Bunaken, Tropical Paradise With Picture Postcard Beaches And Quaint Island Villages

When we hear the words, The great wall, images are conjured in our minds of power, strength, beauty and a man made wonder. What makes Bunaken unforgettable are the hidden great walls that will leave you with images on serenity, beauty, diversity and a pure natural wonder.

Literally, on the surface, Bunaken is a another tropical paradise with picture postcard beaches and quaint island villages. This is great, however when you go below the surface, this is where Bunaken offers something that is breathtaking. That brings us back to the Great Walls, Great Walls of Coral and the home to a variety of aquatic life that could only be surpassed by Raja Ampat.

Bunaken National Park
Bunaken National Park (Source : lonelyplanet.com)

To be exact 89,065 hectors of National Park with only 3% of this park actually above the surface. The other 97% lies in crystal clear waters. Now when i read an article saying crystal clear waters i always take a deep breath and sigh, but this time i stand by my words, there is staggering 35 to 40 meter visibility level. So take your goggles there is plenty to see.

Biodiversity – with a capital B. 7 times more types of coral are found here in comparison to Hawaii. Mixed with the deep underwater escarpment and the northeastern currents this is the perfect combination for a safe and friendly habitat for a vast number of marine life.

Dive sites - Bunaken
Dive sites – Bunaken (Source : divezone.net)

One of the many walls that we would like to encourage you to enjoy is Lekuan 2. Why this wall in particular, simple as you descend you find yourself surrounded by different levels of life that gently glide past your mask. You could honestly go back 20 times and each time experience something different each time. As you gaze at the natural coral wall filled with macro life do not forget to look behind you from time to time or you will miss the marti gras procession of redtooth trigger fish, butterfly fish, bumphead parrot fish, turtles and even sharks. With a what seems like an unending variety of sea life, the first time diver to the diver who has developed their own gills will be delighted.

There is a Rp 175,000 fee to enter the park. This money goes to towards the maintenance and projects within the park. So it is a small price to pay, and a worth while price to pay. So of the projects are:

A patrol system to ensure park security from illegal fishing and any possible damage to the fragile habitat.

With nearly 30,000 local people living within the park there are projects to maintain villages and educate the local population to value and develop their part of paradise ensuring its survival for the future.

Green Sea Turtle, Lekuan
Green Sea Turtle, Lekuan (Source : nationalgeographic.com)

After leaving Bunaken, it hit me, the problem, the drawback, the fly in your cheesecake, which is after Bunaken my expectations of diving and snorkeling are so high. Can i ever be satisfied with other dive sites.  Now i have to go back!

How to get there ?

From Manado the big question is would you like Private or Public?


Simple, charter a boat. Prices start at around Rp 150,000 to Rp 250,000 for the smaller outrigger boats, a caneo with a noisey motor attached basically. If you get sea sick or travel sick please avoid this option. A speedboat with roof, seats four to six people from around Rp 250,000 to Rp 350,000. The more comfortable big boats seats over a dozen skinny people for around Rp 400,000 to 450,000.

All prices are one way, as who knows you might not want to come back.


Public boat, Monday to Saturday – departs the harbour at 3 pm or when it is full (Rp 35,000 – one hour) near Pasar Jengki fish market. Stops at Bunaken village and Pulau Siladen.

Returning to Bunaken between 7 am and 8 am Monday to Saturday.

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