Sulawesi Diving Destinations

Diving in Manado and Wakatobi …

The sprawling fingers of Sulawesi give the island over 6,000 km of coastline against which laps pristine warm waters rich in life. The dramatic topography continues offshore, with abyssal trenches and sheer drop-offs near the coast.

In many areas strong currents bring nutrient-rich water from the ocean depths close to shore, creating one of the most beautiful coral environments in the world. Diving Sulawesi – in terms of sheer diversity and variety of diving, quite possibly the best dive destination in the world. Just take a closer look at what it has to offer and you’ll soon see why:


With three quite distinct world-class scuba destinations sitting on its doorstep, diving in Manado alone will keep most ardent divers happy. The world-famous Bunaken National Marine Park off the north east tip of Sulawesi is often quoted among the world’s top ten dive destinations and is a mecca for divers of all levels. Very few places in the world offer such biodiversity and that means there is something for everyone; it is the stuff of photographers’ dreams.

Just to the east of Manado is the magical muck dive wonderland of Lembeh Strait, with its seemingly endless promises of discovery of rare and unusual critters. If you’ve ever watched a National Geographic documentary on some strange underwater creature and wondered where it was filmed, well the chances are high that it was probably filmed here!

Then there’s Bangka and the Sangihe islands to the north; the third marvel of this magnificent Manado scuba diving trio offers colourful soft corals pinnacles, sloping reefs and a Drowned Village to compliment the steep walls of Bunaken.


The remote Wakatobi archipelago in south Sulawesi is one of the most exciting destinations in Indonesia, pure diving pleasure in a tropical paradise island setting. These pristine reefs have won extraordinary praise for their abundant fish life and healthy corals.

When you’ve been scuba diving in Sulawesi once, you will understand the enthusiasm of frequent visitors, many of who claim that there is nowhere else on earth that offers such diverse and rewarding underwater experiences.

• Sulawesi tourist information

• View map of Sulawesi

The Diving Season

You can dive Sulawesi all year round. Overall, conditions are best during between August and June. The best conditions for visibility in the Manado area are recorded from November until the end of January.

In Wakatobi, from March to December the diving is consistently very good. In the European summer months the surface tends to be a little choppier due to coral spawning.

Manado dive liveaboards run all year round.

Reef Basics

Great for: Small animals, wall dives, underwater photography, reef life and health, dive value-for-money and advanced divers
Not so great for: Non-diving activities
Depth: 5 – >40m
Visibility: 15 – 80m
Currents: Usually gentle in the north, occasionally strong in the south and around outlying islands
Surface Conditions: Often calm but can be choppy
Water Temperature: 26 – 30°C
Experience Level: Beginner – advanced
Number of dive sites: ~250
Access: Sulawesi dive resorts and liveaboard safaris
Recommended length of stay: 2 – 4 weeks

Dive Sites

More detailed information on the Manado diving sites:

• Bunaken Island • Lembeh Strait
• Bangka • Sangihe Archipelago


More detailed information on the other Sulawesi scuba diving sites:

• Wakatobi


Dive The World Recommendations: Wakatobi, Lembeh Strait and Bunaken in Manado.

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