During our BrotherDive 2017 in Raja Ampat we stayed on Kri Island.
There are actually 2 resorts on the Island, both owned by (also Dutch born) Max Ammer; Kri Eco Resort and the more luxurious Sorido Bay resort.

The history
Max Ammer, the founder of Papua Diving, first came to the region over 21 year ago following his passion to search for submerged World War II aircraft. After spending so much time in Raja Ampat Max fell in love with the Papuan people and started a number of initiatives to support the local Papuan communities.

Papua Diving was one of the projects. It’s mission: to bring much needed money to the local people by enabling divers who had never heard of the region to be amazed by the wonders of the unspoiled aquatic world here.
 

Max Ammer is also the founder of the RARCC  

This stand for: Raja Ampat Research and Conservation Centre

The RARCC engages indigenous communities in the deployment of financial self-reliant projects and small businesses which stimulate conservation and protection for the present and future generations of the Raja Ampat archipelago.
The arrival
From the Sorong airport you will be picked-up by the staff of the resort, they will bring you from the airport to a restaurant close to the harbor.

The restaurant has a great view over the harbor of Sorong. You will receive a voucher in order to have breakfast at this restaurant.

From there you’ll go to the harbor of Sorong from where you will be transferred by boat to Kri Island.
This all went very smooth in our case!

The resort

We stayed in the Kri Eco Resort, as the name already suggests, is this a rather basic resort. The resort has 13 cottages, all made of locally sourced and low-impact materials and styled very much in accordance with the local tradition of architecture.

There are 3 kind of categories: Papuan style, Superior and Deluxe.
The Papuan and Superior versions all have a shared bathroom and toilet, the ‘Deluxe’ version has its own private bathroom with shower and toilet inside the cottage and an outdoor terrace with lounge furniture.
 

The Deluxe cottage:
As mentioned we had a Deluxe cottage, which is a very large cottage with in our case one big size double bed and one single bed.
It has a large entry where you can store your luggage. It has also a large bathroom with plenty of room to keep your toiletries (and to charge your camera batteries….), and a toilet. There’s a large (separate) shower room with 1 sink.
The Deluxe cottage is built directly above the water / beach and has an outdoor terrace with lounge furniture and immediate access to the beach via a natural staircase.

The terrace is really a nice place to watch the sunrise or sunset.

Is also has a refrigerator and 2 mobile fans.
Camera table and waterboiler
There are plenty of (EU plug) sockets with 220-240Volt.

We’re not spoiled, but to be honest we were both glad we had the ‘Deluxe’ version....

Facilities

Public toilets and bathrooms are located next to the path that goes parallel to the beach and behind the cottages. Especially during a nighttime visit to the toilet not ideal….
However, they look nice and are clean!

There is also a volleyball field hidden next to the path, and there are kayak’s available for free.

The ‘jungle’ starts directly in your backyard…..

There are 2 options to walk from the Kri Eco resort to the Sorido Bay resort, via the beach (only with low tide), or via the ‘jungle path’ over the hill (quite a walk in with these temperatures)

Sorido Bay offers you a great traditional massage in their spa, you can also book your massage at Kri and they will arrange a transfer by boat to and from Sorido.

On the Island there are also a couple of small (local) villages and a couple of homestay’s.
The restaurant is the only location you might be able to have a Wi-Fi connection, this fully depends on the availability of the connection to the mainland (Sorong).
Also keep in mind that mobile phone connections are most of the time unavailable (there is a fixed line at the resort for emergencies)

The restaurant:
Next to the pier (Yetty) is the restaurant, this is the only common location on the resort, so besides a restaurant it's also a meeting place.

You’ll have your breakfast, lunch and dinner served here, as well as your drinks. It has a refrigerator were you can get some soft drinks and beer (paid), there is also free tea and coffee available.

Keep in mind that when the staff leaves during the night the refrigerator will be locked.

The food

For such a small and basic resort the food is really good!

Most of the dishes are Papuan style, which means in some cases rather spicy…. Never the less, it’s really good!
Breakfast is ‘standard’ continental including eggs etc. ,lunch is good with lots of variety. Dinner is also very good, you can always choose between meat and fish, with also a good variety.
 

The pier

The pier is more or less the ‘hotspot’ of the resort.

At the beginning of the pier you’ll find the ‘briefing room’ for the divers, the dive manager’s office and the ‘Papuan style’ cottages.

Halfway the pier there’s a lounge area with sunbeds; this is the best location on the Island to watch the sunset!!

At the end of the pier is the diving center from where you hop on the diving boats. Here you can also clean, rinse and store your personal diving gear.

The dive center

[Description provided by Papua diving]

“Papua Diving is unique when compared to other land based and liveaboard operators in Raja Ampat. Not only thanks to our outstanding location – Today we may pride ourselves of having an unique knowledge about the area thanks to working so closely together with the Papuan people for many years

• Being the pioneering hence the most experienced operator in Raja Ampat
• Providing employment to more Papuan people than other operators (90%   of our staff are Papuan)
• Donating 10% of profit to conservation initiatives
• We actively set up and support conservation initiatives and projects

Many of the today`s famous dive sites were discovered by Max and our team and retain the original names he gave them. The whole of our dive team are Papuan people. Many of them were previously fisherman that used highly destructive methods such as dynamite fishing or shark finning. Now they are amongst some of the most conscientious conservationists in the region helping to clean and monitor the marine park protected zones.”
Our experience

Actually, for as far as we can verify the text above, most of it is true.

The briefings will be performed at the beginning of the pier by your dive guide. Because they only work with Papuan dive guides the briefing might be a little different than you might be used to…. The English language is for some dive guides one step to far….. Never the less, divers are used to hand signals….

The dive center itself is well arranged, you can clean, rinse and store all your personal diving equipment at the dive center located at the end of the pier.
There are enough tank available (Air and Nitrox), and there is also a possibility to rent equipment as well.
From this location you can directly access the diving boats which will bring you to the dive locations.

 

The dive manager during our stay was Tom Boxler (USA), he was actually the interim dive manager due to holidays. He's quite a nice guy, however our feeling was that he was a little bit stressed and not quite comfortable with his position.

As mentioned the dive guides and crew are all Papuan, and ‘one’ with the sea. They can actually ‘read’ the currents from the boat! Amazing…
The boat crew is always willing to help you, and is very friendly (but don’t expect they will speak English…)
The guides are experienced divers, and always willing to help you in any way they can, just tell them what you like to see or do, and they will assist you in it.
 
Besides that they are also very flexible in choosing the dive locations, there is almost always an option to change the original planning of the day if the customers like to change to another dive location.
I love that!
Due to the sometimes unpredictable currents and weather, they might also change de dive locations by themselves.

So, we can be rather clear about Papua diving; Great diving center with very good (local) dive guides. And as you might expect from a ‘real’ dive resort the dive operation is very well arranged.

Our evaluation

Our ratings below are based on our personal experiences. They are also adapted to our needs as divers. Meaning that we’re less focused on additional features.
Therefore you should only pay attention to our ratings if you’re planning a diving holiday.

Where we base our score on:

Accommodation: Room size, beds, cleaning, bathroom, location, environmentally friendly, etc.
Facilities: Pool, sport activities, organized trips, TV, Internet, phone, etc.
Dive center: Quality of equipment, boats, crew, dive guides, location, service, marine conservation, etc.

Scoring matrix

Conclusion:

The Kri Eco resort is a very nice resort on one of the most beautiful locations in the world. As stated before, it’s an ‘Eco’ resort, so don’t expect a high standard fancy resort with full options….
If you have the possibility to book a ‘Deluxe’ room; don’t hesitate!
The accommodations are very good; it’s clean and provides you everything you need.
If you need a little bit more luxury, try the Sorido Bay Resort.

Besides diving and snorkeling there’s not really much to do on the Island, but then again; it’s a diving resort.
So, if you’re not a diver, don’t plan your family beach holiday here and you’ll be fine.

Diving is the core business on this resort, and that’s something they do really well! We can’t come up with any real negative comments about the dive operation with Papua Diving.

Therefore we can highly recommend the Kri Eco Resort !
Our verdict
Accommodation:
Facilities:
Dive Center:
Total score: