g3cko

g3cko

My Dive Map

Reviews (3)

Tasik Ria Dive Resort & Spa Manado

4
5
5
3

Accommodations:

I stayed at Tasik for 5 days and found my room very cozy and comfortable. I'll add, I spent very little time in my room outside of sleeping, but the pool side room I stayed in was well furnished and the AC worked very well. There was even Tv! The resort itself is spread out a bit, so when I wasn't in my room, I was down at their jetty hanging out.

Food:

The food was pretty good, it definitely wasn't bad but it also didn't stand out as above average. It was buffet style, with a mix of local and more standard dishes.

Staff:

Being a slightly larger resort, the interaction with the staff was a bit more limited. The manager of the resort was extremely welcoming and even made us sashimi and some other finger foods one of the nights while we hung out at the bar. There were a few other expats working at the resort too, who were all extremely friendly and really made the trip for me, as I was traveling alone.

Dive operation:

The dive operation isn't quite as photographer friendly as other resorts I've been too. I'm not sure if this is because the majority of their divers aren't photographers, but I assume that is the case. For my stay, I dove out of one of their bigger boats and I would guess there were around 20 divers plus another 6-8 staff. There was quite a bit of room, so it wasn't too crowded. From Tasik Ria, there is about an hour to an hour and a half ride to Bunaken, where depending on the day, we would do 2 or 3 dives.

On the days with 2 dives, we would come back toward the resort and do another dive on the main land side. Diving locally around the resort, there area mix of small walls and coral, and more mucky sites. The boat crew was very helpful and would help with your gear and change your tanks etc.

Marine life/diving:

Bunaken was pretty awesome. It's a bright contract to Lembeh, with great visibility, warmer temps (generally 86, with minimal thermoclines at around 60 ft). With the larger boat size, it was occasionally hard to frame shots with divers in every direction although at times, you get free dive models. Current was pretty minimal, and we saw lots of turtles and also a small cave with 3-4 sharks on one of the dives as well. I generally shot WA and had plenty of large sponges turtles to shoot. A few dives were with my macro lens, which was a bit more challenging but still plenty of things to shoot. If you look closely, you'll find small hermit crabs living in the hard corals which were pretty cool to find.

More locally, the diving was interesting as well. The muck sites are a little different from Lembeh, but you get some overlap in the marine life. Frog fish, ornate ghost pipefish and sea horses were fairly common. Personally, I would have been ok diving Bunaken for 5-6 dives and doing the rest at the macro sites. That wasn't really an option when I was there, but they were in talks of trying that.

Overall, as I am pretty serious about photography, my review is heavily skewed towards that. For non-photographers or more "for fun" photographers, I would definitely recommend Tasik Ria! Bunaken was fantastic, and the local sites are also very unique and interesting.

Visited on 09/2015 - Submitted on 11/10/2015
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KBR Lembeh Dive Resort

4
5
5
5

Accommodations:

Very nice, I really enjoyed the resort and stayed in one of the Beachfront Villas, which I found very comfortable. To be honest, I didn't spend a lot of time hanging out in my room, but what I did was very comfortable. The AC in the room worked very well. I would usually eat breakfast outside over the water so I could watch the boats and the fish below, and lunch and dinner in the main dining area.

Traveling alone, in addition to the amazing staff at KBR who all learned my name almost immediately, I was lucky to meet some other very nice guests and would join them for dinner. Very friendly, relaxing and welcoming atmosphere.

Food:

I mostly tried the local Indonesian courses, which varied from interesting to very tasty. No complaints on the food, I really liked the cinnamon toast with peanut butter and bananas for breakfast... yum! And also feeding the fish bread was a lot of fun too.

Staff:

Fantastic all around. Extremely polite and welcoming, so much so that you'll start to miss them when you leave.

Dive operation:

Fantastic as well. Detailed briefings and comfortable boats, even though most sites are only minutes from KBR. To get a little nit-picky, I would have liked to have one of the more experienced guides for my whole stay. If you aren't extremely photography focused, this comment doesn't apply to you. You will still see tons of things with any of the guides, but for someone very focused on photography there is a noticeable gap in the guides, which understandably comes from lots of experience.

Additionally, I'm not a fan of their 60 minute dive policy. As a solo traveler, I would have liked to dive their house reef but I didn't get the chance.

Marine life:

This was my first trip to Lembeh, and I loved it. It is similar to somewhere like Anilao, with a mix of much and sand/rubble sites but there are definitely differences in the critters. I was able to see several flamboyant cuttlefish, mimic, wonder, long arm, coconut and blue ring octopus and lots of frog fish as well as ghost pipefish, especially ornate. I could dive here for a really, really long time.

If you haven't done a mandarin dive, DO THE MANDARIN DIVE! That was definitely a worthwhile experience!

Overall, for any divers who are not hard core photographers, I can highly, highly recommend KBR. For me, I don't travel for the relaxing destinations, I travel for the diving and photography, so I am extra critical in that regard (hence the lack of a star).

Visited on 09/2015 - Submitted on 10/24/2015
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Scuba Club Cozumel

0
4
4
3

As a small preface, this was my first dive trip, and first time diving outside of Southern California. As such, I don't have any other resorts or destinations to compare it to. Also, at the time of the trip, I was just shy of 50 dives, so there is still lots of things I haven't seen or dove. Overall though, I had a very good time and am very happy with the trip.

Travel:

This was really easy and simple to get too. We flew directly into Cozumel with a single connecting stop. After landing and going through customs, a quick taxi put us at the resort. Scuba Club Cozumel is also an easy, 10 minute walk to the downtown area if you want to buy any food or drinks.

Accommodations:

As this was my first trip, I wasn't too involved in the planning. I was told this is a resort "for divers" and that it wasn't anything fancy. I was pleasantly surprised to find it nicer than expected. I shared a room with three beds. The room was clean, large enough for three people and their gear to not feel cluttered, and the ac worked well. No tv, but we didn't spend much time in the room. There was wifi, but it was intermittent and sometimes hard to use, probably because of limited bandwidth being shared with the other guests. Wifi access at the bar was much, much better than from our room. We also had a small patio that we kept rash guards, board shorts, etc to let dry (or get rained on).

Food:

Breakfast, lunch and dinner were included in our package. Breakfast was pretty standard each day with a few varying options. Eggs (including some Mexican style variations), french toast, and pancakes in addition to fruit and yogurt. At breakfast, the dinner options were posted so, as you check in for breakfast, you can pick what you wanted for dinner.

Lunch was pretty standard as well, simply pick something from the menu.

For dinner, there were three options to pick from each night. I think the dinners may rotate out on a weekly basis, but I'm not positive as I wasn't here quite a week. The options seemed to usually include a seafood dish, a Mexican style dish and one additional.

Overall, the food was good. I didn't dislike any of the meals I had, but it's definitely not a 5 star restaurant experience.

Staff:

Super friendly, nice and polite. The dive master we had was very knowledgeable about each location we dived. I did have one case where my tank strap wasn't tight enough so it came loose in a dive. Lesson learned.

Dive Operation:

The resort has two sets of lockers to stow gear between dives, both just a short walk from your room and the dock where the boats pick you up. You'll need to bring your own lock though, as locks aren't provided. Also, you sign up for the morning dives the night before, so after dinner we would walk over to put ourselves in the list for the following morning.

After breakfast, walk down to your locker, grab your gear and then put it on the boat. From Scuba Club Cozumel, it was generally about an hour to an hour and a half to the dive destinations.

After two morning dives, we would head back for lunch and do a quick rinse on our gear.

Marine life/diving:

We had 4 days of 2 morning dives, and an evening dive. Our package included a night dive, which we traded for a dive on the wreck (C-53 is the name of the ship). I don't have much experience with wrecks, but this was really fun. Large ship with lots of rooms to swim through. The two other divers I was traveling with both said this was the best wreck they've done.

Some of the reefs we dove included, Palancar Gardens, Palancar Horseshoe, and the Santa Rosa wall. Pretty sure we also dove Paradise Reef as well. One of the Palancar dives was probably my favorite, drifting through the giant coral formations was really cool. Unfortunately, I don't recall exactly which Palancar it was. The other, more open dives, were very neat as well, almost like flying over a desert with small outcroppings of coral and life which you could duck behind to get out of the current to take pictures. I felt like there was a lot of variety between each dive, especially when adding in the wreck dive.

For life, I saw just about everything I wanted to see. During the boat dives we saw a few eagle rays, several turtles, quite a few eels, and lots of different types of fish (sorry, don't have better ids). Also managed to spot a mantis shrimp as well as a larger sea horse.

For the shore diving, I had plenty of fun swimming around practicing my macro. Lots of smaller fish, shrimp, and small rays. The one night dive was the most fun for me, highlights included an octopus (a favorite of mine) and peacock flounder. We only did the one night dive, but from what other guest said, there are plenty of octopus and eels around for the shore diving.

For visibility, what a change from California. It was rainy for part of the trip, but we still got a few days of 150+ ft viz. And the water temperatures were in the 80's, so we dove with a rash guard and board shorts and stayed comfortable.

Final thoughts:

For the money, I'm very happy with the trip. I'll definitely return, there's plenty of pictures I wasn't able to get (turtle, rays, better mantis shrimp, etc). And the warm water, drift diving with great vis was a fun change from SoCal.

Visited on 11/2013 - Submitted on 02/16/2014
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