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Dive Review of Wakatobi Dive Resort in

Wakatobi Dive Resort, Oct, 2012,

by Arthur Burke Jr, TX, US (Reviewer Reviewer 3 reports). Report 6762.

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 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling 5 stars
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments 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 pleasures.

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 center.

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 kid’s 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.
Websites Wakatobi Dive Resort   

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

Weather sunny Seas calm
Water Temp 83-85°F / 28-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 50-80 Ft/ 15-24 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions 70 min dive time but dive your own profile
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 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
UW Photo Comments 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.
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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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