Derawan Islands scuba diving travel guide, best dive resorts, liveaboards, best time to dive - Bluewater Dive Travel

Derawan Islands

derawan islands diving


Scuba diving in Derawan Islands, Indonesia

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Scuba diving in Derawan Islands offers abundant marine life with a huge variety of coral reef dives, caves, walls, lagoons, and even a jellyfish lake. It's no surprise this is one of our favorite Indonesian dive destinations.  Watch this awesome video to give you a great feel for what it would be like to dive in the Derawan Islands!




Located just away from the mainland of East Kalimantan in the district of Berau, the Derawan archipelago consists of 31 islands, with the most well-known islands being Derawan, Maratua, Sangalaki, and Kakaban. Here is Indonesia’s largest nesting site of the rare and endangered giant green turtles and hawksbill turtles. It is the perfect tropical paradise with warm, isolated islands, soft white sand beaches fringed with waving palm trees, pristine seas that change color from green to deep blue, and amazing underwater life.




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Diving Information 

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MArine Life & Environment

The amazing underwater life includes giant turtles, dolphins, manta rays, dugongs and barracudas, stingless jellyfish and sometimes, whales. You can also find 460 different species of corals, which makes this area ranks second only to the Raja Ampat Islands in West Papua. The Nature Conservancy and a team of international experts found more than 870 species of fish here, ranging from tiny pygmy seahorses to giant manta rays.  


Diving Conditions

  • Water Temperature: About 28°C (82°F) year round
  • Visibility: Averages about 20m
  • Weather: 23-32ºC (73-90°F)


Best dive sites in Derawan Islands

Here are some of the best dive areas in Derawan Islands!

  • 1. Kakaban - Kakaban is known for the non-stinging jellyfish lake, located in the middle of the island and a brisk 15-minute walk. The non-stinging jellyfish have occupied the lake for centuries as there are no known predators. The outer ring of Kakaban island offers divers a wide variety of dive sites that includes corals, large pelagic and thrilling caves. The most famous area is Barracuda Point which has schooling barracuda which are visited by large tuna and sharks.
  • 2. Sangalaki - This area is famous for the large population of turtles and manta rays year round and guests will frequently see them feeding. The island has a turtle nursery run by the local government which can be visited. Whale sharks are frequently seen off the coast of the island.
  • 3. Maratua atoll - Some of the favorite dives are "The Channel" and "Big Fish Country" which has tornados of barracuda, grey reef sharks, thresher sharks, loads of turtles and schooling eagle rays schooling.
  • 4. Pulau Panjang & Pulau Derawan - This is an area known for amazing macro life such as Satomi pygmies, sea dragons, ghost pipefish, frogfish, blue ring octopus, harlequin shrimp and tiger shrimp. This is a macro haven with the weird and wonderful.
  • 5. Pulau Sambit - Famous for the large population of hawksbill turtles and for the often spotted tiger sharks.


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Travel Information 

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How to Get There

To reach Derawan, fly from Singapore to Balikpapan in East Kalimantan. Or you can take a flight from Jakarta, Surabaya or Denpasar to Balikpapan or Tarakan. Then take a connecting flight to Tanjung Redeb in Berau. From here, boats will take you to the islands.  Learn more about domestic flights in Indonesia.


How to Dive the Derawan Islands 

There are dive resorts & dive operators available in Derawan Islands, as well as liveaboards operating in the area.  

Check out liveaboards in Indonesia!



The rainy season begins around November to April and the dry season lasts May to October.


Topside & Non-Diving Activities

  • Island tours
  • Various beach activities
  • Swimming
  • Snorkeling
  • Seeing turtles

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Liveaboard availability

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The rates shown below are per person in USD. Some of the operators quote in other currencies and the pricing at the time of booking may vary depending on the latest exchange rates.

Select 'Kalimantan' under 'Area/Region' to see liveaboard trips around the Derawan Islands.


Other Useful Information 

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Practical Information

  • Currency: Indonesian Rupiah
  • Language: Indonesian
  • Time Zone: UTC+8
  • Electricity: 230 V 50 Hz

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