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

Wakatobi Dive Resort, Jun, 2012,

by William Rogers, CO, US ( 2 reports). Report 6624.

No photos available at this time

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

Accommodations 4 stars Food 4 stars
Service and Attitude 5 stars Environmental Sensitivity 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 5 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments 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 “emperor’s new clothes.” You pay the dough, so you must have had a good time. Yikes – that didn’t 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. I’m 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 didn’t 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. WDR’s dive program is pretty regimented. The boats are big, stable and spacious. Dive master ratio is good. But you get assigned a boat, and that’s 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 isn’t 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 weren’t on the Pelagian. It certainly looks comfortable, but if you are going to do a liveaboard, why wouldn’t you go to Komodo or RajaAmpat?).

WDR is a wonderful destination. It is heavily marketed, at least in the US. And while they certainly don’t 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 time.
Websites Wakatobi Dive Resort   

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

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 81-84°F / 27-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 75-90 Ft/ 23-27 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions
Liveaboard? no Nitrox Available? yes

What I Saw

Sharks None Mantas None
Dolphins None Whale Sharks None
Turtles > 2 Whales None
Corals 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
UW Photo Comments [None]
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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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