Dive with sea creatures in an undersea paradise. Deep, clear waters with pleasant temperatures, steep drop-offs, ship-wrecks and multitudes of colorful sea
Creatures have attracted divers to Bunaken National Park (Taman Nasional Bunaken) for many years. One of Indonesia’s premier dive destinations, the infrastructure at Bunaken is well developed and most of its dive operators are heavily involved in marine conservation efforts.
Although all five islands within the national park boundaries have excellent dive sites, Bunaken Island, about an hour from the entry point at Manado by boat, has the largest concentration, with each side of the island surrounded by vertical walls housing a dizzying variety of species in schools thick enough to blur vision. There are also vertical walls off Manado Tua and Siladen Islands. Swift currents surrounding Montehage’s ‘Barracuda Point’ and the extreme depths at Nain make these sites advisable only for advanced divers. Manado Bay also has some mesmerizing dive spots, its sandy slopes making it a favorite of macro photographers. There is a shipwreck off the coast covered with colorful soft corals and an enormous number of fishes, nudi branchs, and flatworms.
up like wildfire in the Lembeh Strait. The main attraction here is muck diving, getting up close and personal with the black sand sea floor in search of pygmy seahorses, hairy frogfish, mantis shrimp and the like. There are also some great shipwrecks in this area, as well as soft coral-covered slopes.
When selecting a dive operator, look for those that are members of the North Sulawesi Watersports Association and Green Fins conservation group. Most offer PADI courses as well as fun, safari and night dives; some can accommodate technical divers. If a topside activity is needed while equipment dries before heading for home, highly recommended are day trips into the scenic Minahasa Highlands or into the Tangkoko-Batuangus-Dua Saudara Nature Reserve (Cagar Alam Tangkoko- Batuangus-Dua Saudara) to see some of Sulawesi’s odd and endemic critters.