The fringing reef along the entire north coast of East Timor provides spectacular diving and snorkeling opportunities. Many sites, including the legendary K41 east of Dili, are easily accessed by walking in from the beach with dramatic drop-offs just 10m offshore in parts. One of the reasons that many people become enchanted with Dili is the opportunity for a world-class diving in the morning. evening or any other time the mood hits. The main local dive operators are in Dili and arrange trips throughout the country and to Atauro Island. They obviously also offer trips for snorkelers.
Cristo Rei of Dili
Also known as Jesus 1, this dive site is near the Christ Statue on Cape Fatucama, about 6km east of Dili. The entry point is midway between the two car-park entry points for the Christ Statue. At low tide it can be a long walk across broken coral before reaching deeper water. The reef has small to medium coral and a variety of marine life, including blue moray eels and blacktop reef sharks. Take care of the currents close to the head-land, although they fade as you move south.
Christo Ref East
Also known as Jesus 2, this site is reached from the small cove with the white-sand beach between the two larger beaches to the east of the Christ Statue. It’s a steep descent from the road to the beach and then a long walk out until the water gets deep enough. The gradual slope eventually steepens before dropping off into the deep from 18m to 20m. There’s a good coral garden at just 4m to 5m.
At the western end of Av de Portugal, the pier is used to offload fuel to the Pertamina compound. From the surface it is a concrete jungle; however, under the water the dive site is regarded one of the top 15 shore dives in Asia. The fish and critters use the big py-lons for protection, away from any fishing nets. You will see giant trevally, huge sweetlips and scorpion fish on this dive that has been likened to a wreck dive of sorts. It is difficult to believe you are diving off Dili’s Embassy Row.
Heading west out of Dili, past the airport, you will come to the large area where the coast opens up. The diving here is magnificent: it is no surprise that over half of the winning entries in the inaugural East Timor dive photo contest were taken here. There is such an array of fish species here that some divers spend a lifetime trying to see them all; you might see five or six of them during one dive here. It is an easy 18m dive, which features everything from scorpion fish to turtles and octopus.
A bit less than 10km west of Dili, past the airport and just after the monument marking where the Pope spoke during his 1989 visit to East Timor, this site is marked by big rocks at the entry point. From there the sandy bottom slopes away to the westwards-running reef and drops to 20m. A wide variety of reef fish, including lionfish, puffer fish, and stonefish, are regularly encountered, as well as moray eels. A further 200m west Is DillRock West. This as the currents can be strong, and s can be a challenging dive, swirling sand can sometimes affect visibility.
Secret Garden is a lovely spot for diving or snorkeling and appreciating a beachside outing. On around 35km of the road east of Dili, you will find this place. Like most snorkel or dive spots in East Timor, there is no sign. As you draw near, you will see a backwoods of palm trees and a town where individuals are offering crate and other woven things. Just past the town, you’ll find a two-track “road” toward the sea that winds very narrowly between the palm trees until you reach the rocky beach.
GPS Coordinates: S 8 29.359 E 125 49.901
Jaco Island is part of the famous Coral Triangle, a submerged zone that holds the world’s most prominent assorted qualities of both corals and coral reef fish, and is ensured by the Nino Konis Santana National Park. The island is viewed as a sacrosanct site by locals and is uninhabited. There are no lasting structures on the island, camping is prohibited, and its only regular visitors are fishermen and visitants from Dili.