There are two main accommodation options for places to stay on Atauro island if you are planning to base yourself there while diving. Adara eco-camp on the west coast and in the village of Beloi on the east coast.
Places to stay on Atauro Island – Adara Eco-Camp
In my limited experience “eco-camp” is marketing jargon for “basic” and the Adara camp is definitely a no-frills affair. But for a few days diving on the west coast of Atauro (where the best diving is) it is hard to beat.
As they say in the real estate world “location, location, location” and the eco-camp is located under a beautiful grove of palm trees. It is right on the beach and adjacent to one of the best dive sites on the west coast of Atauro Island…
Accommodation is in dome tents located on concrete plinths. Which are under a traditional shelter with a palm frond roof to keep the elements at bay. There is a central bush-style eating area, kitchen, traditional mandi-type bathroom, composting toilet and (most importantly) a compressor to fill tanks!
Places to stay on Atauro Island – Barry’s Place at Beloi
“Barry” is Barry Hinton – a Queenslander who went to Timor Leste in 2001. Where he met and married his wife Lina and moved to Atauro Island to start Barry’s Lodge.
In terms of places to stay on Atauro Island, Barry’s Place is somewhat of an institution. As it was the first formal accommodation on the island.
Barry’s Place is a true eco-lodge with a very strong focus on the environment. And a sustainable approach to everything they do through the use of traditional construction techniques. Using locally sourced building materials like bamboo and lontar palm that are cut seasonally so as not to degrade the source of supply.
Water is a big issue on Atauro… It’s a dry island with no lakes or river, that almost goes bone-dry in the the dry season. Barry’s Place uses composting toilets, small sinks and bucket showering to minimise water consumption. Together with recirculating all the grey water from the kitchens and bathrooms for irrigation.
Similarly for electricity consumption the lodge minimizes its needs by using natural ventilation and breeze-paths. Grass thatch roofs with naturally low heat absorption to keep rooms cooler. And natural lighting during the day and solar panels for lighting and ceiling fans.
The lodge is very well done and a real pleasure to walk around. And, while I have not stayed there, would definitely do so if I was staying on the east coast of the island. However there are no scuba diving facilities at Barry’s. So you would need to coordinate your diving with one of the main dive operators in Dili. By arranging for them to pick you up at Barry’s and drop you back again after the diving is done for the day.