Lying north of Sulawesi Island, offshore of Manado in Indonesia and covering a total surface area of 89,065 hectares, 97% of which overlain by sparkling clear, warm tropical water, Bunaken National Park makes for the ultimate divers paradise. The park has a unique bathymetry that lends itself to the absence of a continental shelf, allowing the coastal area to drop directly down to the sea floor. The top of the reef begins at 3m and drops an astonishing 600m, making it ideal for both beginners and experienced divers. Being part of the Indo-Pacific region as well as on a direct migratory route for protected sealife, Bunaken National Park also supports one of the highest marine diversities on earth.
There are 5 islands that make up the park, namely Bunaken, Manado Tua, Mantehage, Nain and Siladen, all of which offer great diving opportunities. However, most diving takes place near Bunaken and Manado Tua.
The island of Bunaken is easily accessible via motorized boats that leave daily from Mando Harbor. Lekuan Walls (I, II and III) can be found on Bunaken and boasts one of the Park’s best diving spots. The steep underwater walls are lined with deep crevices, giant sea fans and lush sponges. With the walls often being protected from stronger currents, sea life is abundant and ranges from larger species such as bumphead parrot fish, turtles and napoleon wrasses to smaller critters including scorpion fish, lionfish, nudibranch and seahorses. Mando Tua, on the other hand is a magnificent cone shaped volcanic island made up of steep sandy slopes, dotted with coconut palms. Due to the prevailing currents that run alongside it there is a great opportunity to see sharks and spotted eagle rays. Also Home to a 60m long sunken WWII shipwreck Mando Tau is a definite must see.
For those who enjoy something out of the ordinary a night dive in Bunaken is sure to satisfy your craving for adventure. The thrill of diving the depths of the ocean in complete darkness as well as the excitement that comes with not knowing what could be lurking in the shadows is sure to get your adrenaline pumping. As the sun sets and the darkness creeps in a whole new underwater world comes to life as creatures rarely seen during the daytime creep out of their crevices while beautiful tentacles of coral stretch out to catch plankton.
With water temperatures ranging from 26°C to 29 °C throughout the year, Bunaken is a diving destination for all seasons. Between the months of March to October is the dry season while November to March is the rainy season. Since visibility is reduced when it rains diving during the dry months of March to October is recommended.
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