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“Unexplored snorkelling heaven”
4 of 5 bubbles Review of Maratua Guesthouse

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Maratua Guesthouse
Certificate of Excellence
Palm Beach, Australia
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Unexplored snorkelling heaven”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 12, 2014

Great place to hang out for a while if you enjoy snorkelling or diving. It is still a bit of a mission to get there, but that adds to the thrill of staying in unexplored territory with minimal tourists.

I stayed there for a week. It is very peaceful and quiet. Sometimes the guesthouse is full and sometimes there are only a handful of people staying there.

Jun and Anna were awesome hosts. Jun is a good cook, but is restricted by the fact that all the vegetables have to be imported onto the island (tip if you are a vegetarian it is worth considering taking some veggies along from the mainland). Huge portion sizes.

The snorkelling is amazing. You can rent all you need for snorkelling for $5 per day. Bring water shoes as it can get tricky to get out to the reef when the tide is out. You see turtles every day and so many different types of fish.

Jun will help to arrange transport to the different islands if you wish to explore further for a reasonable charge.

The huts are basic (don't expect 5 star) but are adequate. They have great nets over the bed to keep you from the jungle insects. You will spend most of your time in the restaurant which overlooks the beach/ocean. Two great hammocks are really great to hang out and read books.

There are plans to build an airport by the end of 2014 and no doubt there will be numerous new hotels and guesthouses spring up and this little bit of paradise will be overrun.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled solo
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
Thank ThatPommyChick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MaratuaGuesthouse, Manager at Maratua Guesthouse, responded to this review, April 16, 2014
Thanks for sharing your experience at Maratua Guesthouse. You're correct in that it's a mission to get here, but well worth it for the nature enthusiast. I appreciate you bringing up the need for water shoes. I will need to add that to my list of recommendations in the future. Cheers!
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164 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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1 review
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 2, 2014

I stayed in Maratua guest house with my two small children aged 1 1/2 and 3 yrs and it was the most amazing 10 days. Our host Jun and Anna was so helpful my children still ask for Anna . From snorkeling with green sea turtles too pirate ships on the beach it was an adventure playground. I can not wait to return .

  • Stayed March 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Joanne K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MaratuaGuesthouse, Manager at Maratua Guesthouse, responded to this review, April 3, 2014
Thanks for sharing what a great time you had with your children at our guesthouse. Although, it's challenging to get to Maratua, it's a paradise for children. We absolutely love having children at the guesthouse, as they just soak up the nature. It was such a pleasure to have your beautiful children here. We wish you the best.
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Balikpapan, Indonesia
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 16, 2014

We are couple (30/35) and have spent five nights in Maratua guesthouse. We live and work in Kalimantan and after two years in Indonesia we have found true heaven in here. Jun and his team were just excellent.
Jun is awesome cook and accommodation provided is second to none.
Beach is looked after and probably cleanest we have seen in Indonesia. (and deffo better than the one around Paradise resort)
Snorkelling is easy here and to reach reef drop is even better during low tide because you can just walk there and start swimming with turtles and barracudas. We have not seen mantas there but others did…
Bungalows facing jungle are simple but spotless clean and functional. There is good supply of fresh water even they have to bring it in tanks from village. Electricity is supplied from private generator through whole night and is usually off during the day - The idea of supplying power during the night for fans and charging cameras, mobile phones etc makes sense. and you do not need it during the day…
Also managing the waste is carefully thought through and Jun is doing the best - well I haven't seen anywhere in Indonesia anyone so careful with environment.
Waking up in to the noise of jungle is so relaxing you might even forget about your first cup of coffee and go for swim instead :-)
Saying that Jun is making his own muesli and the selection on breakfast menu is awesome so it would be shame to miss out on breakfast :-)
We have found few jungle tracks that are used only by locals and the fauna and flora you can spot on this tiny piece of land is breath taking.
Island being formed mainly by coral reef is full of caves and deep holes waiting to be explored and crossing the island through the jungle will reward you with amazing views.
You can borrow scooter and have a ride on only road on the island (around 15km) and you will still see only half of its entire length.
There is a new airport being build on Maratua Island so you better hurry up and go there before it becomes touristic hot spot of East Kalimantan.
Jun, we will be back soon! :-) Frank and Jana

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
2 Thank Frantisek O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MaratuaGuesthouse, Manager at Maratua Guesthouse, responded to this review, March 17, 2014
We're so happy that you enjoyed the nature here so deeply. Maratua is truly a paradise for nature lovers. You explained the details of Maratua Guesthouse better than our website. Thank you for sharing that with the readers of TA. Please do come back. We'd love to have you!
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Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
167 reviews
48 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 6, 2014 via mobile

I spent three nights at Maratua guesthouse in late January 2014 and it was spectacular. The first few nights I was the only guest there and Jun and Anna made me feel very relaxed. It was so peaceful and quiet, and the weather was great as well. At high tide I was able to snorkel straight off the restaurant and watch the turtles eating the seagrass. I had some awesome encounters with turtles both right out front at high tide and off the reef at low tide. There is a turtle cleaning station on the reef just north of the guesthouse, where turtles just hang around and you can get very close. Anna is a great cook, I loved the red snapper curries, and the tomato salad is spectacular. Jun arranged a day trip to Kakaban for me for some spectacular snorkelling on the reef and in the jellyfish lake. I loved the hammocks and must say I spent lot of time there relaxing, especially watching the gorgeous sunsets every night. If you want a great relaxing time this is your place. Not the easiest island to get to, but that's also part of its charm. Fly to Berau, then a taxi to the coast and speedboat to the island. Get in quick as an airport is due to open next year and paradise will then be overrun! It's so good I am planning to go back again this month, and stay longer!

Stayed January 2014, traveled solo
Helpful?
1 Thank nicklamport
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MaratuaGuesthouse, Manager at Maratua Guesthouse, responded to this review, March 7, 2014
Thanks so much for reviewing our guesthouse. How wonderful that you got to get close and personal with the beautiful turtles here and that your snorkeling expedition to Kakaban was magical. We're thrilled that you'll be back soon. We'll have your tomato salad and the hammocks waiting.
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Ljubljana, Slovenia
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 2, 2014

We are a family of four (kids 13 and 6 yrs) who visited Maratua island with an adult friend in February '14 for 4 nights. It's not easy to get to this awesome island, if you can afford I'd recommend flying to Tarakan and then arranging a speedboat to Maratua (3.5 hrs, 200-250€). Otherwise you need to go via Berau - Tanjung Batu and Derawan, the latter island being too dirty for Western standards and taking smaller boats there is not very safe. February seems to be somewhat off season but the weather is something you shouldn't care about too much. We enjoyed a lot of sun on our private dream beach and on the only rain day we could easily go snorkelling with mantas on nearby Sangalaki and non-stinging jellyfish on Kakaban - wonderful experiences. Maratua Guesthouse is top choice on this island, more fair priced than Paradise Resort, cleaner than accommodations in the village and nicer setting than the up-market Nabucco. June and Anna make you feel welcome, their restaurant above the beach is stunning and the food they prepare (fish curry mmmm) is delicious. Bungalows in the jungle are comfortable enough, absolutely no problems with mosquitos or other insects, you get nothing more and nothing less that you need. If only June could get less expensive wood to finish the wooden walkway between bungalows it would make this jungle accommodation even more picturesque. The only downside typical for this part of the world is some trash on the beach. June & Co. keep their beach clean but if you move hundred meters left or right ... This will change when the airport is finished and the big resorts come but then probably forget about the dream island feeling. The water is clean though and snorkelling the top free-time activity - turtles, eagle rays, nice reef and coral fish, you name it. All in all, we spent two weeks on Kalimanatan/Borneo (Maratua, Derawan, Sukau-Kinabatangan, Mabul) and I can easily pick Maratua Island and Maratua Guesthouse as my favourite spot not only on this trip but in this part of SE Asia.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank UrosStanic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MaratuaGuesthouse, Manager at Maratua Guesthouse, responded to this review, March 7, 2014
Thank you for your extensive review of our place and all of the helpful information for other guests, who might visit. We're so happy that your family enjoyed your stay and made the most of your time on Maratua. Please do visit us again.
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Rangiora, New Zealand
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 25, 2014

We spent 6 days here and had the most relaxing and enjoyable time. Our hosts, Jun and
Anna were friendly and helpful and great cooks. Snorkelling straight out from the
guesthouse was as good as Semporna in Sabah. The chalets are brand new and look out
into the jungle. The restaurant has great views of the sea and white sandy beach with
great sunsets. Jun lent us his scooter to explore the island and he also organises
boats from and to Tanjing Batu or day trips to Sangalaki and Kakoban Islands. This is
the sort of place that is getting harder to find in South East Asia. Get there before
everyone else does.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Review collected in partnership with this hotel

Helpful?
3 Thank Dave M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MaratuaGuesthouse, Manager at Maratua Guesthouse, responded to this review, January 27, 2014
So glad you had such a nice time at our Guesthouse. It's great that you could explore the island and that you made it out to Kakaban and Sangalaki. I agree that it's getting harder and harder to find amazing places like Maratua in Southeast Asia. It's definitely a hidden gem in this area, but worth the travel.
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Dublin, Ireland
Level Contributor
92 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 177 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 20, 2014

I was the first guest to stay here last year when Maratua opened.

We travelled by chartered speedboat and due to late flight left the main land at sunset, dolphins chased the speedboat and then as the sun went down we were delighted by a green trail of phosphorescent plankton.

We were initially surprised by the expense but once you reach the island you understand what a bargain this is. You are sitting in paradise. No tourists anywhere!! Arfter arriving we were greeted by Jun the friendly owner with an intention to stay for 2/3 nights. In the end we liked it here so much that we hung around for much longer and loved every minute. Jun is a really nice guy to chat to and did everything he could to make us feel welcome. The snorkelling is fantastic, I've dived all around indonesia and the snorkelling just off the beach is better than a lot of the dive sites I have been to. In the morning we watched the turtles feeding with Jun, then we would go for a swim and watch countless turtles, bump head parrot fish, lots of the usual tropical fish, a 1 metre barracuda, even a manta and eagle ray. Jun knows the tides and when the best time to be out in the water is!

Keeping in mind there is no fixed electricity the food is really good and Jun even let us cook for ourselves one night as we hadn't cooked in about 8 months. The breakfast area is perched high above the turquoise water. It's fantastic. The rooms are basic but well built and there are no insects. I usually attract mosquitos and didn't use any net and had no problems.

For divers I would suggest using the guesthouse's contact, we used the dive centre up in the town as the guesthouse's dive centre seemed quite expensive. There is a reason we got a cheaper deal though , we pretty much dived on deep snorkelling sites along the coast which you could easily reach without diving gear. If you are here to dive the spend the extra money to go to the far away dive sites!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Hungry_Neilius
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
MaratuaGuesthouse, Manager at Maratua Guesthouse, responded to this review, January 22, 2014
Thank you for your good advice to other travelers. We have heard from many guests that they wished they had booked for a week. Also, thanks for sharing how you understand why Maratua Guesthouse is more expensive than places like Derawan. It's costly to run a guesthouse without 24/7 electricity, nearby shops and piped in water. We do our best to keep it reasonable, so it's nice to hear from you that you understand. Thanks! Lastly, thanks for sharing about your experience with the diving and the snorkeling. With diving, you basically get what you pay for. Diving is an expensive and dangerous sport, so we think that it's best to go with a solid and safe operator, especially when diving in these beautiful, but challenging waters.

It was our pleasure to host you. Please come again. Thanks again for the really informative review.
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Additional Information about Maratua Guesthouse

Property: Maratua Guesthouse
Address: Maratua Island | East Kalimantan, East Kalimantan 77381, Indonesia
Location: Indonesia > Kalimantan > East Kalimantan > Derawan Islands > Maratua Island
Amenities:
Beach Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 5 Specialty Lodging in Maratua Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Maratua Guesthouse is the only guesthouse on the island of Maratua. We are located in the beautiful jungle, right on the beach. Our chalets are eco-concept chalets that have been described as cute and comfortable by our guests. We have a wonderful restaurant with astounding sunset views. Turtles come and eat the grass in front of the restaurant every morning. The diving and snorkeling in this area is fantastic and we can help you arrange trips anywhere in the vicinity. ... more   less 

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