It's a tough place to leave, especially when you are laying in the hammock post-snorkeling and writing Tripadvisor reviews. The owner (Roberto) wasn't here when we were staying, but Amedeo, his business partner was and despite him being here alone (poor guy), things seemed to run mostly fine. The food was great, especially lunch and dinner. A few people came and went whilst we were here and we asked for breakfast to be changed to Indonesian food (Nasi and local fare), versus just toast and peanut butter/jam. They were happy to accommodate, but it was spotty. Most days we had to ask for anything more than the two slices of toast.
Lunch and dinner is plentiful and tasty and there are always leftovers. Somewhere in the middle of our stay, the banana tree that was a fixture in the dining area disappeared so our free fruit options were none-existent for a few days but later corrected.
The atmosphere is very relaxed here; it’s a small family place, with staff knowing you on first name basis. Even the dive staff addresses you by first name, which is a bit shocking if you can’t reciprocate initially. The dive equipment looks shiny and new and hisses when the right valves are opened and nobody seemed to have an issue with any of it, as far I could tell. I only snorkeled while I was here. I had a decent set of snorkel gear and having no hair, asked for a hood so as not to burn my cranium during hours and hours of snorkeling. This is the fifth place I’ve been snorkeling (Mexico, Thailand, Kenya, Galapagos before) and certainly one of the better spots. There are tons of fish of all sizes and colors, varied reef structures, hard and soft coral, and incredible visibility (50 meters) in most places. I’m not sure why people dive here, because there is so much life between zero and ten meters anyways. The “house reef”, which sits 50 meters off the shore in front of the resort, is probably one of the better spots to go for a relaxed snorkel on a lazy afternoon.
Our cabin (one of the three luxury ones) was much bigger than we thought and everything worked well. Hot water all the time, access to wifi, place was cleaned every day. There was power mostly 24/7 with a few flickers here and there, but far more reliable than we expected. The deck and hammock saw lots of use too. We extended our stay midway for another week. The kitchen staff invited us to a wedding, which was an interesting affair.
My friend took an open water dive course, a refresher really, as she had an old PADI certification, and was not too impressed with the process. First off, she asked for a private course (40 Euro or so more), but then when we got here she was only able to dive after the second day, as there were a few other new students (from another resort) taking a beginner course. She then had some problem with her ears and decided to take a break for a few days. We extended our stay, which was quite pleasant, and then the dive instructor got sick, which resulted in a few days delay and questions as to whether he could safely finish the course. At that point, my friend wanted to cancel the rest of the course and pay for what she did up to that point but was pressured into completing it, so we stayed a few more days. In the end it seemed to all have worked out somewhat, but it could have been a smoother process overall. In talking to the people who come here for diving, it seemed a great place. Maybe not for beginners and not for snorkelers. The dive master was pretty surly (maybe only to me, the non-diver).
All in all we really enjoyed our stay here and can certainly recommend it. You get to know the staff, the people on the boat and the people who run the resort quite well after a few days. Bunaken is a small island, with only 5,000 people or so, and everyone seems to be in each other’s business one way or another. Don’t expect to buy anything here, there are a few “home stores”, where you can buy cookies, some coffee, coke and beer, cigarettes but not much more. No ATM’s, restaurants, pharmacies, doctors or anything of that sort is available here.
Ask for bungalow #3 (superior). The other bungalows don't have decent wifi coverage.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.