Plan Your Ultimate Wakatobi Dive Vacation With These Insider Tips
After remaining closed for more than two years through the global Covid-19 pandemic, one of the world’s most-loved dive resorts has announced plans to reopen on June 3, 2022. This news comes as Indonesia eliminates all quarantine requirements for inbound international travelers, and several airlines have now resumed their routes into Bali, which is the gateway to Wakatobi.
And while Wakatobi hasn’t been welcoming guests these past two years, the staff has not remained idle. The staff have kept busy refreshing and upgrading the property and preparing for reopening. Wakatobi’s ‘sprucing up’ efforts extended to many aspects of the resort and dive operation. All the dive boats have been updated; the property has seen a number of significant upgrades; the jetty has been widened and smoothed; and the airstrip received an upgrade under the supervision of a certified runway engineer. In more good news, Wakatobi founder Lorenz Mäder, reports that reefs are in prime condition, and a number of new dive sites have been added to the roster.
With bookings for 2022 and beyond filling up fast, now is the time to start planning your Wakatobi dive vacation. And while Wakatobi Resort is known as one of the world’s top diving and snorkeling destinations, there are still some things about Wakatobi that are not that well known. Some of these perks and opportunities are revealed on arrival but having additional insights ahead of time might make that trip of a lifetime even more memorable. To maximize the Wakatobi experience, here are a dozen insider tips offered by the resort’s staff.
COME BETWEEN THE HOLIDAYS. November and December are months where fewer people travel because it’s a period between major holidays. Airfares may be lower at this time and these months offer great diving and snorkeling conditions at Wakatobi.
DO THE AFTERNOON DIVE. The dive center offers three boat dives a day. After two morning dives, some guests just want to relax after lunch and finish with a shore dive. This often means fewer divers on the afternoon trips. An afternoon dive is also a great option for people who want to sleep in or linger over breakfast and still get in two boat dives a day.
TAKE A FREE RIDE. You can see more of the dive site that’s been called ‘the world’s best shore dive’ by hopping aboard one of the resort’s taxi boats, which will take you up-current for an easy drift dive along the House Reef ending right at the Jetty Bar.
MAKE NIGHT MAGIC ON THE REEF. Night diving is popular at Wakatobi, but you don’t need tanks to get in on the action. Night snorkeling on the House Reef is equally spectacular, and it’s available for all guests to experience.
THIS PLACE IS FOR THE BIRDS. In addition to the incredible diversity of marine life, Wakatobi also rewards nature lovers above the water. The island is rich in birdlife — including an endemic species! Just ask the front office to organize a Bird Watching session for you or other land tours around the island.
PLAY CASTAWAY — IN STYLE. Guests can channel their inner Robinson Caruso with a trip to nearby Sawa island, where they can watch the sunset on a deserted beach while enjoying a delicious aperitivo and hors d’oeuvres. Wakatobi’s concierge team can make the arrangements in advance of your visit.
GET A LOT FOR A LITTLE MORE. Spectacular water views and private dive guides are some of the perks you’ll get when you book one of Wakatobi’s Villas. What many divers don’t realize is that these premium accommodations are just a relatively modest up-charge from an Ocean Bungalow. If you enjoy having a private guide why not consider a Villa booking for a little more.
ASK AND YOU SHALL RECEIVE. Wakatobi is known for the mouth-watering spreads prepared by our culinary team. But guest options aren’t limited to what’s on the table. The chefs are happy to prepare your favorite dish on request, including special dietary options such as gluten-free, low fat, or low sodium.
ENJOY LUXURY WITH A PURPOSE. Through sharing the benefits of sustainable dive tourism with the surrounding villages over the past two decades, the people of these local communities have come to see the value of the reefs in a different light, as a source of opportunity and connection. Through their experiences and pride, they have joined efforts to keep them pristine.
REFRESH YOURSELF ON THE HOUSE. Divers who have been out of the water too long and don’t want to jump right in won’t need to rehash their skills drills before coming to Wakatobi. They can take a refresher course right on our beautiful House Reef.
RUNWAY-TO-REEF-SERVICE. Did you know that Wakatobi provides a private guest flight from Bali to our own runway on Tomia Island? Our guest flights cut travel time from Bali to our remote island paradise to just 2.5 hours. This eliminates multiple air, land, and sea transfers, and you skip the crowds and long lines. Our guests also enjoy VIP lounge service at Denpasar airport, where they can relax with a full breakfast and a range of amenities before boarding the flight.
SAIL INTO SUMMERTIME. The months of June, July, and August are known for ocean breezes and slightly cooler temperatures. These are also the months where we offer kite surfing, which is something many guests are delighted to see and eager to try.
These are just a sampling of the special moments that await you at Wakatobi. Their team is known for outstanding service so don’t be shy about asking for something special no matter how big or small the request. If it is a special occasion trip — birthday, anniversary, honeymoon, graduation, or retirement – let them know, they will make your visit extra special.
For more visit the Wakatobi website.
Diving with… Ana and Miguel, Siladen Resort & Spa, Indonesia
In this ongoing series, we speak to the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…
Ana and Miguel
What is the name of your business?
Siladen Resort & Spa
What is your role within the business?
Co owners and General Managers
How long has the business operated for?
Almost 20 years.
How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?
Miguel has dived since 1993 and Ana has dived since 2002. We are both Open Water Scuba Instructors.
What is your favorite type of diving?
We love all dive types, especially wall diving for the wonderful corals and looking out into the blue wondering what other animals will come up next. But as an UW photographer and videographer we both love critter hunting in the sandy slopes. We are both very fond of night dives as we always find interesting animals and different behaviour.
If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?
We have a wonderful location in the heart of Bunaken National Park and we have an amazing team that provides the best service to each guest. We are a fun dive resort; we constantly strive to be as sustainable as possible and safety is our number one priority. If you like sea turtles and beautiful coral reefs you cannot miss this area for diving or snorkelling.
What is your favorite dive in your location and why?
If we have to choose one wall we would say Mandolin as it has beautiful and healthy corals with a wonderful and shallow reef top. We love to search for turtles in the overhangs, look for long nose hawkfish in the black coral bushes, admire the schooling snappers, and spend a long safety stop on the coral gardens on the top that are full of anthias. For critter hunting and night dives we both love Bolung. Here we can find frogfish, ghostpipefishes and nudibranchs, plus at night we often find decorator crabs, octopus and even stargazers on its white sandy slope.
What types of diving are available in your location?
There are very shallow coral reefs surrounding all five islands within Bunaken National Parkpark — beyond the shallow reef, the seabed drops away very quickly, forming the beautiful walls that Bunaken is famed for. Many of these walls are vertical with huge caverns and overhangs, however some are more gentle slopes that allow more reef building corals to form. On the North Sulawesi mainland there are black sand sites that allow amazing muck diving. Close by, we also have white sand sites, which offer some beautiful coral reefs and gentle slopes. There is even a fairly intact (entirely sponge encrusted) wreck within easy access of the resort.
What do you find most rewarding about your current role?
Working together in a dive resort that welcomes divers and snorkellers from around the world and sharing with them our passion for diving, snorkeling and uw photography and video is a great pleasure. Besides we have the privilege to dive and snorkel at world class sites every week.
What is your favorite underwater creature?
We both love cephalopods in general for their intelligence, capacity to camouflage, change colors and patterns…. We are fortunate enough to have many encounters with cephalopods in this area, from the tiny bobtail squid to the wonderful broadclub cuttlefish, the flamboyant cuttlefish, squids and Ana even filmed reef octopus mating. We could watch cephalopods for ever. And although we see them often, Ana has a soft spot for turtles.
As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?
The biggest problem we all face as divers and nature lovers is climate change and pollution. We need to work on these issues locally but even more importantly we need to address these issues worldwide.
Is your center involved in any environmental work?
Yes, we clean our beach daily and we organise very frequent island clean-ups. Not only do we clean this area, but we also separate the garbage trying to send as much as we possibly can to be recycled. We often have activities together with local school children to help bring awareness of the dangers of plastic pollution. We reduce our single plastic use as much as possible and all our vegetables and fruit peel leftovers are composted. We also protect the nests of turtles that hatch on our beach.
Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?
We are partnering with Coral Eye Resort in Bangka Island so that guests can have the best service in the best areas of North Sulawesi. We are getting one more boat; we want to make sure our boats are never crowded, besides we keep working to maintain and improve all our facilities.
How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?
The industry is doing well and I am happy to see that there are more and more avid snorkellers and not only scuba divers. We would like to see more ocean protection worldwide to ensure the future generations get to enjoy the beautiful reef corals and marine life around the world.
Finally, what would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?
We give you a chance to explore some of the best snorkelling and diving sites in the world while providing you with comfortable accommodation, wonderful food and the best service. Staying in Siladen Resort & Spa you can do up to four dives or snorkelling sessions every day with very experienced guides, while staying in a safe and comfortable resort that aims to provide the best service to each guest.
Where can our visitors find out more about your business?
Visit our website www.siladen.com, find us on Instagram and Facebook (Siladen Resort & Spa) and contact us:
WA +62 811 44300641
DAN and Indonesia Ministry of Tourism advance commitment to Safe Diving
Divers Alert Network and the Indonesia Ministry of Tourism are moving forward with their commitment to promoting dive safety in Indonesia. DAN President and CEO Bill Ziefle and COO Panchabi Vaithiyanathan met with Indonesia Minister of Tourism Dr. Sandiaga Uno on September 1 to further the two organizations’ Partnership to Promote Diving Safety.
The meeting took place in Jakarta amid the opening of Deep and Extreme Indonesia, Asia’s largest outdoor adventure, diving, and marine tourism show, and followed the signing of a memorandum of understanding earlier this year in which the organizations committed to working together to promote safe diving.
In the months ahead, DAN’s Indonesia team, led by Ronny Hertiadhi and Bayu Wardoyo, will be undertaking various initiatives including raising awareness for the new DAN Emergency Hotline in Indonesia (which is available in Bahasa Indonesia and English), training physicians through DAN’s Academies of Dive Medicine, conducting inspections and providing support for recompression chambers, training chamber operators, disseminating safety resources for divers (new and experienced), and supporting dive professionals and operators with free safety consultations, safety seminars, and risk mitigation measures.
“We are so pleased to be working with Minister Uno and his colleagues on this bold initiative,” Ziefle said. “Their enthusiasm — and the enthusiasm of the attendees at the DEEP show — was inspiring. The ministry has embraced the importance of safety in promoting Indonesia as a great place to dive, and we are excited to work alongside them to implement meaningful programs and strategies.”
While the effort is ongoing, the next major milestone in the collaboration will take place on September 13, when DAN Vice President, Risk Mitigation, Francois Burman and DAN Vice President, Medical Services, Matías Nochetto will travel to Indonesia to present a series of lectures and safety presentations to dive operators and medical professionals around the country.
Join the DAN community or learn more at DAN.org.