Wakatobi, Southeast Sulawesi - Indonesia | Traveler Maps
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Wakatobi, Southeast Sulawesi - Indonesia

The area of Wakatobi is fast gaining a reputation as one of the top dive spots around. This small collection of islands in the south east of Sulawesi enjoys some of the healthiest coral fields you are likely to see. The rich waters mean an abundance of marine life in all its forms and the area is now regularly visited by liveaboards.

Wakatobi is a collection of small islands in the Banda Sea, south east of the mainland of Sulawesi. The main islands of WAngi, KAledupa, TOmea, BInongki have some superb reefs that are supported and protected by the local communities. Jacques Cousteau was sufficiently moved to claim this area as possibly the finest dive site in the world.

With very little in the way of infrastructure in this remote part of the world, you'll enjoy the peace and solitude that this paradise archipelago provides. You can relax on the sun deck, chatting about the days diving, content in the knowledge that you are far from marauding hordes of tourists.

Wakatobi is one of the newest and most exciting diving destinations in Indonesia, winning extraordinary praise from its visitors both for outstanding and accessible diving and the quality of service they receive from the dive operation.

March to December is the season for scuba diving in Wakatobi. This applies to both the resort vacations and to liveaboard safaris. July and August bring rich plankton blooms and their attendant big marine animals, but also cooler water and lower visibility.

The water temperature varies quite a bit here. This is a quick guide: October maximum of 30�C, the latter half of August minimum of 25�C, March until May the temperature averages 28�C, June, July and September are between 26 to 27�C, October 28 to 30�C November to March averages 28�C. In other words for 99% of the year, the temperature .

If you want more to do above water you can visit a genuine sea gypsy village. Here you can sample their totally different lifestyle and check out the products of the local iron-making industry - beautiful traditional knives known as 'keris'. No pre-fab tourist attractions here, just locals going about their business and breaking into wide, toothy grins when people from distant lands show an interest in their lives. Other traditional manufacturing going on includes sarong weaving and dugout boat building.

You can also go on treks through some of the remote villages of Wakatobi with curious, welcoming village-folk, unaccustomed to and enthused by, the sight of foreigners. It is fair to say that unlike some places, you certainly won't hear of any begging or calls of "transport transport!" or "handsome man!" You can end your treks by plunging into the clear, cooling waters of freshwater caverns. This is one of those priceless travel moments we all long for, to be far from the crowd and at one with nature.

The resort also offers some sporting activities for the energetic, with beach volleyball, badminton and snorkelling.
Most travel to Wakatobi departs from Kendari and arrives in Wangi-Wangi, either by boat or plane. The first commercial flight was on October 30th, 2012 by Wings Air, a subsidiary of Lion Air. There are plans for Merpati to fly there as well. Be aware that the airport is on the exact opposite side of the island than the only city and there is no public transport available. If you've booked ahead at a resort they will probably have someone waiting for you. Otherwise someone at the airport can call a taxi or ojek for you and you will likely have to wait 30min for it to arrive before starting your 30min journey into town. An ojek costs RP 50,000.