Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get to Lembeh Strait?
The best option is flying via Singapore. Silk Air (, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, offers four or five (depending on the time of year) flights weekly between Manado and Singapore. The flying time is 3.5 hours. If arriving domestically, there are numerous daily flights, some direct, from Jakarta (3 hrs in duration) on a variety of carriers.
Do I need a visa to enter Indonesia?
Yes, you will need a tourist visa which can be issued on arrival at the airport for most nationalities. As a new initiative to boost tourism, nationals of 169 countries can get a free 30-day non-extendable visa, on arrival at Manado’s Sam Ratulangi Int. Airport.

A second alternative is the Indonesia visa on arrival (VOA) , which is valid for 30 days and can be extended by another 30 days while travelling in Indonesia. There are 67 countries who can get a 30 day visa on arrival at USD 35 per person. The Indonesia visa fee can be paid in cash or credit card. If you pay with cash you can use US Dollars or any other major currency. You will find a piece of paper at the VOA payment counter with the current price in your currency.

Alternatively, you may apply for a visa before you leave home by contacting the Indonesian Embassy or Consulate in your country.

For further up-to-date information please visit Indonesia’s Department of Foreign Affairs website:, which also lists the location of Indonesian Embassies and Consulates.

Is there malaria & dengue fever in the area?
Being a tropical country, there is malaria and dengue fever in North Sulawesi. Cases are usually not contracted in oceanside locations owing to onshore breezes.

Guests will find very few mosquitos on our property, but we still provide mozzie spray and coils in our bungalows and we recommend that you bring insect repellent and appropriate clothing for the late afternoon and early evening hours.

Before your departure we also recommend that you consult with your doctor for advice on anti-malarial drugs suitable for divers if you seek absolute protection.

How far is the resort from the airport?
Black Sand Dive Retreat is a 1.5-2 hour drive from Sam Ratulangi International Airport
What is the voltage at the resort?
Voltage in Indonesia is 220-240, using a two round-prong plug. In order to provide for those accustomed to 110 V, our camera room is equipped with both 220 and 110 volt outlets as well as adapters since we see a variety of plugs in use by our guests.
What money/credit cards should I bring?
We accept payment at the resort by credit card (Visa or Mastercard), as well as cash in Indonesian Rupiah, Euros, and if immaculate, US Dollars. We can only accept perfect USD because for the past few years Indonesian banks and money changers will refuse or give a substantially lower rate for notes that are old, damaged, marked, or even folded.

Bitung has a number of ATM machines, which can be used to withdraw Rupiah using your credit or debit card. Because of widespread credit card fraud in this part of the world, we also recommend that you notify your bank or credit card company that you will be visiting Indonesia prior to your departure, as there have been cases of cards being blocked by banks thinking that it has been stolen.

What else is there to do in the area besides diving?
Though diving is the primary reason visitors come to North Sulawesi, there are other things to do. The nearby Tangkoko National Park offers the best chance anywhere of seeing the rare Tarsius spectrum, the smallest primate in the world. The park is also home to the endemic black crested macaque, cuscus and other interesting wildlife and unlike most parks in Southeast Asia, you actually do see wildlife quite easily with the help of the sharp-eyed park rangers who are mandatory guides for visitors.

The Minahasa Highlands offers splendid scenery in cool temperatures, making for an interesting day tour with much to see.

Can I get a refund on unused pre-paid dives?
No. Pre-paid dives are non-refundable and non-transferable.
Is there an airport departure tax?
There is no departure tax anymore. That cost is included in your ticket.

Tripadvisor Reviews:

What Every Dive Resort Should Strive to Be

"This was a phenomenal dive trip and we will be back here on our next visit to Lembeh. Thanks again to Bruce, Fung, and all of the wonderful staff who made our vacation a fantastic one!"

Scallywag81 on TripAdvisor

Three times is not enough...

"In the 20+ years that we've been diving, in about the same number of different countries, there was only one other place where we went back a second time. But Black Sand? Oh we just couldn't stay away!"

Katrien V on TripAdvisor

Idyllic Resort Set in Middle of Lembeh’s Best Diving

"Bruce was often present at meal time, and he is a wealth of knowledge about all things diving, especially Lembeh and critter identification. We really enjoyed our discussions with him. The dive staff was outstanding."

Doug F on TripAdvisor

Missing it Already and Can't Wait to Return!

"We visited Black Sand for the second time because we could not have imagined having better hosts than Bruce and Fung as well the number and variety of great dive sites."

Brown C on TripAdvisor


Black Sand Dive Retreat

Kel. Kasawari, Bitung
Lembeh Strait
North Sulawesi, Indonesia
+62 (0)821-9969-5992
+62 (0)853-4043-3665
[email protected]