The Underwater Nirvana of Wakatobi National Marine Park – Part 1

 

Wakatobi National Marine Park is the location of the second largest coral reef area in the world. It has high diversity of fishes and corals. The ecosystem under the Wakatobi water is very fascinating and attractive for tourists from around the world. Located in the Province of South East Sulawesi, Indonesia, Wakatobi National Marine Park is such an underwater nirvana.

At the previous article, we have already talked about the transportation and accommodation available to support your visit to the fascinating islands. We also have already talked about the richness it has got underwater. Now, we would like to talk about fun activities and attraction that we can do at this wonderful tourism object.

 

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling

With such a high biodiversity and vast coral reef area, it is impossible to visit Wakatobi without diving under water and explore the marine life. Thus, diving is something you should never miss to do. Wakatobi has about hundreds of famous diving spots which are located spread at the entire islands.

To reach the spot, you can use traditional wooden boat or small speedboat. Feeling afraid of deep water? No worries. You can still enjoy the fascinating marine life of Wakatobi by snorkeling at the shallow shores.

Coral Reef Under Wakatobi (Source: Flickr. Credit: Steffan Dreesen)
Coral Reef Under Wakatobi
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Steffan Dreesen)

Some exclusive hotels even have their own diving program which sometimes comes as a package with your room. For example, there is Wakatobi Dive Resort and Patuno Resort. You can simply inform the management that you are interested in diving, and they will take care of everything. While diving, each person will be accompanied by a guide to ensure the safety.

If you do not know how to dive or even if you have never dived before at all, you do not need to be worried for coming to Wakatobi. Several diving courses are available for you to offer. Each one of them has ranging price, but it will not be difficult to find the affordable one.

Under the water, you will have the chance to see the second largest barrier reef in the world. You also have the chance to see 750 of total 850 species of coral in the world. The reef formations are various as well. There are steep slope, high walls, deep caves, etc.

Around the corals, you can see many kinds of unique fishes such as Picasso trigger fish, hammerhead shark, manta rays, lobster, starfish, sea cucumber, anemone, and much more. Total, there are about 942 species of fishes live under the sea of Wakatobi.

Diving to The Large Corals (Source: Flickr. Credit: Jason Heller)
Diving to The Large Corals
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Jason Heller)

The best season for diving in Wakatobi is around October to December. If you plan to visit the islands during this season, it is highly recommended for you to book your stay and diving instructor prior departing to Wakatobi. It is because at this season, there would be lots of tourists and there is a chance that all the accommodations and diving programs are fully books.

For your reference, here is the price list of diving and snorkeling activities from luxury resorts. The prices may change anytime. You can get cheaper rates if you book your activity to other non-luxury company that also serves diving and snorkeling activities. It is pretty easy to find ones in Wakatobi.

  • Snorkeling Equipment Rental : US$ 14
  • Diving Equipment Rental : US$ 25 to US$ 30
  • Per Site Diving : US$ 45
  • Per Day Snorkeling Package : US$ 145 to US$ 170
  • Per Day Diving Package : US$ 190 up to US$ 225 (usually consist of 3 diving spots)
  • Private Package : US$ 225 to US$ 250 (either snorkeling or diving package)
  • Express Diving Course : US$ 60 to US$ 130 (without certification)
  • Full Certification Diving Course : US$ 310 to US$ 990

 

Bajo Tribe

Another unique attraction to explore in Wakatobi is the people of Bajo Tribe, a native tribe who lives nomad above the sea. These people are just like sea gypsies. Their houses are floating above a boat or on a suspended house nearby the beach. To get to know better with these amazing people, you can go to Mola Village at Wangi – Wangi Island. They are very friendly to tourists.

The Floating Village of Bajo Tribe (Source: Flickr. Credit: Nathalie Stravers)
The Floating Village of Bajo Tribe
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Nathalie Stravers)

People of Bajo Tribe have exceptional ability to survive on the sea. They can swim and dive freely without any equipment. They can even see clearly under there without special goggles. They also have surprising knowledge about sciences that are related to the sea such as lunar, tides, winds, season, current, navigation, and more.

It is not a big problem for them to go to a dangerous spot of water that normal people would rather to avoid even with advanced equipment. The people of Bajo Tribe also has amazing skill and knowledge in building boats and suspension houses that are strong enough to fight the wild current.

 

Dolphins and Whales

Your adventure in Wakatobi would not be finished just after you had some diving s and exploration to Bajo Village. If you still have enough energy, time, and nerve, you can try to get a boat and sail further away from the island. At some points, you will encounter a school of dolphins swimming around. It is really fun to see them popping out and into the water.

School of Dolphins at the Sea near Wakatobi (Source: Flickr. Credit: Irwin Fedriansyah)
School of Dolphins at the Sea near Wakatobi
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Irwin Fedriansyah)

At other points, you can see the school of whales. There are grey whale, sperm whale, and pilot whales living at the sea around Wakatobi. The chances to encounter these whales are lower than the chances to encounter the dolphins. But still, it is worth trying. Once you got lucky to meet them, it would be such a fascinating panorama to witness.

 

Other Activities

Enough with tiring adventure, the best thing to do to conclude your day is to sit down by the beach and enjoy the scenery. In Wakatobi, you can easily found lots of pristine beach with great scenery and soft wind, especially if you come to the un-inhabitant islands. Some islands with wonderful beaches are Sawa Island and Hoga Island.

Pristine Beach at Sawa Island (Source: Flickr. Credit: Fajar Nurdiansyah)
Pristine Beach at Sawa Island
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Fajar Nurdiansyah)

The shallow water nearby the shore at these beaches have amazing underwater panorama to see. Thanks to the clear water, you can plainly enjoy these pretty sights through the water surface from your boat. Who knows, maybe you are interested in doing some snorkeling to enjoy this marine panorama?

Play along with your friends and family is also fun to do. In Wakatobi, you can find some facilities and rental that can accommodate some water games and sports such as banana boat, jet ski, and canoe. This option of activity is great for bonding with the people you love.

 

Wakatobi National Marine Park has an amazing combination of coral reef, pristine island, colorful fishes, and exotic tribe. Plus, the islands also have various choices of transportation and accommodation with ranging prices that can facilitate any kind of tourists; from the low-budgeted backpacker to high end tourists.

That is what makes this tourism destination to be popular among tourists, both local and international ones. If you consider yourself a diver, then you must pay a visit to this underwater nirvana!

 

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