In no way inferior to the more well-known Raja Ampat in West Papua Province, Wakatobi in Southeast Sulawesi Province is also one of the most beautiful underwater paradises of the world.
In the heart of the Coral Triangle, one of the most bio-diverse regions of the Indo-Pacific, Wakatobi’s waters are undoubtedly some of the most beautiful in the world. In 1996, it was inaugurated by the government as a national park. The name “Wakatobi” is in fact an acronym of its four main islands, Wangi-wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia and Binongko. It spans a total of 1.4 million hectares, of which 900,000 hectares are awash with 750 out of 850 different kinds of corals in the world. Due to its magnificent underwater wildlife, Wakatobi is quickly gaining worldwide attention for its quality dives for both beginners and professionals.
Given the outstanding coral and amazing biodiversity, the national park is a magnet for marine tourism. There are around 25 coral reefs with 29 diving spots in Hoga Island, Binongko Island and Tomia. Take in the massive coral heads, trees, and colonies swarming with reef fish alongside a great variety of reef structures and a delightful density of vibrantly-colored soft corals. The reefs start in waters three feet deep or less and the best diving spots are wonderfully shallow. With easy access the excellent house reefs, the night and dawn dives are something you should try.
In Tolandona Island, there is a unique marine park with a beautiful circular. Lucky divers may spot hawksbill turtles and loggerhead sea turtles. Wakatobi is also home to large manta rays. Another thing to note in Wakatobi National Park is the frequent “guests” – the sperm whales. These majestic mammals can be seen in Wakatobi waters during November, when the water is relatively warmer and there is plenty of food to satisfy the whales.
You don’t need to be a certified diver to enjoy the wonders of Wakatobi. The waters are perfect for snorkelers as well. Your experience begins the moment you enter the water and glide across lush grass beds that stretch to unspoiled reefs rising right to the water’s surface, providing an unparalleled opportunity to come face-to-face with the rich diversity of a coral community even from the surface. In addition to diving and snorkeling, visitors can also spot dolphins, drink in the panoramic sunrise or sunset on the island of Hoga and try out seaweed farming in Kaledupa and Wangi-Wangi.
In general there are two peak seasons; one between April and June and another between September and November. But, as in any tropical region, conditions vary from time to time and Wakatobi can easily be a year-round destination.
How to Get There:
Express Air services flights to Wakatobi departing from Makassar to the island of Wangi-Wangi every day. It is the only regular airline that flies from Jakarta to Bau-Bau, in Southeast Sulawesi, and lands at Wakatobi’s Matohara Airport in Wangi-Wangi.
Where to Stay:
Wakatobi Dive Resort
Located within a vast marine reserve, Wakatobi Dive Resort combines luxurious amenities and personalized service with environmentally and culturally sustainable practices.
Hoga Island Dive Resort
The remote location makes it a serene escapade, with only a short boat ride to the dive sites which feature fantastic pinnacles, ridges, walls, ledges and overhangs.
Michael Sjukri / Doc. Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy of the Republic of Indonesia