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“Best place to learn to dive”

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Bunaken Island Resort
Reviewed September 27, 2012

If you're looking for the perfect place to learn to dive - look no further. The reef is amazing, the sea life is incredible and Sven is the perfect person to guide you through the process. Even if you're just looking to snorkel, there is much to be enjoyed here. The reef is about 200m from the beach, and once there its a comprehensive drop off that encircles the island. The boat goes out every morning and afternoon and caters for everyone's abilities.
The weather was perfect every day during September - clear blue skies, warm and sunny.
The beach front villas are well maintained and clean, and the hot showers and working toilets are a blessing in Indonesia.
Be aware that the power if off during the day in the rooms (it is on between about 5pm and 8am each day). But there is power available in the main hut during the day if you need it. There is free wi-fi available.
We enjoyed the food, but this is not the place for you if you don't like seafood (or more specifically tuna, as its on the menu most days).
Having walked the island, there isn't much to be seen elsewhere on the island. And our stay of 11 days was probably too long - 5 to 7 days would be ample.
There remains some issues with bookings, but the staff do their very best to work around the problems encountered and please everyone. It's best to contact the resort directly and confirm your details and requests in an attempt to ensure no confusion.
Finally, you are asked to pay cash, but they are happy for you to change the required money back in Manado at the end of your stay. This would be more convenient than changing more cash than is required (which happened for us) or having to bring many millions of Rupiah.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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4  Thank TGS123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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50 - 56 of 156 reviews

Reviewed September 25, 2012

However, for what is offered, apart from the beautiful location and tranquillity (at least most of the time and certainly not when the room is close to the diveshop on the beach), the rates are too high.
Rooms are spacious, but in some rooms maintenance of f.i. window closing should be much better.
Food is average, sometimes good and sometimes less. Also, in between meals there is not much to eat, except fruit. Tea and coffee free, but for other drinks has to be paid. I was dying for things like katjang (something with a little salt) in the afternoon. Of course, if you like to loose some weight, this is all perfect.

Management friendly and cooperative, like the rest of the staff.
At first we did not get the beachbungalow that we booked, but as soon as one was available we could change rooms. And also a refund of what we had paid too much.

Diving and snorkling possibilities: every day the owner of the dive shop (Sven) comes by to check who wants to do what.
My husband did his PADI there and that was really o.k. (and more than that).

Terrible is all the plastic on the beach and in the sea and that there does not seem to be some sort of system for collecting garbage. Why don't the resorts do a little bit more cleaning? Would it not be possible to let some staff of the resorts do some cleaning of the beach?

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank GinaL188611
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 24, 2012

First lets give all the tips:
- if you want to go dive in Bunaken you must stay at the Island. Do not even think on stay at Manado because this will cost you at least 40min every day to reach the island and more minutes to reach the dive spot. Do not forget that you will have to come back another 40+ min to Manado after dive
- Bunaken is a hot place so to find a hotel with Air Condition is a plus that makes a lot of difference
- Dive always depends on the instructor and the dive company. It is important to get somebody that knows all the places, tides, right time, adequate boat and tips to dive. Not all dive companies in Manado have all this points
- Have a hotel that has a beach in front of it is another very nice quality. It allows you to do snorkeling if you don't want to go out on a boat or relax under the sun.
- the best time to go to Bunaken is from March to October to avoid the raining season.
- it is a must to set in advance a transport from the airport to the docks and to the island. This will save you time and problems. For sure the transport must be reliable, clean and safe.

Now after many researches that I did the ONLY hotel that has all this characteristics is the Bunaken Island Resort.
Beside of that the manager and the people that work on the hotel are amazing and gives you an excellent experience.
The logistic to pick us up from the airport and the return after finish the vacation was amazing and with good quality.
The "House" that we stayed was huge. It had two rooms (1 with king size bed and another with 2 single beds both with air condition). The living room was big and it had another 3 beds, raising up the maximum number of people to be in the house to 7, even though we are a family of 4 with 2 kids (10 and 7 years old). The kids loved the place and their own room.
All bed have their own Mosquito net to sleep well without being bothered by the Mosquitos.
The bathroom has a shower under a part without roof. So take a bath at night seeing the stars is an amazing experience.
The food was very nice and more than enough for everybody, including fresh fruits as deserts.
We celebrated our 17th marriage anniversary there and they even brought us an amazing chocolate cake for us as a surprise.

The diving company is just beside the hotel (yellow house) and the owner is a foreigner that has more than 10 year living on Bunaken managing this diving company, so he knows what he is doing and have the right infrastructure (nice boats, nice equipment and always find an excellent spot to dive).

In summary, for sure we are going to come back to Bunaken to dive another time and we will stay on Bunaken Island Resort again.

Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
4  Thank Corbellini
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 20, 2012

My wife and I stayed at Bunaken Island Resort for five days in late August. Unfortunately, another couple had taken our room by booking through a local tourist company and confused their way into the room unbeknownst to the resort management. On top of this, when the resort informed them that they were not officially booked into the resort, they simply refused to leave!! The guy even took a stick and was threatening the kind management who was trying to make things right. Unbelievable. Sure, they were duped by the tourist company, but they should take it up with them, not the resort. The resort helped us with accommodation for free, so we looked past this, and eventually got into one of the nice bungalows. By the way, the bungalows are absolutely perfect, with views of the sea and easy access to the beach by only a few steps. The service of the nice girls in the restaurant was always with a smile, and the open air restaurant afforded a beautiful view of the ocean with nice comfy pillows to chill out on. Ok, so the food is not 5-star or incredibly diverse, but look, this is a DIVE island, not the Maldives or St. Barts. The diving we experienced was awesome, with more live coral than I've seen in Hawaii, Thailand, Philipinnes, etc. And the fish life was amazing; so many varieties, and colors across the chart. There is a bit of debris coming from Manado in the way of plastic bottles and plastic bags, but we were told that the clean up effort was improving year on year, and we didn't find it to be a distraction. It certainly won't stop us from coming back at our next opportunity. We will definitely come back to Bunaken and we will stay in this resort again, and again, and again!!

Room Tip: Choose Bungalow 2
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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5  Thank Moodray
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 17, 2012

We stayed 5 days in Bunaken Island Resort. I would love to say, that we had most beautiful time here. We booked beach front bungalows and i would recommend it to everyone who enjoys time on balcony in hammock , observing the great nature (sea, birds, sunset...). I loved open air shower - great!!! The bedroom is nicely decorated, great bed, sofa... As the offer was full board, we enjoyed delicious meals every time. Staff was really friendly, professional.
Beach in the front of resort is clean, although the rest of the beach is not cleaned regularly (from other resorts). Bunaken island resorts beach was always clean. just around 200m off the beach, there is coral reef, plenty tropical fish, we saw turtles on daily basis... no need to take trip to enjoy the snorkelling. we took their Dolphin tour - saw 100 of dolphins playing in the sea - just amazing nature. They took us to 2 snorkelling spots - breath taking - really marvellous!!!!
The management was helpful - Mr. Yan is great person!!!
If you have plan to go to Bunaken - go to Bunaken Island resort and you will have amazing holidays! On www.booking.de is named Bunaken Island Dive Resort.

Room Tip: book beach front bungalows
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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4  Thank dsatosek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 13, 2012

We just got back from Bunaken Island Dive Resort after a wonderful stay at the end of August/beginning of September 2012. The food, service, people, diving, the whole experience was just as good (or should we say excellent) as it was the first time we visited. It is fantastic to have such a home away from home located on top of one of the premium diving spots in the world. And thinking about the view of the setting sun behind the old volcano while drinking a cold one and chatting to fellow divers, waiting for the fantastic food to be served, just makes us want to hop in a plane again and go back. Till next time! (and a special thanx again to Sven’s outstanding dive crew!)

  • Stayed: August 2012
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1  Thank Guthermanssberg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 12, 2012

I've spent a week on the island, together with my 15 yr old son, diving.
The stay was a truly fantastic experience. The villas are fantastic, staff is superfriendly, the view is one of the best ever (see photo), sven running the diving school, is a true pro in every sense, food was really nice every time. The only thing I regretted is that the rest of my kids and wife only joined us after we left Bunaken. I would have loved for them to have the same experience.
Which means we'll have to get back some day and share this unique resort!

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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Thank ainkie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Bunaken Island Resort

Address: | Liang Beach, Bunaken Island 95000, Indonesia
Location: Indonesia > Sulawesi > North Sulawesi > Bunaken Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Shuttle Bus service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 16 Specialty Lodging in Bunaken Island
Price Range: $55 - $79 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Bunaken Island Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Bunaken Island Resort and the Dive Centre are located at Liang Beach of Bunaken Island. The resort provides spacious and luxury accommodation in a tranquil and lush tropical environment with two Villas (150m²) and 6 Bungalows (65m²), all built in the famous Indonesian Minahasa Style and tastefully furnished. Balinese-style en-suite bathrooms with a hot shower tub and an open-roof shower, Wifi-Internet throughout the resort, air-conditioning, grand balconies with large hammocks for chilling out are standard. ... more   less 

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