Pulau Bunaken, diving in Sulawesi (Of the best of Indonesia)


Pulau Bunaken Indonesia, an island country with more than 17,000 islands, hides one of the best destinations in the world to practice under its watersscuba diving. Going to Indonesia is traveling to a country with diverse religions, from the majority Muslim in the main islands such as Java, Borneo or Sumatra, to the Christian in Sulawesi or the Hindu of Bali.

Diving in Pulau Bunaken

Scuba diving in Sulawesi

Bunaken Island, or Pulau Bunaken in the local language, it is located a few kilometers from Manado, the most important city in the north ofSulawesi. Bunaken is located within the Bunaken Manado Tua Marine National Park, a somewhat long name but it houses more than 300 types of coral and 3000 marine species in just over 75,000 hectares.

Taking a boat in Manado

We took a plane from Jakarta and had the opportunity to fly over the island of Borneo, an opportunity that showed us the reality of a country, especially when seeing with your own eyes how large extensions of one of the lungs of the planet are devoured to plant palm. From the plane it is possible to see perfect cuts in the landscape, endless lines where on one side you see jungle and on the other, desolation or dry land.

After almost two hours of flight we arrived at Manado, where a hotel boat was waiting for us in the direction of Bunaken Island, where we had the first experience in feeling the sea water of the Celebes, since to access the ship you had to travel a few meters getting wet on a somewhat polluted beach, a preamble of what awaits a country like this if you do not know how to control the enormous industrial development it has.

Leaving Manado

The first image you see of Bunaken is a volcano, one of the views we will have during this small trip and a reference point for many dives in the area.

After half an hour we arrive atSea Breeze Resort, one of the few hotels in the area where we rent cabins facing the sea, yes, without luxury but with charm. Nor do they have windows, the shower is with sea water and at night you better get a “rifle” to defend against mosquitoes. Apart from that, something usual for these latitudes, is an idyllic place, where the nights are lit by the thousands of noises inside.

Pulau Bunaken

On the first day, with the desire of a beginner we made 2 or 3 dives, seeing seabed full of life with dozens of clown fish, the character fish known worldwide for the Nemo movie and a great defender of his anemone. Poor animal, it is now so famous that it has become one of the star fish and still remains easy to see even doing snorkel, an activity that certainly does not detract at all from diving, since the waters are quite transparent, so if you do not know how to dive do not put it as an excuse, since snorkeling in Bunaken is almost like diving into a background full of wildlife.

Pulau Bunaken
Pulau Bunaken, at low tide
Sea Breeze Resort, from the cabin

At the end of the first day's dives we could contemplate the phenomenon of the tide in all its splendor, just in front of our cabins the tide dropped so much that it left almost 100 meters of sea exposed, leaving the coral in the sun, sea stars of all the colors, hundreds of ponds with fish of all kinds, such as puffer fish, a friend from the area that we had to rescue several times so that the sun did not dry the pond where it had been trapped.

The next day we continued diving and enjoying the best places to dive in the area, we could even do a night dive. Diving at night is an experience that a diver should not neglect, since in a place like this where new species are discovered almost every day and where the funds change so much from day to night, it makes you feel a true Custoe of I follow XXI.

The interior of the island

Facing the interior, we had the great idea of ​​leaving Fort Randall that was the Resort and we walked in search of some beach, some almost almost impossible since almost the whole island is surrounded by a coral reef. Still venturing has its prize, since we discovered Pantai Pangasilang, a fishing village where children play in the street and look at you surprised when the "white" man with his combat weapon, a Canon reflex shoots everything that moves.

Taking a picture from a window in a school. Surprised ?. I think so…
Don't get close, I can drive you ... Inland villages

The teachers of the schools opened their doors to you, the children received you with shouts of joy, partly you feel almost famous, and above all, they show you that the evil here is not yet present and the innocence of its people is the only thing They are able to give you.

Hi, do you have fire?
Inland villages

Finally, one of the extra activities you can do in a place like this is to see dolphins, but not one or two, hundreds, hundreds like in the video that appears below, preamble of our departure to Makassar to see one of the most spooky tribes in the world, the Tana Toraja, but this is another story and it's another trip.

Practical data

Before leaving for Indonesia

  • Search and compare flights to Indonesia at the best price
  • Indonesia's Planet Planet Guide
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  • Hotels of Indonesia through Booking

When to go?

August is the most expensive month, but you will still find very few people in a place like this. Regarding the weather, the monsoon takes place from October to March, so that during these dates having a quiet background can become a real lottery.

How to get?

To get to Pulau Bunaken you can arrive by plane from Jakarta, Java, in one of the multiple low cost lines that Indonesia has. You have to take the flight to Manado and once there you can take one of the boats of the few hotels on the islands.

What to wear

If you leave your swimsuit, use what you can, since in addition to diving and snorkeling you can do few things. Do not forget the mosquito repellent, a snorkeling equipment if you do not want to pay a rent, and the typical things you would take if you went to the beach.

Where to sleep?

The most comfortable way to get here is to contact a hotel in the area, mostly owned by Westerners, such as the Sea Breeze Resort that was our choice and that we recommend pleasantly, since it has beachfront cabins, a comfortable and homemade restaurant and A diving club. As in many places where diving is practiced, prices are not your forte, but here you can find 3-day packages that include several dives and full board for about € 200, but to this you have to add beer, internet or any luxury that You want to find yourself in a place where you can hardly buy anything, except at the resort.

Travel insurance

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