PULO CINTA ECO-RESORT ‘THE MALDIVES OF INDONESIA’
Pulo Cinta Eco Resort in Gorontalo, Sulawesi is one of the most unbelievable accommodations in all of Indonesia. In the middle of the ocean, on top of an incredible reef, you can stay in an over-water bungalow. It gets more remarkable! The tropical resort is shaped as a love heart creating a true honeymoon paradise. Pulo Cinta Eco Resort, which is completely solar-powered and aims to have a minimal impact on the environment.
Pulo Cinta means ‘Love Island’ but I visited Pulo Cinta Eco Resort with my family in February 2019, for a family vacation. It was without a doubt one of the best locations I have ever visited in the world. The highlights were the relaxed atmosphere and the incredible snorkeling conditions. If you would like to check the rates and availability of Pulo Cinta Eco Resort you can view that information here.
In this blog post, I will share with you:
- Where is Pulo Cinta Eco Resort
- How to get to Pulo Cinta Eco Resort
- Price of the rooms at Pulo Cinta Eco Resort
- What to expect at Pulo Cinta Eco Resort
- The sustainability systems in place at the Eco Resort
- How long I suggest staying Pulo Cinta Eco Resort
WHERE IS PULO CINTA ECO RESORT
Pulo Cinta Eco Resort is situated on a tiny speck of sand (hardly even an island) 2km off the coast near Gorontalo in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. The map below will show you how far away from Bali the resort is but don’t worry you can reach the resort in just one day from Denpasar, Bali.
HOW TO GET PULO CINTA ECO RESORT
Arriving at Pulo Cinta Eco Resort is a little bit of a journey but it is worth the effort. I flew from Bali and it was two flights, a car trip and a short boat ride totaling less than a day in transit. Below is how my transit looked.
- Denpasar Airport to Makassar Airport (Lion Air)
- Makassar to Gorontalo Airport (Lion Air)
- Free van shuttle service courtesy of Pulo Cinta waiting at airport driving us to the port (2- hour drive)
- Free boat trip courtesy Pulo Cinta out to the resort (10 minutes)
The journey was scenic the whole way and all of the drivers and boat captains were waiting for us. There was minimal waiting around. If you aren’t coming from Bali you can also find your way to Gorontalo through Jakarta or through Menado.
PULO CINTA PRICE PER BUNGALOW
- Transports to and from Gorontalo airport by van
- Boat to Pulo Cinta
- Snorkel Gear
- All meals (Breakfast, Lunch, Snack, Dinner
- Drinking water
This location is worth the price when considering that most over-water bungalows in Bora Bora or Maldives are thousands and thousands per night. What Pulo Cinta Eco Resort also offers is a world-class reef on your doorstep. Most over-water bungalows are situated on beautiful, clear water but the marine life and coral of this reef are incredible.
There is a one bedroom, two bedrooms or three bedroom villa available at the resort.
You often need to book in advance as it can get popular and there is normally a minimum booking of two nights. This is because the van and boat drive is included and it isn’t sustainable for the resort to be shuttling people back and forth as a courtesy service just for a single night. You will also have done a lot of transit so likely one night won’t be enough for you out at Pulo Cinta either so that is no problem!
WHAT TO EXPECT AT PULO CINTA ECO RESORT
I’m going to share with you my entire experience at Pulo Cinta Eco Resort so you can decide if you also want to visit this beautiful accommodation. In all honesty, it truly was a great vacation spot but it may not be an ideal spot for every type of traveler.
The trip began at Gorontalo airport. We landed and then waited a few moments before our driver appeared and loaded us into the van. Our driver didn’t speak English but we confirmed that we were heading to Pulo Cinta and he said yes and off we went. The drive to the harbor is quite scenic with rice fields, mountains, and endless coconut trees. We passed through many villages and throughout the 2-hr drive we gained a quick snapshot into the landscapes and life in Gorontalo.
We arrived at the pier and chatted with some local guys fishing before boarding the boat for the 10-minute cruise out to the resort. The first impression of Pulo Cinta Eco Resort was the clarity of the water. We could see the corals on the bottom and all of the fish. It was as clear as drinking water.
When you arrive at Pulo Cinta Eco Resort what you find is a love heart boardwalk that surrounds a small sandbar in the middle of the resort. On this sandbar is where you have all your meals in the restaurant and can lay on the beach. Smaller boardwalks shoot off from the love heart and take you to your private bungalow.
The resort is luxurious throughout but with the natural textures of untreated wood and the simple design, it doesn’t feel over the top. It also felt very eco-friendly by using all natural materials. A huge king size bed looks out directly to the ocean through double doors towards a hammock on your own private deck. A bathroom and living room make this the ultimate chill zone and there are just unlimited nooks, chairs and resting spots to settle into with a good book.
Straight off the deck, you can jump in and start snorkeling. The snorkeling gear is provided free when you check in and you can keep it in your bungalow for your whole stay. The snorkeling at Pulo Cinta is amazing. Huge coral structures are home to hundreds of different fish species. I stayed at Pulo Cinta for three days and went on countless snorkeling missions around the reef. I’ve snorkeled in many great spots around the world and Pulo Cinta is definitely up there with some of the best.
At sunrise, we sat on the deck and watched to the east as the bright orange came over the sunrise. With no cars, chickens or other disturbances, we sat in peace for the beginning of each day. At sunset, we all sat out on our private deck and watched the sunset and the final light case over the mountains back on the shore.
The food at Pulo Cinta was quite good but not quite five stars. You need to remember, everything comes to Pulo Cinta by boat so there are certain limitations that come with that situation. Breakfast was a buffet of rice, eggs, sausages, chicken, vegetables, cereals, toasts and coffee. Lunch is also a buffet with noodles, rice, fish, chicken, and vegetables with a good spread of options.
Dinner at Pulo Cinta Eco Resort is the only meal of the day that is not a buffet and it is usually a special dish like a grilled fish or chicken dish. Beers are 75k ($5 USD) for a large Bintang and the wine was 600k ($40 USD).
The staff was all super friendly and most of them were quite young. They came from different parts of Sulawesi and several of them spoke some English and the others were learning but the constant smiles and fun vibes were great from the staff.
If you would like to check the rates and availability of Pulo Cinta Eco Resort you can view that information here.
WHAT MAKES PULO CINTA AN ECO RESORT
Being out in the middle of the ocean it is a complete immersion in nature. Pulo Cinta recognizes that without nature there is no resort. They respect the natural beauty of their location by creating an eco-friendly resort with the following measures:
- The entire resort runs on solar power. While I was there it was sunny every day so we had ample electricity in the rooms but the staff told us to expect power to be off after 10 pm until the early morning. This actually never happened and we had power the entire time we were there. It honestly doesn’t affect you at all but is super cool knowing you are using power generated by the sun.
- The soap, shampoo, and conditioner were friendly for the ocean so they requested you use the toiletries provided.
- There are no fans or air conditioners but because the ocean breeze is so nice it flows through all of the open doors and windows. We were never too hot in the bungalow.
Areas Pulo Cinta could improve on to become even more eco-friendly:
- Not using plastic cling wrap to cover snacks and to keep afternoon coffees warm.
- Putting a water purifier/filter in each villa instead of providing bottled water as many of the bottles can become loose and because you are near the ocean they are at risk to blow into the ocean
- Use metal or bamboo straws in the restaurant
- Do a daily cleanup around the island of any plastic
- Be aware of any loose plastics that can blow into the ocean.
Things to know:
You do have a flushing western style toilet in each villa but don’t worry it doesn’t flow out into the ocean. Each bungalow has a septic tank that is emptied and taken back to the mainland in Boalemo. The water is also brought in from Boalemo for showers and the taps.
There was WiFi but only for the office staff. They did offer to get us a sim card and add data to it. I didn’t use it and enjoyed the break from the internet and social media but my sister did and the sim card worked fine if you don’t want to keep in touch with the internet you can actually be a digital nomad out at Pulo Cinta.
HOW LONG TO STAY AT PULO CINTA ECO RESORT
I suggest a minimum of two nights because of all the transit involved to get there and I also believe that is the minimum you can book through Pulo Cinta. For me, three days was enough as there is only so much snorkeling you can do. I did enjoy just lazing about, reading books and doing some forced unwinding but I would suggest 3-4 days. Five days or more would be a little much in my opinion.
I really hope you enjoy your stay if you are lucky enough to make it out to Pulo Cinta Eco Resort. It was a very special place that my family will never forget. Here are some more photos from my time at Pulo Cinta Eco Resort.