Bunaken: Breathtaking Underwater Life

In this Bunaken Sea Park, visitors can see various marine lives at the bottom of Bunaken Sea. To reach this park, you can go by sea transportation like motor boat. Visitors are charged 25,000 rupiahs per person for one visit. The trip to Bunaken Sea Park Location from Manado City takes 40 minutes by motor boat.

Translucent water of Bunaken sea enables people to view numerous sea biota clearly. There are 13 coral reefs in this park, dominated by edge ridges of rock and block ridges of rock. The most attractive view is the steep vertical sloppy coral reef as far as 25-50 meters high.

Feast your eyes with 91 fish types found in this Bunaken National Park, amongst other things locally known gusimi horse fish (Hippocampus), white oci (Seriola rivoliana), yellow-tail lolosi (Lutjanus kasmira), goropa (Ephinephelus spilotoceps and Pseudanthias hypselosoma), ila gasi (Scolopsis bilineatus) and so on.

Visitors may also meet with mollusk types like giant kima (Tridacna gigas), goat head (Cassis cornuta), nautilus (Nautilus pompillius) and tunikates/ascidian.

BunakenViewing the underwater lives might not be sufficient to quench your curiousity. Especially when you are on land and the marine beings appear to be out of reach. For those who enjoy scuba diving, this is the great place to do so. With about 20 diving spots to choose from, divers will have the chance to swim under the sea, and frolick joyfully while admiring the sea creatures.

Make sure to visit Bunaken during its highlight season in May to August. That way you can explore this place to the fullest.
 
Getting There

Bunaken Island is easily reached from Manado by motorized outrigger boat, departing from Manado harbor, Molas, Kalasey and Tasik Ria beaches. The public boats from Manado to Bunaken are leaving daily around 2 p.m (depending on tide), except Sundays, from Pasar Jengki near Manado harbor. Back from Bunaken to Manado usually early in the morning, around 7-8 a.m

There are also chartered boats scheduled to depart in the morning and return in the late afternoon. These are usually reserved for travel packages offered by agents or even hotels.
 
Getting Around

You can explore the land on foot. And you can use a boat to move from one dive site to other sites. Even walking around the beach is already an enjoyable experience.
 
To Do

Most diving takes place near Bunaken and Manado Tua, because of their many excellent sites. The following is representative of the diving in the area.

Lekuan Walls (I, II, III)
This long wall on Bunaken is divided into three sites: Lekuan I, II and III. Together they represent the park’s best. Steep walls are marked with deep crevices, sea fans and giant sponges. The shallows are filled with fishes. The wall, often protected from stronger currents, is frequented by bumphead parrotfish, turtles, and Napoleon wrasses.

Mandolin
Mandolin has a knockout reef crest and a wall that attracts thousands of fishes like schooling fusiliers, surgeonfish, unicornfish, and bannerfish. They are acclimated to divers and are easily approachable.

Bunaken Timor
There are strong currents and lots of fishes on this long wall. The shallow reef isn’t as spectacular as some but there are turtles, sharks, eagle rays, and other big fishes in the blue. Overhangs and small caves mark the wall.

Tanjung Kopi
Tanjung Kopi is a nice wall with a small school of barracuda and lots of sweetlips. Visibility in the shallows is not terrific but the numbers of fishes make up for it. Nudibranches and fire gobies are easy to spot here.

Siladen Island
Siladen has a beautiful wall of soft corals that bloom when the current is running. The shallows are nice with lots of fishes and schooling snappers.

Muka Gereja
Muka Gereja is a pretty site with thousands of fishes in the shallows and deeper canyons that lead to the wall.

Barracuda Point
Barracuda Point, on northwest Montehage, is one of the furthest sites. A school of giant barracuda are regulars along with jacks and tuna.

Manado Wreck
This 60m (200ft) long German merchant ship sank near Molas Beach in 1942. It sits upright with the bow at 23m (78ft). The ship is split near amidships back to the stern, exposing the wheelhouse and cargo holds. Dives finish up on a nearby shallow reef. Expect 10-15m (30-50ft) visibility.

Other than diving-enthusiasts, ornithologists and amateur bird-watchers might find visiting Tangkoko Dua Sudara Nature Reserve entertaining.
 
To Stay

On the island you have the choice amongst a number of homestays, with rates starting at Rp40,000 for one person a day, including full board. Some of the dive operators on Bunaken are offering more upmarket accommodation, including running water.

You can also stay in the hotels in Manado and then book a daily package to Bunaken, usually leaving in the morning and returning in the late afternoon. See our Travel Directory for starred hotels in Manado (North Sulawesi —> Kota Manado)
 
To Eat

There are several of restaurants and cafes throughout Manado and the islands. Try their specialties: seafood, bubur manado and food made of coconuts!
 
To Buy

Sea-related products, such as items made of seashells, corals, etc. The city of Manado also has many kinds of souvenirs to bring back home, such as signature food, shirts, cloths, handicrafts and trinkets.
 
Tips

Entrance tags and tickets can be purchased through marine tourism operators based in Manado and in the Bunaken National Park, or can be purchased from one of three ticket counters in Bunaken and Liang villages on Bunaken Island and on Siladen Island.

You should be aware that during the absolute peak season months July and August it usually gets VERY busy. Many of the better resorts and dive operators will not be able to accept walk-ins during that time since they are fully booked. Better make a reservation before.

Try to hire equipment from larger firms as these tend to be more reliable, but remember: the responsibility of checking the equipment is ultimately yours.

If you’re the more adventurous type, you can try diving in Raja Ampat and Wayag Island.

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