There's sadly not many places left in the world that can still boast truly pristine coral reefs. Along with Raja Ampat and parts of Komodo national park, this location is definitely one of the very best. The Kalimaya dive resort in Sumbawa is off the beaten track but still quite easily accessible from Bali via a quick flight to Bima and a 2 hour roadtrip. The resort and location are simply stunning. The Bungalows are well designed and sit right on the beach opposite a colourful and well stocked house reef. The infinity style swimming pool holds centre stage and is a very welcome addition to the resort. A few earlier TA reviews criticised the food. Things must have changed alot since as the menus we sampled were excellent with inventive, well prepared Indonesian style meals made with fresh local ingredients.
This place is however all about the diving. Each morning, the speedboat runs you out to some phenomenal dive spots. The highlight for us was the very atmospheric Bubble reef in the shadow of a stunning volcano. The other offshore dives were almost as good with varied and plentiful sea life, gorgeous coral gardens and absolutely no other divers in site. Sam the lead guide is one of the most experienced dive masters we've ever met. He'll uncover things that will blow your mind. Don't however neglect the beautiful house reef that you can dive whenever you wish. Full of cool and rare critters to explore, the night diving on the house reef is especially recommended. Dive equipment was top notch and the dive team clearly puts safety at the top of their priorities.
Besides the diving, I'd like to point out the other key highlight of this resort; the attentive staff and especially the wonderful hosts Teagan and Stuart. They made our stay really special. Nothing was ever too much trouble and they bring a personal touch and vibe that sets this resort apart from all others we've visited. Both hosts are highly experienced divers themselves and excellent instructors. They helped my son pass his Padi Advanced and went above and beyond to ensure he was well prepared for Komodo diving which can be quite daunting at times. One final tip. If you can, try to combine a stay at the resort with a 4-5 day Liveaboard trip in the Komodo National park. Kalimaya deftly arranged a speedboat to take us to Labuan Bajo when we joined a liveaboard organised with the part owner of the resort, Uber Scuba. You can read our review of their beautiful boat Amalia on their Trip advisor page. The combination of resort and liveaboard made our bucket list dive holiday the best we've ever had.
Great location. Good food. Amazing diving. Beautiful bungalows and great people. That sums up what Kalimaya Dive Resort is about.
They are still there. Those amazing places which are a bit harder to reach than your average destination.
A stunning 1.5 hour drive from Bima airport through mountains and small towns surrounded by beautiful rice fields where wild monkeys still roam the streets you reach the resort.
Tucked away from the 'main' road right at the ocean you'll find six beautifully designed wooden bungalows. With aircon, outdoor shower and storage area for your luggage you will enjoy your stay. The 24 hour electricity, glass door and large windows will make your stay comfortable and provide the opportunity to wake up with a sunrise every single day.
The restaurant at the pool is nicely decorated. The food is good. Plenty of choice for breakfast. For lunch and dinner (2 and 3 course) you always have two choices to pick from. I shouldn't forget to mention the cold beers.
The diving is simply amazing. The reefs are pretty much untouched. Being the only operator in the area you don't have to worry about crowded dives. Hard and soft corals are in abundance and fish life is teaming. Critter lovers will also enjoy this place. The seclusion, in my opinion, contributes to the overall experience of being somewhere special. Dive equipment is new and fits perfectly. The speedboat is convenient and also offers a sundeck.
The people (other guests, hosts Eric & Loren and the whole Kalimaya staff) I met during my time were all wonderful.
After having travelled/dived in many different places I can only come to one conclusion: this place is in my top-3 best places to visit.
René van Halle
If you want to go on holiday, where no one else goes: this is the spot!
This resort is far away from any tourists. All the bungalows are clever designed and beautifully finished. You wake up, as if you where the only one directly on the beach. The pool is great too.
Diving is phenomenal, as you dive the west side of Komodo with Mantas, sharks, Napoleons, snakes, most amazing reefs and stunning macro life. Some trips go to a close by volcano. In the afternoon and for night-dives you can dive the house-reef, which is crawling with octopus, nudies, crabs, shrimps, frogfish and all other sorts of aliens.
Food is served for breakfast, lunch and dinner and you can have coffee and tea and cookies all day long. It's really tasty and always freshly cooked with local ingredients.
If you are looking for a getaway far far from other tourists, with fantastic diving, and no worries about looking at your phone or emails (because you do barely have any phone connection). This is the spot!
Just dive eat sleep repeat - same like being on a liveaboard, just better.
The diving here is excellent - the reefs were some of the best I've seen and there's a huge variety of marine life, both large and small. Sam, the dive guide, was also excellent. This is the only dive centre on the island so there is little chance of meeting any other divers and liveabords haven't discovered it yet. The water temperature varies so take a 5mm if you feel the cold.
This is the resort's first season and there are some teething problems to sort out. There is no dive centre as such so kitting up for the afternoon shore dives has to be done in the bar/restaurant area. Entry and exit isn't that easy from the beach, it's better from the jetty.
The managers, Stu and Tegan, do a great job and are super-friendly as are Rio and Anwar in the restaurant/bar. The food was good, we preferred the Indonesian style meals to the western ones. As another reviewer mentioned, there is a variety of animals which we loved but not everyone might.
The bungalows are comfortable - east facing and spacious with lovely views over the sea. The bathrooms are good, open air and the water isn't hot but warm enough. The large swimming pool is very warm and relaxing after dusk/night dives.
If you want to dive somewhere with pristine reefs and no other divers, go soon.
Quite simple for me ... if you want to dive places only ever previously dived via live-aboards, then this resort offers that. The resort is owned by divers, and run by divers. And was great!!!
Arrival - this is the only resort on a developing island. The journey is 2 hours from the airport, up and over a mountain, and then along bumpy roads. A necessary evil to find a tranquil and quiet resort.
The resort was serving beer when we visited, but do take spirits / wine if you want them. This is a Muslim island with appropriate laws, but the resort team are doing a grand job of integrating with the locals to work with them, to offer the type of resort experience Westerns often expect.
The resort is remote. No local shops or restaurants.
Rooms - are huts facing the beach. With a terrace on the front, and an open air shower. Water temperature could be warmer in the shower, but I am being picky. All have air con, and there is shower gel and shampoo in the bathroom.
Food - you get a menu each day, which has two choices. If you ask for something specific, do so in advance ... such as food intolerance's or you'd like 'only Indo food'. I really enjoyed the food, and the portions are appropriate for hungry divers. Everyone eats together on the big table, so you make friends, even if traveling alone - dive together, eat together.
Staff - the team are GREAT. The onsite management team of Stu and Teagan, will look after you, welcome you into their 'family' and will help and advise whenever possible. When we did have problems they were solved quickly! The rest of the team were great ... chefs and bar staff were lovely. But the cleaning staff need some training (stop moving my stuff, to clean!)
Animals - the resort has a family of very friendly cats, who wish to sleep in your air-conditioned room each night. There is also a chicken, who provides fresh eggs and roams the resort. None of them will hurt you, and added to the atmosphere of the place.
Diving - you see what you see ... simple. Nothing is promised nor guaranteed. But we did not have any poor dives. House reef is a great little area with tonnes to see especially the small stuff. We saw eels, octupus, squid, cuttlefish, scorpion fish, rays ... the list is endless. You normally dive here, after lunch or for night dives.
We would take the boat at around 7.30 each morning for two boat dives. The reefs are very much alive and in colour, with lots of macro (but Semuel, the dive guide and all-round lovely man, is on hand to spot even the smallest and well hidden of creatures). There is also lots of big stuff, if you are lucky. We got to see a rather large sea snake (which was interesting), silver and white tip reef sharks ranging from big to small, massive (1.5m+) marble rays and gorgeous manta rays at a cleaning station.
If you want to dive daily (3-4 times), and want to see macro, this is a great choice. Currents do exist, and can be strong ... this is the area where the Pacific meets the Indian ocean.
We also saw marlin breaching the waters whilst on the boat, and whilst we were diving, the boat crew (who are brilliant!!!!) spotted a whale cruising past ... just our luck.
Advice - hire the kit there if you are not precious about what you dive with. Kit was really good, but if you suffer from the cold, I'd pack some rash vests etc. If you have a dive stick and a torch take them, always handy. Travel light, as this is not the type of place to dress up
The resort is growing and Stu is always working hard to improve the resort, whilst Teagan is building relationships with the locals. Both will look after you, and happily talk the night away if you wish. If you want high end luxury, go to Dubai. If you want to fall off the grid (no TV, no WiFi, no phone signal etc), do some great diving, have a gorgeous view, be treated like a member of the family and generally switch off ... then here is worth a visit.