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. Here can be found fringing, atolls and barrier reefs and offer more than 50 spectacular dive sites easily accessible from the major islands. This is the habitat of large and small fish species, the playground of dolphins, turtles and even whales.Wakatobi alone is said to have 942 fish species and 750 coral reef species from a total of 850 of world’s collection, which comparing with the two world’s famous diving centers, the Caribbean Sea owns only 50 species with 300 coral reef species in the Red Sea, in Egypt.
Due to its magnificent underwater life, Wakatobi is fast gaining worldwide attention for its quality dives that can be made by beginners to professionals. Aside from its dive sites, Wakatobi has many superb beaches. The conservation group “Operation Wallacea” is very active in this marine park, conducting underwater research and conservation. During the Sail Wakatobi 2011 in August, the Marine Laboratory on Hoga Beach by Kaledupa is to be officially inaugurated. The District capital of Wakatobi is Wanci on Wangi-Wangi. Since the opening of the Matohara Airport on Wangi-Wangi, these remote islands are now more accessible and can be reached by flights from Jakarta or Makassar. There is also another landing strip on Tomia island, which receives charters from Bali.
Xpress Air is the only regular airline that flies from Jakarta to Bau-Bau, in Southeast Sulawesi, and continues to land on Wakatobi’s Matohara Airport on Wangi-Wangi. From here you must take a boat to Wakatobi. The Wakatobi Dive Resort operates Charter flights so they can pick up passengers from Bali arriving direct on the island of Tomia.