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Reviewed 5 August 2019

The short version: If you're lucky enough to have the opportunity to go here, do. I envy you already.

In detail:

I spent almost a month at the resort from the beginning of June 2019 to the beginning of July 2019. I was traveling solo and on a budget as I'm a student.

-Pre-arrival

Before arriving in Sumba, I spent a month travelling around Lombok and Bali and already got in touch with Cam then. I had a lot of questions regarding surfing conditions, gear, transport, etc. and he took the time to answer all of them for me and honestly earned the resort a 5 star-review before I even got there because that level of customer-service was something I hadn't found anywhere else on my travels. He saved me a lot of money with his advice and it was apparent that his resort isn't a place that tries to squeeze as much money out of its customers as possible.

- Flights

Fly Wings Air from Bali to Waingapu, Sumba. I paid around 1.7mil IDR per way + 200k IDR for each surfboard I brought with me. It's the cheapest and easiest way to do it. The flight takes ca. 1h 30min

-Transport

Book your transport through the resort if you can.
The alternatives are a local bus (which is cheaper but takes a lot longer and is quite a hassle) or renting a scooter in town and driving to the resort yourself. I really wouldn't recommend the second option as the roads aren't great at all, the journey takes 2h and they have scooters in the resort for rent that you only have to pay for when you actually use them.
If you rent a scooter in town you'll end up paying for each and every day and when you're at the resort you'll most likely end up surfing, relaxing, diving, etc. and won't need a scooter all the time.
The resort is also off the beaten path and hard to find and during my stay there I experienced the seemingly all too common situation where a guest got lost on the way to the resort and didn't arrive until many hours later with a feral look in their eyes, as if they'd had to battle a dragon and resort to cannibalism just to get there alive.
Just go with the resort transport. Prices for scooter rental at the resort and airport transport might seem high at first when you compare it to Bali, but considering that the drive from the airport takes 2h and comparing the resort's scooter prices to local scooter prices, they're actually very reasonably priced and you'll save money booking through them.

- Costs in General

Well worth the money and considering that all three meals are included in the price (which you really DO want because there are no other food options around) it's affordable even for students when you compare it to your total daily expenses at other accommodations with food not yet included.

- Accommodation

Your feet WILL get dirty and there is no AC. If you don't like that, this isn't the place for you. If you don't mind though, then you'll love it. The two toilet and two shower stalls are shared for the A-Frame huts and private for each of the two beach huts. They're all really clean and pleasant though so sharing the bathroom really isn't a problem. Max. capacity for the A-Frames is about 4 people anyways.. waiting in line to go to the bathroom is not a thing that you'll encounter.

The beach side huts are directly by the beach and the A-Frames are a stone's throw behind them. Plenty of privacy in either accommodation whilst still generating a feeling of community as you'll greet people sitting on the porch of their huts while walking by and have a beer with them, etc. Great for couple's getaways, groups of friends and solo travelers looking for solitude without loneliness.

The room's are basic but you don't need more. Beds with mosquito nets, hammocks, fans, benches, tables, drinking water, snacks, nice lighting, etc.

- "Staff", more like kind friends

Really friendly and helpful. They'll bring you your meals wherever you are. I ate lunch everyday in a hammock on the beach. If there's anything you want/need, just ask and they'll make it happen.

Nana's cooking is great! Lot's of rice with vegetables and tofu and chicken as well regularly. Eggs and toast for breakfast in all forms and fruit too. Regular pizza nights with a proper pizza oven which are also great to just hang with the other guests and get to know them.

Mark is the guy you want to talk to for anything and everything regarding surfing. Him and Cam are the guys who own/founded/built the place. He'll give you a really detailed daily surf report, make sure you find the waves you're looking for (whether you're a beginner or advanced) and is a really great guy.
He handles most of the guest's activities so be patient while he finds a daily schedule that gives all the guests what they want. He manages every time so just don't be hesitant to ask about what you want to do. It's up to you to decide what adventures you want to go on and inquire about them.
Somebody also gave him a guitar a while back and he loves playing for everyone so feel free to ask him to.

Cam is the guy to talk to regarding spear-fishing, diving, kite-surfing, wind-surfing, etc. He can help you out with all of that and they have gear there that you can rent. Make sure to inquire beforehand though. Remember that Sumba is a remote island so you should bring your own gear with you if you can. Don't just assume they have what you need. Ask beforehand though, and they probably will have something for you. They're both extremely adaptive and helpful guys and go out of their way to find a solution for you that works. Cam's a really cheerful, friendly and honest guy and you'll enjoy having a beer with him. A great guy to chill with, as is Mark.

If you can, have a beer on the beach at sunset. Cam and Mark will join you, as will most of the other guests. It's a beautiful way to end the day.

The other guests while I was there consisted mostly of surfers (an even split between beginners and advanced surfers), an occasional kite-surfer and some spear-fishers. There were also quite a few couples where one of them surfed and the other relaxed on the beach and read books. It's a great place to go if you're both looking for different things as you can quite easily find it all there. There was also the occasional guest who didn't surf, kite, etc. staying for a few nights. They seemed to really enjoy taking walks on the beach, reading, meditating and getting away from the stress of more populated areas.

- The Waves

I spent almost everyday surfing by "The Pier". There are two lefts there and two rights. All four of them are good quality waves and can reach quite respectable sizes. I'm barely an intermediate surfer and am trying to figure out how to surf my first shortboard. It was the perfect place for me to practice. Many of the other guests were either beginners or advanced and they all consistently found waves that they enjoyed surfing. There are lots of surf spots here so you'll find something great on 9/10 days.
They have soft-top boards in the camp for beginners and shortboards for the more advanced, but barely any boards in between (June 2019). If you want anything from 6'3" - longboards make sure to bring it with you. There's only one board there in that category.

Crowds don't exist. There were never more than 5 of us in the water (all from the same resort) and because the spots by the pier aren't that far from each other, we all just paddled out to a different spot. I spent 90% of my time surfing a spot on my own with a friend at the next spot just 80m to my left. It spoilt me to the point where after leaving Sumba, 5 people in the lineup felt really crowded to me. I'm definitely going back again one day. It's the perfect place to just catch wave after wave and work on your surfing.
Mark also always does his best to make you feel better if you've had a bad surf-session and really tries to find the best waves for everyone. It's really commendable.

- Activities

Apart from all the above-mentioned sports, there are a lot of day / afternoon trips you can book for very reasonable prices. Just ask Mark or Cam and they'll get you sorted.
The island is very pristine and tourism isn't really a thing at all there yet. Cam and Mark are still discovering so many new things around the camp. There are tons of surf spots that no one has ever surfed and reefs that no one has ever dived. It all depends on the conditions, but if you're lucky, maybe you can go discover something with them.

- The locals

They're all really friendly and greet you with a smile wherever you go. The kids will all shout "Buleh" at you as you drive by (means something like "foreigner"/"albino") and wave at you with a smile. It might be wise to download the google translate app and the Indonesian language pack so that you have an offline method of communicating. The locals speak no English whatsoever.

- Other Advice

Get a local SIM Card (Telkomsel) BEFORE coming to Sumba! There is no Wifi anywhere, but 4G is present on most of the island. You can top up your credit in the local village near the resort. You'll need the SIM Card to research and book the next part of your trip (if you're traveling spontaneously like I was). If you want to get away from smartphones though and do a digital detox, then ignore what I just wrote and go read a book on the beach. It's the perfect place to get away from phones, internet, etc.

Bring good mosquito repellent. They're everywhere and you'll want to have some around. Some people had no problems, but they really did seem to want to get at me. Bring a pack of malaria pills just in case. I must have gotten 50 mosquito bites in the month I was there and nothing happened to me, but you never know.

Bring a torch or headlamp. There is no light pollution and walking between huts at night means you're walking in the dark on a small dirt path.

Bring earplugs if you don't want to be woken up by the sounds of nature. Chickens roam the resort and outside of the hip-high fence surrounding the resort you'll find herds of goats, cows and bison as well as plenty of pigs. You're also really close to the ocean in the beach huts so if you're a light sleeper the waves and wind might wake you up.

Crocodiles aren't a thing. Apparently there are a few in a river a few kilometers off to the East, but you'll spend 99% of your time surfing a few kilometers to the West and even when you head East you're not that near the river. No idea what that other reviewer is on about. There are lots of Dugongs and sea turtles that pop up in the waves. You'll usually see one every surf session. He most likely saw one of them, decided for himself that it was a crocodile and decided to write a negative review instead of educating himself.

I can really recommend this place. If you're not sure, just go anyways. Despite being remote, it's only a half-day trip in total from Bali and there are daily connections that are rarely fully booked (Booking flights two days in advance is ALWAYS possible and the prices aren't higher last minute).
I actually found it quite perplexing that all these Europeans who flew 19h from Europe to get to Bali (like me) end up just staying there and surfing in line-ups where someone ALWAYS drops in on you and you have to surf slalom around the crowds (The lineups in every single spot in Bali are ridiculously crowded nowadays) instead of just flying 1.5h further to a place where it's just you and your friends in the water and all the waves are yours.

I'll definitely be going back.

Go check it out and have fun!

Room tip: All of their huts are great!
Date of stay: June 2019
  • Trip type: Travelled solo
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank liam_going
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 6 July 2019 via mobile

Sumba Adventure Resort

We spent a very relaxing week at Sumba Adventure Resort. We were met by Mark who would give us the daily updates with surf, wind and any special activities happening that day. Although they offer many activities : Stand Up Paddle, Wind Surfing, Diving, AVT... my partner chose to surf and I relax.
We had copious sunrise and sunset walks.
Adventures through the little villages and to close by beaches.
We met the very friendly locals who are either so excited to see you or scared and run crying from the Bula.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are served to you in your bungalow. The food was delicious with lots of vegetarian dishes and mainly chicken for protein. Pls note there are really no other options around to get food elsewhere.
We stayed in the open beach bungalow at front with awesome views from the bed and chairs.
The stock your fridge with Bintang and refreshments and a big supply of fresh drinking water.
We got to see Dugong, Sea Stars, Octopus, Pig, Goats, Horses, Buffaloes, Chooks with No Salt Water Crocks in sight. ( as per a previous review).
We look forward to visiting again.
Thank you Mark and Cameron.

Date of stay: July 2019
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
1  Thank Shae111
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 9 January 2019

Well, to make it short - about everything that has been written about SAR is true, so to make things short - its amazing, go there !

If you have a bit more time, I´ll give you some more insight I experienced during my visit in December 2018

Getting there
Sumba is not exactly on the map of most people. Getting there is not that hard tough. There are 2 airports Tambolaka (TMC) and Waingapu (WGP). Make sure to fly into WGP since from there it´s only 2 hrs by car / 3hrs by bus versus 6-8 from TMC. Talk to the guys and they can either arrange a car pickup or recommend a bus. The bus is a bit of a hussle since you have to get from the airport to the bus station which can be quite a challenge with hardly any taxis around. Yes, it still is quite rustic there. Also, you´ll need some transport from the bus stop to the resort, I would recommend the car transfer.

The resort
There are 4 huts, 2 A-frames and 2 larger "beachfront" huts. I had the open bamboo hut which was amazing. Waking up in the morning and looking at the sea was wonderful. It is literally steps from the lagoon. The huts are close enough to interact with the other guests if you wish, however far enough if you don´t feel like doing so. Altough everything is quite open I never had the feeling of missing privacy, simply because there´s nobody.
Remember - it is not the Ritz. Everything is maintained and serviced very well, however you´ll end up having dirty feet, no matter how often you wash them, and it might get a bit warm since there is no AC. Took me a bit to get used to this but then I enjoyed it very much.

It is approx. 15 mins from the next "main road" where you´ll find some shops that sell basic stuff like food, cigarettes and so on. The

The people
Let´s start with the staff, altough I have a hard time calling them so. These wonderful people are super friendly and will make sure you enjoy the time at the resort, so I´ll rather call them friends.
Other guest were surfers when I was there. They enjoyed the empty endless beaches and beeing the only ones on the waves. Generally very laid back and relaxed this was the perfect crowd to unwind and have a great time with.

The food
If you book the meals package (strongly recommended) you´ll enjoy 3 meals per day.
Breakfast could be omlette (eggs from their own chicken), toast and fruit, lunch and dinner are most likely indonesian food containing rice (in allvarieties, steamed, ried...), vegetables, tofu, tempeh, chicken. Also they have a pizza oven where they make some of the best pizza I have tasted outside of Italy.
They´ll occasionally treat you to other goodies like a fish bbq (if they caught some) or a roasted pig which we enjoyed together with the families of the staff at christmas.
If you have special dietary needs they can definetly cater to that if you let them know well ahead of time. Most of the food is local and seasonal, there are no supermarkets so sourcing special foods can be time consuming.

What to do
There´s water...lot´s of it. Surfing is definetly one of their specialties, if you know how to surf they will guide you through the waves in the area, if you have no clue about surfing, they will make sure to teach you how to stand on that board (or drink half the ocean like I did). They have rental equipment for beginners and pros.
If you book the surfers package, they also will get you to the beaches/waves by either boat or 4x4.
Other activities include snorkeling, fishing, scuba diving (they´re still exploring the area, chances that nobody has ever dived there are high), stand up padeling or tearing up the beach with quads ore bikes.
Also, the huts all have sitting areas, and there are some hammocks at the beach, if you prefer doing close to no nothing.
Apart from that you can book reasonably priced daytrips to the waterfall.
Remember, some activities depend on the weather, if it has rained a lot the water will be claudy and you won´t see a thing snorkeling. Also if the tide is too low there will be no way getting out of the lagoon by boat. So I would recommend to let them know in advance what you´re planning to do and I bet they will give you an honest answer, if it is possible.

Health
Yep, Sumba is still a bit wild. My doctor told me there is Malaria on the island, so I took precautions. I would recommend checking your regular vaccinations.
In reality, I stopped using the mosquito net after a few days and wasn´t bitten by a single one. Due to the constant sea breeze, there were no mosquitos at all. However this could be different if you go further inlands. I would recommend to bring at least a bug spray, anything else is really up to your travel plans.
Crocodiles... yep, there are some living in the rivers. There is one wave which is close to a river and staff will tell you what to check for (tracks, crocodiles at the river etc.). Yes, it sounds scary, but if you follow a few rules, there´s nothing to worry about.

What else
It is a back to the basics experience. The lack of the comforts you´re normally used to (strong and stable WIFI, AC, TV etc.) will not be missed at all if you´re open to alternative distractions (e.g. having an ice cold beer watching the sun go down and looking for comic figures in the clouds). If you need constant distraction, nightlife and bars...don´t go there. If you want to enjoy a vacation free of stress and hassle, this is for you !

One last thing - yes they are listed on booking.com and agoda.com, but please book directly through their homepage ! There are so many options, also, you can discuss your wishes and expectations and thy can propose the best time to come. Also, the commision doesn´t go to some faceless company but to the people of Sumba, and trust me, they need it more !

Thanks for the great time guys, I´ll be back !

Date of stay: December 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled solo
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
5  Thank BenCollateral
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 26 November 2018

Everything you can wish for if you need some loneliness after a couple of days/weeks in Bali!

Super friendly and helpful staff plus it is a beautiful and clean place!

We enjoyed every minute and would go back right away.
If you don't surf, it's probably not the best spot ;)

Date of stay: October 2018
  • Trip type: Travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Service
Thank KaiA215
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 4 October 2018 via mobile

My partner and I recently spent 4 nights at Sumba Adventure Resort and had an amazing time! The long term resident there proved to be an excellent host and made sure we got the most out of our days. We were able to take full advantage of the fishing, surfing, paddle boards and AVTs and were never short of something to do - although it’s also the perfect spot for a relax! The beach hut was awesome with good views of the lagoon, and the food provided exceeded expectations, the girls in the kitchen did a great job!!

However...all visitors should be aware that there are salt water crocs living in the estuaries and ocean around the camp. Whilst surfing at the point we actually saw a croc in the water which was a pretty scary experience and were extremely lucky to be get away without being attacked. We also saw the tracks of two crocs across the beach from the river to the ocean 2km east of camp (see pics).

Following our stay we had a google and translated some Indonesian articles to find there have been many croc attacks in the area. Whilst we had been told by staff at Sumba Adventure Resort that there were some fresh water crocs living in the river, we had no warning about the salties. We got in touch with Cameron to give him a heads found him to have an attitude - extremely rude and dismissive in his response. Seemed he wants to keep the croc situation on the down low to avoid loosing business.

Date of stay: September 2018
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
4  Thank Unit2
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IndoIrisCharters, Owner at Sumba Adventure Resort, responded to this reviewResponded 5 October 2018

Kalala has been surfed without incident for over 30 years. The first surf resort opened up in 1996 'Mr Davids". There has not been a single incident involving a surfer and a croc. We surfor dive every day, the fact that we are still alive has probably got very much to do with the fact that we dont surf in Rivers or at night. Facts from a site called WORLDWIDE CROCODILIAN ATTACK DATABASE http://www.crocodile-attack.info/. We do tell all our guest about the crocs including these two guests. Obviously we dont have tracking beacons on them but the facts do point out that the danger zones are Rivers and Night time and in most incidence rivers at night time. This is a compilation of every reported attack on Sumba for the past 100 years.
June 1917:Wanakaka West River Night
June 1960:Kambaniru River at Mauliru village
Jan 2013:East Sumba Spear-fishing in a mangrove area
July 2014:Walakiri Mangrove Night
Feb 2015:Kambaniru village during the Night
Apr 2015:Watu Parunu beach at Night
Oct 2015:Kambaniru River during the Night
June 2016:Kaliunda River at Kaliunda
June 2016:Kadumbul estuary in Kadumbul village
June 2016:Kadumbul estuary at Kadumbul village Night
Sep 2016:Kambaniru River at Malumbi village at Night
Oct 2016:Malumbi village River 6:00 PM
Nov 2016:Tanakandungka River 7:00 PM
Feb 2017:Kadumbul village at around 9:30 PM
Apr 2017:Kambaniru River in Lambanapu village during the Night

Of these 15,every single attack was ether at night or in a River/estuary, mostly river and at night. 7 were fatal, 2 lost limbs and the other 6 were superficial wounds.

So those are the facts. We by no means withhold information from any of our guests. If we feel a situation is unsafe we will always let you know immediately . If adventure is not your thing, and you often find yourself craving a safe space, well then sorry to say but Sumba Adventure Resort is not for you.

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