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Kanawa Island

Stunning snorkelling and scenery

Photo of Kanawa Island, Kanawa Island. , Kanawa Island

What we say: 4 stars

Let's start with the good bits. Kanawa has off the beach snorkelling to die for. Despite the reef getting a solid beating by a storm in early 2013 that also washed away their old pier, it's a glorious reef. We saw turtles, sharks, sea snakes, a bazillion fish and a remarkable array of soft corals – something amazing just about every time we went out. The island also has a couple of viewpoints that offer tremendous views across the bay ; at sunset it can be utterly breathtaking. Kanawa is very popular and reservations are strongly recommended. Because of the regular crowd, they're able to offer a multitude of snorkelling and sightseeing trips daily at quite reasonable rates. Moving on from the good bits, the rooms are variable, power is only on in the evenings, and the bungalows, both old and new, get incredibly hot with no fans -- we slept in the hammock on more than one occasion because of the heat. It's worth stumping up extra for the newer bungalows, simply for the day bed out on the deck. They do though have some more affordable bales, with four walls that can be rolled up, which may be a little cooler, though with shared facilities and no security these won't appeal to all. Camping is also available. The big issue we had at Kanawa was the overall management of the place, in particular the restaurant. Food delivery was regularly wrong and dishes sometimes took a ridiculous amount of time to arrive. They're known for their pizzas, and if you've just done weeks in the interior on nothing but nasi goreng and cap cay, they're just what the doctor ordered. We found the staff at all times to be very friendly and helpful (big cheer for Hero) but still, when you've waited two hours for dinner and get the wrong dish, it's a bit frustrating. Complaints weren't isolated to just us. That said, would we return? Yes, absolutely -- that is how good the snorkelling and beautiful the scenery is.

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    Contact details:

    Kanawa Island.  T: (0385) 41 252, (0857) 3850 6180 
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    What we were quoted

    Type of room Low season High season Notes
    Deluxe bungalow 550,000 550,000 No fan.
    Camping 175,000 175,000
    Bungalow fan share b'room 200,000 200,000 Bale bale. No fan, 250,000 rupiah for two people
    Bungalow fan private b'room 450,000 450,000 No fan.

    Added to Travelfish on: 6th May, 2013
    Last visited or updated on: 7th May, 2013

    Last reviewed by:
    Stuart McDonald co-founded with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton and he spends most of his time in Bali, Indonesia.
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