We stayed as a couple beginning of November at the Kalimaya dive resort and would definitely recommend this place to other diving couples.
Advance communication with the resort was throughout highly responsive and helpful. In terms of the trip organization everything worked out very smoothly.
We arrived on a Friday at Bima Airport which was a bit chaotic but okay. The driver organized by the resort pick us up at the airport and brought us on a two hour ride to Kalimaya. The streets to get their are quiet curvy but the view and the impressions are definitely worth to accept the inconveniences. At the time of our arrival there was a lot of fume from farming fires all over the island and we were quite concerned that we will have a smelly time, but at Kalimaya itself the air was very clear.
Arrival at the resort and welcome briefing was very well organized by the managers Julian and Hugo. Throughout the whole stay both were extremely helpful and tried to make things as convenient as possible for us. Both are doing a great job in this remote and challenging environment.
Our bungalow was functional and always kept very clean. Recommendation would clearly go to the bungalows at the waterfront.
With regards to diving the service and the quality is absolutely outstanding. We only had to put our diving gear upon arrival on the balcony and the crew took very best care of our equipment at all times. We dove the whole week mainly with Jimmy, a local divemaster who dives for decades, and in terms of personality, service and experience the best guide we could imagine... Diving is organized with two 2-tank boats in the morning and easy afternoon dives in the housereef. Everything is handled very guest friendly and flexible.
The divessites around the resort ranging from easy reef dives, drift dives, strong current dives to muck dives. The reefs are vibrant and we also had some mantas on manta point but the highlight for us was Pulau Ular with its VIF (very important fish) block full of glassfish, rhinopias, froghfishes, different kind of scorpion fishes and stone fishes and a gorgonia beside which hosts 8 ghost pipe fishes. We liked the place so much that we went there 3 times:-) Muck diving was absolutely awesome as well and we could see so many rare and stunning species... Thank you Jimmy!
The housereef is also very nice and easy to dive. Mainly a macro site. Highlight there is another block full of glassfish at around 10 meters slightly left of the jetty.
Nitrox is available on request but most of the time not needed. An impressive camera room is available as well.
Back to the resort and two challenges you should be aware of as well:
1. Internet: Internet was only very limited available on a certain spot on the jetty with a local mobile SIM (Telcomcell). During the boat trips 4G network was almost always available.
2. Food: The food was delicious, nice prrsented and very well timed. The chef did a great job. Unfortunately all the meals were very much rice based and the amount of meat was rather limited which made it quite challenging for me to keep my mood upright at all times. But at least the staff and management tried to help out wherever they could. But in general I think the meal set up and options should be revised as soon as possible.
All in all we had great week which we believe is a good length of stay. All the guest we met during this week we're lovely personalities, which made our stay even more enjoyable. Big thanks to everyone for the good time we had and the fantastic memories created!!!
I had a fun filled and peaceful diving week at Kalimaya.
I travelled as a solo diver but never felt lonely, and got the space and privavcy i wanted.
18 dives - every one was enjoyable. The coral is mindblowing at every site. the Mantas lovely and I didnt need to fight big current to see them. Fish is abundant including things i'd never seen before - nearly swallowed all my air in one when the guide pointed out a Giant Frogfish! Black sand night dives were awesome. If you go be sure to take your macro lens! The small stuff is plentiful and everywhere. Tiny shrimp, spectacular nudi, even a pygmey seahorse. On the black sand nightdive we got even more small stuff including baby everything... long arm baby octupus was stunning.
And we never met a other dive group.
Usually there was 3 divers to a guide. House reef dives do not require a guide and can be done at your leisure.
Staff were absolutely phenomanal. Great hosts mixed with "come and join are family" feel.
It was delightful to witness the joy on one of the dive guides face (a local from the neighbouring village) when he saw new government signs put on land near some of the best dive sites. The signs warned locals not to disturb or disrupt the sea enviroment. The staff are very passionate about preserving the dive sites.
Rooms were perfect with the luxury island feel.
Meals were plentiful and yummy.
And my fave thing - limited to about 20 guests. No local town or shops to walk to... you are cut off in a good way.
Real peaceful getaway.
How can I possibly put in words what I think about this place?!?
The resort lies nestled into this private bay in the middle of nowhere on the north east tip of Sumbawa. It's beautifully landscaped. It features the best sunrise in the world.
The bungalows are specious and super clean.
The food is just excellent!
And the diving unreal. Talk about being away from the crowd!!! The corals are just stunning. I don't think I have seen such a biodiversity and healthy coral life anywhere else. The muck diving is to die for! Spool many different species of nudies, octopus, frogfish etc. And let's not forget the mantas and sharks! A-mazing.
The staff is extremely friendly and helpful in all areas: dive crew, housekeeping, chefs and waiters and of course the managers! Job well done. I will be back!
Our family of four just spent 5 days at Kalimaya. My wife and I have been diving all over the world including in some of the most highly rated spots. In my view, Kalimaya ranks at the very top of all of our dive experiences. We completed about 12 dives and they were all incredible. The coral is both alive and abundant. The diversity of live is exceptional. The dive masters (Jimmy and Marco) were phenomenal. Our two boys are new to diving and both Marco and Jimmy were scrupulous in terms of following all safety procedures and watching out for them. Both of them know the dive spots they are guiding incredibly well and their knowledge of the life on the reefs is almost scientific. The accommodation is not opulent but very comfortable particularly for a dive focused resort. The huts are all right on the beach, very private and very clean. The staff at the resort are incredibly attentive and friendly. The food was very good and fresh with a couple of options for each meal. The management are very knowledgeable, friendly and easy to approach. Overall, I would recommend this resort as one of the best dive experiences in the world. We really did absolutely love our time there.
If you are trying to decide between diving the east side of Komodo or Kalimaya, we did both and they are both impressive for different reasons. The overall dive experience at Kalimaya was probably better than the east but there were a couple of dives sites on the east side of Komodo which were pretty special..
The location of this resort is incredible, with breathtaking views from each bungalow looking out across the beach. You can even watch the sunrise over Komodo from the comfort of your own bed. These same views follow through to the open dining area and pool, just a few steps away from the bungalows. The bungalows themselves have ample space, including a balcony, bedroom and outside shower room/WC (all with AC). All is tasteful decorated and feels like great quality throughout.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served each day. There are a couple of menu choices for each course and we very much enjoyed every single meal. By far the best food we have experienced on any dive trip.
The diving was exceptional. We dived on 7 days and did not once see any other divers or dive boats. This enabled us to fully enjoy the experience diving pristine reefs and 'muck' with only ever a handful of divers in the water at any time. The biodiversity of each dive site was incredible - this was also true of the house reef which we chose to dive each afternoon. There was so much to see on such a large site that I could not see us ever getting bored of diving it! The boats were well organised with ample space and nice and quick too with 300HP to power through the waves. The guides, Marco and Jimi were so friendly and helpful. Their knowledge of the dive sites and the life found there was impressive. They were both so enthusiastic and passionate about the life underwater on each and every dive and seemed to take great pride in finding new things for us to wonder at and photograph. (The camera room is also very impressive!).
It was always pleasant to interact with any member of the team at Kalimaya, whether on the boat, in the dining area or just around the grounds. They all seemed to come together seamlessly to ensure our stay was as pleasurable as possible. This, I would say, could not be through luck or chance, but through the great leadership of Tegan and Stuart the resort managers. They would help with anything and importantly were great fun to be around each day.
Overall, the stay at Kalimaya was faultless and we will be sure to head back there sometime soon.
Thank you to everyone at Kalimaya Dive Resort.