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Dive Review of Wakatobi Dive Resort in
Indonesia/Wakatobi Dive Resort

June, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by William Rogers, CO, US (2 reports)
Report Number 6624
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Hawaii (big island), Mexico (Cozumel/Akumal), Fiji (Taveuni/Kandavu), PNG
(Walindi/Fabrina/Kavieng), Palau, Yap, Thailand (Phuket/Phi Phi), Aruba,
Saba, Australia, Bahamas (various), BVI, Honduras, Belize, Little Cayman,
Cayman Brac, Indonesia (Wakatobi/Manado/Bali/Flores/Komodo), Turkey 
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
81   to 84    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
75   to 90    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
Nitrox Available?
What I saw
Whale Sharks
> 2 
Ratings 1 (worst)- 5 (best):
  5 stars
Tropical Fish
5 stars  
Small Critters
  5 stars
Large Fish
2 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
5 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
5 stars  
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
4 stars
4 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
5 stars
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
5 stars   
5 stars    
Wakatobi Dive Resort (WDR) is a rather remarkable and splendid outpost off
the south east corner of Sulawesi offering very nice comfort, unparalleled
service and pretty amazing diving. If you can afford the very steep price
tag, it is hard to imagine not having a wonderful time visiting. I was a
bit leery, having read one review that described the resort as something
like the emperors new clothes. You pay the dough, so you must have had a
good time. Yikes  that didnt sound too great. It was not our experience 
we had a marvelous visit.
We took a month long trip to Indonesia. The grand finale was 5 nights at
Wakatobi. From the moment we booked, the attention to detail was truly
impressive. All the information we could have wanted and then some. On
arrival, after 40 some hours of brutal travel (with two kids in tow), WDR
representatives met us coming off the plane, grabbed our passports and $$
and soon, we were squired around a growing immigration line. We were
quickly off to Ubud. Weeks later, a helpful e-mail showed up confirming our
charter to WDR. A phone call even found us the night before with a last
confirmation and a dining out recommendation in Sanur. Every time we
encountered the airport, WDR folks were there to help. Wonderful.
The flight over is a piece of cake, then a van shuttle and a quick boat
ride. All is seamless. We were upgraded to a Select Bungalow (thanks
again!), which do look a bit nicer than the standard version. I think they
have largely just been upgraded. More spacious too perhaps (they put in a
bunk bed for our kids) and a nice outdoor shower. Even with the bunk bed,
the bungalow had plenty of room. Had it been just the two of us, we would
have been able to really spread out. AC worked well, plenty of hot water,
beds were very comfortable, housekeeping attentive. No complaints. It is
not super luxury, but you have to consider where you are. In that context,
the accommodation, like much of the resort, is very impressive.
The food and dining room in general was excellent. The staff here really
shined. My kids were smitten in the first 20 minutes. Genuine warmth  a
place where literally everyone knows your name. Im not a buffet fan, but
it was many little plates, lots of sea food, sushi, good vegetables 
really fine food. We are foodies, and it may not be fully gourmet, but it
was good! And this this is a distant outpost. The chef and his staff really
do wonderful things. We were happy and well fed. Like everywhere else in
Indonesia, prepare to pay $75 to drink a $10 bottle of wine, or stick with
Bintang and cocktails.
We used the kids club and Udi kept our kids entertained while we were
diving. WDR actually has a kid's facility now with games, art supplies and
Udi! She was great. Super warm and our kids were fast friends with her
immediately. Lots of fun crafts, water sports and adventures. Otherwise,
they were snorkeling with us, kayaking, paddle boarding,and hanging out. It
is a small place, but there is so much here to keep a kid entertained (ours
are 8 & 10).
The diving. This is hard  is anything more subjective than diving? This is
why we came and the diving is certainly very good  excellent in fact.
Healthy, pristine reefs, amazing macro, fascinating critters to be sure.
But it didnt quite hit the level of our expectations. Part of this may be
that we dove in Komodo on a liveaboard on the same trip. The diving in
Komodo is just, for us, superior. It was a hard act to follow. WDRs dive
program is pretty regimented. The boats are big, stable and spacious. Dive
master ratio is good. But you get assigned a boat, and thats where you go.
They can accomodate 45+ divers, so it is quite an operation - and a well
run one at that. But, this means you may dive a wall in shadow vs. in
illuminating sun. Because boats go out on schedule, tides and currents
seemed harder to time. Personal preference on dive sites (or types of
sites) just isnt really possible. To be sure, they chose well for us and
we loved the diving. What you see will depend on the dive master you are
assigned. If you are not happy, say something. They are responsive. My wife
reminded me of hanging out at the end of a dive watching a banded sea krait
and a cuttle fish with clouds of anthias circling and a turtle munching on
the coral nearby. Not too shabby. Great diving to be sure  but Indonesia
offers better elsewhere. (We werent on the Pelagian. It certainly looks
comfortable, but if you are going to do a liveaboard, why wouldnt you go
to Komodo or RajaAmpat?).
WDR is a wonderful destination. It is heavily marketed, at least in the US.
And while they certainly dont claim to have the best diving in the world,
your local dive shop or travel agent may make that suggestion. What they do
have is great diving and a great resort located in a very special place. We
thought it was worth it. You would have to try hard not to have a great
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