Best time to visit
Pristine coral walls, macro, turtles, Napolean wrasse, schooling fish
Located off the coast of Northern Sulawesi, Bunaken National Marine Park covers an area of approximately 890 square kilometres comprising of 97% sea and 3% land mass made up of five islands: Bunaken, Manado Tua, Siladen, Montehage and Nain. Originally established at Bunaken in 1991, the park is in the heart of the Coral Triangle, meaning marine biodiversity is some of the highest on the planet. With over 390 species of reef-building corals, thousands of species of reef fish and innumerable invertebrates, diving holidays to Bunaken are spectacular. There are over 50 dive sites to explore, with those surrounding the islands showcasing the best wall diving in Asia. Whilst still off the beaten track, direct flights from Singapore make this one of the more accessible scuba diving destinations in Indonesia. Combine this with some of the best dive sites in the country and it is easy to see why we are huge fans of diving holidays in Bunaken.
A reefscape in Bunaken
Shallow coral reef
Diver and anemone
Scuba diving in Bunaken National Marine Park is primarily focused on the spectacular walls that plunge vertically to great depths, with the ocean floor being extremely deep in the area. Giant sponges protrude at all angles, turtles snooze in overhangs and critters can be found in nooks and crannies, expertly spotted by local guides. Lekuan is the signature dive of the park, a wall stretching for several kilometres inside the crescent of Bunaken Island. It is broken into several different dive sites known as Lekuan I, II and III, overflowing with ancient encrusting corals and almost guaranteed sightings of huge green and hawksbill turtles.
As well as the incredible walls, diving holidays to Bunaken offer the opportunity for divers to explore gentle slopes, black sand muck diving sites on the mainland and even a wreck. Bunaken offers some of the best dive sites in Indonesia for macro diving with regular sightings of critters such as orangutan crabs, ghost pipefish, squat lobsters and pygmy seahorses. Whilst the region is not well known for larger marine species, turtle populations are healthy and reef sharks, tuna, Napoleon wrasse and eagle rays are often seen passing by the reef.