Frequently Asked Questions
How long do most people stay for?
Most people find that a week to 10 days is the ideal amount of time on Maratua. Sometimes we have to wait a day or two for the manta rays to come back to Sangalaki and other times the weather isn’t ideal for a full day boat trip. When you have a solid week, you have a much better chance of having perfect weather for your snorkeling trips. Our most happy and relaxed guests are the ones that spent at least a week with us.
Is Maratua suitable for children?
Most young children and teenagers just love Maratua. We’ve had babies, toddlers, children and teenagers stay with us and they all had a wonderful time. The beach in front of our guesthouse is very safe and shallow for swimming and even young children can snorkel in this area and see turtles. It is recommended that if you need particular supplies for your children that you bring these with you, including diapers, formula, food and and medicines.
Is the food suitable for vegetarians?
Yes, we have many dishes that are suitable for vegetarians on our menu, which you can view on our site. If you are a strict vegetarian, please let us know when you make your booking. Being a remote island, there are no shops with fresh veggies. Leafy greens don’t last longer than a day in this heat, so we buy vegetables that will last like potatoes and pumpkin, as you can see on our menu. We also have tofu and tempeh when we know we have vegetarians or vegans coming.
Can you drink the water?
We have purified water that we serve in the restaurant. You can purchase 1 liter bottles from us for $1.00 and then refill them for 50c.
What language is spoken?
Bahasa Indonesian is the official language of Maratua, but many of the inhabitants speak their own dialect. The owners Jun and Ana speak both English and Bahasa Indonesian. All correspondence is done in English to keep all details straight.
I only have 3 days to come to Maratua. Should I make the trip?
Our minimum stay requirement is 3 nights. However, If you stay for only 3 days, you may regret that your trip is so short. The journey time to Maratua is quite long so most people really enjoy relaxing and experiencing the magic of Maratua and its snorkelling paradise. We recommend staying a week, so that you have time to acclimate and recover from the trip over and are able to do a couple of nice trips. Our happiest guests are the ones that stayed for a week.
Is there anything to do in the evening?
There isn’t any entertainment or karaoke on Maratua. Derawan Island is known for the karaoke in many of their guesthouses. Maratua is a quiet island, where you can enjoy the sounds of nature, not televisions or loud bars. Most of our guests have long, leisurely dinners and enjoy beers with the beautiful view from the restaurant. Maratua Guesthouse attracts adventurous souls from all over the world and our guests often comment to us about the interesting people that they’ve met during their stay.
Can you buy supplies on Maratua?
Yes, there are some small shops in the village that sell snacks and some soap and shampoo. However, there is not a tourist strip on Maratua, so we recommend purchasing basic supplies such as mosquito repellent, soap, shampoo, sunscreen, medicines, sanitary pads and secondhand books before you arrive. Both Balikpapan and Berau have large stores, where you can stock up on basic supplies.
Is there internet or television?
We do not have television or wifi. However, there is a cell phone tower on Maratua, so you can get 3g internet. You will need to purchase an Indonesian SIM card at the airport in Balikpapan if you don’t already have one. Also, you could purchase this in Berau town if you overnight in Berau. Please note that the reception is not very good on Maratua, but you should be able to do some calls, texting and emails.
What is the best time of year to visit Maratua?
The weather is pretty consistently good throughout the year. The only time when it rains a lot is January and February. These are our wettest month, but even in January and February it only rains about half of the week. Throughout the rest of the year, it might rain for a few hours and then clear us and be beautiful. Usually if it does rain, it does so in the evening. We are blessed with fairly mild weather on Maratua for most of the year, although we do have some stormy times, as well.
All prices in the restaurant are in USD. You can make payments in IDR or any major currency, such as dollars, pounds and euros. We do not accept credit cards on Maratua.
There is no bank or ATM on Maratua. Therefore, you must bring enough cash for your entire stay. There are no money changers in Tarakan, Balikpapan or Berau, so you will only have the money that you carry from your home country and what you withdraw from the ATM machine. We recommend traveling with dollars, pounds or Euros in cash, as you can not rely entirely on the ATM machines. There is usually a $600 limit on daily withdrawals in a 24 hour period. We recommend bringing a combination of IDR and another major currency to Maratua. Please let your bank know that you will be in Indonesia, so that they don’t put a hold on your card and prevent you from making withdrawals overseas.
Please note: The Indonesian government adds a 10% tax to all room and restaurant charges. The room tax is included with your online booking. Tax will be added to your restaurant charges incurred during your stay. If you book half-board or full-board online, the tax is already included in the rates.
The weather is similar year round on Maratua, except for late January and February when it rains more often. We usually close in February because of the weather and take this time to travel ourselves. There are no specific seasons on Maratua. It usually rains a few days a month and this is mostly in the evening. If it rains during the day, it’s usually for not more than a couple of hours. The same is true for wind and large waves. It can get windy or the waves may get large for a few hours or a day or so and then it calms down. Most days the weather is mild and pleasant. Of course, we do have storms pass through at random times like everywhere in Southeast Asia, but we don’t have a monsoon season with daily rain.
The sun rises at 6:00 AM and sets at 6:00 PM. Boats do not travel around Maratua in the dark, so all boat trips happen during daylight hours.
We hope that you’ve found our Information Sheet helpful in planning your trip. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to email us. If Maratua Guesthouse sounds like your kind of holiday, we look forward to hosting you. We truly enjoy sharing this beautiful part of our planet with our guests. We’ve had a number of our guests return to stay with us a 2nd and 3rd time, so we know how blessed we are to be on this beautiful island.