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Dive Review of Villa Markisa in
Indonesia/Bali - Tulamben

Villa Markisa, Feb, 2011,

by Kimberly Krebs, MD, US (Sr. Reviewer Sr. Reviewer 7 reports with 1 Helpful vote). Report 6142 has 1 Helpful vote.

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Bonaire, Belize, Little Cayman, Turks & Caicos, Kona, Key Largo, Raja Ampat
Closest Airport Getting There

Dive Conditions

Weather windy, rainy, cloudy Seas choppy, surge
Water Temp 75 to 79 Fahrenheit Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 20 to 60 Feet

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions We were the only divers at the resort, so we had no restrictions.
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles None Whales None
Corals 3 stars Tropical Fish 4 stars
Small Critters 5 stars Large Fish 2 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 4 stars
UW Photo Comments The boat didn't really have a place for large cameras, but the boat rides were always very short. Separate rinse tanks were provided for cameras on the shore, and mats were provided in the bungalow for cameras.

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

Accommodations 5 stars Food 5 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 4 stars Shore Diving 4 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 4 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 4 stars
Comments We added Bali on after a 10-day trip to Raja Ampat. We traveled in January/February since this was the best time for Raja Ampat, however we knew this was not the best time for Bali. This happened to be, according to the locals, the worst rainy season they could remember. It rained non-stop from the moment we touched down until we left Tulamben for Ubud. When we first arrived, the waves were gently lapping at the beach, and by the time we left there were huge breakers making it impossible to shore dive. We were only able to shore dive in front of the resort (Seraya Secrets) on day 1.

Villa Markisa is a fairly new resort. The owner, Christiane, is a nudibranch lover and this is why we chose this resort over Scuba Seraya next door. A driver picked us up from the airport and we spoke to Christiane via cell phone on the drive. We arrived late and they would be keeping dinner warm for us. We were the only two people staying at the resort during this time, so we were treated like royalty!

We were in a deluxe bungalow, which was the closest room to the dive center. We had a queen sized bed with mosquito netting and an outdoor bathroom / shower. The rooms were spectacular, beautiful and luxurious. We also had an outdoor porch in front that included a sofa bed, which turned out to be an excellent place to relax during the heavy rains we experienced during our trip. Umbrellas were provided as well! We also enjoyed a massage on site during our stay - it was PERFECT. The resort is quite a distance from Tulamben, so expect to stay in the resort the whole time or request a ride into town.

Food was not included in our stay, but we elected to eat exclusively at the resort. It was delicious, with a mix of both Indonesian and western food. The dining area was outdoor (but covered) in front of a beautiful lily pond with resident turtles.

The grounds were amazing and well kept. There were plenty of places to sit or lounge outside when it wasn't raining, and the infinity pool and jacuzzi were inviting. Plumerias were blooming around the resort and everything smelled like flowers.

The dive staff was very good. Christiane joined us for many dives as well. Since we were the only guests at the resort, we could decide when and where we wanted to dive. We were only able to do two dives at Seraya Secrets due to conditions, but the muck diving was amazing - multiple Harlequin shrimp, nudibranchs, frog fish, etc. On our second dive at Seraya Secrets, we saw 30 different species of nudibranchs on a single dive. Christiane has an amazing eye for finding small sea slugs!

The boat was very nice and fairly new. Entry was back roll, which the divemasters assisted with. The Liberty Wreck was a wonderful wreck with tons of small macro life as well as terrific wide angle shots. We dove it twice and enjoyed it both times - HUGE schools of jacks were above the wreck the entire time.

Many of the other dive sites were mucked over or not available due to conditions, but we did do a couple of reef dives. The reef was nice, but having just come from Raja Ampat it was not as impressive. I can see that Bali would have amazing diving if the conditions were better.

My only complaint would be that the staff was not always careful with our equipment. Christiane had a guest staying with her, and a staff member dropped her rig on the first stage. We didn't hear what happened to it, but it likely destroyed her first stage. The day before, the staff dropped my gear, but it landed on its BC and was unharmed. The dive center has divers rig up on benches that just do not hold the equipment well enough, and it makes it very unstable. Deeper holes for the tanks would be a good idea.

Another warning is that the prices for everything is in Euros. At the end of the trip, the conversion can be done to USD and it can be shocking to see how fast things add up. There were a lot of surcharges - for boat diving (as opposed to shore) and for diving at the Liberty Wreck, or going a little bit farther away from the resort. These extra charges are clearly outlined in the room, but we were shocked at our bill anyway at the end of the trip.

Other than that, the staff was there to assist us with anything we could possibly need. Christiane runs a tight ship and made sure we had an excellent stay.

There are not a lot of reviews for this resort, but I can definitely recommend it. It is over the top luxurious and the staff is top-notch.
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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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