Bunaken is an island 8.08 km2 which located in northern Sulawesi, Indonesia. It is a part of Manado the capital city of North Sulawesi. Marine Park around Bunaken is a part of National Marine Park which also includes the ocean around Manado Tua Island, Siladen and Mantehage. Bunaken National Marine Park is 75.265 hectare with population of 21.000 people and consists of 5 island which are Manado Tua, Bunaken, Silade, Mantehage and Naen. It’s officially inaugurated as national park in 1991.
Geographically, Bunaken National Park is a part of “golden triangle” which connect the oceans between Papua, Philippine and Indonesia. This is also home for more than 3000 species. Indonesian government and NGO (both national and international) has work together to preserve the coral and mangroves. This conservation purpose is to preserve thousands of fish species from extinction.
Bunaken National Park represents Indonesian tropical ecosystem which consists of mangrove, coral reefs and shore. It has the most stunning coral reefs and underwater natural life in the world. You can find rare and exotic aquatic species such as mermaid, dugong, dolphins and ornamental fish such as hippocampus, giant kima, and turtles. In the mainland you can find black monkey (Macaca Nigra).
For divers, Bunaken is a perfect spot since it has around 40 diving spot which is enriched by tropical fish and coral reef. You can dive and see the breathtaking view of 150 fish species, coral reef and underwater great walls. The great walls stood vertically and curve to the tops. On the food chain this great wall is a source of food for fish around Bunaken. There are 13 species of coral reefs which dominated by edge ridges and block ridges of rocks. The most eye-catching view is the steep vertical sloppy coral reef that plunges down as deep as 25-50 meter.
Bunaken has high underwater diversity since it’s located in coral world triangle which spread within Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippine, Papua New Guinea, Timor and Solomon Island. In Bunaken you may find almost 70% of world living fish species and this number still not included the deep water fish. Indulge your eyes with 91 species of fish lived in the Bunaken, amongst which are gusimi horse fish (Hippocampus), the white oci (Seriola rivoliana), yellow-tailed lolosi (Lutjanus kasmira), goropa (Ephinephelus spilotoceps and Pseudanthias hypselosoma), ila gasi (Scolopsis bilineatus) and many others. Divers may also find Mollusca such as giant kima (Tridacna gigas), goat head fish (Cassis cornuta) and nautilus (Nautilus pompillius).
On the island you have vourious choice amongst the homestays or you can also stay in the hotels in Manado and then book a daily package to Bunaken. This short trip usually leaving in the morning and returning in the late afternoon. Accommodation on Pulau Bunaken is generally expensive for Indonesian standards as the majority of people coming here are on a short holiday trip. Those resorts on the south and west sides of Bunaken Island are on a strip of coarse yellow sand beach whilst the frontage of those on the east side is a mixture of mangroves and small beaches.
If you want to dive, no need to bring your equipment because there are a lot of place where you can rent snorkeling or diving equipment and instructors who can speak in English, French and Germany.
The visitor of Bunaken National Marine Park will have to pay entrance fee of Rp. 50.000 per person. This is applied for those both who dive or not. There are also annual free pass worth Rp. 150.000 and you will get a plastic badge.
Things to Do
Bunaken is a hidden treasure and also a heaven for divers. You can dive and explore the underwater world of Bunaken and experience the spectacular view of its natural ecosystem. Here are some famous diving spot that we recommend to you. Manado Wreck, Muka Gereja, Tanjung Kopi, Bunaken Timor, Mandolin.
You can also fishing and watch Dolphin and Whales by using a speed boat.
How to Get to Bunaken
Bunaken National Marine Park is located 1.5 km away from Manado. You can use motor boat from Manado harbor. Marina Nusantara Diving Centre in Molas and Marine Blue Banter.
From Manado Harbor you can use motor boat to SIladen Island (20 minutes), Bunaken Island (30 minutes), Montehage Island (50 minutes) and Nain Island (60 minutes). In addition to get to Bunaken Island it will take 10-15 minutes from Marine Blue Banter Harbor using yacht or 20 minutes from Nusantara Diving center using speed boat.