Bunaken National Park
Spectacular coral walls, amazing fish life and fantastic muck dives
Bunaken National Park in North Sulawesi is an official recognized and protected Marine Park. It contains more than 75,000 hectares of protected ocean and was the first of its kind in Indonesia when it was established in 1991.
Bunaken National Park reefs have the highest levels of marine biodiversity anywhere found on the planet. Which isn’t surprising as it is located in the heart of the Coral Triangle, the worlds epicenter of biodiversity. Not only for corals and fish, but also for many other marine organisms. Diving & snorkeling Bunaken is an amazing experience.
The Northern section includes the 5 main islands: Bunaken, Manado Tua, Siladen, Mantehage and Nain. It is the biggest part of the park. All the islands are surrounded by plateau reefs and end with the steep, impressive drop-offs which Bunaken National Park is famous for. There are a few sites with sloping coral reefs. This section of the park is also famous for its sheer number of turtles. It’s not uncommon to encounter 30+ turtles during 1 dive.
The Southern section is smaller and consists entirely of coastal area. There is excellent muck diving, and many divers rate the diving there higher than the Lembeh strait. It has also one of the best coral walls in the park. We often dive here as it’s our own front yard, only 10 minutes away from the resort. You can read more about this in is our Manado Bay section.
Dive & snorkel sites in Bunaken National Park
Lekuan I, II and III – Bunaken Island
These are the 3 iconic and most famous dive & snorkel sites in Bunaken National Park. Rich with fish and well known for the incredible amount of green sea turtles that call these sites home. The steep walls of Lekuan I & II drop down to 100m+ while Lekuan III is also very suitable for beginner divers and dive courses. Always keep an eye out in the blue for passing by pelagics and other visitors.
Mandolin – Bunaken Island
This site is named after a music instrument because of the harmony you will find at this dive site. Some say it is better at the top, some say it is better in the middle, and others say it is best at 30-35 meters. All these different opinions have one thing in common; no matter where you dive at Mandolin, it’s spectacular! It’s mainly a steep wall but there are a few sloping parts, very good for snorkeling as well.
Tanjung Kopi – Manado Tua
One of the most spectacular and challenging dive sites at the foot of an extinct volcano. Huge coral heads, schools of reef fish and often big pelagics make it spectacular. Strong currents make it challenging but also bring out the big fish; schools of jackfish, sharks, tuna and barracuda’s are not uncommon and will show you how to behave in the current!