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“Paradise in Bunaken”
Review of Cakalang Bunaken

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Cakalang Bunaken
Reviewed January 13, 2014

This is my second year diving here and it feels like coming home every time I visit. Last year I thought I would do 5 or so dives and ended up staying almost a month and ~ 60 dives.

Clean, personal and great food with fresh fish everyday.

The Dutchman (Ferdinand) and his Indonesian wife, Julie are always there to help me and all guests.

If you are in North Sulawesi and go to dive Bunaken, I would highly recommend Cakalang. High scores for rooms, food and dving and the prices are the most economical I have found in this area. Nan is an instructor offering all courses up to Dive Master.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank Kevin M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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38 - 44 of 86 reviews

Reviewed January 11, 2014

I was staying in Cakalang resort late of November 2013.
Very good service.
Very good food with big portions of meals.
Very good prices.
The cotages are huge clean and very quiet.
Ferdinand will ask your questions anytime ...He is a gentlelman.
The crue is fantastic.
Very beautifull snorkeling just in front of the cotages.
Highly recomented.
Thanks very much all of you for your services.

  • Stayed: November 2013, traveled solo
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Thank Vaggelis G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 5, 2013

The owners, Ferdinand and Julie, are friendly and welcoming. Julie helped to arrange the transportation for me, including where to board the public boat and at what time. She also helped another guest to book his onward air tickets.

The cottage was spacious and clean. There were geckos in it but they're all over the island so you'll encounter them no matter where you stay. The rooms were cleaned daily. There are no safety deposit boxes but I did not encounter any problems. The bed was soft and comfortable.
Do expect to hear the geckos throughout the night, birds early in the morning, the sound of motorcycles and people talking at night or in the morning. There is no sound-proofing.

There is free wifi in the evenings. It's understandably slow because even handphone reception here isn't good. Electricity is turned on from about 5pm to 9am daily.

The staff speak English and always have a smile to return. The food was good and they can cater to vegetarians (there was always a dish of vegetables and fish). The food isn't too spicy so it should suit most people. As one of the reviewers below mentioned, the only problem here is you will get fat. I certainly did because I tend to overeat when I'm hungry or expecting a long wait to the next meal. Meals are served 3 times a day at about 8am, 1.30pm and 7pm. The portions were large and there were always leftovers. I was hungry every day because I'm used to having my meals early, with small meals in between. There were 3 other guests. We ate, dived and snorkeled together. It's nice to stay here if you do not wish to get dizzy from meeting too many people.

The captain of the boat and the divemaster paid attention to safety and provided good service. They even helped a snorkeler who had swam too far away from her group by giving her a lift back to her boat. You can swim out from the resort to the reef to snorkel.

I enjoyed stay here, diving and snorkeling, relaxing by the beach on the hammock and playing with the 2 dogs.

Room Tip: Ask for a cottage by the mangroves to be closer to the beach or if you prefer not to climb stairs.
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank working4vacations
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 10, 2013

We stayed at Cakalang in february this year. Rainyseason, so: a lot of rain.
Because of all the fantastic reviews on TA we booked us a room here. Price-wise this place promises a very good deal: for 40 euros you'll have accomodation + 3 meals. Not too bad compared to a lot of other places.
Contact beforehand with Dutch owner Ferdinand was very nice - he has a relaxing and no-strings-attached way of doing 'business'.
When we arrived we had to walk for 15 minutes from the ferry, cross a little (muddy) path and there we were.. the only guests! There was no-one else.. !
The tiny resort of Cakalang exist out of two cottages and some more rooms in the main house (I think). It all looks very clean and new - but : very basic and minimalistic. In the big, spacy rooms, there is a bed, but nothing else. Which is not too bad, but some hooks on the walls or at least in the bathroom, or a shelf on the wall would be very handy.... we had to put everything on the floor now - which I really didn't like because we had a lot of cockroaches in our room.... (but well, this can happen, it's Indonesia)
Cakalang is still very new, just opened last year, and the friendly & relaxing owners are a big PLUS. Also the food (lunch & dinner) is great.
But it's still so new that there is really nothing to do or see. There are just a few houses, and that's it. Garden is still under construction I guess and there is no really good place to enjoy the sea, sky, or the mangroves.
We missed some relaxing (beach)chairs or a place to hang out - in the night-hour but especially when raining (or at times when you don't want to go diving). We did have some straight, plastic chairs on our little terras, but well..
We might have been a bit unlucky as well, because it was just very quiet... we felt very alone. No other guests and when night fell there was no-one of the staff to been seen either. We were absolutely not looking for a party-place (!), we do like some peace & quite times - but this place was just really boring.
So for us: unfortunately Cakalang was not the place to be - we moved out after 1 night. But: with some small improvements, some more places to sit/hang around it will be much better.
Again: the owners are VERY friendly, and food is great. But for us it was too quiet and still too much under construction...

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank SarahLu_NL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 23, 2013

We met Ferdinand on the public boat to Bunaken and he invited us to his resort - no strings attached. The positive comments on Tripadvisor were certainly not exaggerated: the room was clean, the food was excellent and Julie and Ferdinand were very hospitable and friendly. Diving equipment was brand new.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank wolterwieling
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 14, 2013

This small diving resort is owned by a Dutch diving instructor and his Indonesian wife. Very personal attention is given to guests and the environment is laid back, friendly and very relaxing. What Cakalang offers is a great host family, a great instructor and staff who go out of the way to help. In the evening, guests and staff get together for dinner, drinks, play cards and chat about anything and everything. Price wise this place is a bargain, considering it is geared towards divers and the owner is a first class diving instructor. The facilities are basic and geared towards divers. You will be taken to the best diving spots and depending on your abilities and interest, the diving excursion will be tailored accordingly. When its time to leave, you will have made a number of friends and good memories will last a long time.

Room Tip: There are 4 rooms. Ask for a cottage as it is closer to the Ocean and the sound of waves is soothing
  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled solo
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Thank Mirza A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 4, 2013

After passing throughout whole Java and Bali,
we had intention to visit Cakalang for few diving days/night
and then go forward to Lembeh,
like last destination in our trip through
Indonesia Express Diving Expedition '12.

but,after arrived Bunaken island
and after first snorkeling in that
shady-mangroves-underwater-sunset awesome scene,
and after first Cakalang dinner, night dive, unplugged acoustic
beach party with great friends & ppls, and three kind of delicious jam's breakfast with lot of fruit, and at least, after first diving in the core of coral triangle at Ron's and Lekuan 1,2,3...,

we figure out that Lembeh will not be our last muck destination,
and we decide to stay at Cakalang for last 8 days
for doing more than 25 magnificent dive sites.

We were 4 friends in the group
and those two bungalows under wi-fi zone,
on the fairy-mangroves beach
was that what was supposed to be.
New, big, clean, comfy and just
few steps far from the delicious kitchen with plenty kind of food,
hammock chill-out zone,diving center and gear ,
and awesome three guitar and contrabas unpluged orchestra
during every night.

Just 15 minutes walk far from
the major willage on the island.
We had lucky to witness local
wedding ceremony with bamboo orchestra.

Everything was best ever I had.
Best Indonesian food from whole our trip,
thanks to master chief's from the Cakalang kitchen, snorkeling,
logistics (speed boat for on demand trip, motorbike, public boat),
ambient, atmosphere and vibe during whole day and night long.
On the land and underwater as well.

Best diving, best corals,
specialy after mass coral bleaching event from 2010
throughout SEA underwater,
with magnificent numbers of fishes,
sharks and larger pelagic life,
and more than 10 turtles in some dives.
We don't have lucky to see dugongs
but they are there sometimes during full moon!

Best Divemasters,
Ratno & Nicholas was
great hosts and guides
of their underwater treasures and hidden secrets,
in 75' minutes dives without grumble,
Pangalingan dive site rulz.

All that will be impossible to do
without Captain of the speed boat,
patient and trustful person and best pyromaniac on the island,, ;)

Lovely owners,
Julie and Ferdinand
thank you for everything
what we get and enjoy at Cakalang,
during October 2012.

Words is not enough to describe.

not single mosquito in that period

"Don't you remember"
The Club of Passengers-Researchers

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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2  Thank Brasa S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cakalang Bunaken

Address: Pangalisan Beach | Bunaken, Bunaken Island 95000, Indonesia
Location: Indonesia > Sulawesi > North Sulawesi > Bunaken Island
Bar / Lounge Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #7 of 16 Specialty Lodging in Bunaken Island
Price Range: $40 - $56 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Cakalang a small hide away. A very friendly atmosphere, clean rooms with fresh water. Good food and our own dive center. Dive courses can be done in PADI and Naui ... more   less 
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