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Dive Review of Wakatobi Dive Resort in

October, 2012, an Instant Reader Report by Arthur Burke Jr, TX, US
Reviewer   (3 reports)
Report Number 6762
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Reporter and Travel
Dive Experience
501-1000 dives
Where else diving
Tahiti, Palau, Maldives, Seychelles, Cayman, Bonaire, Turks & Casico,
Cozumel, Persian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, 
Closest Airport
Getting There


Dive Conditions

Water Temp
83   to 85    Fahrenheit  
Wetsuit Thickness
Water Visibility
50   to 80    Feet  
Dive Policy
Dive own profile
Enforced diving restrictions  
70 min dive time but dive your own profile  
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
3 stars  
Large Pelagics
  1 stars
Underwater Photography  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
Subject Matter
5 stars  
Boat Facilities
4 stars
Overall rating for UWP's  
5 stars  
Shore Facilities  
5 stars  
Most every diver has a camera of some type and size.  There were many
sophisticated systems in use both for video and photography.  There were
also some excellent point and shoot systems that were in use as well.  All
seem to take excellent pictures.  There is a dedicated camera room with
sufficient outlets for charging all of the batteries, lights, etc. 
Everyone has its own work space.   
Ratings and Overall Comments  1 (worst)- 5 (best):
5 stars
5 stars
Service and Attitude
5 stars
Environmental Sensitivity  
Dive Operation
5 stars  
Shore Diving  
5 stars  
5 stars  

Overall Rating

Value for $$
5 stars    
4 stars   
5 stars    
The Wakatobi Resort provides excellent diving opportunities and great
living accommodations.   You have to appreciate what it takes for the
management and staff to provide top notch service when you are 2 ½
hours plane ride from Bali.  From the moment you arrive in Bali, Wakatobi
staff is there to assist and guide you through the process of obtaining
your visa, processing through immigrations, picking up your luggage and
transport to the hotel.  The VIP service offered by Wakatobi is worth the
price for a couple.  Then when it is time to fly to Wakatobi (you must fly
into Bali at least the night before but you could come in 2  3 or more
days earlier if you want to see Bali or recover from jet lag if you
traveled from USA or Europe).   On travel day they pick you up at your
hotel, take you to the airport, handle your luggage, guide you to the VIP
lounge and then onto the plane.  You land 2 ½ hrs later on a small
island where they meet and greet you and whisk you away by car then by boat
to Wakatobi.  The latter is about 30 mins from the time you land.   You are
met at the resort and given a tour as you walk to your accommodation.  Your
luggage arrives shortly afterwards as you are settling in or while you are
having your lunch.   You are assigned a dive boat and your dive guide 
they call themselves dive experience managers and they inform you how
they set up your gear and show you how to test your tank air if you are
using Nitrox. You can do an afternoon shore dive that same day. The next
day starts boat diving to the various dive sites.  Diving from a boat are 3
times a day + unlimited shore diving.  The whole week is planned out with
sites and dive times  normally depart at 07:30 for a 2 tank dive (they
usually come back to the resort between dives so you could skip the early
morning dive if you like to sleep in).  You come back for lunch then the
single tank afternoon dive is at 2:30.  You can do a late shore dive you
like to make it 4 dives per day.  When you do a shore dive they will guide
you as to which way the current is flowing and how to signal when you come
to surface.   Then a smaller taxi boat will pick you up if you could not
make it to one of the entry/exit points due to current or lack of air.  
All boat dives were 70 minute duration.  Your shore dives could be longer
but that is also your plan time.  We hit 75 ft. (23 m) as our deepest dive
over a full 6 days of diving.  Going deep is not required as majority of
reefs, sponges, sea fans, and fish life are shallow.  Most dives started at
60 ft. (18 m) then you gently rose as you progressed through the dive. 
Normally your last 10 mins was above 30 ft. (9 m) so you had nice long
safety stops after repetitive diving.  The nearest chamber is in Bali (2
½ hrs. by air) so conservative diving ensures you have an enjoyable
dive vacation for both you and the staff.  They plan one night dive and
forego the afternoon dive that day.  You can still do a shore dive if you
wish or just skip the night dive if you prefer.   You really set your own
schedule as to diving other than the boat goes out at specific times.  If
you want to do a shore dive, you just need to inform them and they will
carry your gear off of the boat and to your locker in the scuba huts.  They
will also carry your gear to the beach when you want to do your shore dive.
 The ratio of divers to dive guide was 5 to 1.   Our group was 4 to 1 and
once rose to 6 to 1 when a couple joined us for a couple of afternoon
dives.  So the boat may have 12-14 divers but each group goes off
separately and at different parts or may wait 5 mins between entering the
water.  It is very high customer service with regard to your diving
The accommodations are nice.  We stayed in a Select Bungalow which is on
the beach.  It has a nice main room that has nice windows with screens and
is air-conditioned.  The bathroom is not air-conditioned but is under the
main roof.  The shower is outside in its own enclosed garden with high
walls.  The shower area also has a rack for drying your swimsuit and other
clothing.  You leave your wetsuit on the boat to hang dry between dives and
at night.  The bed has a mosquito net on it so if you wish you can enclose
your bed each night although there are not many mosquitos there are some so
it is handy to use.  For the little time you actually spent in the room 
it was adequate.  Others said that both the beach bungalow and the garden
bungalow were nice as well.  The longer term plan is that they will convert
all beach bungalows to the select bungalow style.  We had a nice porch
facing the beach (wish it had a ceiling fan as it got sticky hot) along
with a hammock and 2 beach chairs. The restaurant is all open air and a
buffet for all meals.  There is such a variety each day that you really do
not think of it as buffet.  The wait staff is friendly and after a day or
so, not only do they know your name but they know what type of food you
prefer, your type of beverage, etc.  You can request anything if you do not
like the buffet.  One night it was mainly shell fish along with some other
meat.  We wanted to have fish due to allergies of shell fish.  It was a
simple request and we were served nice fresh baked and/or grilled fish.  My
only negative about the restaurant is that it can get hot if no sea breeze.
 They try to have some fans on the floor level but it does not push enough
air around.  We tried to sit on the outside edge of the restaurant to have
any breeze.   We suggested installing some nice overhead ceiling fans on
the high vaulted ceiling.    There was a bar  called the Jetty Bar  at
the end of the main pier in front of the resort.  It was very nice on a
breezy night.  

The whole resort is barefoot friendly.  They do encourage the use of
footwear in the restaurant or other facilities.  It is assumed it tracks in
too much sand and there are foot wash basins at the restaurant, at your
room, at the main lobby, at the camera room, etc.    They say there is 150
staff for 50 guests.  The service was excellent and everything ran
smoothly.  Management was visible every day.  We happen to meet the owner
and the general manager during the first couple of days but they did not go
around introducing themselves.  On the last day as we were on the boat to
go to the airport island for the return trip the resort manager thank
everyone for visiting Wakatobi.  I overheard some say that they did not
know who he was until then.  It seems that the management should do
introductions the first night upon arrival so the guests understand who
everyone is.   The dive manager and room manager did introduce themselves
during the first day and night as you entered the restaurant or at the dive

The age group during our stay was mid-40s.   There were some young families
with children up to older married couples or singles who have been diving
for 30+ years.  There is a kids center so the families were able to dive
while staff played with the children.  It was a child friendly resort but
not obtrusive if you did not have children or do not care to be around
children.  All of the families were super friendly and the children were
delightful.  There were 5 young (less than 5 yrs. old) children during our
stay and not once did we hear complaints by anyone or the staff.  I think
the sun and the beach wears everyone out and early to bed each night.  
Since you are in a faraway place you might expect it be difficult to have
communications.  Well that is correct.  While they have internet in your
room (hardwired) and also wireless in the main lobby and lounge area, the
bandwidth on the internet was super slow.   Do not expect to download or
upload any pictures or documents.  You can barely read email.  My cellular
network did function for basic email.   This could be a huge improvement if
they could put in a larger bandwidth and extend wireless to the restaurant
and other places in the resort (like your bungalow).  

Overall, for a dive vacation  it was wonderful.  The fish life and reefs
were excellent.  We saw many small creatures we have not seen before and
the dive guides were great at finding and pointing out everything they
could find.   This is not a place to see large animals.  The turtles were
about the largest we saw although some did see a shark or 2 in the
distance.  The small animals are fascinating and there is an abundance of
life on the shore dive.   
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