• Indonesia
2 to 12 weeks

Program Details

Age Min.
Age Max
Year Round
Small Group (1-15) Medium Group (16-30) Large Group (31+)
Travel Type


Starting Price
Price Details
If you are a PADI Advanced Open Water scuba diver, the prices go down by $270.

To book with this price, choose your start date and duration and include this in your message.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Equipment Meals Transportation
What's Not Included
Airfare Domestic Airfare Airport Transfers Travel Insurance Visa
Oct 16, 2020
Apr 11, 2024
7 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Barefoot Conservation is working to protect the coral reefs of Raja Ampat and the communities that rely on them. This partnership is bonded by a willingness to make a real difference, and the understanding that research, survey dives and Marine Protected Areas cannot work unless accompanied by education and the sustained alleviation of poverty.

The Raja Ampat project is designed to work at a grass roots level, making a real difference to real people, and a difference that you can be a part of. Our goals are:

• Produce detailed coastal habitat maps of surrounding area for use in advising local government and communities on Marine Protected Areas
• Provide educational programs on environmental issues, sustainable fishing techniques (if necessary) and the economic benefits of MPA's.
• Increase quality of life and alleviate poverty in local communities.
• Encourage entrepreneuship to deter unsustainable destructive activities like shark finning or dynamite fishing

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Work with experienced marine scientists on vital marine conservation projects
  • Learn marine biology field skills essential for scientific and marine conservation research
  • Get involved in local community projects
  • Gain recognized scuba diving qualifications, skills and experience

Program Impact

Barefoot Conservation's mission is to work in partnership with the Raja Ampat local government, local Papuan Communities and stakeholders, to protect the coral reefs of Raja Ampat and the communities that rely on them.

This partnership is bonded by a willingness to make a real difference, and the understanding that research, survey dives and Marine Protected Areas cannot work unless accompanied by education and the sustained alleviation of poverty.

Our projects are designed to work at a grass roots level, thus making a real difference to real people, and a difference that each volunteer can see and be a part of.

Related Programs

Program Reviews

4.25 Rating
based on 4 reviews
  • 5 rating 75%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 25%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Impact 4.25
  • Support 4
  • Fun 4.75
  • Value 4.5
  • Safety 4
Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews
Default avatar
No, I don't recommend this program

Beware of this supposed not for profit company

Recently stayed for 7 weeks at what is nothing more than a profit making operation for its owner that has very little reinvestment of any significance back in to the camp facilities or the local community.

This 'supposed' NGO is one of the worst managed conservation projects in Indonesia and should be removed from all volunteer project sites for misrepresentation of projects that volunteers will contribute to, but actually do not exist. And have not for a very long time.

Only the very hard working staff, the location, the fish and coral science training (good fun and very informative), and some of the other volunteers at the camp make it worthwhile.

Learning all about coral reefs, fish species, mantas, sharks, rays, and the quality of the reef diving every day make it absolutely justifiable to stay for a few weeks. How much the contribution volunteers actually make to any of the science projects is completely questionable and minimal at best.

Expect however very run down facilities, an extremely unhygienic kitchen and equipment (and a cook doing his absolute best in terrible hot conditions), fridges not keeping food cold, very little maintenance and money being spent on buildings and equipment, broken sharp tiles in the shower and toilets (that volunteers have to clean every day), very poorly installed 240volt wiring in many of the huts risking volunteer and staff electrocution, a very run down and dangerous pier and broken ladder, and poor sanitation and hygiene.

At least 2 - 3 people a week come down with diarrhea, stomach complaints, fevers, and generally feeling quite unwell. It is such a common occurrence among volunteers that this is considered to be normal camp life. So bring plenty of stomach bug tablets and do not arrive without comprehensive travel insurance. Chances are you'll likely need it for something as several people during my stay needed to transfer to Sorong hospital for treatment over a few days.

Camp dogs fighting constantly and some volunteers have been bitten or scratched trying to break them up.

There is no 'community projects' as advertised on the Barefoot website. It is all a farce. My partner is a non diver and attended to join the community projects. Sadly the only lesson is nothing more than a short 1 hour, ad-hoc very poorly planned English lesson at the school once a week that has no outcome of significance and does not build on any previous lessons. Then it is a rush to get back to the camp to dive again until the next weeks lesson.

The beach clean up is also just a quick 30 - 45min walk along a section of beach by volunteers. There is no community support or involvement, nor ownership of the rubbish issues and assisting with clean up.

There is no financial transparency of the 'not for profit' anywhere to be found and it is very obvious the considerable fees volunteers pay to join certainly do not go back in to the camp. Ask the owner where the money goes and be met with quite a hostile response. Not even staff knows what happens to it. Keep asking or mention any of the issues such as volunteers continually becoming sick, and your emails and messages simply begin being ignored by the owner Simon. Even his own staff both current and previous state that he 'just lies'.

Once he has your money, he has you and will not refund anything. Even when you end up in hospital.

Compared with the high quality of other home stays in Raja and on Arborek, it is no wonder it is very difficult to find photos of the huts, toilets / shower facilities, hire dive equipment, etc (and honest reviews) on their website. Other people have even stated Simon partitions Google to have negative reviews removed.

Paying extra for a 'private hut' is not private. The huts are joined / shared with other people. Only the sleeping area is separated by thin plywood or misshapen timbers, so you can easily hear conversations, snoring, and anything else that goes on as if they are sitting next to you. Some of the partitions you can even see through. You also share the deck with your hut 'roomies' for further lack of privacy.

The staff are overworked, too many volunteers are being booked at the camp at any one time that it can't cope, and the very degraded facilities make for an interesting time.

The diving though is truly amazing, you get to meet some great people, and if you're keen to learn all about coral reefs and dive twice a day then its a good option.

Just be fully prepared and informed for reality vs the false promises of what is promoted on the website and by the owner Simon.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Seriously consider other much more professionally managed marine conservation projects in Indonesia. Travel around to home stays and dive resorts in Raja Ampat instead.

If you are a back packer looking for adventure in a very basic setting, want to dive some amazing places, and make some new friends, learn about fish and corals, then for sure come for a couple of weeks. Your contribution to any actual marine conservation however will be very limited.

I came here with 7 weeks to also complete (and paid for) my Dive Masters. 3 weeks in to the program I still hadn't started it. And there is no refund. I now have to travel somewhere else and pay again to finish it.

TIP: Do NOT pay any money to the company for a DMT or other courses until you arrive and commence it.
  • Diving and snorkelling on some of the worlds most amazing reefs
  • Learning about coral, fish, mantas
  • Meeting some of the fellow volunteers and committment of the marine science staff
  • Far far far too many to list
  • The high price of the experience going in to the pockets of the company owner and not reinvesting it in to the camp facilities
  • The misrepresentation of the entire community project section
8 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

I enjoyed every moment of it!

This was my second time on the project and I enjoyed every moment of it. From teaching children English, to being taught Bahasa myself, and from bonding with the fishing community as with the fish themselves. It has absolutely changed my life to see all the marine biology there is to discover and I cannot wait to further my studies in this field and deepen myself into what the ocean still has to offer. The diving in Raja Ampat is amazing and I especially loved diving with the Manta Rays. I highly recommend this project to anyone.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Try and bring an underwater camera, as the marine life is amazing!
77 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Best experience of my life!

I am so happy I decided to join Barefoot Conservation, it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life. I can highly recommend this project. It was the best diving I have ever done, seeing so many Manta Rays, sharks, Turtles and so much coral. Met some amazing like minded people who I am sure will remain friends for life. Great staff, safe and professional diving instructor, and if you also love community programs this is the project for you. It is on a remote island so life is pretty basic, not 5 star, but that is what I was looking for. Enjoy!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would try and stay longer next time, 4 weeks just flew by!
76 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Mantas! Mantas! Mantas!

Raja Ampat is amazing, so many Manta Rays, even just at the end of Barefoots own jetty. The food, accommodation, staff and science were all really good, I enjoyed the Manta Ray part of the science training the most, and we even added a couple of new manta rays to the Barefoot's manta ray database, that we had ID'd during the time I was there.
I stayed for 4 weeks, but wish I could have stayed longer. Made some good friends who I traveled a bit with after the project. I really recommend this project.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Durian - It is a fruit that is very popular in Indonesia
82 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers

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