Best Diving sites in Wakatobi

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If you have dived in Wakatobi before, please share your experiences: Dive spots you would recommend, which Dive Center you used, Fishes & Diving, Visibility, Currents, etc. Please post your comments in the section below, by doing so you will help fellow divers to plan their next trip ;)

Wakatobi offers excellent Scuba Diving on some of the most pristine Reefs on the planet. The resort is located in the Wakatobi National Park (also known as Tukang Besi National Marine Park) in the Banda Sea.

The main attractions here are the outstanding Coral and the amazing Biodiversity. This place is famous for the high density and variety of small creatures and critters you can find. Several new species have been found around Wakatobi.

Serious macro Underwater Photographers come here from all over the world to get excellent pictures opportunities. You can spot Pygmy Seahorse on a superb Sea Fan, rare and colourful species of Nudibranchs and newly discovered species of the Ghost Pipefish.

Diving Wakatobi Island Indonesia

Credit Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/diverslog/215817070/

Wakatobi is not really the best spot for big fishes and action, not like diving in the Komodo National Park for example, but you can still spot many Blacktip Reef Sharks, Whitetip Reef Sharks as well as Grey Sharks on several dive sites. Eagle Rays and Turtles are common encounters too.

The house reef just in front of the Bungalows is known to be as one of the best dive site in the world and you will have unlimited shore diving! Moreover, this is an excellent place for night diving.

You can also explore this underwater world on a Liveaboard trip (Pelagian Liveaboard). I usually use this website to book in advance my Liveaboards in Indonesia as they usually have the lowest rates I find. I like it because they have an easy booking system.

In this page you will find more detailed information about scuba diving in Wakatobi.

Photos Wakatobi

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Best Dive Review

There are over 40 dive sites in Wakatobi. The best ones are:

  • House Reef
  • Cornucopia
  • Coral Garden
  • Roma

Where to stay?

I usually use this website to book in advance my hotels in Wakatobi as they usually have the lowest rates I find. I like it because it's free to cancel and change the dates.

Best time to dive in Wakatobi

It is possible to dive all year in Wakatobi. The climate is tropical with the sun shining year round and air temperature ranges from 26 °C to 30 °C. This area is much drier than other parts of Indonesia and in particular Sulawesi.

  • Rainy season is in January and February but nothing too bad to avoid diving.
  • Peak Season runs in April and May and in September and November and you should book well in advance during these periods.

The best diving season runs between March and December as well as July and August. The water temperature ranges all year between 26°C to 30°C.

Hot tip

  • If you want to spot pilot Whales, the best period is from November to April!

Scuba Diving conditions

The current is usually gentle around Wakatobi. However it can sometimes be very strong on certain dive sites.

The water temperature ranges from 26°C to 30°C all year round. There are no rivers in the area and so the visibility is not affected by rains. It is generally excellent and ranges from a good 20 meters to an outstanding 60 meters!

Snorkelling in Wakatobi

Wakatobi is a perfect place for Snorkelling. With kilometres of pristine reef and shallow coral gardens you can spend your days snorkelling without any boredom.

The House Reef just in front of the bungalows is a superb place to begin! You can also jump on any dive boat as most of the dive sites are suitable for snorkelling. The resort provides a special discount package for Snorkellers.

Diving Wakatobi Macro Photography

Credit Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/craigd/3902642453/

Travel Guide

Now that you know all about the underwater world, you might want to start planning your scuba holiday! Check out our Wakatobi Travel Review for information about how to get there, activities and excursions, where to stay, and more.

Diving Reviews for this region

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Dive spots reviews in Wakatobi

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Liveaboard Reviews in Wakatobi

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Diving centers in Wakatobi

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17 comments on “Wakatobi

  1. Hello, my hubby and I are considering a trip to Wakatobi in January, 2013. However, we are only snorkellers, not divers. Can you give us an honest assessment of whether it is worth the effort and expense to go there, or could you recommend other places in Indonesia which would be excellent sites? We would appreciate any suggestions you might have. We will be in Indonesia for 60 days and would like to make this a snorkelling adventure trip. Thanks very much.

    • Hi Jan, If you only planing for snorkeling in Wakatobi, I guess it’s not wise money spent, is just too much for it. my best advice is you and your husband learn to scuba dive first before you are in Wakatobi, well unless you and your husband really wants to find out how beautiful Wakatobi is and relaxing and killing the time is already different story then :).. (it’s one of a remote place/resort in Indonesian Island and also I believe January is a rainy season, but not too bad/wet if you are traveling in the Island of Java, Sumatra and Borneo though.
      and if you are planing traveling in January, for the air fare it self, it considers a low season for traveling, and I just checked for the ticket with Lion Air, it’ll cost you around $200-$400, for round trips between Jakarta to Wakatobi for two adult, which is not too expensive, considering it’s long flight…
      And for the place to stay, I suggest you to search/brows around in the internet to find a better deal and service, because there are many hotels that you can stay there, and it always change according to season.
      it a shame if you only do a snorkeling in the place has a one of beautiful coral reefs in the world..
      Hope this will help.

  2. Hello,
    My husband and I are considering taking the Pelagian trip because all of the other indonesian liveaboards are full on the dates we will be there. I´m just insecure because we are really into action and big fish, not do much for macrophotograhy and corals. As I read here and in other sites this would be a big disappointment am I right?

  3. hello i want to go to wakatobi next month, i am pretending to use my regulator but i don’t know wich system is usually used there, DIN or YOKE. Can you help me? Thank you very much.

  4. We visited Wakatobi in 2012. As a dive destination, they do a lot of stuff right, and the macro critters (and guides to find them) are pretty awesome. However, this isn’t flatwater diving – – do expect to have to work in some meaningful currents at times, and don’t be at all surprised to have a couple of ripping current-based blown-out dives on “The Express”: clearly, not the place for a novice.

    Also to note, especially for non-divers, this isn’t a remote/quiet “Gilligan’s Island” stereotype that they would probably like you to believe based on its remoteness: the reality is that they’re in an island group with 25+ nearby villages, and the deepwater channel 50m off the resort’s beach is the “short cut” used by the boats, resulting in a surprising amount of boat traffic noise (much of which does NOT have a muffler) from 5:45AM until sunset: a nondiver here will probably want to have earplugs in order to have a quite time on the beach, becuse when the divers are away diving, this simply isn’t a quiet place to hang out.

  5. I visited in Wangi-Wangi Island, the biggest island of Wakatobi (by the way, Wakatobi stands for: Wangi-Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko.. just a short introduction).

    I had four dives, all in Wangi-Wangi. All of them were wall-diving. It was mid of June and currents were strong. Most corals are healthy, huge and colorful. I hardly see big fishes. But coral fishes are very pretty and shy. Dive spots were about 10 min. with boat. I had also one shore-entry diving, in front of Cemara Beach. Water and beach were considerably clean. The local fishermen take turn cleaning up the beach when they don’t go fishing.

    I knew that Hoga Island (about 2 hours with slow boat) offers better reefs. It is a small island between Wangi-Wangi and Kaledupa. But I wasn’t so lucky with the weather and decided to fly back to Makassar.

  6. On Easter 2013 my son made the Nitrox test at Wakatobi Dive Resort and we made 2 to 3 dives of 70 Minutes per day to depths of 18 to 38 meters. My favourite dive sites in Wakatobi and the whole world actually in 30 years of diving are Blade, Roma, and Turkey beach down to the plateau where the sharks are. Blade looks like a 200 meter tall dinosaur with the ridge going up and down like the back of a Abydosaurus.Left and right the ridge drops down into the abyss, it is quite spectacular, as the reef is 40 Minutes out in the blue water. Roma is an orgie of colors and a fantastic place to snorkel, or night dive, too. Best in the second morning dive or afternoon when the light is good. Visibility usually was 30 meter and the reason why my wife named turkey beach 17 years ago was still there, when the father of all huge turtles nearly bumped into me at the night dive with my two youngsters. Lift the elbow to deflect the turtle is my new sign for turtle. Bernhard

  7. I have been diving in Wakatobi in March 2013.
    Diving in Wangiwangi Island, Hoga Island and Tomia Island. Wakatobi is fabulous, and I most like diving at Tomia Island.
    There are Berrier reef and did you know that Berrier reef in Tomia Island, Wakatobi is the second largest after the Great Berrier reef in Australia.
    I plan on going back again to Tomia 2014, around the month of April or May.
    Anyone join? hehehehe

  8. Beware. I was injured at Wakatobi due to their negligence. No doctor. No nurse. No sat phone. Bad wifi. Trapped for days. Finally emailed my daughter stateside for help. I had to be air-evacuated by Divers Alert Network. No refund on fees paid. No response from management.

      • Wakatobi: Unsafe at any depth

        Beware. I was injured at Wakatobi due to their negligence. No doctor. No nurse. No sat phone. Bad wifi. Trapped for days. Finally emailed my daughter stateside for help. I had to be air-evacuated by Divers Alert Network. No refund on fees paid. No response from management.

        Last April my wife and I took our dream vacation but instead we had to endure a Wakatobi nightmare.
        We are experienced divers with over 500 dives each. We selected Wakatobi for its beauty, pristine reefs and full service dive operation. I bought a new high-def camera, housing and light and we flew half way around the world for this trip.
        We were shocked to discover that this remote, expensive resort was unprepared for my injuries, reluctant to, or unable to call for medical advice (such as DAN) and/or indifferent to my plight. Wakatobi maintains no operative phone system. No satellite phone, or working cell phone. The wifi was often down. With only one flight out that week, I needed medical attention and was trapped and unable to get any help.

        Here is my story:

        My wife and I arrived at the airstrip on Monday 4/27/15 along with all the other guests. We were directed to several Wakatobi cars at the airstrip to drive us the short distance to the waiting dive boat to take us the 10 minute ride to the resort.
        Following the driver’s instructions, we all walked down a long flight of concrete steps to the dock. The steps were covered with a mossy slime; more slippery than black ice. 4 guests slipped on it, and I fell head over heels off the steps, continuing to slide and tumble 15 feet onto rocks. Luckily I did not hit my head, as I take a blood thinner and a head injury could have killed me.
        I immediately told the Wakatobi staff people of my blood thinner status and once the boat brought us to the resort I was directed to the first aid area. ( Later, Valentin, the senior manager on site at Wakatobi told us they had been trying to get the local village to make the steps safer but that had not happened yet. He admitted that they were negligent in directing us down these steps with no warning.)
        Marco, the photography instructor met me there and told me he had taken a first aid class. There were no other medically trained staff people at Wakatobi. He seemed quite frightened at the extent of my injuries, as I was bleeding all over my arms, legs and back. He put alcohol and gauze on me.
        From then on, my wife and I were shocked at how little help Wakatobi provided. My wife tried to call DAN but the Wakatobi phone wasn’t charged and when it was ready, the call dropped. The office staff was sitting right next to her, but offered no other assistance with contacting DAN for the rest of our ordeal. The DAN doctor just had time to tell her that I should not dive with open wounds. The Wakatobi computer was not in service. The wifi drifted in and out. It took several requests to get ice delivered.
        For the next few days we tried to negotiate with the Wakatobi staff for a safe return to Bali for medical care. I was in tremendous pain, requiring narcotic pain relief (we brought some in our personal first aid kit). I couldn’t dive, swim, or even sit comfortably. The only plan the Wakatobi office manager came up with, to get us to Bali, was dismissed by the Wakatobi owner as being too unsafe, arduous, and risky for us to undertake.
        I was finally able to get word to my daughter stateside who is a nurse. She called DAN directly and presented my case. They immediately indicated that they were worried about me and made arrangements to air evacuate me to Singapore (where they felt they could provide me with the best medical care). They were then able to stay in contact with me through my smartphone apps.
        DAN was fantastic in every way! The contrast between their competence and caring and the Wakatobi indifference was extreme. The jet arrived with a MD and nurse. The doctor assessed my wounds and immediately started an IV with pain relief. It was the first time in several days that I could be comfortable and feel safe.
        DAN flew us directly to the hospital in Singapore where the medical report stated I was anemic from so much blood loss. Luckily no bones were broken. After two nights in the Singapore hospital DAN was able to fly me back to the US, providing me with the ability to lie down on the flight as sitting was too painful.
        After returning home to heal and undergo several medical treatments, I emailed Wakatobi relating our damages, both physical and financial. We asked the CEO to forward our email to their insurance company. We waited but got no reply. A second email went to other senior members of the Wakatobi staff again with no reply.
        After a month of waiting, with no response, I called Paula Butler, the local Wakatobi representative who had worked with me on our original booking. I told her about my attempts to get a response from management and she said she would contact management and get back to me in 2 days. This never happened.
        In fact they made no response: no offer to reimburse me for any of the days/diving/services we never used. No apology. Nothing.
        I have now concluded that while Wakatobi is beautiful IT IS NOT WORTH THE RISK of going to that remote corner of the world to a resort that is not equipped for diving or medical problems and (most importantly) indifferent to the plight of their guests. While the management was charming and admitted negligence and responsibility for my injuries, in fact they never took responsibility.
        BEWARE. We are sorry we trusted the Wakatobi glossy image and didn’t look beneath it to see the dangerous underside. I could have died from their lack of care.

        Bruised but unbroken,
        Steve Hess

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