Surrounding Area Maratua Paradise Resort.
, The islands of Sangalaki, Derawan, Kakaban and Samama — making up the Derawan Archipelago — have a reputation for offering some rather unique experiences. But head past these islands and you finally encounter the atoll of Maratua, situated more than 50km off Kalimantan's muddy coastline. A series of raised coral islands make up the northern half of the atoll; the southern end is defined by a continuous ring of submerged reefs. The total area of the atoll is huge and, with only a small population of fisherman living in four villages scattered around the atoll, the marine environment here is still in amazing condition.
Diving tourism at Maratua is still very low-key, mainly because of the lengthy travel times involved in getting out to the atoll. Situated on the eastern side of the central lagoon, Nabucco Resort has been running for several years. In 2005, a new resort, Maratua Paradise, was opened on the western side, offering easy access to Maratua’s dive sites, as well as the rest of the Derawan Archipelago.
The Paradise Resorts house reef is a perfect example of what Maratua has to offer. The steady currents that flow past the atoll are perfect for the growth of corals — as a result, the steep walls are covered in colourful gorgonians and plates of hard coral. Beautiful, clear water makes a drift along this section of reef a pleasure in itself but it is the variety of life that gets divers in these waters again and again.
Accommodations Maratua Paradise Resort.
Comprising 8 beach chalets and 8 water villas, all with private bathrooms and air-conditioning, the resort offers its own dive centre with packages including night dives and visits to the neighbouring islands of Sangalaki and Kakaban. Meals consist of predominately fresh fish and fruit and are taken in the central dining room, alcoholic and canned / bottled soft drinks may be purchased from the bar.
Rooms/Suites Maratua Paradise Resort
8 units of Beach Chalets and 8 units of Water Villas for a perfect and comfortable gateway paradise in Borneo
Restaurant, Dive Center,
Rooms, Food and Beverages, Scuba diving activities
Policies & Restrictions
Best time to dive:
- All year round, and the water temperature ranges from 26 to 29 degrees Celcius.
-Borneo east coast is not affected by real monsoons but January and August/September often have rough seas and more storms
- A 3mm wetsuit is fine for most people.
- Nationals of 11 Asian countries (including Singpaore, Hong Kong, Thailand and Malaysia) are eligible for visa-free entry into Indonesia.
- For other nationalities, a 30-day visa costs US$25, and are issued on entry in Jakarta. It should be possible to get a similar entry visa in Balikpapan but check with your embassy.
- Travelling via Sabah means you must get a visa prior to your trip. Tarakan is no longer a port of entry and the nearest consulate is in Kota Kinabalu.
The Celebes Sea. Not many divers have actually heard of this huge expanse of deep water, but mention that both Sipadan and Manado are found here and they will know what to expect. Sipadan and Manado are justifiably famous as dive sites but its surprising how little is known about the rest of this huge basin. Some areas like the Sulu Archipelago in the southern Philippines are a little too risky for most tourists, and much of the southern and eastern boundaries are just plain difficult to explore. However, on the western edge of the Celebes, just off the coast of Kalimantan, there lies a chain of atolls and islands that offer some of the best diving to be found throughout South-east Asia.
The atoll of Maratua is situated 50km off Kalimantan's muddy coastline. Because there is only a small population of fishermen scattered along four villages around the atoll, the marine life in Maratua is still in excellent condition. Not many divers get a chance to explore this atoll, mainly because it is not easily accessible. There is a steady current that flows past the atoll, making it fertile grounds for corals, as can be seen in the colorful gorgonians and hard corals covering the steep walls.
- Fly in Balikpapan, Kalimantan. There are direct flights from both Jakarta and Singapore. From here, fly to Berau on Das/Kalstar.
- A resort boat will meet you at Berau and take you to Maratua.
- Also possible to travel from Sabah, Malaysian Borneo
, via ferries and flights through Tawau and Tarakan or Nunukan, but this route involves an overnight stay in Tarakan or Nunukan. Then take flight from Nunukan to Berau to catch the transfer boat or direct boat transfer to resort from Tarakan jetty.
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