Deep in the heart of the Coral Triangle, in one of the planet’s most biodiverse regions, Alor and the nearby Pantar Strait offer incredible and uncrowded scuba experiences for advanced and adventurous divers. You’ll spend your days exploring stunning coral gardens and plummeting reef walls, taking on powerful currents, searching for weird and wonderful macro critters, and venturing out into the blue where vast schools of hammerheads silently shimmy past. And, you’ll likely have the premier sites all to yourself! What more could a diver want?
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What sets Alor apart
The seas surrounding Alor and the nearby islands are home to a wide range of marine habitats and exceptional biodiversity, with thousands of species from mighty mola molas to minuscule pygmy seahorses. In fact, Alor is perhaps best known for its hammerhead shark encounters, it's also one of Southeast Asia's best muck diving destinations. The region’s thriving reefs receive a daily influx of nutrients thanks to powerful currents that filter through the Pantar Strait, fuelling incredible coral growth. Cold, plankton-packed upwellings also rise from the ocean depths, supporting a marine ecosystem that includes plenty of big species - including some of the biggest of all. Top that all off with expanses of volcanic silt and muck and mangroves, and you have all the ingredients for an exceptional range of marine species - perfect for divers!
There are dozens of dive sites around Alor, with new hotspots being discovered all the time. Divers can comb submerged volcanic slopes in search of frogfish barely larger than a fingernail, scour vertical coral-carpeted walls for gorgonian fans loaded with pygmy seahorses, or head out into the blue where you might find schooling hammerheads - and that’s all before the night dive!
This fantastically diverse diving area is found more than a thousand kilometres east of Bali, in a little-explored area commonly considered one of Indonesia's last diving frontiers. Above water, you’ll have the opportunity to explore traditional local villages, trek to volcanic rims, relax in rustic resorts and homestays, or just take it easy in a hammock under a patch of swaying palms. This is the perfect place to get away from it all and focus on the underwater world.
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Top Alor dive sites
Up-close hammerhead encounters and mucky slopes loaded with macro might be Alor’s premier attractions, but there’s far more waiting to be discovered in this surprising region! High-speed currents, incredible pelagics, and some of Indonesia's healthiest reefs can all be found, plus migrating whales and dolphins breaching and blowing as they cruise past on the surface.
The conditions in Alor aren’t for beginners but intermediate and advanced divers will find themselves blown away by what they find here. And, to give you a little taste of what’s to come, here’s a selection of Alor’s best dives sites
This towering pinnacle is one of Alor's most known sites, with near-vertical walls blanketed in colourful soft coral. You'll descend through schooling reef fish, then let the current carry you along for a high-speed drift. Though it's easy to turn your gaze and focus on the wall itself, the real treat here is what passes by in the blue, where sharks, rays, and barracuda join pelagics like tuna and trevally. Even rare animals like mola mola are known to make surprise appearances! Schooling hammerheads are often seen here, especially during dawn dives.
As its name suggests, this site is home to powerful, and sometimes positively ripping, currents. A fast-paced drift packed with pelagic action, this massive underwater ridge is exposed on all sides to the power of the sea, and plummets sharply to the abyss. You'll spend most of your dive cruising the deepwater drop-off here, where reef sharks, massive trevally, and tuna buzz by in the blue. Current Alley is one of Alor’s most reliable sites for hammerhead encounters, as they gracefully emerge from the depths.
Sharks Galore and Clown Valley
Depending on the conditions, you'll spend your dive zig-zagging back and forth over massive hard coral gardens, or drift slowly along the drop-off, combining this site with neighbouring Clown Valley - an area home to more anemones than any other known reef! This is an excellent site for wide-angle photography, with fascinating formations and nearly-guaranteed encounters with reef sharks. Other wildlife commonly seen here includes dogtooth tuna, trevally, and sea turtles, not to mention massive schools of anthias gracefully shimmering and flashing in the gentle current.
This is easily Alor's best muck dive, with a combination of silt, mud, and rubble, ideal for a full-on macro hunt. Keep your eyes peeled for elusive animals like the blue-ringed octopus and bobbit squid, well camouflaged among the debris, as well as rare species like the paddleflap scorpionfish. This site is also home to countless nudibranchs and flatworms, as well as minuscule crabs, shrimp, and tube dwellers like blennies and gobies. The black volcanic sand in much of Kalabahi Bay creates a striking backdrop for some of Alor’s most colourful species, making it a favourite site among underwater photographers.
This site features a unique bottom composition, with a sprawling garden of pink soft coral trees rising several metres in height rising from the sandy seafloor - one of Alor's most photographed underwater attractions. Once you've paid a visit to this strange, submerged forest, you'll likely spend the rest of your dive exploring the reef’s edge, where vast schools of colourful reef fish stream along the near-vertical drop-off and just about anything could potentially pass by in the current. Sponges, black coral bushes, sea whips, and massive gorgonian fans coat this picturesque wall, gently swaying in the site's flowing waters, making for a lovely and leisurely drift.
This is one of Alor’s few sites where the reef itself isn’t a main attraction. Instead, divers drift along in the current, intently focused on the open ocean. Bigger marine life of all kinds can turn up here, with sharks, mola mola, and even migratory cetaceans like dolphins and blue whales! Depending on the day's conditions, your group may head out into the open ocean, where hammerheads might pass by. Deep water species also grace this site, with thresher sharks sometimes seen during dawn dives.
This site is particularly prone to cold upwellings, making for a fascinating, if at times chilly, underwater experience. You'll likely pass through several thermoclines during your descent, with a chance for extreme temperature differences ranging more than 20°C from top to bottom. Then, feast your eyes on a stunning array of hard and soft coral swarming with minuscule marine life. Lucky macro hunters will find leaf scorpion fish, pygmy seahorses, frogfish, nudibranchs, and more. If you look up from the coral for long enough, you might also spot bamboo sharks, massive marble rays, and banded sea kraits.
Great Wall of Pantar
Also known as Bamah Wall, this site boasts the most scenic drop-off in Pantar, just across the strait from Alor. The wall itself is awash in orange and pink, with soft coral trees, sponges, sea fans, and anthias all gently swaying in the current. Drift through giant schools of snapper, barracuda, and rainbow runners, suddenly splitting for the occasional passing shark. Napoleon wrasse, bumphead parrotfish, and other large species commonly pass by here, but it’s easy to get lost in the reef itself. Peer into crevasces to find kaleidoscopic nudibranchs, leaf fish, and mantis shrimp, and keep an eye out for fast-moving and hard to spot juvenile reef fish.
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