Wakatobi’s Resort – Dream Luxury Dive Vacation in Southeast Sulawesi

The best of both worlds

The ‘dream luxury dive vacation’ often comes down to two primary preferences – land-based resort or dedicated dive yacht – and when it comes to Wakatobi, the answer is both, as Walt Stearns explains.

Wakatobi’s Resort in southeast Sulawesi provides divers and snorkelers with a unique opportunity to discover Indonesia’s best coral reefs and marine life while also enjoying all the perks of a luxury resort, including beach time, fine dining, spa treatments and impeccable guest services. And, by combining a stay at the resort with a one-week voyage on the luxury dive yacht Pelagian, they can broaden their horizons and add an additional dimension to the Wakatobi vacation experience.


Wakatobi can officially be described as way off the beaten track, far away from traffic noise and pollution and at least 100 miles away from any other divers, but thanks to its private 70-seat turbo-prop charter flight (flying Mondays and Fridays), you can be whisked from Bali to the resort’s purpose-built airstrip in less than three hours, followed by a short boat ride to the resort itself.

Welcome To Wakatobi

At Wakatobi, a collection of beachfront bungalows and oceanfront villas overlook the waters of a private marine reserve that encompass some of Indonesia’s most-protected and pristine coral reefs. Both divers and snorkelers can enjoy these sites, as a bulk of the surrounding underwater formations rise to within a few feet of the surface, creating ideal conditions for viewing with mask and snorkel, along with chances for divers to perform long multi-level profiles that often reach beyond the one-hour mark.

Wakatobi Villa
Wakatobi Villa

Daily diving activities begin with two-tank morning boat excursions that return guests to the resort in time for lunch. Guests have the option of making an additional single-tank afternoon boat dive, and night dives by boat are scheduled according to demand.

Once you’re settled in, you are assigned a dive storage and staging area (for shore diving) with a number and a large plastic crate for your gear. When the day’s plan includes, for example, the two-tank morning and night dive, your gear will be there and ready to dive when you step on board. This goes for just about everything else, including camera equipment – why carry it when they will eagerly do it for you.

Another nice feature is that it is common for the boats to return to the jetty in between the first and second dive, giving divers a chance to stretch their legs, or for late risers to catch the second dive. This flexibility, combined with the House Reef, allows guests to create an almost-custom boat and shore dive schedule.

In my book, the thing that can break or make a great dive experience is the boat. When it comes to this, Wakatobi’s core fleet of seven (two are reserved for private charters only) dive boats are enormous vessels measuring between 60 feet to 75 feet in length. Locally crafted, each boat is designed specifically for diving with a copious amount with deck space with ample seating, space for camera equipment, no matter the size.

While they may not be fast, they are impressively stable on the water (almost like standing on a dock) providing an enhanced comfort level that is further elevated by overhead protection from sun and rain nearly full-length of the vessel.

The most-trademark feature of all is that Wakatobi likes to see that their guests have plenty of elbow room by keeping the number of divers and/or snorkelers on board (outside of the boat’s standard three-man deck crew, plus the typical two to four dive guides) down around ten to 12, 14 max.AdvertisementsAdvertisements