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“A piece of Paradise”

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Bunaken Cha Cha Nature Resort
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 24 July 2017

Once you have been to Bunaken Cha Cha, there are few places that come close. On the occasion of our 30th anniversary, we decided to see for ourselves what all the fuss was about. Surely a resort is a resort.....
Raf and Reiko have carved out a place of rest and relaxation that is world class. On an island that is a long way from Cape Town. An island that will stay with us forever.
On arrival, we were welcomed not just by strong young porters, splashing out to assist the captain, but a family of hounds waiting patiently on the shore, to see who their favourite guest would be. An immediate cocktail and welcome by Raf, then up some stairs and to our room. It was delightfully decorated with flowers and leaves welcoming us, I had a very teary eyed companion, as it was just so beautiful. Our rooms were always kept spotless. The staff unobtrusive, meticulous and honest.
As our visit was during the quiet season, we were often alone at the resort and spent many hours relaxing in our own piece of paradise. "Brexit" the youngest dog keeping us company. The communal dinners are a great institution, as Raf and Reiko are amazing hosts. We met and shared stories with interesting people from around the world. The food was wow! Reiko's team has the ability to combine flavours that left us asking for more (always leave space for desert and always pop down to the communal area by 3-30 in the afternoon, for something baked)......
Our snorkeling was the best ever. On the house reef,which is quite incredible - our own aquarium, we were privileged to be visited by a pair of spotted eagle rays, coming up from the deep. On an excursion with Mul (what a delight to be shown things that we would have missed), we saw the biggest lobster I've ever seen and banded sea snakes. Sometimes, I believe, the locals have had enough of the tourists... beware of the Titan Triggerfish if it's protecting its young. It was ferocious and did not give up until we had gone far away.
I am still amazed by the steep drop-offs, beautiful corals, fish, fish and more fish, of so many species and varieties. The treat of hot sweet tea, bananas and biscuits after 2 hours in the water, will be remembered for a long time.
Eventually holidays draw to a close and as we took our bags down to the lounge "Brexit" gave the 1st howl of our visit. I knew exactly how he felt, I was not ready to leave.
If you think you can leave unaffected by the staff at Cha Cha who look after you for a week, think again. When we left, the staff lined up on the veranda to waive goodbye. They were still waiving when we were almost out of sight. Yes we were crying half the way back to Manado.
Thank you Raf and Reiko for looking after that small piece of paradise. Your attention to detail is quite incredible, thanks for coming to find us in the storm and sitting with us until it was over. It's defitely an "au revoir", see you soon.

Room Tip: If you don't do stairs then the room above the beach is best. For wooden chalets, there are othe...
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  • Stayed: December 2016, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
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2  Thank kensM6132RV
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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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...
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  • Stayed: June 2017, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank lantauloafer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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
1  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
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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 #5 of 16 Speciality Lodging in Bunaken Island
Price Range: $241 - $1,043 (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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