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Bunaken Island National Marine Park

Diving in Manado

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...Good for: Small animals, wall dives, underwater photography, drift diving, reef life and health, value-for-money and advanced divers...
...Not so good for: Wrecks and non-diving activities...

Manado is among the highlights of diving in Indonesia and has earned plaudits throughout the world. When you're scuba diving in Bunaken National Marine Park you'll witness some of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world, with outstanding fish variety and world-class walls. The clear, warm waters contain astonishingly high numbers of species, whether corals, sponges or fish.

The park is located just out of Manado Bay in the Sulawesi Sea, off the northern tip of Sulawesi, and features some 2 dozen diving sites spread across an area of 75,000 hectares and the 5 islands of Bunaken, Siladen, Manado Tua, Montehage and Nain. Show more

Dive Site Descriptions

Black Rock - Dropping in over the slope of Batu Hitam near Manado you can be forgiven for thinking that not much lies in store. But you would be so wrong as this excellent site, also know as DJ Point, promises plenty of entertainment. If you or your dive guide have keen eyes you will encounter one critter after another. Commensal shrimps, emperor shrimps, decorator crabs and candy crabs can all reveal themselves after a little investigation. Show more

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How to Dive Bunaken

There are a lot of dive resorts around the area of a variety of standards, and not all are very good value for money. We recommend only those professional, well managed resorts that have high quality boats and dive staff, both on the Manado mainland and Bunaken Island itself. For more information on your options, and all the other travel information you might need to visit Indonesia, review our:


If you have time it really is worth seeing more of the North Sulawesi region. Consider adding a few days stay in the Lembeh Strait where you can enjoy the best macro diving and critters in the world. Lembeh is really a must for anyone visiting the area.


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Diving Season

You can enjoy Bunaken Island diving all year round but overall the best season for dive conditions are from March to October. November to late-February sometimes sees winds and rains so surface conditions can be occasionally rough with 1 or 2 metre swells at that time. Litter washed up from the mainland can also be a problem in rainy season too.

Water temperature (27-30°C) and visibility (20-35m) are pretty constant all year round. The rainy season of November to late February is less pronounced than at some other places in the region although showers are not unusual during this time. Visibility is reduced when it rains, more so around Manado bay sites than those at Bunaken.

Many creatures here are year round, such as the amazing array of giant clams and nudibranchs. Resident dugongs as well as barracuda and tuna appear throughout the year. June is a good months for sharks, July for dolphins and whales. Sperm whales migrate through the region to calf in the Sangihe region in March and July/August. This period also happens to be the time when homosapiens are present in the area in large numbers.

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Where is Manado and How Do I Get There?

Review our maps below of Sulawesi, showing the location of Manado and Bunaken Island, and their host country Indonesia. Here, you will find information on how to get to Manado and Bunaken.

Map of Sulawesi (click to enlarge in a new window) Map of Indonesia (click to enlarge in a new window)

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Reef Summary

Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 20 - 35m
Currents: Normally gentle but can be strong
Surface conditions: Calm
Water temperature: 27 - 30°C
Experience level: Beginner - advanced
Number of dive sites: ~50
Distance: 18 km north of Manado Bay (40 mins)
Recommended length of stay: 7 - 10 days

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Useful References


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