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“Very relaxing resort, delightful owners, lovely snorkelling”

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Bunaken Cha Cha Nature Resort
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 23 June 2017

Extremely well-run, comfortable, intimate resort with a vibrant house reef (saw a turtle on first day’s snorkelling), slim strip of beach and lush landscaping up a hillside. Loved the bright, spacious Ocean Beach Villa with its floor-to-ceiling windows framing 180-degree sea view. Always-smiling, well-trained staff. “Fusion” menu catering to Western palates, with beer, cider, wines for purchase. Wifi worked fine; hot showers; no aircon at night but fans sufficed.

We did a half-day boat excursion with 2 fellow guests, saw a huge pod of spinner dolphins, another gorgeous turtle, banded sea krait, multi-hued corals, many varieties of fish and much else. Snorkelling guide Mul was great, pointing things out, making sure us old fogies were ok. Also walked to a nearby village, local folks very friendly.

The beach may be bigger on Siladen and prices lower on the mainland, but the main reason I’d recommend Cha Cha are Raf & Reiko, its helpful & gregarious owners, who built it from scratch 18 years ago and regale guests with stories and humour during the convivial communal meals. We felt like we were staying with friends in their home (with 4 well-behaved dogs) rather than a hotel.

Room Tip: Ocean Beach Villa is the priciest room but nearest the beach and the dining area/lounge in the main...
  • Stayed: June 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank lantauloafer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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3 - 9 of 179 reviews

Reviewed 11 May 2017

We recently spent 5 nights at Bunaken Cha cha, and our only complaint is that we did not want to leave! The area is spectacular and the snorkeling is sublime – definitely the best we’ve ever experienced in the world – crystal clear waters, beautiful coral, loads of fish – we saw many turtles, squids, water snakes. There are many dive and snorkel sites, you could spend weeks here and not get bored.

The owners Raf and Reiko are wonderful – very warm and welcoming and we felt at home with them right away. It’s a small resort and they go out of their way to take care of all the guests. It was my birthday one day, and to my surprise, they had a very special dinner for us, opening 2 great bottles of Italian wine and a delicious chocolate cake! By then, we had already spent several days with them, so the birthday celebration was very warm and special, like being with long time friends.

The food was wonderful, and we are very picky eaters! There was enough variety and everything was really delicious. When we first arrived, Raf asked if we had any dietary restrictions and they do their best to accommodate you. We stayed in the new ocean villa, built just last year, and it was very beautiful – stark, clean, modern, spacious and comfortable with lovely views of the water. We chose this room because the resort is built on a hill, and this is the lowest one with the least amount of stairs. There are some rooms with steep stairs up the hill, so if stairs are a concern, you should communicate this with Raf and book the right room for you.

We went to this resort because of the great reviews we read about the house reef – we are always looking for places with great snorkeling right off the beach. The house reef here was good, but we ended up going out on the snorkel boat excursions for several reasons – mainly because the house reef has quite a strong current, and if you drift dive with the current, it’s difficult to swim back against the current – if you go out on a boat, then you just drift with the current and the boat comes and picks you up. Also, as good as the house reef was, we found out that there are even better reefs within 10-15 minute boat rides away.

We are looking forward to being back! A very big thank you to Raf and Reiko!

  • Stayed: April 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank anne m
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 April 2017

We absolutely loved our stay at Cha Cha and cannot wait to be back. The dive sites are simply gorgeous. The food was great and plentiful and they accommodated for my dietary restrictions. The rooms are spacious - our even had a cosy balcony to lounge in. The view is simply spectacular, the staff are friendly and really helpful. Raf and Reiko, the hosts, are an awesome twosome. We were always in splits of laughter and enjoyed their company and conversations thoroughly. Loved the idea of everyone dining together because that made sure we all got to know each other, which is a part of travelling I really love. At low tide, we also took a nice walk around the island with Brexie, one of the many friendly dogs at Cha Cha.

Just a small note - If you are a beginner diver (like us), do let them know in advance (unlike us), because you might want a dive master specifically with you that they can then pre-arrange. I say this because we forgot to tell Raf and we went diving with super experienced divers and while we never feared for our safety or were uncomfortable, we found our interests were different. The diving is still spectacular, but I would have loved to see more fish than spend majority of our time looking for and at small critters. I know this sounds like a first world problem, but it is a small thing that might help you as a newbie to enjoy your dives a little more.

  • Stayed: April 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank 4evertravelbug
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 April 2017

If you want a destination where you can unplug from your devices, be pampered by Raf and Reiko and their amazing staff, eat wonderfully prepared food and experience unparalleled multitudes of many varieties of tropical fish and turtles, then look no further! Raf and Reiko are wonderful hosts who join the guests for communal dining. Unfortunately for me, I had planned to dive but, came down with a rather nasty head cold just prior to arriving at Cha Cha. Raf had his staff mix me up a hot totie one evening which worked wonders! We thoroughly enjoyed the daily snorkeling boat trips as well as the local reef just offshore. The accommodations were also great and bed very comfortable. Our only regret was not booking a longer stay there!

  • Stayed: April 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
2  Thank SoCalWanderer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 April 2017

We have just returned from an 11 night stay at Cha Cha and wish that we could have stayed for longer. Raf and Reiko and their staff made us feel very welcome. The room had everything we required and was very spacious and clean, it had an ocean view and its own terrace. The diving was fantastic with huge numbers of reef fish all around, Anton (the dive guide) was very good at finding very tiny creatures for us. We dived every morning and on alternate afternoons.
The food was very impressive with a mix of local and Western dishes. The wines we had were also very good and, especially compared to Singapore, very reasonably priced. Sitting at the long table with the other guests gives you the opportunity to have some very interesting conversations over dinner.
The dogs make the place feel very like a home and were very friendly. If you're the type of person looking for 5 star luxury this is not for you but if you like great diving, good food and wine, a warm welcome and comfortable lodging with peace and tranquility then Cha Cha is the place for you. We would definitely go back!

  • Stayed: April 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank Fiona969
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 March 2017 via mobile

I spent a truly relaxing week at ChaCha in a beautiful cottage with the view of the sea, great diving, pleasant walks and friendly locals to interact with.

The resort is a small family run affair. The hosts are both experienced divers and they know the island and Manado like the back of their hand, so they will be able to help you make the most of your stay and tell you a few interesting local stories in the process. They also have five adorable dogs that will keep you company.

The villas/cottages are modern and well appointed, pleasantly cool during the day - yes there is airco and hot water. The staff are polite, friendly and efficient. They keep the place clean.

The owners are foodies, so the food is excellent. The chef makes a really good effort on Indonesian, European and Japanese dishes. It is a double challenge, because all ingredients have to be brought from the mainland. I probably put on a few pounds during that stay. They also have an impressive wine cellar, which I did not try, because I was diving.

Diving in Bunaken is absolutely world class. It was very enjoyable and in addition I had the luxury of being the only diver, which made it even more special.

All in all, a great stay if you enjoy a bit of comfort and good food with a lot of personal attention in a familiar setting.

Stayed: March 2017, travelled solo
1  Thank Wojtek K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 February 2017

If all you want from your trip is excellence in the above then you have come to the right place. This is a small resort which feels like an extended family run by Raf ,an Irish-Italian and his Japanese wife, Reiko. Many of the guests are repeaters who have fallen in love with this gem of a place. While we were there guests were from Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Singapore ,India ,China and Scotland. Raf has imported some of the best luxuries from 5 star resorts and applied them to his resort. For example ,best hot shower I have ever experienced in a small island resort, thick soft towels, ice cold Bitung beer and well stocked bar including wine, unusual for Indonesia, well functioning wifi ,experienced knowledgeable and friendly dive /snorkel guides. Excellent and friendly service from all staff. There is airconditioning functioning during the day while the resort generators are running .At night the resort reverts to island power hence no in room coffee/tea facility as the electricity supply wouldn't cope.
This resort is not for everyone though. The dining is communal with a set menu and mealtimes and there is no pool or evening entertainment ,other than Raf and his wealth of stories. Also there are 5 resident dogs that have the run of the communal area ( and 5 puppies in addition while we were there).
Cha Cha is located on the cleaner, more sheltered East side of Bunaken Island and has its own house reef about 60 metres from the shore.At low tide you can just about walk to the drop off edge of the reef.We were there during the half moon when apparently currents run stronger and one day struggled back to the shore. There is no safety boat on site, only the dive boat so it is important to operate within your individual competency. I would not recommend the house reef for beginner snorkelers or those who are not strong swimmers, although snorkelling from the boat is excellent. The house reef has excellent healthy coral and abundant marine life including turtles, rays, reef sharks and reef fish.
We were met at Manado airport by Benni , easy to locate with a clear sign ,friendly and English speaking and driven 45 minutes through the busy city to the harbour where we clambered onto a chartered speedboat for the somewhat choppy crossing to Cha Cha . On our return trip the boat actually docked at Wori instead of Manado for a shorter smoother crossing , again met by Benni. There is no arrival jetty so you have to wade ashore in shorts and water shoes/booties.
We stayed in the Superior bungalows made of traditional design as we liked the more rustic style with open air showers missing from the newer concrete design villas. The rooms were clean and tastefully designed. The bed was 2 singles pushed together to make a king which left an uncomfortable ridge in the centre though the bed was comfortable .The resort battles against nature constantly and we had to move rooms on the second night due to the ceiling leaking .There is an extension cable accommodating plugs from all locations in the room and wifi worked in the rooms. The sockets are European.2 litres of drinking water are supplied in the rooms and can be replenished anytime. Mosquito coils were lit inside and outside the rooms .We did get a few mosquito bites but the insects were not in big numbers or obvious. All the rooms are on a slope with sea view requiring steps/stairs , some of which are quite steep. The resort is colourfully landscaped with pretty flowers and foliage
The meals were beautifully presented and varied .The food was a mixture of Indonesian and Japanese fare .No chance to go hungry .3 meals a day with coffee and cake mid afternoon in addition. Special dietary requests are catered for. Wonderful fruit plates with every meal .
We went on a couple of dive/snorkel trips which were excellent , with healthy extensive coral carpets at Bunaken Timur. snorkel guide Mull was first class : sharp eyed and funny and able to spot any critters hiding from view. Both Anton , the dive guide, and Mull the snorkel guide made sure everyone had the best experience and both indeed borrowed my camera to take underwater photos of deeper creatures which was much appreciated. The dive boat goes out every morning to 2 sites and also in the afternoon on request.
It is possible to walk to several of the local Indonesian villages, the closest being 20 minutes along a dirt track , and also onto Liang beach where Bastianos Dive Resort is situated (about 40 minutes walk). Observing the litter on the beach outside Bastianos made us even more appreciative of Cha Cha.
All in all an excellent relaxed, no frills resort , good value for money

Room Tip: all excellent with sunrise views
  • Stayed: February 2017, travelled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank traveldoc65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Bunaken Cha Cha Nature Resort

Address: Tanjung Parigi, Bunaken Island 95000, Indonesia
Region: Indonesia > Sulawesi > North Sulawesi > Bunaken Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 16 Speciality Lodging in Bunaken Island
Price Range: $241 - $1,081 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hotel/Resort situated on the clean and tranquil side of Bunaken Island comprising 3 Villas, 2 Superior Cottages and 3 Standard Cottages tastefully decorated, all with hot fresh water showers & A/C, exceptional views over the surrounding islands and mountains of the mainland. Cha Cha boasts its own quaint private beach, house reef and in-house Padi Diving Center. The Sea Top restaurant offers a variety of Indonesian, Japanese and fusion dishes with emphasis on healthy eating. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Bunaken Cha Cha Nature Hotel Bunaken Island

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