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Dive Review of Gangga Island Resort & Spa in
Indonesia/North Sulawesi

Gangga Island Resort & Spa: "Gangga Island Resort & Spa", Oct, 2014,

by C Kapfer, VA, US (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports with 2 Helpful votes). Report 8468.

No photos available at this time

Ratings and Overall Comments 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity N/A
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving N/A
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 3 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments The Good

Gangga Island Resort & Spa is an upscale island resort in North Sulawesi about 30 minutes by boat from Manado. As dive resorts go it is large with a big dining room, bar and pool table. In addition it has a nice professional spa, gift shop and large pool. Rooms are large and well appointed, must have been renovated recently. Wifi was good in much of the resort which is rare for the region.

The vibe at Gangga is very low key which makes for a pleasant and relaxing stay. Spa services are offered and contribute to the relaxed feel.

Diving is conducted off smallish wooden boats which were a little cramped when several guests had large cameras. Diving groups were 3-4 people plus guide. Entry was via giant stride--this was a little awkward due to a slippery deck surface without much to grab onto, crowded deck and relatively large drop to the water.

There is a lot to be seen in the waters off of Gangga ... Bangka island is about 40 minutes by boat. Day trips can be made to Bunaken and Lembeh although we did not do these as we had already dived there on the same trip.

Diving off Bangka was some of the most varied and best diving of our trip to N Sulawesi and I highly recommend a few days there. We saw a lot of interesting macro critters (frog fish (painted, giant), ghost pipefish (robust, ornate), nudis, blue ring octopus) however nothing particularly large although we heard dugongs were sited occasionally.

We had two night dives and on both many interesting things were spotted however it would seem that there ought to be better night sites. One of the sites was rather shallow and consisted of mostly dead corals, but despite this we did see some interesting nudis, pleurobranchs, a blue ring, etc. I recommend going a little further away from the resort for the night dives if you can talk your guide into it.

The resort staff did a very thorough job of rinsing equipment after each dive--this has to be the best I've seen on a day to day basis anywhere.

Dining was typically very good. While breakfast options were a little limited lunch and dinner were much better. Compared to other resorts in the area we have visited this was considerably better. I give the dining 5 stars for a dive resort.

The Bad

A large chunk was taken out of my pocketbook! ;) Seriously, this is a luxury resort and that is to be expected to some degree, but this was more expensive than I anticipated.

Their boats held more guests (up to 10 IIRC) than I expected for the price, especially coming from Lembeh where boats would be 2-4 max ...

The first day of diving was marred by an uninteresting dive site which I think the resort sent us to as a checkout dive. However I'm an instructor and had been diving in Indonesia for two weeks by that point so that was not appreciated. Our first dive guide was not adapting very well to more experienced clientele. We were assigned a different dive guide for the remainder of our stay that was much more in tune with us.

On the dive boats water and tea was available ... but the cups were not marked so you would likely end up with someone else's cup on the second dive. It didn't seem that these cups were getting cleaned either.

The Ugly

Credit card machine was not available on the island so they sent a CSA with us to our hotel in Manado where they could swipe the card. Next time I would prefer to pre-pay if possible.

European style dive lecture/briefing and welcome were a bit more than I need as an active instructor but they are catering to a lot of different people.

We were sort of rushed out the day we left the resort as there were other guests leaving for Manado the same day that had to leave early. For the price we should have been able to choose our departure time.

Summary

We had a good time at Gangga Island Resort & Spa maybe a bit moreso on land than sea. I would consider staying here again if in North Sulawesi ... but would be clear about my intentions with the dive guide the first day and would try to negotiate a better rate.
Websites Gangga Island Resort & Spa   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 501-1000 dives
Where else diving Red Sea, Bali, Lembeh, Bunaken, Komodo, Oman, Hawaii
Closest Airport Manado Getting There Singapore->Manado via Silk Air

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, windy Seas choppy
Water Temp 27-28°C / 81-82°F Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 8-25 M / 26-82 Ft

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions No deco, dive your own profile. Occasionally we had to go up a bit early as we were not grouped with divers of similar experience.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles 1 or 2 Whales None
Corals 4 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 4 stars Large Fish N/A
Large Pelagics N/A

Underwater Photography 1 (worst) - 5 (best):

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities 3 stars
Overall rating for UWP's N/A Shore Facilities N/A
UW Photo Comments Large camera room available with plenty of stations for guests. They even had compressed air setup for cleaning.

I would suggest that the resort put in several more rinse tanks for cameras. Due to the size of the resort there is a reasonable amount of activity near the camera area so leaving the camera soaking was not really possible as others would need to use the tank. My Nauticam housing started having problems here toward the end of a relatively long trip and would have benefitted from longer soak times.
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Subscriber's Comments

By Robert S Kuhn in IL, US at Oct 08, 2015 00:06 EST  
How expensive is expensive? Air or Nitrox? How many dives a day? Debth of dives? What kind of diving? Walls, reefs, drift, Macro & Muck diving?
By report author: C Kapfer in VA, US at Oct 08, 2015 04:29 EST  
Prices are listed on the resort webpage. Nitrox is available. Number of dives a day is up to you ... the morning trip is two dives and then return to the resort. There is an afternoon dive and a night dive as separate trips. Depth is again somewhat dependent on where you go ... seems like the deepest site we were at while diving at Gangga is ~25m. Type of diving and currents ... hmm .... it varies. We didn't do any serious drift dives. You can get deeper in Bunaken where there's more current as well. It was all reef diving with a lot of macro, some walls ... we didn't see anything particularly large but there were some nice wide angle scenes with giant sea fans on occasion. I was using the 12-50mm Olympus lens which I recommend for everything in Bangka/Bunaken (due to its versatility) except the night dives.
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Note: The information here was reported by the author above, but has NOT been reviewed nor edited by Undercurrent prior to posting on our website. Please report any major problems by writing to us and referencing the report number above.

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