The beauty of Bunaken Cha Cha, aside from the truly stunning sealife all around, was its easy and relaxed simplicity along with charm and warmth in abundance. Raf and Reiko were easy-going and welcoming hosts and their friendly, accommodating team made for a genuinely special experience. I booked very late, just two days before I travelled,and the airport pick-up and boat transfer was all there as arranged, along with a warm welcome on arrival. And it only improved from there.
As a rather reticent lone traveller I was a little uneasy about the shared eating arrangements - we all sat down to eat together for every meal and were assigned our places to make sure that we had a chance to meet everyone else properly - but such was the atmosphere created that everyone was very relaxed, nothing felt forced or uneasy, and we all fell into conversation as if we were long-time friends.
The rooms are simple but equippped with everything you need. The aircon does go off between midnight and 6am so that the resort can turn off their generator for a few hours and use the solar power provided by the island. By this time the temperatures had come down and it was not too warm. But those used to sleeping in cold rooms might find it a bit uncomfortable. As mentioned in another review, the charged internet at USD10 per day was unusual and I know that Raf has explained his reasoning for this. I guess if nothing else, it encourages one to forget about the outside world for a while.
All meals are included and were very good with every effort made to accomodate varying dietary needs. Unless you have strong willpower, don't expect to lose weight staying here!
I am not a diver, but did join the boat each morning and go out snorkelling with one of the local guides who work for the resort spotted things I would never have seen on my own. Although this was my first time at a resort aimed principally at divers, we were all treated equally, something I feel from reviews of other places may not be the case.
Raf and Reiko have developed a very successful place at Cha Cha. Although they call it a resort themselves, to my mind the word has come to mean a much more overblown place than this; it's more of a retreat where one can really relax. I went with the aim of a few days away from a busy work life and the madness of Jakarta and that is exaclty what I found. Even without the stunning sealife just a few metres off the beach in front of Cha Cha it would have been very good, but with, it was exceptional.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hotel/Resort situated on the clean and tranquil side of Bunaken Island comprising 3 Villas, 2 Superior Cottages and 3 Standard Cottages tastefully decorated, all with hot fresh water showers & A/C, exceptional views over the surrounding islands and mountains of the mainland. Cha Cha boasts its own quaint private beach, house reef and in-house Padi Diving Center. The Sea Top restaurant offers a variety of Indonesian, Japanese and fusion dishes with emphasis on healthy eating. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Bunaken Cha Cha Nature Hotel Bunaken Island