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Bunaken Diving

National Park Dive Sites

The Manado dive resort area and Bunaken Marine Park are among the highlights of Indonesia scuba diving and have earned plaudits throughout the world.

Harlequin shrimp - photo courtesy of Silent Symphony

The facts say it all - when you're scuba diving in Manado you can see over 70% of all fish species that exist in the Indo-Western Pacific. Marine biodiversity is the name of the game in Indonesia generally and in Bunaken diving specifically.

The park is adored by marine biologists, photographers and recreational divers alike since the richness of its waters ensure that no 2 dives are the same and that there is always plenty to see, study, photograph and marvel at.

Included in the measures to protect this eco-treasure, is the creation of the marine park for which all divers must buy a pass which is used to fund conservation and village development programmes. It has long been recognised that the Manado area is an area worth preserving both for the good of the environment and the local economy. Various schemes are being undertaken to encourage responsible attitudes towards the reefs, the sea life and with regards to refuse disposal in the area. In Bunaken your few dollars really do make a difference!

Often referred to as 3 different dives sites (I, II and III), Lekuan is one of those dive sites that typify why Bunaken is such a dream for many divers. Excellent as a day or night dive, this site has some of the superb, healthy and varied coral that makes diving Manado truly memorable and against this colourful backdrop you can see turtles, Napoleon wrasse, tuna and plenty more.

Celah Celah is a favourite site for photographers diving at Bunaken, thanks to the sheer fissured wall from which sprout innumerable fans and sponges in a range of bright colours. Sunlight beams down in shafts through the deep fissures adding interesting light to the vibrant scene. Look out for pygmy seahorses and ghost pipefish plus a wide range of nudibranchs. Occasional glances over your shoulder into the blue can allow for sightings of dogtooth tuna, eagle rays and blacktip sharks.

Black Rock, also known as DJ Point, offers a break from Bunaken Island's trademark wall dives as it is located in the Manado area. Here you need to poke around a series of rocky patches to uncover the dive site's underwater marvels. With a little patience you can spot all manner of macro delights including cuttlefish, leaf fish, pipefish, commensal shrimps and candy crabs.

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Manado Diving Season

Optimum conditions are more or less between the months of April and November but it is possible to dive Bunaken all year round without running into conditions that are less than acceptable.

Reef Basics

Great for: Small animals, wall dives, underwater photography, drift diving, reef life and health, dive value-for-money and advanced divers
Not so great for: Wrecks and non-diving activities
Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 20 - 35m
Currents: Usually gentle but can be strong
Surface Conditions: Calm
Water Temperature: 27 - 30°C
Experience Level: Beginner - advanced
Number of dive sites: ~25
Distance: ~18 km north of Manado Bay (40 mins)
Access: Diving resorts
Recommended length of stay: 7 - 10 days

Dive Sites

Dive The World Indonesia's Recommendations: Depan Kampung, Lekuan, Tanjung Kopi and Mandolin Point.

Other Manado diving sites that can be visited:

  • Lembeh Strait • Bangka
  • Sangihe Archipelago

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