We had a week at Kalimaya from 16 September and had a fantastic time. It’s a long way to go to get there but so worth it. From Australia two plane trips (most of the other visitors had come from much further) and a 90 min car ride of twists and turns over steep country, you’ll think you’re going to the end of the earth! But on arrival you’ll find lovely gardens, a beautiful beach, a gorgeous dining area with salt water pool, and a welcoming drink. The bungalows are air-conditioned (but there are sea breezes most of the time), comfortable, attractively furnished, and spaced generously. Meals are taken communally and you have to make your meal choices the day before, which was fine by us. Meals are generous, and mains are largely Indonesian with a meat and a vegetarian alternative. Desserts offered some Western options although I’m not sure where the wonderful chocolate volcano sits on the Western/Eastern divide! All meals were tasty and generous. Tea and coffee are available all day, and delicious cakes appear around 4pm (there is a genius baker in that kitchen!). (If you wish to have alcohol you will need to bring your own, as they no longer sell it to fit in with local laws/customs. We brought gin and they had tonic – all good!)
Internet/phone is basically non-existent (except for one spot a quarter of the way along the jetty). My husband and I both obtained Indonesian SIMS (Telkomsel) – I could make mine work for internet, he couldn’t – this was a Very Good Thing, to encourage relaxation and disconnecting from work.
I’m the snorkeler of the couple, and I must say they looked after me very well – not all dive resorts do. I felt very welcome, and my needs were taken into consideration on the boat trips. They fortunately seem to have a great range of dive sites that are equally great for snorkelers. The snorkeling was some of the best I’ve experienced, and I have to say that the site at Tang Jun (not sure of the whole/correct name) was damned near perfection – the most stunning pristine coral gardens I’ve ever seen. I nearly cried it was so beautiful. At all the sites there was no-one else around. And snorkeling right near an active volcano was amazing. Overall a wonderful experience
All the staff were kind and friendly. The managers Stuart and Tegan were great hosts and looked after us well, as well as making us laugh. They are doing a great job developing the place and I gather have just been awarded PADI 5 star dive resort status
The diver’s review:
I thoroughly recommend diving at Kalimaya. It has the obvious advantage of being a new area for diving, so you won’t meet other boats on the surface or divers in the water. With the exception of areas damaged by explosive fishing (only saw 2 or 3 such areas in my 13 dives, and Kalimaya are working with local communities to reduce explosive fishing) the coral and seabed are undamaged, and there was almost no plastic in the water (late September) – far less than Bunaken in October 2 years previously.
The dive centre is new, and the equipment (mainly Mares) is less than 2 years old. Having said that, because of the distance to travel, most divers are pretty keen and many bring their own gear.
The boat and dive crews are experienced and enthusiastic, and set up your gear for you. They also do a good job with gear rinsing and drying. The boats are comfortable and pretty dry, and transfers to dive sites was quite quick (20 knots) and pretty smooth. They also are skilled in finding the good things to see.
The dive sites are varied and interesting, from vertical walls, extensive sloped reefs, to sandy bottoms with bommies, to rubble slopes from storm or bomb damage (macro). Apparently pelagics can be seen – the only species we saw were Oceanic Manta Rays 😊. Of concern, I saw no sharks in a week of diving.
There was a great mix of hard and soft corals, anemones and other sessile species, many of which I hadn’t seen in Bali, Lombok, Sulawesi or PNG. Fish tended to be smaller, but they were plentiful and colourful.
A note of excitement is added by the fact that new sites are being found and some sites have rarely been dived – on one such dive the current came up and we had a wild ride over the reef, but it was well handled by the dive guide (manager), and the boat crew were observant for our surfacing location.
A very good resort in a new location – highly recommended.
Our final recommendation – get there if you can, while this area is still untouched. (And beware the orange sambal on the dining table!)
Another great dive trip. Not once did we see other divers on the sites we visited. Every day, we had the dive sites to ourselves. Diving was on the coast of Sumbawa, or Gili Banta, about 45 minutes east by boat or Sangeang, about an hour north by boat. Sangeang - the live volcano - is just amazing! Curtains of bubbles rising out of the black sand, the shimmering heat haze of hot water venting from the reef. Unlike anything I've dived before. This is a macro lovers dive destination - rare nudibranchs, pygmy seahorses, tiny shrimps and crabs, and cuttlefish. But also mantas, morays, sea snakes, frog fish. And the black sand muck dives are great for photographing those rare nudibranchs. Healthy reefs, some nice wall dives, 26 degree water and mostly clean, good diving.
The resort is also lovely - the food was great - the staff were fantastic. A special mention for the desserts - they usually served chocolate volcano on the days we dived Sangeang, and their chocolate mousse and creme brûlée were scrumptious! It's a small resort, only 10 bungalows, all facing east on the beach. Amazing sun rises, and moon rises. All rooms are air conditioned - makes for a good night's sleep. Fairly new - all really nice rooms, outdoor bathrooms, comfortable beds, nice linen.
We stayed at Kalimaya for two weeks. Mailing and arranging things for the booking was swift and professional. The resort is managed by Stuart and Teegan, who put in a lot of passion and hours to make things perfect. The food is really great, I especially loved the chocolate desserts. The design of the restaurant and the bungalows is also done with creativity and care.
Stuart and Teegan are the engine and the soul of the place. They are passionate divers, and as managers constantly making improvements to the place. Imagine trying an ice cream maker, or building a hydroculture garden for European herbs. They are also very attentive to the needs of their guests.
The staff is very friendly and attentive, they even know your name after a day. Cleaning of bungalows every day, fresh water in the bungalows, all kinds of towels and anything you might need.
We mainly enjoyed relaxing and snorkeling on the house reef. We dived a few times, and the sites were pristine and beautiful. Very healthy coral, no other divers. There is a site with repeated sightings of manta rays. Most sites are very good for macro enthousiasts. And diving at the vulcano was like a fairy tale: bubbles coming up from the ground like pearl strings, warm vulcanic sand, warm water vents, and radiant corals.
We like hanging around in a warm, calm, sandy bottom sea. That is not easy here: the sea is (in this season) too rough and slightly too cold, and the sandy bottom is only useable at high tide. However, there is a great swimming pool, that everybody used who was wiser than us.
We flew here with Garuda. They changed the flight to 6 hours earlier on such short notice that we did not get the message and missed it. They told us we would arrive back home two days later than planned. In the end they got us home with one day delay. So if you fly Garuda: be sure to check for flight changes until the very last minute.
All in all, we had a very good time: discovering new frontiers in a luxurious setting, what more do you want?
I stayed with my daughter in this gem of a resort. They've made our unfortunately too short stay an absolute delight.
The organisation pre-booking was efficient and they responded fast to our requests.
Upon arriving in Bima airport, a driver was awaiting for us and drove us through the hills of Sumbawa onto this secluded resort overlooking a private beach and the islands of Komodo & Banta.
You will be amazed at the lavish scenery and groomed gardens with a few bungalows facing the stunning sunrise.
The staff is very careful and attentive to all your needs & wishes.
The rooms are very comfortable and offer a luxury you would not expect in such a remote area.
Went diving with the owners on their house reef while their staff was taking care of my young daughter. The house reef is an macro treasure hunt and you will be the only ones on site. Dive in!
The food is fantastic, and offers a variety of delightful Indonesian & western option for each meals.
I could not fault anything and cannot wait to get back out there soon.
Thanks again to all of Kalimaya staff for such a pleasurable stay.
I stayed 11 days in a bungalow of Kalimaya dive resort. The diving is very good. I made a lot of macro pictures of frog fish (many), cuttlefish, wunderpus, ghost pipe fish and numerous different nudibranchs, many of which I had not seen before on my trips to Wakatobi, Raja Ampat and Lembeh Street. There were also dives with manta and sharks, so very varied. Dive guides showed a lot of interesting stuff and were fun on the boat, taking care of all the equipement. Housereef was easy dive with giant yellow frog fish in the elephant ears. I particular liked the dives round Sangean island with the bubbles coming out of the sand. The bungalows are standard with good bed and open air bathroom. They are close to the beach so you fall asleep with the sound of the waves. The meals are very well prepared. For lunch and dinner primarily Indonesian dishes and great deserts to finish of the dinner. Overall a great relaxing holiday.