Indonesia: Where to Stay and Scuba

Escape to the volcanic deeps of Indonesia…

Certain honeymooners and travellers will favour locations such as Hawaii and Australia for their first-world facilities, but there’s a lot to be said for the diving in more affordable parts of the world.

Indonesia is a country that has struggled with widespread poverty for decades, yet despite this its infrastructure has been steadily improving making it a more attractive destination with each passing year, not just to travellers but also to divers looking to explore warm waters that are full of life. Divers who are willing to make the journey are rewarded with good value, comfortable accommodations as well as reasonable rates at diving centres.

These dive-spots deliver on beauty and adventure, but it’s important to check the safety record of any foreign diving centre and insist on checking their paperwork before you use them:

East Nusa Tenggara

You might well notice that the poverty is worse in East Nusa Tenggara than other parts of Indonesia, but that doesn’t mean that you should leave it out of your travel plans. The locals here are working hard to improve the tourist business making it an excellent place to visit, as long as you’re happy investing in relatively new ventures.

Who to scuba with: Manta Rhei Dive Center

Nearly 20 years ago, Benny took his first diving course back in his home of Belgian. He caught the diving bug and was soon travelling the world diving as much as he could and picking up instructor certificates along the way. Soon the whole family were following in his footsteps helping him to set up Manta Rhei Dive Center in the process.

Where to stay: Ciao Hostel

Purpose built in 2016 this hostel offers unparalleled sea views, as well as comfortable clean beds and friendly staff. The bar serves a decent range of food and drinks making it a perfect place to relax in after a long day in the sea.

Gili Islands

Three tiny islands constitute the Gili Islands which are situated just off the North West coast of Lombok Island, there are no cars on the island with all transport being supplied by bicycle or horse. Although I can’t recommend spending more than a few days here it could serve as a perfect pit stop on your Indonesia diving adventure.

Who to scuba with: Gili Island Diving Center

This small but capable company is based on the quieter islands of Air and Meno where you can gain full PADI training certificates, as well as be within just a few minutes of excellent dive spots with plenty of sea life to keep you satisfied.

Where to say: Gili Air Hostel

Traditional Javanese buildings meets contemporary design at Gili Air Hostel where you’ll be able to sleep at peace in joglos for a very small price. Tapered terracotta roofs, walnut modern doors and swinging hammocks make this the ultimate Indonesian chill-out spot within walking distance of fun island based activities.

Sabang

The city of Sabang is spread out over a number of islands with Weh Island serving as the hub for all of them. It’s far less populated than the other cities in Indonesia making it perfect for travellers who would like to experience the bustle of an Indonesian city but don’t quite fancy braving the streets of Jakarta.

Who to scuba with: Lumba Lumba Diving Center

Perfectly located just 5 minutes away from some truly stunning coral reefs, this Dutch-Indonesian outfit are true professionals who have been operating for 20 years from Gapang Beach. Their well run dive shop has a real welcoming vibe and has become a hub for local enthusiasts.

Where to stay: Treetop Guesthouse & Bungalows

Spend your days in the water then your evenings in the trees! The guesthouses and bungalows on offer here range from £13 to £21 per night, giving you respite from the hostel dorms and time to enjoy the stunning views.

Guadeloupe: Where to Stay and Scuba

Thinking of taking a trip to Guadeloupe?

The Caribbean is a destination that is loaded with luxurious connotations: pure white sand beaches, palm trees and elegant looking holidaymakers – but it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg to scuba there.

In between finishing University and the start of my ‘adult life’ I spent two years bumming around the Caribbean finding work wherever I could and spending all the money that I earned on diving (and food). I’d thought that my time there would be dominated by work and that I’d not have time to socialise or enjoy myself, but I was wrong. Thanks to the surplus of hospitality jobs out there you’ll often find that you’ll be able to trade a couple of scuba trips and boarding in return for a few days work.

Guadeloupe was one of my favourite locations whilst I was out there. So chill, so blue, so lovely. These are my top recommendations for dive companies and places to stay there:

Plage de Malendure

As with many of the Caribbean islands you’re bound to find tourist hot spots and this is certainly one of them. If you can’t handle crowds then this might not be the best location for you, but you can get some great deals with the operators here because there’s so much competition, so in my opinion it’s definitely worth it.

Who to scuba with: Centre de Plongee des Illets

Jaques and Isabelle own this friendly diving centre, with nearly fifteen years in the game they’re super experienced and have a real passion for the sport. They lead a number of night dives to local shipwrecks that make for an awesome activity as well as offer the standard selection of PADI courses up to instructor level.

Where to stay: Gite Mayo

There are a tonne of carbon copy hotels in the area but none of them close to the service you get at Gite Mayo. Brigitte and Johnny rent out rooms, cottages and entire studios to holiday makers at an affordable rate – giving you a home from home in Guadeloupe.

Deshaies

More of a commune than a town, Deshaies is one of those utopian communities that I couldn’t bear to leave. Under 5,000 people live there giving it a real village vibe and the beaches are much less busy than other places on the island.

Who to scuba with: Diving Guadeloupe – Tropicalsub Diving

Eric is the lead instructor at this Centre who’s been leading expeditions and taking classes for years now. Their passion for the sport is only rivalled by their care for the planet, which helps you learn to dive safely as well as conscientiously.

Where to stay: O Couer de Deshaies

I was lucky enough to score a bed-making job here for few weeks, although I was only allowed to make use of the pool during off-peak hours those few hours were so totally worth it. I’d recommend booking in to get the complete experience.

Sainte Rose

The second largest commune in Guadeloupe, this part of the island is a dream for anyone who prefers a bit of peace and quiet. Far less touristic than the rest of the island, there might not be as much on offer in terms of activities but you’ll cherish the tranquillity.

Who to scuba with: Les Amis De La Mer

The Caret islet is the destination of choice for those looking to visit this part of the island, the endangered marine life here can be spied on at your luxury should you wish to take an excursion with the environmentally conscious ‘Friends of the Sea’.

Where to stay: Habitation du Comte Hotel Restaurant

Built over 70 years ago, this small hotel oozes class and chilled out vibes. There are only seven air-conditioned rooms and a separate bungalow on the property, so the pool will never feel too busy should you wish to take a break from the sea.