Black Sand Dive Retreat

Black Sand Dive Centre


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Black Sand Dive Retreat

Black Sand Dive Retreat is located on mainland Manado, and is part of Kasawari Village (but don't mix it up with Kasawari Resort which is far away at Makawide Village and the dive site of the same name). Black Sand is also smack in the middle of TK1 and Hairball2, two of Lembeh's excellent dive sites, and now enviably the house reefs of Black Sand.

It's run by Bruce and Fung Moore, whose friendliness, helpfulness and sheer nice-ness pervade the entire resort. It is currently DWS' favourite place to stay in Lembeh.

Black Sand Dive Retreat is for older divers who aren't too keen on road trips or hardship type stays, or divers who aren't really fans of the no-frills experience (me! me!), and for whom accommodation is probably an equally important factor as the diving when deciding where to go for a dive holiday. This resort is for divers who don't mind paying a little more for a good, comfortable land experience that's catered for divers.

The resort's main building where guests eat their meals

The resort is built on the hillside

The entrance has a bookshelf stocked with good marine life guides and dive magazines

The resort by night


Walk-in wardrobe

... with plenty of hanging space

Floor-to-ceiling glass doors let in lots of natural light by day

Your own supply of drinking water



Very spacious

The toilet is in a dry area

Fluffy towels

Morning glories greet you in the morning

So, if you're looking for a resort which is not big on mass marketing and is not focused on housing as many divers as possible and sending schools of divers on large boats to the same dive sites, plus a resort that offers more than airconditioning and hot running water, this is an excellent place to consider.

The resort is built on a hilly piece of land, with the dive centre on the beach, and the dining area and rooms higher up. Tall coconut trees and morning glory flower beds are everywhere, with expanses of grass and plenty of greenery.

We arrived by road, through a narrow winding one-lane bumpy road (makes you feel like going to the toilet), where speed strips are made of the trunk of a coconut tree sliced in half lengthwise, and if faced with an oncoming car, one car will have to go onto the grass. We drove through a modest gate and all this while we had no idea what to expect when suddenly we're driving up a stone-laid driveway to the lobby and we're looking into the spacious common hall. We got out of the car, walked past a sofa and a tempting book case of marine life books and dive magazines, and then we're invited to sit at the table where we were served a smoothie of banana, pineapple and other fruits.

We filled in the usual forms and then we were shown to our room, by which time I was sufficiently impressed.

The resort's landscaping

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Black Sand has twin and double rooms, and each room is housed in a cottage which is yours exclusively. All rooms are air-conditioned, and come with an outdoor (but sheltered) bathroom, and hot running water. I can't decide which attribute is the most important, because there are so many. The rooms are very spacious, there's plenty of room to walk around without stepping over bags and things. They're also high-ceilinged and airy, so that you never get that smell of damp air after so many days. And the interior design! I know a lot of divers don't give two hoots about interior design, because you're a very functional lot, but it DOES make a difference and good aesthetics will never go unnoticed by Divewithsus. Most of the wood you see is coconut wood, from the walls to the bed frame and furniture. A lot of that wood came from the resort land itself.

The view from our room

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Service Quality

In addition to making your bed and tidying up in the morning, someone will come to your room every evening for turn-down service and to light the mosquito coil in your bathroom and on your verandah. If you're in your room in the afternoons, one of the staff will knock on your door to tell you that afternoon tea is being served. They're responsive too: some water from the water dispenser started dripping onto the floor when the water got over-heated, and once we reported it, this chap came over immediately, knew what to do, came back lugging a new 19-gallon bottle on his shoulder, changed it, and wiped up.


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