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Dive Review of Uli Aritonang/Rama Candidasa in

May, 2005, an Instant Reader Report by Carl Scott, TX, USA
Report Number 1736
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
251-500 dives
Where else diving
Sulawesi, Thailand, Palau, Philippines, Costa Rica, Caymans, Cozumel, USVI,
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

sunny, dry  
Water Temp
75   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
30   to 60    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  3 stars
Tropical Fish
4 stars  
Small Critters
  4 stars
Large Fish
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
4 stars  
Boat Facilities
2 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
4 stars  
Shore Facilities  
5 stars  
Rama Candidasa does not cater heavily to divers, but the small resort next
door provides dive services and excellent shore facilities.  The boats
anywhere in Bali are traditional wooden outriggers, made from a single
tree, so they are narrow and deep.  While adequate for diving and equipment
storage, there are no speficic facilities for photographers on any of the
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
3 stars  
Shore Diving  
4 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
3 stars   
3 stars    
First of all, Rama Candidasa is a first rate seaside resort in a small town
on the Northeast side of Bali.  The bay where it is located is home to some
of the nicest reefs in Bali, and it is about an hour from Tulamben and
Amed, which offer excellent photographic opportunities, but little coral. 
The facilities are in excellent condition, and the staff is as warm and
friendly as any I've encountered.  Rates are dirt cheap by Western
standards, too. I think the rack rate is a little less than USD $50 per
day, including breakfast.  The only downside during my visit is that the
pool and restaurant were being renovated at the time.  There are many
excellent restaurants within walking (or a $1 cab ride) distance, and meal
prices are typically around USD $3.  Yes, I said $3.

Uli Aritonang ( is a PADI instructor who lives in
Jakarta.  She leads trips to Bali, Komodo, Alor, Manado and Lembeh Strait
(N. Sulawesi), Sorong, and Sangalaki.  She will accommodate groups from 1
to as many as you want to bring.  She puts together some very economical
packages and knows the best places to stay, depending on the level of
luxury you want.  You are completely in charge of deciding where to dive
each day, though she is quite capable of putting together a good schedule,
if you wish.  You dive your way, on your schedule.  She will even help you
to barter with local craft vendors, if you wish.

As for the diving, I'd rate it good to about average overall by Pacific
standards.  With the exception of one area, corals are a little sparse. 
However, that one exception hosts some huge table corals and a dizzying
array of fish both large and small.  Never saw any sharks, mantas, or
turtles, but there were bumphead parrotfish, napoleon wrasse, and tuna, as
well as nearly any tropical that you could think of.  Macro life was quite
abundant, as well, especially noticable in Amed (where the coral is
starting a comeback from the last el niño) and Tulamben, which hosts
a nice wreck just off shore.  In what was described as a freak event, water
temperatures near Candidasa were in the mid 70's during the first few days
of my visit, but typically hover around 82-84 F.  If you like nice reefs
and huge numbers of fish, that is the place for you.

Bali is a charming island, and its people still hold their traditional way
of life quite dear.  They are Hindus, and their religious practices are a
focal point of daily life, making for interesting topside photography and
cultural exchange.  It seems that everyone on the island is a craftsman of
some sort, and carvings of wood, bone, and stone can be found everywhere,
along with handmade textiles, woven items - you name it, they make it by
hand.  The Balinese are very warm and meek, as well.  I found the entire
experience quite nice and will definitely return.
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