Bunaken Marine Park surely is one of the greatest pearls of the Coral Triangle and some of the most visited diving locations on earth. While Bunaken is Indonesia`s foremost coral paradise, Wakatobi is its last frontier. Not for lack of underwater beauty, though. On the contrary, the Wakatobi Islands take pride in possessing the highest number of reef and fish species on the planet. Wakatobi is an underwater wonderland.

Wakatobi Marine Park takes pride in being home to the largest barrier reef in Indonesia


The world-class dive sites are topped up with historical heritage and beguiling tribal culture. Extremely remote and lesser crowded, yet more genuine and unspoilt, Wakatobi is every scuba diver`s dream and a perfectly secluded beach vacation destination where luxury meets adventure.

Wakatobi is both the top-luxury and the ultimate adventure


Sitting at the very heart of the Coral Triangle, Wakatobi National Park has the highest number of reef and fish species in the world. The tentative World Heritage Site is the habitat of almost 1000 species of fish, 400 varieties of tropical corals and surreal undersea scenery.

Wakatobi greets the scuba divers with a surreal underwater wonderland

Natural attractions of untold beauty await on every corner; mangrove forest, coastal swamp forest, lowland rainforest, mountain rainforest, fringing reefs, barrier reefs and atolls, paradisiacal isles with white beaches, transparent, azure waters, exotic fauna and flora.

Besides, some of the world`s last sea gipsies dwell in the coastal waters, unique culture and architecture can be found on the islands, as well as Dutch colonial heritage and stunning dive and eco-resorts.

For instance, the famed Wakatobi Dive Resort offers all-inclusive holiday packages (weekly rates start at 3.500 USD)

Wakatobi Dive Resort in Pulau Tolandona offers superb accommodation and all-inclusive holiday/diving packages


Tukangbesi archipelago is the epicentre of the Wakatobi National Park. The French explorer Jacques Cousteau called these tiny islands in the Banda Sea the “Underwater Nirwana”. The archipelago is home to the largest barrier reef in Indonesia and the second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Jacques Cousteau called the marine park an “Underwater Nirwana”, indeed the underwater world here is extraordinary

The 143 islands are encircled by magnificent coral reefs, which are filled with small and large fish, dolphins, turtles and whales, and numerous Bajau communities – the world`s last seafaring nomads.

The Bajo People of Wakatobi, a sea gypsy village in Pulau Hoga

Tukangbesi Islands are mostly known among scuba divers, for some of the world’s best dive sites. There are four main islands: Wangi-Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia and Binongko, and many other smaller isles and islets where to dive, such as Tokobao, Lintea, Kampenaune, Hoga and Tolandona.

Other spectacular islands for scuba diving and snorkelling are Muna and Buton (Bau Bau) – both largely covered with rainforest and known for abundant wildlife and eco-tourism.

Bau Bau (Buton Island)


  • WANGI WANGI ISLAND – great diving & holiday destination, beautiful beaches, resorts, scuba dive centres (Mawadah Dive Centre, Patuno Resort, Great Dive Resort)
  • KELEDUPA ISLAND – exclusive diving location (Hoga Island dive resort)
  • TOMIA ISLAND – reputedly the best diving spots on the islands (Tomia Dive Resort, Wakatobi Dive Resort – one of the most popular)
  • BINONGKO ISLAND – fantastic diving (no resorts on the island, diving expeditions need to be arranged on Wangi Wangi Island)
  • MUNA ISLAND – vacation destination, Napabale Beach, Meleura Beach, Walengkabola Beaches & Mutiara Beach (snorkelling, diving, sunbaking, swimming)
  • BUTON ISLAND – holiday hotspot, Bau Bau Fortress, Samparona and Tirta Rimba Waterfalls, Nirwana Beach (tourist hub), Koguna Beach and great snorkelling, diving, sunbaking, swimming amazing caves to explore

Huuntete Beach, Pulau Tomia


Fly to Makassar first. There are daily flights from Jakarta/Java and Denpasar/Bali.


Via LAND/SEA: South Sulawesi has no real highway road connecting to the rest of the island, and the primary transportation link is a Pelni ship betweenWatampone (Bone) and Kolaka (7 hr voyage). Then catch a bus to Kendari or hire a vehicle/scooter and self-drive. NOTE This option is probably more suitable for the independent travellers and backpackers with unlimited time

Via AIR: For those who prefer flying there are frequent flights between Makassar and Kendari (1 hr)

Hire a scooter to move around locally

Bizarre marine creations of Mother Nature, Wakatobi


Via LAND/SEA: there are daily slow boats departing from Kendari to Bau Bau (Buton Island), six hr trip. TIP If you really seek for some out-of-your-comfort-zone adventure there are Pelni liners from Makassar to Bau Bau-Wanci once a month

Via AIR: If you prefer flying there are frequent flights between Makassar and Bau Bau (1 hr) or Kendari-Bau Bau (30 min)

Hire a scooter to move around locally

Wakatobi, corals of all colours can be seen


Via LAND/SEA: from Kedari to Wanci (Wangi Wangi Island) or from Bau Bau to Wanci by slow boat (10 hours overnight trip), Cantika speed boat (2-4 hrs) NOTE Cantika also goes around the islands of Kaledupa and Tomia, and it is the major transport around the large islands (operates daily). TIP If you really seek for some out-of-your-comfort-zone adventure there are Pelni liners from Makassar to Bau Bau-Wanci once a month

Via AIR: fly from Makassar to Wanci (Wangi Wangi Island) – 1 hr trip, or from Kendari to Wanci 45 min

Hire a scooter to move around locally

Huge sea fans, Wakatobi Marine Park


If you book one of the luxurious dive resorts, they typically organise a charter flight from Bali, which saves you a lot of time and hassle. However, to travel around the islands takes time (as you will constantly need to use local boats) and you should definitely add a few extra days to your itinerary as everything is very slow and not always reliable. At the end of the day that is the reason why to come to this secluded paradise!

The coral gardens in Wakatobi are outstanding


The ideal time to visit the south-east Sulawesi is the dry season when winds are at their mildest and visibility at its best (May-Oct). The peak season generally runs between July and August which reflects on prices.

For all domestic flights check out Wings Air, Lion Air and Merpati

For all international flights go to www.skyscanner.com or www.momondo.com

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Eva Bodova

Sunday 12 August 2018

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