Sulawesi Diving Destinations

Diving in Manado and Wakatobi …

The island of Sulawesi has over 6,000 km of coastline, along which lap pristine warm waters rich in life. The spectacular geography continues offshore, with abyssal trenches and sheer drop-offs near the coast.

Strong currents rise from the ocean depths, bringing nutrient-rich water close to shore. This creates one of the most beautiful coral environments in the world. In terms of sheer diversity and variety of diving, Sulawesi is quite possibly the best dive destination in the world. Take a closer look at what it has to offer and you’ll soon see why:


Manado has 3 quite distinct world-class scuba destinations sitting on its doorstep and diving here in Manado alone will keep most ardent divers happy. Off the north east tip of Sulawesi is the world-famous Bunaken National Marine Park, often quoted as among the world’s top 10 dive destinations, it is a mecca for scuba divers of all levels. There are few places in the world that offer such biodiversity and that means there is something for everyone.

To the east of Manado is the magical muck diving world of the Lembeh Strait, with its seemingly endless promises of discovering 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 there’s a high chance that it was filmed here!

Further to the north are Bangka and the Sangihe islands. These are the third marvel of this magnificent Manado scuba diving trio. They offer colourful soft corals pinnacles, sloping reefs and a Drowned Village to compliment the steep walls of Bunaken.


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

Once you have been scuba diving in Sulawesi once, you will understand the enthusiasm of frequent visitors and why many 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

Sulawesi is an all year round scuba diving destination. The best conditions are between August and June. The best visibility in the Manado area is from November until the end of January.

For Wakatobi the diving is consistently very good from March to December. 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: 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 dive sites:

• Wakatobi


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

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