Bunaken is an 8.08 km² island in the Bay of Manado, situated in the north of the island of Sulawesi. Bunaken forms part of the administrative city of Manado, capital of North Sulawesi. The marine park around Bunaken is part of the National Park that also includes the ocean around the island of Manado Tua – or Old Manado, Siladen and Mantehage.
Within the Bunaken Marine Park, visitors will find strange and colourful marine life along its sea bed. To reach this park, you can take a motorboat. The journey from Manado takes around 40 minutes. The entrance fee is 25,000 rupiahs per person per visit.
The translucent waters surrounding Bunaken enable people to clearly view numerous sea biota. There are 13 species of coral reefs in this park, dominated by edge ridges and block ridges of rocks. The most attractive view is the vertical coral reef that plunges down as deep as 25-50 metres.
Feast your eyes on 91 types of fish found in the Bunaken National Park, including the locally-known gusimi horse fish (Hippocampus), the white oci (Seriola rivoliana), yellow-tailed lolosi (Lutjanus kasmira), goropa (Ephinephelus spilotoceps and Pseudanthias hypselosoma), ila gasi (Scolopsis bilineatus) among others.
Divers may also encounter mollusk like the giant kima (Tridacna gigas), goat head (Cassis cornuta), nautilus (Nautilus pompillius) and tunikates/ascidian.
For those who enjoy scuba diving, this is a great place to explore the underwater world. With around 20 dive spots to choose from, divers have ample opportunity to swim and frolic below the sea while admiring the sea creatures.
The island of Bunaken is easily reached from Manado by motorised boat, departing from Manado harbour, Molas, Kalasey and Tasik Ria beach. Ferries from Manado to Bunaken leave daily around 2pm (depending on the tide), except on Sundays when they leave from Pasar Jengki near the Manado harbour. The return journey from Bunaken to Manado usually departs early in the morning at around 7-8am.
There are also charter boats that depart in the morning and return in the late afternoon. These are usually reserved for trips organised by agents or hotels.
You can also explore the island on foot or take a boat to move from one dive site to another. Simply walking around the beach is an enjoyable experience.
Most diving takes place near Bunaken and Manado Tua due to the many excellent sites. The following are impressive dive spots in the area.
In addition to diving enthusiasts, ornithologists and amateur birdwatchers are also likely to be entertained during a visit to the Tangkoko Dua Sudara Nature Reserve.