Indonesia has some of the best scuba diving and snorkeling destinations in the world. Wakatobi National Park is one of the most fascinating diving destinations in all of Indonesia.
Wakatobi (pronounced WAHK-kah-TOH-bee) features a luxury dive resort in southeastern Sulawesi, Indonesia. The area includes 143 islands, but only four of them are inhabited. Since 2005 the park has been listed as a tentative World Heritage Site. In 2012 it was added to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
Wakatobi was established following an extensive search to identify the perfect location for a dive resort in terms of geography, climate, oceanic topography and marine biodiversity. To ensure its future, the developers created one of the largest privately protected marine reserves in the world.
Wakatobi is the third largest marine park in Indonesia. It hosts 942 fish species and 750 coral reef species, versus 50 in the Caribbean and 300 in the Red Sea. Wakatobi covers 1.4 million hectares. It includes the highest number of reef and fish species in the world. The islands form the largest barrier reef in Indonesia, second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Jacques Cousteau called the Wakatobi area an “Underwater Nirwana.”
Having identified the premier location, the developers built an island paradise with the essential facilities and comforts to make an unforgettable dive trip. From shore or by boat, you have exclusive access to 50 dive sites, miles of pristine reefs, where diverse and dramatic undersea landscapes harbor the highest level of marine biodiversity on the planet. New and undocumented species continue to be discovered at Wakatobi.
The House Reef is a cornucopia of marine life, which you can enter directly from the beach or the jetty. The coral top is host to sea grass offering refuge to species such as filefish, blue ringed octopus and bumphead parrotfish, while the corals are home to numerous colorful juveniles of many species. The dramatic drop off where the wall begins offers glimpses out into the blue and down the wall – turtles, bumphead parrotfish, rays, mild mannered triggerfish, box fish and puffer fish can be seen among many other species.
Wakatobi’s resident octopus can put on quite a show for those who know where to look. The creature displays native cunning; it adapts, and learns and you’ll find it lurking on the reefs of Wakatobi. Octopi truly are among the ocean’s most intriguing animals. The reefs and shallows around Wakatobi are home to several dozen species of these stealthy cephalopods, and should you spot one, you are in for an entertaining treat. Some are masters of camouflage and misdirection, while others use a combination of natural cover and improvised props to cloak their movements.
In a tranquil island setting far from crowds and cities, with no other divers for at least 100 miles, Wakatobi seamlessly blends five-star amenities and civilized comforts with a pristine natural environment; a pairing that has secured its reputation as one of the world’s finest resorts.
Underwater visibility is mostly between 20 and 50 meters. You can enjoy diving 365 days a year at Wakatobi. The climate is drier than most parts of Indonesia, and the surrounding reefs and islands protect the area from major storms.
Visitors also enjoy kite surfing, paddle boarding, yoga, meditation, nature walks and village tours.
The inhabited islands are home to about 100,000 people, including the Bajo communities. The Bajo are seafaring nomads who inhabit many of Indonesia’s remote islands. They believe that they direct descendants of the sea. Once known as nomadic sea gypsies, the children are taught to hunt and preserve the ocean. They also possess unbelievable skills such as walking on the ocean floor and diving at depths of 25-50 meters without the aid of scuba gear. They can survive for months at sea without food supplies or modern equipment.
Anano Beach is a great place to observe sea turtles in their natural habitat. The incredible white sandy beach is home to two types of sea turtles, Honu (green turtles) and Koila (hawksbill turtles). Depending on the timing of your trip, you might get to see the turtles spawn, hatch and migrate to sea. The optimal time to observe spawning is during the full moon where green turtles usually gather at the shoreline in preparation to lay their eggs in the early hours of the morning. This enchanting beach is also a popular spot for divers and sun loungers.
Adventurers also enjoy the majestic Lakasa cave, which is is filled with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. The cave descends 120 meters. Locals believe that it has mystical properties. East and West come together at Wakatobi’s spa, which blends the best of Indonesian and European traditions.
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