Bunaken National Marine Park
Geography of the national park
Bunaken National Marine Park is an officially protected and recognized marine national park in North Sulawesi in Indonesia. It exists out of two main parts, a northern and southern section. Its total size is 79.056 hectares of land and marine area. The southern section consists entirely of coastal area with a lot of mangroves. The northern section has some coastal area but also 5 islands within its boundaries. These island are: Bunaken (after which the park is named), Siladen, Manado Tua, Mantehage and Nain.
Bunaken Island in the front and in the back you can see Siladen Island
Almost 22.000 people live inside the park, divided over approximately 30 villages (kampung). The park has been populated for many generations. People were living here long before this area was declared a National Marine Park in 1991. Most of the people that are living within Bunaken National Park live from fishing and farming. During the last 20 years, also tourism has become an important source of income.
History of Bunaken National Park
Bunaken is already a marine park for almost 25 years. But it is only since 1998 that there also came some real effective protection. With the introduction of an entrance fee in 2001 the park became a role model for other marine reserves. In 2003 the park even became the global winner of the prestigious British Airways ”Tourism for Tomorrow” Award.
Bunaken National Park is known for its huge sea turtle population
Today the national park is one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world. It has clear blue & warm water and dramatic drop-offs. It has the biggest variety of hard corals in the world. Scuba divers can see pelagics but also small critters on each dive. Several species of whales and dolphins call the park home. And there is more, too much to name it all. A true paradise for beginner & experienced divers and underwater photographers. Most dive sites are excellent for snorkeling as well. You don’t have to miss out on anything while snorkeling Bunaken National Park in North Sulawesi. The shallow reef tops are an endless hard coral heaven for snorkelers.