I have travelled fairly extensively for the past 10 years and usually I do not revisit many of them, but this is one of the very few exceptions that prove the rule :-)
Being an eco-/nature resort some amenities are of course not present. That said you do get all nature has to offer as it is nestled on a slope in the jungle right by the sea. The possibility of viewing whales, dolphins etc. during the day from the balcony and at night a brilliant starry sky (very little light pollution) with fireflies in the trees. Depending on the season there can be mosquitoes but near the water/restaurant/balcony there are usually very few if any.
All are quite spacious with open style balconies with nice views of the sea and most with aircon during the hot hours of the day. Hot gas powered showers and the optional internet connection makes the package complete. Being in the jungle you do get the joy of the occasional gecko but they are very shy...:-) The beds have been upgraded since my first stay and are quite good - usually the lovely sunrises wake you anyway for breakfast and the following dives. The rooms are clean and treated daily to prevent insects. You can have your laundry done day to day for a small fee.
Being on an island there is only the resort option for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea/coffee/cake and diner (and a late night drink). Usually I do prefer to have a choice but the food is VERY varied and VERY good (dietary needs can/will be met) and especially with the family style dining it is quite the experience: you get to discuss and chat about (almost) everything under the sun with likeminded guests (have met a lot of good/close friends here over the years) and the managing husband/wife team Raf & Reiko (a feature in their own right and not to be missed!). The staff is always very kind and attentive. There is a fairly assorted bar with coffee, espresso, beer, wine and liquor.
Having been to The Great Barrier Reef, Caribbean, Greece and Raja Ampat I must admit this is probably my favourite place to dive (Raja Ampat might be a bit better but also a lot more difficult and expensive to get to). I don't go hunting for anything specific but the rich coral walls with the teaming life paints a wonderful tapestry. You can see many different nudibranchs, frogfish, pygmy seahorses, turtles, eagle rays, sunfish, dugong etc. On occasion whale sharks and manta rays pass by on their way to the Philippines. Visibility is usually quite good and in the dry season it can be excellent - temperatures in the high 20's. Two morning dives (with tea, water and biscuits), an afternoon dive and a night dive is possible - my favourite being the night dive; such a relaxing and amazing experience. The 3 day dives also has the option for snorkelling in stead. All equipment can be rented and is in good condition. The dive guides are well trained and very good at finding even the smallest critter. If you fancy critter hunting/muckdiving Lembeh Strait is close by.
Not much going on which I actually like; a rare chance these days to get away from it all. There are 3 villages on the island connected by a dirt road. All are within walking distance and worth a visit if you stay for a longer period. No cars on the island, only scooters and oxcarts.
Manado Tua: extinct and protected volcano close to Bunaken. Hiking to the top is possible in the dry season to look in to the ecosystem in the crater
Mount Klabat: volcano on the mainland near Manado. Hiking to the 2km high rim for sunrise views should be spectacular - but only in the dry season
Tangkoko: national park on the mainland - home of the Tarsier
Tomohon: a village situated between two volcanoes. You can drive to the top of the extinct Mahawu to walk around the rim (at night the bottom of the crater has green glow to it)
Lahendong Sulphur Pits: self-explanatory - possible to walk over the boiling pits on bamboo bridges
Pulutan village: a whole village dedicated to making clay pottery - interesting for a short visit
Lake Linow: a naturally toxic lake that has the ability to change colour
Lembeh Strait: probably needs no introduction - world class muckdiving.
Lake Tondano: sightseeing along its shores - reminds me a bit of the Italian lakes
In essence this is THE place to unwind among unknown friends while having some amazing dives - enjoy!
- 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