Black Sand Dive Retreat Lembeh Reviews & Specials - Bluewater Dive Travel

Black Sand Dive Retreat


Destination: Indonesia

Kel. Kasawari, Lembeh Strait, Makawidey, Aertembaga, Kota Bitung, Sulawesi Utara | Full-board + 2-3 dives from $218/ppn

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Black Sand Dive Retreat Quick Pitch

Situated on the well-loved Lembeh Strait, this muck diving haven draws divers world-wide. This exclusive 6 bungalow resort is perfect for divers seeking both relaxation and outdoor adventures.


Quick Information 

  • No of Rooms: 6
  • Dive Center: On-site
  • Amenities: AC, ceiling fans, private balconies, ensuite bathrooms, camera station, wifi, nitrox
  • WiFi: Yes, free
  • Nearest International Airport: Sam Ratulangi International Airport
  • Airport shuttle: Yes


How to Get There 

Black Sand is located on Kambahu Bay, just a 5-minute boat ride from most Lembeh Strait dive sites, and a 90 minute - 2-hour drive from the Sam Ratulangi International Airport.  


Dive Overview 

Situated on the well-loved Lembeh Strait, this muck diving haven draws divers worldwide. This exclusive 6 bungalow resort is perfect for divers seeking both relaxation and outdoor adventures.



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Types of Rooms, Amenities and Photos

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Black Sand Dive Retreat Accommodation Overview 

There are 6 coconut wood bungalows offer beautiful views and large balconies. Each coconut-wood bungalow offers wondrous views over Kambahu Bay and Lembeh Strait. The bedroom is equipped with both a ceiling fan and a/c for your comfort, with complimentary drinking water, coffee and tea close at hand. Free Wi-Fi is also available in all the bungalows. Each unit has a walk-in closet to keep your bags and belongings organized and out of the way as well as a room safe for your valuables and a walled open-air “Bali-style” garden bathroom with a hot water shower to help reheat you after long repetitive dives


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Resort Facilities

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Black Sand Dive Retreat


Black Sand Dive Retreat Features

  • Private beach
  • Reference library / TV room
  • Satellite television
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • Restaurant
  • Freshwater pool


Black Sand Dive Retreat Food & Drinks 

The meals are served in the main building, which offers scenic panoramas.


Black Sand Dive Retreat Activities

  • Diving
  • Swimming
  • Snorkeling
  • Tours


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Package & Rates

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accommodation rates 2024

All rates are in EUR and per person, including government tax.

Accommodation RatesDouble / Twin Occupancy
Single Occupancy
Fullboard (All meals including tea, coffee, and water)€115.00€140.00
Long Stay Bonus (begins on the 8th night)€100.00€130.00
Extra Bed€95.00 

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diving & snorkeling Rates 2024

All rates are in EUR and per person, including government tax.

Diving & SnorkelingRates
1 - 9 Dives€43.00
10 - 19 Dives€40.00
20+ Dives€37.00
Night Dive Surcharge€15.00
Additional unguided house reef dives€18.00
Guide for house reef day dive€10.00
Guide for house reef night dive€15.00
Nitrox Surcharge per Tank€9.00
Unlimited Nitrox€240.00

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Dive Package Rates 2024

All rates are in EUR and per person, including government tax.

Dive PackagesDouble / TwinSingle
3 Nights / 5 Dives€600.00€675.00
4 Nights / 8 Dives€844.00€944.00
5 Nights / 11 Dives€1,055.00€1,180.00
6 Nights / 14 Dives€1,290.00€1,440.00
7 Nights / 17 Dives€1,525.00€1,700.00
8 Nights / 20 Dives€1,685.00€1,890.00
9 Nights / 23 Dives€1,896.00€2,131.00
10 Nights / 26 Dives€2,107.00€2,372.00
11 Nights / 29 Dives€2,318.00€2,613.00
12 Nights / 32 Dives€2,529.00€2,854.00
13 Nights / 35 Dives€2,740.00€3,095.00
14 Nights / 38 Dives€2,951.00€3,336.00

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  • Roundtrip airport transfers (for single guests, a surcharge of € 7 will be applied on checking out). Extra charges will apply if transfer to / from Manado or further
  • Accommodation
  • Evening dinner on arrival day, three meals daily on second day onwards except for departure day. Breakfast only on departure day. Extra charges will apply if clients have lunch on arrival or departure day
  • Morning and afternoon snacks
  • Welcome drink
  • Welcome fruit basket
  • Free wi-fi connection
  • Coffee, tea & water in the room (self-service)
  • Guided boat dives
  • Free unlimited self-guided House Reef diving (air only). However, solo diving is not allowed by government law. If you do not have a buddy or if you want a guide, the surcharge is Euro 12 / dive for day dive and Euro 15 / dive for dusk / night dive
  • Government tax


  • Alcohol, soft drinks, juices after breakfast
  • Equipment rentals
  • Telephone calls
  • Laundry service
  • Gratuities

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For information on rates, availability and to book, drop us an email at or call us at 310-915-6677 and we will gladly help you plan your dream dive vacation!  

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Dive Information

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Biodiversity in Lembeh

Lembeh Strait is auspiciously located in the famed “Coral Triangle”, which boasts the greatest marine biodiversity on the planet. As one move away from this area, the numbers of marine species decrease dramatically.

Why are these waters so rich? It most probably is no coincidence that the largest water movement on the planet, known as the Indonesian Throughflow, splits past the northern tip of Sulawesi. To the north of Sulawesi, a string of volcanic islands form a chain all the way to the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. Below the water, this chain forms the Sarangani Sill, which divides deepwater basins to the east and west.

To the west of Sulawesi is the Sulawesi Basin, while to the east there is the Philippine Sea and the West Caroline Basin. The movement of water westwards from this basin begins the Indonesian Throughflow. Hitting the Sarangani Sill, the shallow portions of this water flow over this barrier and continue westward and down the west coast of Sulawesi.

The deeper waters hit the barrier and are diverted southward down the eastern side of Sulawesi and through the Moluccan Islands. Most of North Sulawesi lacks a continental shelf, which means that abyssal depths exist directly offshore and these deeper, nutrient-rich waters are forced upwards and churned with surface waters as they are flushed through the narrow confines of the strait.

Though currents are strong in the main channel, there are numerous small bays out of the current stream suitable for easy diving in which the nutrients settle to foster the rich biodiversity that our region is renowned for.


Diving Day

The strategic location in Kambahu Bay has Black Sand Dive Retreat located right amongst the best muck dives in the entire strait. Most of the boat trips to the dive sites are ten minutes or less. This gives you more time for relaxing at the resort rather than spending a large chunk of your day bobbing around on a boat. With a maximum of four guests per boat, they're keeping the dive groups small, while most of the other resorts in the area put 8, 12 or even more guests per boat, which results in a lot of the sand bottom being kicked up and pile-ups ensuing at special critters.

All of the boat dives are out-and-back, so you are not obligated to do two morning dives if you do not wish to. Sleeping in with a late breakfast is a viable option. The first boat dive of the day is at 8:00, with coffee/tea and a snack awaiting at the Dive Center on your return. The second boat dive departs at 11:00. The resort asks guests to limit their bottom time to 75 minutes on boat dives to keep to the schedule and ensure safe surface interval times.

As your lunch was ordered immediately after breakfast, your meal will be quickly served as soon as you seat yourself in our restaurant for lunch, allowing you time to relax before the afternoon dive, which leaves at 2:30. Night boat dives are available on request and depart at 5:45 or 6:00, depending on the time of year. Unguided or guided House Reef dives, day or night, can be arranged by our dive staff. Simply ask. The House Reef is open at 8 am and the resort asks guests to be out of the water by 8 pm.

The staff will help with your equipment, cleaning it and hanging it up for you in your equipment locker at the end of your diving day. The next morning they will have your BCD and regulator set assembled and ready aboard the boat. If doing a self-guided beach dive, you need to rinse and store your equipment yourself.

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Dive Center Information

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Black Sand Dive Retreat Black Sand Dive Retreat


Black Sand Dive Retreat Dive Center Overview

In the spacious Dive Center there are equipment cubicles for guest equipment to drip dry in the breeze between dives and provide space for easy suiting up. Within meters are showers as well as rinse tanks for washing both diving equipment and for soaking underwater camera gear.

There is a dedicated camera room that is fan-cooled, offering two heights of camera stations, each with outlets for charging both 220 V and 110 V.

The two compressors and Nitrox blending system have their own room, there is a WC for guests, a rental equipment room, and a briefing center, covering all your diving requirements.

Well-trained guides with “magic eyes” are a top priority and with years of experience in the area, guests can be assured of seeing the very best that the strait has to offer. Under the supervision of Canadian PADI Instructor Ben Baker, the Dive Team can be relied upon to maintain the enthusiasm and marine knowledge that Bruce is renowned for.


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Other Information

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Practical Information

  • Electricity: 220 & 110 volts
  • Time zone: UTC+8
  • Languages: Indonesian, Thai & English
  • Accept Credit Cards?: Yes, Visa & Mastercard

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Got Questions? Ready to Book?

Call us today at 310-915-6677 or email us

And let us book your dream vacation!

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Underwater Gallery

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Black Sand Dive Retreat Black Sand Dive RetreatBlack Sand Dive Retreat  Black Sand Dive RetreatBlack Sand Dive Retreat Black Sand Dive Retreat Black Sand Dive Retreat


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Reviews (2)


Black Sand is a fairly small-scale operation with 6 bungalows, which is great for the guests because we were given so much care and attention from our hosts. Bruce, Fung and Rustam couldn't have been more gracious with their time, enthusiasm and attention to our needs. Bruce (always accompanied by his two dogs) will come and sit, eat and share stories with the guests every evening, often helping us to identify some of the many critters that we had photographed but couldn't put a name to.

Lunch and evening meals are selected after breakfast. It's a somewhat limited choice but that's to be expected and the meals were always more than satisfactory, with a choice of European and Asian fare.

The bungalows are very comfortable with spectacular views of the bay. The bathrooms have four walls but no ceiling.

The dive operation is very professionally operated. Nitrox is available and there is a room dedicated to camera maintenance. There is a maximum of 4 divers plus guide to each boat. We just needed to request a particular critter of our excellent guide Robin, and he would invariably take us to an appropriate site and show it to us. All of the Lembeh dive sites are amazing and we returned from each dive with massive smiles on our faces.

After washing your equipment, you can forget about it until you're ready to gear up on the next dive. We paid for 7 nights/ 17 dives, but the resort is very amenable to any requests for additional dives. You also get one free dive of the House Reef per day and it's definitely worth repeated visits.

All in all, a great resort, and one that I am quite confident that I will return to.

Visited on 10/2013 - Submitted on 01/27/2014

Lembeh is one of my favorite places to dive and after three trips I think I found my favorite resort. Black Sand Dive Resort (BSDR) is a gem of a place and it is very well priced considering what you get. And you get a huge beautiful bungalow with amazing views, three course meals, and amazing personalized diving. And their house "reef" is one of the top sites to dive at.

They are also about to open their newly built pool (although I personally would have built it in a different location).
On top of all that we lucked into seeing a whale shark!!

We live in Singapore so it is a simple 3hr direct flight to Manado and then the resort is a 1.5hr drive

The resort is set up on the hill with all the bungalows over looking the beautiful Lembeh Straights.

The bungalows are big and spacious! The bed was comfy, the bathroom is "out doors" and beautiful. It was interesting showering in the rain! A double shower. And there is a walk in closet. So all in all the bungalows are really comfortable living spaces. The only thing missing is a hammock!! There was also aircon and a ceiling fan, when the power was on. As you are in Indo power outages are just part of life.

The main reception / dining buidling is also up on the hill at roughly the same level as the bungalows.

The dining area has no aircon nor fans, so if there is no breeze (which there wasn't for much of our stay) it gets pretty warm and muggy. They said they were going to buy fans soon.

The food in general for lunch and dinner was really good. The menu changed each day and you had a choice of three starters, 3 mains and 2 desert. Everyone in the group thought the portions were good and the taste even better. For breakfast you had a choice of eggs and bacon or fruit or pancakes or french toast etc etc. I did not think the breakfast was as good as lunch and dinner. The only real problem we had was that the plates of food would come out to us at odd intervals. Regularly one of us would have finished his/her food before the last person got theirs. It seems like the kitchen just needs a better system.


The dive center is down by the private black sand beach. And there are many stairs to get down and up so make sure you have everything with you before you leave your bungalow.

The dive center is well equipped and there are lots of fresh water rinse tanks for dive gear and cameras. There is also a camera room so you can leave all your gear down where you need it, but it is not aircon'ed.
The diving day goes much like this: 8:30 - 1st dive; then come back for some cake and coffee at the dive center, 11:00 - 2nd dive then lunch, 14:30 - 3rd dive and if you are super keen 17:30 - night dive. You can also just head off the beach at any time you like to dive TK2 which is the house "reef".

All boat dives are done from small fiberglass "speed" boats. They can only fit 4 divers + guide. It is a tad cramped (especially gearing up) but you usually only spend 5-10 min in the boat so it is not a big issue.


In the end our list of critters for the week was:

Octos: Blue ringed, Wonderpus, Long-armed
Shrimps: Bumblebee, Donald Duck, Tiger, Sarin, Harlequin, and many many others
Frogfish: Randal's/ Scarlet (both adult and a juvenile), Hairy, Painted, and the teeny tiny Sargassum Froggy (which the boat captain actually spotted!).
Nudi's & Flatforms: Persian Carpet Flatworm (so so so pretty), and many many other types yet to be identified.
Others: Stargazer, Bobbit worm (Both of these creatures are extras in horror movies!!), Pygmy Seahorses, Robust Ghostpipefish and on and on and on.

We also did one "wide angle" dive at Angels Window which is a pretty dive.

In conclusion BSDR is a small intimate resort

You can see my flikr album here:

Visited on 03/2014 - Submitted on 07/30/2014


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