...Good for: Small animals, underwater photography, reef life and health and visibility...
...Not so good for: Wrecks and non-diving activities...
Rising from the depths of the Banda Sea, south east of the mainland of Sulawesi, the main islands of Wangi, Kaledupa, Tomea, Binongki - WaKaToBi - dish up large portions of all the world's reef types - fringing, atoll and barrier - and are served with lashings of healthy corals and dense schools of fish. Jacques Cousteau was sufficiently moved to claim this area the finest dive site in the world and the area is now regularly visited by several Indonesian liveaboards.
The reefs for Wakatobi diving are unlike any others in the region because of the drier climate and uplifted limestone. Or, in other words, these are fossilised reefs. This means there is an exceptionally clean environment due to the lack of soil erosion. Show more
Coral Garden - Not a very imaginative name for what is a very interesting dive site. Drop quickly down a current-swept line to a sand ledge at 11 metres in what is really a big bowl, 40 metres across. The inside of the bowl is covered in spectacular coral. Coral Garden is one of the top Wakatobi diving sites, offering a dazzling array of mixed coral forms and formations at all depths. It's not just coral though as there are all manner of marine visitors to the garden. After the adrenalin of getting down through the current, suddenly once in the bowl, all is calm. Show more
To visit Wakatobi you take a charter flight from Bali direct to the liveaboard vessels that operate there. The liveaboards can visit more remote areas not as easily accessible from a resort.
Occasionally, there are trips that depart from Alor or Flores and tour through the Banda Sea before arriving in and diving at Wakatobi. These safaris will allow scuba divers to add more pelagic fish action to the vibrant coral reef splendour that is Wakatobi.
For more information on the tour routes and durations, and all the other travel information you might need to visit Indonesia, check out our Wakatobi liveaboard section.
Located just south of the equator, Wakatobi has an even, tropical climate with air temperatures around 32°C all year round. It is best dived between March and December - it's the high season here (most busy around April/May and September/November) during which the scuba diving is consistently good. July and August, while the water temperature may drop a little along with the visibility, is the best time for big numbers of fish as it's coral spawning season. July/August can also see some stronger winds and surface movement.
Water temperatures fluctuate between a low of 25°C in August and a high of 30°C in October. Although this is not really a destination for large animals, certain times of the year are better than others. While a manta ray or whale shark could pass through at any time, pilot whale appearances are restricted to the November to April period.
January and February normally see the wet season here but rain is not as heavy here as in other parts of Indonesia. In fact it is said to be 4 times lower than the national average. So rain does not greatly affect the Wakatobi dive sites and visibility rarely, if ever, suffers from river run-off.
Review our maps below of Sulawesi, showing the location of Wakatobi, and its host country Indonesia. Here, you will find information on how to get to Wakatobi.
Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 15 - 80m
Surface conditions: Calm
Water temperature: 26 - 29°C
Experience level: Beginner - advanced
Number of dive sites: >50
Recommended length of stay: 7 - 11 days