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“Resort might be basic, but promising adventures” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Maratua Paradise Resort

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Maratua Paradise Resort
East Kalimantan 88825, Indonesia   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Maratua Island
Jakarta, Indonesia
Top Contributor
96 reviews 96 reviews
65 hotel reviews
Reviews in 46 cities Reviews in 46 cities
104 helpful votes 104 helpful votes
“Resort might be basic, but promising adventures”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2011 via mobile

A little tip before we start: bring your own equipment (fins, mask, life jacket, snorkel, etc), bring drink supplies (mineral water), and rupiah bills. Draw your cash at ATMs in Tarakan airport, or change your foreign bills to rupiah in Jakarta. The only working cellular provider is Telkomsel (EDGE network), so either you roam on Telkomsel or buy Telkomsel SIM card in Jakarta or Tarakan.

I'm brought here by a louzy tour operator, so every flaw is actually his, not this resort's. I'm planning to return to this place in near future.

Maratua, Kakaban, and Sanglaki Islands are the place you want to explore, and are part of the Derawan Archipelago. Maratua has many diving sites. Kakaban has the jellyfish lake. Sanglaki has seaturtle conservation site. There are also many other interesting islands/sites to go. The possibilities are endless, I should've stayed here at least a week.

The resort provide basic amenities (no TV, no internet, basic food, so suck it, high maintenance travelers), but it sure does offer the resort-like ambience at much cheaper cost (and no, they do not publish their rate, so it is better to have personal contact with their manager, slash their rate at half and just said that a friend of yours have been offered similar rate).

This resort's dive shop has little to offer, so bring your own equipment. Apparently a decent dive shop, or just any shop, does not exist in the Derawan Archipelago. Everything is more expensive, even compared to Bali, Bunaken, or Sabang. Crappy equipment is charged highly. A sarong in Derawan Island shop will cost 3-4 times, so are the soft drinks in the resort.

Rather than go by tour operator, you might want to come and arrange your own diving/snorkeling itineraries with the resort's dive masters. The diving/snorkeling experience will compensate the hefty prices and the basic accommodation.

  • Stayed December 2011
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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65 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (17)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Indonesian first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Stockholm, Sweden
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2011

I had a 3 week diving stay here and it was just so nice it can be, in all aspects. Bungalow on the water was fabulous, superb food and excellent diving! Peaceful, quite (except for the moske in the morning :-). You never meet other divers under or on the water, amazing. I have over 1000 dives and this place is wonderful.

Room Tip: Bungalow 9 or 10 have the best waterview and private
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cepu, Indonesia
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
47 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 15, 2011

This is one of the hidden paradise on earth literally! Located near to Kakaban Island with its stingless jellyfish lake, Maratua Resort has such a beautiful white sand beach with colorful fish underneath so that we can just do the snorkeling under this resort bungalows. One of my great experience in life!

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rome, Italy
Top Contributor
127 reviews 127 reviews
38 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
87 helpful votes 87 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed May 12, 2011

I have just left the resort and I have to say that I was very disappointed with the service and the resort conditions..... they said that it opened only 6 years ago but it seems 20 years older.
All the structure is falling down! There are some building that are really broken and I also fell down on a stairs of the jetty due to the broken wood.
The food was very basic but ok. The diving boats are old and in very bad shape with very noisy 2 stroke engines that they only help the pollution of the area.
I would not stay there again, but I will definitely recommend the area.
Maybe others resort are better, there is an amazing tour that is worth the entire trip.... the Kakaban jellyfish lake.
Enjoy your trip, but go in an other resort!

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 1 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 19, 2010

After reading the various reviews, my husband and I went to this place prepared for cautious diving ("take care of ourselves diving". Thanks for the advice, Grevich), not too fancy amenities and facilities. Sadly, despite the good diving, our holiday was spoilt by the tour operator. Our flight from Balikpapan to Berau was delayed by 5 hours. We were put up in a very bad hotel in Berau. We're not complaining about the condition but the operator's attitude. They selected the flights but did not take any responsibility. Instead, when I asked for a refund, I was served with a very sarcastic "being seasoned travellers, you should know better" kind of mocking reply. We were told that when we finally arrived on the island ready for a good time- what a nice welcome! We got a part refund and also found out there was another couple who had the same experience so it happens often enough.
On top of that, we travelled in a dingy boat on the 3 hour ride to Maratua despite following the operator's/resort's boat schedule. No proper working engines (we had to stop a few times), no toilet, no proper seats, no life jacket in sight, very bumpy, etc. Basically we "tagged along" on the boat for transporting groceries to the island. Tour operator's response to that is "... depend on which unit is available at the Berau Jetty, and usually smaller boat will be operated if there are only few guests to be transferred."
Different parts of the journey are operated by different companies. We got wrong information throughout and again and again, they just said" I dunno what the other company told you. Not my fault. Don't ask me." I'm Malaysian and speak Malay so it was not a language problem.
Diving was very good as mentioned by other reviews but maybe not for long... divers and dive masters breaking corals was a common sight. I really hope the resort would make some conservation effort.
Having said that, food is ok, staff very friendly and service is good. If you're looking to go to this place, be prepared for unpleasant changes and I wish you better luck than us. Good luck, folks!

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2010

My wife and I went for our honeymoon early December, 2009. What a beautiful place! All of the resort was on stilts over the crystal clear water and looked out to the sea. When you look down into the water you can see lots of fish, bat fish, ocasional turtle and stingray, and in front of the restaurant area lots of lionfish. The diving: AWESOME!!! - I am a dive instructor and have been to some of the best in the world and work at some nice places. I've even been to Palau in Micronesia, and this place is the best i've seen overall! - At Sangalaki we had not only the wide variety of coral and fish that would make any dive great but also lots of manta hovering overhead and passing by. some would hang out at the cleaning station for a long time just feet away while we took photos. at kakaban you have great wall dives and during the break you hike to a saltwater lake in the center of the island (like in Palau but much bigger) and snorkel with millions of stingless jellyfish, lots of fun! at maratua we had some great wall dives and muck dive where we found pygmy seahorses - 4 on one fan and 1 on another - leaf fish, frog fish, leafy scorpionfish, anglerfish, mandarinfish(evening), blue ribbon eel, giant stone fish, crocodile fish, colorful soft, hard coral and sponges and fans, lots of nudibranches. one dive site has tons of turtles - must have seen 50. halfway through the dive i got sick of turtles and started to look for small stuff and thats when i found a ghost pipefish. another dive "the channel" we used reef hooks to grab on to the rock while a school of thousands of giant barracuda hovered nearby and overhead. i managed to get myself and my wife closest to the school and took some amazing photos. one bit of warning to divers: there are strong currents and although the divemasters are friendly and good at pointing stuff out, they are not at all professional in a "take care of you underwater" kind of way, so if you are not a good diver(like those from singapore, haha!) then you might want to reconsider diving here or dive with someone who can look after you.
Because the resort is over the water you have no mosquitos or sand flies to worry about as you do with the actual islands in most of asia, just a few flies trying to eat your food at breakfast and lunch - none at dinner. The staff were very friendly and polite. They almost are too polite! The manager there even bought cigarettes for me at the village when she went home and brought them to me the next day. I never mentioned to anyone that it was our honeymoon, except maybe to the woman I booked the trip through online and to my surprise, the chef had gone out of his way to hand make a heart shaped, nicely decorated chocolate cake for us! The rooms are very big and have air con and a big bed and a big bathroom and a balcony that has the best view in the world. all rooms face the ocean. The showers have hot water but very low water pressure. Their generator must be on the island because i never heard it running. Food is good and there is variety each meal but fish is common although always cooked a different way and its a big nice tasty type of fish so you will be well fed. they also give you fresh fruit for dessert each day, different fruit. beer is priced good but there is no liquor. you can sit out in the open air right on the ocean and eat then have a few beers each night under the stars with a nice breeze. Very nice way to end a day of diving! If you're a backpacker and want to party at night then go somewhere else, you probably can't afford it anyway. diving is the best i've ever done. just as good if not better than sipadan because of more variety of dive sites and no limited number of dive passes as with sipadan and no trash all over like mabul. visibility was 20m+. we also walked to the village one day where the kids like posing for pictures then look at the screen to see themself. if you turn right before the mosque and walk down the dirt road a short ways to the other side of the island there is a very long pier that goes out over the water with nice scenery. The 3 hour boat ride to the island was a bit long but was on a comfortable boat and the view of hundreds of fish houses halfway ther was nice to see. i like to choose a different location for vacation in indo, malaysia, thailand, philippines, png, etc.. each time i take vacation, but if i ever decided to go back to the same place twice this would be on the top of the list. If you are this part of the world for a dive trip, dont miss it! if you are high maintenance or like to party at clubs all night, go to some generic big hotel on the mainland with the other 10 million tourists so that this place can stay beautiful.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2009

I have been lucky enough to get to travel for the last 10 years regularly, more than 4 faraway trips a year. If you like an adventure this is a great resort. If you want something fancy and just like home, this might not be for you. We had incredible dive conditions. We had 40 or more Mantas for over 2-3 hours at Sangalaki. We also had a massive school of Barracuda 5000 or more, there is a dive called turtle traffic with 50 or more turtles in one dive. If you are into Muck diving there is some great dives infront of the resort. I think the diving was as good as Sipidan or better without all the people. The jellyfish lake experience was incredible and should not be missed. They regularly see Thresher sharks there as well. Some of the rules you might find frustrating, they limit dive times because of the distances to dive sites. Visability was great in June on most dive sites, sometimes we had rough water. The resort is beautiful and I found very comfortable, If water villas are available I would definatly get those they are worth the extra money. I like a real adventure that is a place that is not just like the United States that to me is why you travel, If you do not like fish I would pack some snacks like Power Bars, you will have your fill of the three ways to prepare chicken.

  • Stayed June 2009
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Maratua Paradise Resort

Address: East Kalimantan 88825, Indonesia
Location: Indonesia > Borneo > East Kalimantan > Derawan Islands > Maratua Island
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Maratua Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 11
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Also Known As:
Maratua Paradise Hotel Maratua Island

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