Wakatobi is a place from where divers do not like to return. It is their heaven because such majestic coral reefs and colourful, brimming marine life are rarely, if at all, found in other parts of the world.
Wakatobi is part of the Coral Triangle. The name, Wakatobi, is a fusion of the two initial letters of four islands that are part of the place, namely Wangi-Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko.
Location of Wakatobi
Wakatobi is in Indonesia and is part of its province named Sulawesi Tenggara. It is situated off the coast of the island of Sulawesi, which is one of the larger islands of the Malay Archipelago, on its south-eastern side. The archipelago of which Wakatobi is a part is called Tukang Besi Archipelago.
What you can do in Wakatobi
Divers and snorkelers are attracted to Wakatobi like moths to light because the place is full of wonderful dive sites. That said, snorkelling and diving are not the only recreation choices in Wakatobi. There are many resorts in Wakatobi, catering to the needs of the visitors who find their way there round the year, and these resorts have added many entertainment options to what nature has provided.
Go on a Whale and Dolphin Watching Trip
This is a boat trip that lasts for about 2 to 4 hours during which you can see many marine animals in their natural habitat. Playful dolphins may follow the boat, and you may be able to see pilot whales, grey whales, and even sperm whales. If you are lucky, the animals may come close enough for you to see their faces clearly and hear their squeaks.
Sail in a canoe with a bamboo mast
Wakatobi has traditional dugout canoes with a mast made of bamboo and sail made of plastic sheet. (A dugout canoe is a canoe made by hollowing out a tree trunk.) A trip in it will be an exciting experience, especially on days with a good breeze.
Do a village tour
You can visit villages, especially Wangi-Wangi, and see at close quarters how local people live. Their homes generally rise from the water, as they are built on stilts. Then there are other interesting things to see, like traditional weaving, seaweed farming etc.
Watch traditional dances
For those who are fond of music and dancing, some resorts organize cultural evening where local dancers, singers, and drummers present colourful performances. Sometimes tourists are taken to villages to see such programs.
Best time to visit Wakatobi
Wakatobi has a dry climate. As such, most of the year is suitable for diving. However, March to May and September to November are the best seasons for visiting Wakatobi. December to February is likely to be rainy and not recommended highly for enjoying the place to the fullest.
Accommodation choices in Wakatobi
Wakatobi Dive Resort
The resort, located in Tolandano Island, is the right fusion of natural beauty and modern amenities. It is easily accessible because there are direct charter flights to the resort from Bali. The flight duration is 21/2 hours. The food is fabulous and there are a library, spa services, souvenir shop, boutique, and media room. The resort’s Pelagian liveaboard, which does not allow more than 10 guests at a time, making dives and cruises a highly personal experience.
Tukangbesi Dive Resort
Situated in Hoga Island, this is a very affordable budget resort. It consists of sea-facing cottages built on stilts in the conventional style. Food, which includes fresh seafood, is included in the package. The resort has good facilities for scuba diving as well.
Operation Wallacea is a research program which focuses on the management of conservation and biodiversity. In summer, it is possible to hire cottages through the members of the organization.
Tomia is a well-equipped dive centre that gives good training and guidance to divers. They also rent out budget bungalows to those who require accommodation.
How to reach Wakatobi
The easiest way to land in Wakatobi is to make use of the Bali-Wakatobi charter flights that operate on certain days of the week. There are flights to Bali from many cities around the world since it has an international airport (Denpasar International Airport) that is served by many international airlines.
Wakatobi airport is situated in Wangi-Wangi Island and there are flights to it from Jakarta. But these flights go via Kendari. There are also flights to Wakatobi from Makassar. If you have booked at any resort, the resort itself will make arrangements for your transfer from the airport.
Getting around in Wakatobi
Boats ply regularly between the islands of Wakatobi, namely Wangi-Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko. The larger boats among them generally operate only three or four days a week while the smaller ones go back and forth more frequently. On bigger islands, motorcycle taxis called ojeks are available for hire.
Scuba Diving in Wakatobi?
Check out our Wakatobi dive guide and start planning your next dive trip!