When Jacques Cousteau visited Wakatobi Islands and saw the reefs here, he likened them to an “underwater Nirvana.” And Wakatobi has managed to maintain this pristine, untouched quality with help of being classified as a marine park since 2002. The Wakatobi National Park measures a total area of 1,390,000 hectares.
Wakatobi is an acronym relation of the names of four main islands in this Indonesian island chain in the Banda Sea: Wangi-wangi, Kaledupa, Tomia, and Binongko.
Located Right in the Heart of The Coral Triangle
The reef system is specifically located south of the Sulawesi island of Indonesia. Wakatobi is widely recognized as having the highest number of reef and fish species in the world. The islands are also famous as the largest barrier reef in Indonesia, second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia.
Wakatobi has all kinds of characteristics that make it one of the best coral reef systems to see. For one thing, it has the highest number of fish species in one specific area in the entire world.
This unique and rich array of marine life here is due to the fact that Wakatobi is located in the very heart of the Coral Triangle. Marine diversity and the Coral Triangle, of course, go hand in hand.
The World’s Richest Array of Marine Diversity
Because of being located right in the center of this nexus of coral life, Wakatobi has 750 out of the world’s 850 species of coral and 942 species of fish.
Also, second only to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, it is the largest coral reef system in the heavily reef-populated Indonesia.
Wakatobi is known for the pristine quality of its reefs and for the high density of marine life under the surface of these placid, beautiful cerulean waters. Serious macro (larger underwater life) photographers come from all over the world to photograph not only its super-abundance of large and soft corals but also its super-abundance of fish and other marine life here.
Wakatobi’s waters are frequented by all kinds of unique fishes, from Ghost Pipefishes, to Pygmy Seahorses, to huge Sea Fans, large fish, rays, sharks, lobsters and an abundance of beautiful sea turtles. Few places can touch Wakatobi for marine life variety here.
A Snorkeler’s Paradise
Wakatobi is especially known for being a snorkeler’s paradise. One of the best reefs around Wakattobi’s four main islands has a house reef with shallow waters all around it. Therefore, no scuba diving equipment or diving skills are necessary to witness the continuous panorama of underwater activity here.
Rare Species of Fish are Returning Now That its Consecrated by the WCC
After noticing a huge decline in the fish population in the Wakatobi water, the local government here began working with the World Conservation Society to declare the area as a “no take” (of fish) area. Since they began zoning the waters in the marine park, species of fish that have not been seen for a decade have begun returning. Therefore, it’s a perfect time to see Wakatobi for yourself!
Hoda Island – A “Homey” Island
Visitors here especially love one area – Hoda Island – in Wakatobi’s Marine Park. It is said to be one of the most beautiful, peaceful islands in the Wakatobi island area with some of the most beautiful reefs in the park. Visitors who come here say the place quickly becomes a home because of the peacefulness of the island and the hospitality of the natives.