This luxury resort has the best diving in Indonesia

Wakatobi is a tropical island dream, but it’s what lies below the water’s edge that draws travellers to this dive resort in the heart of Indonesia’s Banda Sea.

Wakatobi Resort is located in Indonesia’s Southeast Sulawesi, in the heart of the Coral Triangle, known as the oceanic epicentre for coral reef biodiversity. It also sits within a privately funded marine reserve home to thousands of species of colourful and unique marine life.

Private bungalows and villas are tucked into an oceanfront coconut palm grove facing a deserted beach. And just offshore, the waters of a private marine reserve are home to some of Indonesia’s most pristine coral reefs. The diving opportunities here are spectacular. Wakatobi is one of the world’s best diving and snorkelling destinations. Its private marine reserve is home to a coral reef and thousands of fish, invertebrate species, sea fans and sponges. The resort is also known for fine dining and five-star personal service. A ratio of five staff to every guest ensures the highest level of individual attention.

Wakatobi Resort in Indonesia

Leisure days at Wakatobi Resort

Stay at Wakatobi and you can have brunch, and then walk straight out from the restaurant into one of the best reef entry points, where you can drift over lush sea grass, and dive into an underground world with kaleidoscopic fish. It’s hardly surprising underwater photographers and videographers flock to these parts, with most running low on battery long before they tire of the subjects. Out of the sea, a wellness spa, nature trails, village tours and hammocks make for a fulfilling stay.

A green turtle off the beach at Wakatobi dive resort.
A green turtle off the beach at Wakatobi dive resort. Credit: Steve Miller

Diving and snorkelling in Wakatobi National Marine Park

Wakatobi Resort is located on Pulau Onemobaa, an island surrounded by reefs within the protected UNESCO Marine Biosphere Reserve. At Wakatobi Resort alone there are more than 50 mapped dive and snorkel sites. The Wakatobi National Marine Park is the largest barrier reef in Indonesia. Guests staying at Wakatobi Resort have exclusive access to the pristine reefs. There are no other divers for more than 150 kilometres.

Wakatobi Resort blends five-star comfort with aquatic adventures and is as appealing to seasoned divers as it is to snorkellers and young families. The resort’s House Reef has a vast plateau of shallow coral gardens extending 80 metres. It then plunges into the depths in a series of slopes and walls covered in carpets of sponges and sea fans. And diving after dark unveils a whole new cast of characters that often hide or sleep during daylight hours – crabs, lobsters and shrimp, octopi, bobtail squid and cuttlefish.

Snorkelling on the house reef, just metres from the beach at Wakatobi Resort

All aboard the luxury dive yacht

To explore further afield, board the resort’s luxury dive yacht, Pelagian, to seldom-visited corners of the Tukang Besi archipelago. The boat’s two custom-made dive tenders will get you into places few have been. You may see the rarely sighted blue-ringed octopus, the bobbit worm with its retractable jaws and the spotted and striped colman shrimp – to name but a few. On board are five ensuite cabins (two are super luxe). There are opulent places to lounge and an outdoor table where you can dine al fresco, or sip on an apéritif while the sun goes down.

The resort also maintains a fleet of small taxi boats to take divers to more distant areas of the reef then its an easy drift back to the resort jetty.

Villas at Wakatobi

Villas are Wakatobi’s premier class of accommodation. One- and two-bedroom oceanfront residences feature upscale touches. Swaying tropical palms are the backdrop to a necklace of secluded villas and bungalows where you’ll find sculpted stonework, outdoor spa showers, an ocean-view spa, and private pools. Each villa is at the quiet northern end of the resort property just steps from the Wakatobi House Reef. This setting ensures utter privacy while keeping guests within a convenient distance of all resort amenities.

Relax in your luxe room at this stunning dive resort

All-inclusive packages

Villa packages at Wakatobi come with the services of a personal butler. Known as Private Resort Experience Managers, these hospitality pro’s are always on call. They can arrange in-room massages, private beachfront dinners, boat cruises to nearby islands and cultural tours in local villages. Villa guests are also entitled to a private dive or snorkelling guide which is an incredible service for those looking to develop or enhance their time in or under the water. Wakatobi’s Premier Villa Package adds even more perks, including daily spa treatments and the exclusive daily use of a private boat. Discover more about Wakatobi Villa packages here.

Wakatobi rooms
Wakatobi’s premier class of accommodation

Five-star treatment begins well before you arrive

Wakatobi’s focus on total guest hospitality extends beyond the resort. On arrival at Bali’s international airport, guests are personally greeted by a Wakatobi representative. They handle all arrival details and transfer to a hotel before a next-morning flight to the resort. Wakatobi’s concierge team can also arrange for longer layovers in Bali and can help coordinate restaurant reservations, island tours and personal shopping for last-minute forgotten items.

On the morning of travel to the resort, villa guests relax in a private VIP lounge and enjoy a late breakfast. An exclusive Wakatobi guest flight takes less than three hours to reach the resort’s runway.

Wakatobi's premier villa package adds even more perks

Vacations with a Purpose

If treading lightly on the pristine places you roam is important to you, the initiatives by Wakatobi Resort will make your heart sing. Wakatobi guests are actively contributing to the protection and future welfare of the region’s coral reefs. The resort has received international recognition and accolades for its landmark Collaborative Reef Conservation Program. This privately-funded initiative directs a portion of resort revenue to local communities in exchange for honouring specific “no-take” fishing zones.

In addition to protecting more than 20 kilometres of spectacular reefs, the program provides additional economic and social benefits to 17 area villages, including educational materials for schools, direct employment for more than 100 individuals, supplying electricity and clean water to a neighbouring community and establishing mooring fields to prevent environmental damage.

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