagonal shaped room has a separate ‘pod,’ which you may like to use for meditation, yoga, writing, spa treatments, or simply snoozing. The bathroom is built into the surrounding rocks, with a view from the shower that cannot be beat. Hence the name Waya Biru, which means ‘Blue Water’ in the Misool tribal language. This Villa also features an extra octagonal shaped ‘pod,’ perfect for meditation or yoga.
south beach: villa moro laiyn
Villa Moro Laiyn is named after the Misool language word for ‘South Breeze.’ This villa has a decidedly tree house feel to it. Like its neighbor Waya Biru, this Villa is surrounded by trees and jungle sound. From the octagonal-shaped bedroom, you’ll be able to see baby sharks cruising along in the shallows of the South Beach. This Villa also features an extra octagonal shaped ‘pod,’ perfect for meditation or yoga.
south beach: villa kalanme
Named after one of our island’s most important spirits, Villa Kalanme is a complex of three separate en suite bedroom units, with a shared octagonal-shaped lounge area and huge outdoor living space. This Villa is particularly well-suited to those who enjoy greater privacy and gorgeous white-sand beaches. Private dinners may be arranged in the shared lounge area. Recommended for groups of 4-6 guests or families with small children.
south beach: villa santai
Villa Santai is located towards the end of the South Beach, tucked under the coconut palms. This stunning en suite bedroom features expansive views over the Southern horizon from its huge terrace. Outdoor showers are the perfect place to admire cockatoos and hornbills flying overhead.
south beach: villa tenang
Villa Tenang is the last accommodation at the end of the South Beach. Enjoy the sounds of the jungle, with the sea right at your doorstep.
Dining at Misool: fresh, local, and exotic
The restaurant is located on the beach overlooking the North Lagoon. The airy, round-roofed structure is tucked under the coconut palms, offering a perfect respite from the mid-day heat. The restaurant’s terrace is the ideal place to enjoy a sunset cocktail or a bottle of wine while watching the baby sharks and long-toms hunt schools of circling sardines.
The resort offer a broad range of Asian and Western cuisine, with a focus on fresh, local, and organic fare. They offer four meals per day, plus afternoon tea on the terrace, with freshly baked treats like lemon and cardamom biscotti or island-fresh banana fritters with shaved white chocolate.
Tea, Papuan coffee, fresh juice and water are always available. They also have a selection of imported beer, imported wine, and champagne available.
Breakfast and lunch are served buffet-style. They offer a mini-breakfast before the first dive, and a hearty cooked breakfast after the first dive. Lunch is served family-style with a selection of dishes to be shared. Afternoon teatime features homemade treats and savoury snacks. Dinner service is plated, so your meal is always prepared fresh even if you’re planning a night dive or star-gazing tour. They also have an all-day a la carte menu.
Misool Dive Centre: specialists in south raja ampat’s reefs
Misool Dive Centre is located in the North Lagoon, built on stilts overlooking the turquoise water. The Dive Centre is spacious and airy, and well-suited to professional photographers and videographers. The 50 sq meter wet area is equipped with a massive work station, perfect for setting up cameras, charging torches, etc. The adjacent dry area is furnished with comfortable lounge chairs, a small library, and a monitor for reviewing the day’s images. There is also a sunny 120 sq meter veranda just outside, perfect for warming up between dives. Access to the water from the Dive Centre is either from stairs leading directly down into the North Lagoon, or by way of the jetty, where the dive boats moor up.
The resort schedule 3 guided boat dives per day, as well as either a dusk dive or a night dive. Because the dive sites are so close, they typically come back to the resort for the surface interval after each dive. The staff are very flexible, and are happy to tailor the dives to your needs – just let your dive guides know what you’re interested in seeing, and they’ll do their best to accommodate you. The resort offer a variety of different dive packages, and all include free Nitrox for qualified divers. If you’re planning on diving with children, please enquire about safety considerations for divers below the age of 15 years.
We’ll need to know well in advance if you’d like to book a course, hire equipment, or engage the services of a private guide so that we can advise the resort. Please be advised that due to the extremely remote location and distance from the nearest recompression chamber, the resort dive very conservatively. Safety is their priority, so they don’t allow deco diving, solo dives, or dives deeper than 30 meters.
House Reef: a world class shore dive
The House Reef is a shore dive, easily accessed at any time from either the end of the jetty or the Dive Centre. On a rising tide, jump off the end of the jetty and enjoy an easy drift North through the channel, which is exposed to variable current. Schooling horse-eyed jacks congregate under the pier, joined by massive schools of fusiliers and shoals of passing anchovies. Several very large groupers make their home in the depths under the jetty, and they often appear to inspect visitors to their reef. Dive staff and guests regularly see large black tip reef sharks patrolling the deeper areas, as well as the occasional grey reef shark.
As you drift north through the channel, the topography shifts from a gentle slope to steep wall, festooned with colourful soft corals, huge gorgonian sea fans, and sea squirts and tunicates in a multitude of sizes and shapes. Careful inspection of the many rocky outcroppings, coral bommies, and overhangs is always rewarded with a treasure. A close look at Muricella and Annella sea fans often reveals the elusive Bargibanti and Denise pygmy seahorses. Large and colourful crinoids often cling to the fans as well, hosting a menagerie of colour-coordinated cling fish, crinoid shrimp, and arrowhead crabs.
If you time your dive just right, you’ll have a good chance of seeing the stunning Mandarin Fish, who make their appearance just before sunset. A little patience will be rewarded with a display of their wildly psychedelic courtship ritual. They are joined by the spectacular displays of several species of Flasher Wrasse. Dive staff also regularly spot the newly-discovered ‘walking’ Epaulette Shark in the shallows, scooting along with their pectoral fins and hunting for their next meal.
You’ll also find innumerable species of nudibranchs and flatworms. These range from the gaily coloured black and orange spotted Nembrotha to the huge white Ardeadoris egretta, edged with a lemon yellow frill. It’s not unusual to spot up to 10 different species of nudibranchs and flatworms on a single dive. The reef wall is also home to an unrivalled variety of soft corals, hard corals, and sponges, in all colours of the spectrum. They even have the fluorescent hard corals!
The House Reef is particularly well suited to photographers and those who enjoy observing unusual animal behaviour. Inspect holes in the sandy substrate and you may find the unlikely duo of goby and shrimp. These two share a burrow: the goby keeps a look out on behalf of himself and the blind shrimp, alerting it to danger with a wiggle of its tail. In exchange, the shrimp keeps the burrow tidy. Stop to watch it bulldoze the sand and pebbles away from the burrow with its claws. Divers also regularly see octopus hunting or mating in the shallows, and the occasional blue-ringed octopus flashing its vibrant spots in warning.
If you haven’t seen it already, we recommend the ‘Shallow Seas’ episode of the BBC series ‘Life.’ Peter Schoons and his team spent 6 weeks filming on the House Reef to capture the sequence of anemone fish tending their brood!
Local Reefs: variety and quality of live-aboard diving combined with all the comforts of a private island resort.
The dive staff have explored over 60 dive-sites within a 1-hour radius of the resort, and there are many more waiting to be explored. They are pleased to offer over 25 world-class dive sites within a 15-minute radius of the resort, including Fiabacet, Boo, Yilliet, Wobbegong City, and Magic Mountain.
The 3D underwater footage of the recent IMAX film ‘Journey to the South Pacific‘ was filmed on Misool Resort’s incredible dive sites.
You can expect to dive a diverse selection of sites, including a busy manta cleaning station, coral covered walls, reef flats, swim throughs, gentle sea mounts, drift dives, vast hard-coral gardens, placid lagoons, and current-raked pinnacles. Visibility is variable but generally 25+ meters, with temperatures around 26-28 degrees Celsius (78-82 degrees Fahrenheit).
All of the dive sites are protected by their own 300,00 acre/1,220 sq km Misool Private Marine Reserve. That means that an area twice the size of Singapore is a dedicated conservation area, and free from all fishing. Here are just a few of the most famous sites:
Nudi Rock: a small island in the Fiabacet chain, which looks an awful lot like a nudibranch from a distance. Just a quick 5-minute speed boat ride from the jetty, this site is a must for critter enthusiasts and macro photographers. True to its name, you’ll find a wide range of flamboyant nudibranchs lurking among the abundant soft corals. The sea fans are well populated with pygmy seahorses and cowries. Be sure to inspect the abundant crinoids for their colour-coordinated arrowhead shrimp and cling fish. When currents allow, this site is also popular for its pinnacles crowded with larger pelagics like Barracuda, Big Eyed Travelly, and the odd mature Grey Reef Shark. The sloping shallows of Nudi Rock are stunning for wide angle shots with exquisite colours and hard coral gardens
Magic Mountain: This sea mount is located about 20 minutes from the resort, and is a busy Manta ray cleaning station. The submerged pinnacle reaches up to about 7 meters, and you have a very good chance of seeing not one but TWO species of manta rays here – both the giant Oceanic birostris as well as the smaller reef manta, alfredi. Magic Mountain is also a nursery for White Tip Reef Sharks and a love nest for Napoleon Wrasse. Because this site is completely exposed to oceanic currents, you can expect to see large schools of pelagics in the blue. Learn more about the Misool Manta Project here.
Yillet: The huge island of Yillet stretches east to west about 15 minutes north of our resort island. This island used to be home to an itinerant shark finning camp, and the resort staff are pleased by the stunning resurgence of life on its surrounding reefs, including sharks. One of Yillet’s tiny satellite islands is particularly rich and topographically weird. The tiny island has been undercut by untold millenia of wave action, forming an umbrella over a sloping underwater plateau with numerous spooky overhangs and cavelets. Diving with a torch is highly recommended for this site – you’ll want to illuminate the dark corners of this site to see all the critters, as well as the wild colours. Barramundi cod and Hawksbill Turtles frequent this site. We also suggest you keep a sharp eye on the blue, as huge schools of barracuda hover in formation.
Boo Windows: One of the most famous dive sites, named for its unique topography. The site is a small island about 15 minutes from the resort, with 2 swim-through ‘windows’ carved into it. The South West face of this site is quite steep and exposed to current, so you are likely to see patrolling sharks as well as the elusive Wobbegong Shark – be sure to look under the massive table corals! When the currents are right, the dive guides move off towards a large pinnacle in the blue. The pinnacle is often surrounded by pulsating schools of fusiliers and gangs of plate-sized Batfish. Heading back towards the Windows, notice how the sunlight filters through – it’s like nothing else on earth! Dive guides follow the plateau of hard plate corals and look for Sweetlips hiding underneath. Be sure to investigate the huge Barrel Sponges – their crevices often conceal Hairy Squat Lobsters