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Dive Review of Wakatobi Dive Resort in

Wakatobi Dive Resort: "Third trip, still as good as it gets...", Apr, 2015,

by Steven Moore, CT, US (Reviewer Reviewer 4 reports with 3 Helpful votes). Report 8421.

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 5 stars
Dive Operation 5 stars Shore Diving 5 stars
Snorkeling N/A
Value for $$ 5 stars
Beginners 4 stars
Advanced 5 stars
Comments This was my third trip to Wakatobi, second one staying at the resort plus another on their dive yacht, The Pelagian. And there's a very good chance that there will be a fourth trip, sometime in the future.
My first visit to the resort was in 2006, before their luxury villas were built and before they expanded the number of bungalows, overall. By comparison, they are larger and also more polished. But they haven't lost any of the special customer service that brought me back. We stayed in one of the newer bungalows located around the corner from the main dock/jetty. It sits above the beach about 5 feet with stairs going down to the sand/water. It was beautiful, comfortable, well maintained, and peaceful. Even with extra guests, we never felt crowded or annoyed by noise or intrusion. The bungalow has a large deck on the front, and we used the space for drying damp gear or just relaxing in the breeze.
Meals are served buffet style, with enough choices and variety that you can't get bored. My wife, a vegetarian, was disappointed in the food quality for the first two days -- but then, once she spoke with the staff, they made special dishes for her each meal for the rest of the 11-day stay. And they were fantastic. I was tempted to claim to be vegetarian, also, except that the carnivorous options were so good. Overall, the food was wonderful, plentiful, and savory. My one less happy comment was that, in 2006, there were more local dishes on the menu every day. And I loved them. This time around, the food was more European/American -- still outstanding, but I wish there had been more of the local flavors.
But the reason to visit Wakatobi is the diving. Their website claims "a dive experience that will enthrall and endure". Yep. It's about the best that you'll find anywhere. Diving is done from day boats that can take up to 20 or so, although the largest group we joined was probably a dozen other divers. They visit so many dive sites that you won't have to do the same one twice -- we visited one location three times, by request, and one of those was a night dive. There is variety -- a couple of "muck" sites, mostly reefs and walls. The water is warm, even at that time of year, and I was very comfortable in my 3mm suit.
One primary reason I loved the first visit so much was the diversity of marine life. Everything from nudibranchs/worms to schools of rays. This time, we didn't see any big animals, and only two cuttlefish. The cuttlefish were everywhere on the first visit. Part of the difference may have been the season. My first visit was in late May; this time, it was the first week of April, right at the end of monsoon season, as they called it. "At the end" doesn't mean we missed it. In fact, we lost about 4 planned dives because of weather, and had a couple more where the rain & wind kicked in and made the boat ride back somewhat soggy and uncomfortable. It was cooler and windier than the previous trips. Still, the overall experience was spectacular. Schools of fish, nudis I had never seen before, some octopods, and a couple of fish that I hadn't seen and no-one could identify. One crawled out from a coral head on a night dive, and the best guess is that it's a type of unicorn fish, without the horn. Strange creature. Oh, and the biggest sea snakes I've ever seen. We saw them on maybe 5-6 of the 25+ dives we did, but they were memorable: up to 10-12 feet long and 4-5 inches in diameter.
In retrospect, there were a couple of things less idyllic than on previous trips. First, I'd go later in the season. From experience, I know that late May is wonderful there. Warmer, less breezy, warmer water. And there was a LOT of garbage in the water this time, unlike the previous visits. I'm guessing it drifts along with the rainy weather -- and hopefully isn't the new status quo for this place.
Otherwise, Wakatobi will remain at the top of my list of dive resorts. It's a bit of a trial to get there, but the staff is efficient and friendly in helping you get there. I'd recommend planning a 3-4 day stay in Bali on the way home, if possible. It's good for decompressing, in case you have any nitrogen left over...
Websites Wakatobi Dive Resort   

Reporter and Travel

Dive Experience 251-500 dives
Where else diving Caribbean, Alaska, US, Florida, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, Belize, Fiji
Closest Airport chartered airport for resort Getting There 3 hour charter flight from Bali

Dive Conditions

Weather sunny, rainy Seas calm, choppy
Water Temp 80-84°F / 27-29°C Wetsuit Thickness 3
Water Visibility 25-100 Ft/ 8-30 M

Dive Policy

Dive own profile yes
Enforced diving restrictions Dives were planned for 70 minutes, and that was acceptable.
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 4 stars
Large Pelagics N/A

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

Subject Matter 4 stars Boat Facilities N/A
Overall rating for UWP's 5 stars Shore Facilities 4 stars
UW Photo Comments The camera room is in the main lodge with plenty of space and electrical outlets.
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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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