Sandwiched between the Indian and Pacific oceans in the middle of the Coral Triangle, Indonesia is easily one of the most diverse and dynamic scuba diving destinations on the planet. Featuring thousands of individual islands entwined by a vast network of waterways, this exceptional country boasts some of the most remarkable underwater experiences imaginable.
A nation once reserved for intrepid explorers, it is now possible to find a selection of dive resorts in some of this remote archipelago’s farthest reaches. From budget-friendly boutique getaways to luxury all-inclusive private islands, here are seven of the best dive resorts in Indonesia.
Misool Eco Resort
Misool Eco Resort is a sustainable private island paradise lying over 150-kilometres from the nearest port in the deep south of Raja Amat – one of Indonesia’s most acclaimed scuba diving destinations. Established on a former shark-finning island, Misool Eco Resort is dedicated to conservation and reclamation in the name of nature, helping to guarantee a guilt-free getaway for its guests. Sustainable onsite offerings include spa treatments using natural homemade products and a hydroponic garden which provides the restaurant with fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs.
Surrounded by some of the planet’s most biodiverse waters, this secluded oasis is a dedicated diver’s dream come true, offering access to countless untouched dive sites deep in the heart of the Coral Triangle. In fact, some of the world’s best dive sites lie within a 15-minute boat ride from this resort, including close encounters with oceanic manta rays at sites such as Magic Mountain. From $329 per night.
Raja Amat Biodiversity Resort
If you’d like to experience Raja Ampat’s world-renowned diving with less travel and a slightly lower price tag, Raja Amat Biodiversity Resort is a great alternative. Located on the island of Gam, at the heart of the Dampier Strait, this resort is easily accessible from Sorong and provides direct access to the most biodiverse dive sites in the world. The record-breaking Cape Kri lies just minutes away and is famous for dazzling divers with hundreds of fish species on a single dive. Even closer to home, the resort’s own house reef shouldn’t be overlooked and is open for unguided exploration. To complement the sensational diving on offer, Raja Amat Biodiversity Resort provides concierge-style service which extends to carrying, cleaning, and storing guests’ equipment.
Above the water, this wonderfully-rustic resort offers simple, laid-back living, with kayaking, bird-watching and snorkelling on offer, and guests gathering together each evening for family-style meals with the sand between their toes. From $160 per night.
Lembeh Resort is one of the highest-regarded hotels in the Lembeh Strait – often cited as the ‘muck-diving’ capital of the world due to its murky yet biodiverse waters. The miniature yet mesmerising sea creatures found in these unlikely conditions are a favourite among underwater photographers, and this resort has some of the best photography facilities in the region. Guests at Lembeh Resort will find a large camera room equipped with rinse tanks and plenty of workstations, as well as a drying cabinet and 3D printer to help with camera repairs. A professional underwater photographer is also on hand to deliver courses and critique sessions, and offer general support and advice regarding personal equipment.
Located in a central position, surrounded by some of Lembeh’s best sites, this industry-leading resort operates a “dive as your like” policy and will happily organise a dive schedule to suit your individual desires. And, if you’re a certified diver, the house reef is open for self-guided exploration 24 hours a day. From $140 per night.
Twice voted Indonesia’s Leading Dive Resort at the World Travel Awards, Bunaken Oasis simply had to be in this list. This luxurious little resort is in a league of its own, delivering five-star experiences and first-class service while keeping its ecological impact at a minimum. Home to just 12 charming ocean-view cottages this resort promises quiet and personal getaways in the heart of the Bunaken National Marine Park, helping guests slip into a state of relaxation with onsite spa services and an infinity pool with one of the best views imaginable.
When it comes to diving, this resort provides access to over 100 stunning dive sites featuring thriving coral reefs and dizzying walls disappearing into the depths. While staying here, divers can make the most of state-of-the-art facilities for underwater photography, free nitrox for certified divers, and an in-room tablet loaded with fish identification books. Plus, alongside a full range of recreational scuba courses, Bunaken Oasis also features an in-house technical diving school for those wishing to take their adventure even deeper. From $590 per night.
Siddhartha Oceanfront Resort
Siddhartha was the birth name of Buddha, and this premier resort in Bali, otherwise known as the “Island of the Gods”, aims to guide guests to their own small sense of enlightenment. Located at the foot of an active volcano, Siddhartha Oceanfront Resort draws on Bali’s cultural spirituality and spectacular natural beauty to create the ultimate relaxation retreat. Guests can soak in the yin and yang-shaped swimming pool, sweat out the toxins in the fitness centre, and soothe their tired muscles with traditional spa treatments.
This tranquil resort also offers daily yoga classes combined with meditative – a great activity for divers looking to extend their time underwater. And, with a 350-metre house reef just offshore and the world-renowned Liberty Wreck only a short commute away, you won’t want to surface early. Whilst staying at this resort, diving guests can also make the most of top-quality rental equipment, free nitrox for certified divers, and optional day trips to the manta ray and mola mola hotspots of Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Penida. From $37 per night.
Kalimaya Dive Resort
Kalimaya is East Sumbawa’s first dive resort, providing unprecedented access to one of Indonesia’s last true diving frontiers. Surrounded by untouched and uncharted waters, including the sites around West Komodo, Gili Banta, and Sangeang, this resort was designed to deliver boutique getaways to discerning and dedicated divers. With such unique diving on offer, a camera is a must here, and Kalimaya caters to underwater photographers with a state-of-the-art camera room on site. Plus, the highly-regarded team of local guides are on hand to help spot some of the region’s most camouflaged creatures such as nudibranchs and frogfish.
Accommodating just 20 guests, Kalimaya provides one of the most intimate getaways you can imagine. Designed to deliver boutique getaways to discerning and dedicated divers, there’s little else to do here except for soaking up the stunning rural surroundings. But with diving this good on your doorstep, you certainly won’t get bored. From $150 per night.
Set in the middle of the Celebes Sea at the south end of Maratua Atoll, Virgin Cocoa Resort is wonderfully secluded, providing an ideal location for travellers seeking to escape. This small, chic resort boasts first-class service in a perfectly-peaceful atmosphere, enhanced through an array of wellness-related offerings. Guests here can take part in energising vinyasa yoga flows every morning and relaxing yin yoga sessions each night, as well as indulging in soothing spa services and boosting their inner balance with tailor-made health-focused meals.
Virgin Cocoa’s partner dive centre is part of a well-respected global chain known for its high standards of service and little perks such as free nitrox. The resort is home to one of Indonesia’s best house reefs, stretching for several kilometres around the island and boasting seven dive sites which are open for unguided exploration. Trips can also be organised to the manta rays of Sangalaki, Kakaban’s Jellyfish Lake, and the remote shark diving of Muaras Atoll. From $163 per night.