A vacation to Manado in the province of North Sulawesi, Bunaken occupies the top position in anyone’s list of visits. This destination is always interesting to visit. One of them is because the existence of the Bunaken Marine Park dominates the Manado Bunaken National Park area.
Bunaken itself represents Indonesia’s marine ecosystem which consists of seaweed, coral reefs, and coastal ecosystems. With an area of 890.65 km², only 3% island, including Nain Island, Bunaken Island, Manado Tua Island, Siladen Island, and Mantehage Island.
At least once in a lifetime, a fellow traveller must visit the travellers water paradise of eastern Indonesia. Especially for lovers of diving activities, guaranteed to always long to come back. If you are determined to go, first explore this article as a provision of information.
History & Tourist Attractions of Bunaken
Referring to Wikipedia, Bunaken National Park is one of the first marine parks in Indonesia that was officially established in 1991. Meanwhile, in 2005, Indonesia registered this marine national park with UNESCO to be included as a World Heritage Site. Despite its status as a national park with sufficient funding, the Bunaken Marine National Park experienced minor degradation. This is due to coral reef mining, damage caused by anchors, fishing using bombs, diving activities, garbage, and others.
The damage is slowly getting better. After World Wildlife Fund (WWF) provided conservation assistance as part of the “Sulu Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion Action Plan”. Conservation efforts included patrols, which in turn succeeded in reducing the use of bombs in fishing.
The islands that are part of the Bunaken Marine Park accommodate about 35,000 people spread over 22 villages. The people of Bunaken are mostly fishermen and farmers of coconut, sweet potato, banana, and seaweed. Others work in the tourism sector as guides or work in cottages.
Bunaken has a vibrant coral reef ecosystem where about 390 species decorate its territory. In addition, this marine park is also home to various species of fish, marine mammals, reptiles, birds, and molluscs. Bunaken Beach is decorated with mangroves as a home for herds of crabs, lobsters, molluscs, and seabirds.
The beauty of the Bunaken Marine Park makes the tourism sector of this area grow, with the number of visits continuing to grow. Between 2003-2006, the number of visitors to Bunaken Manado Tourism has reached 32,000 – 39,000 people. Of these, 8,000 – 10,000 of them are foreign tourists.
Tourism Activities in Bunaken Manado
Bunaken Manado Marine Park has one of the highest marine biodiversity in the world. So the main activities here are Scuba Diving and Snorkeling. Most tourists who visit here are to see the underwater beauty of Bunaken through these two activities.
Although this marine park is very wide, reaching 75,265 hectares, the dive area is limited to each beach that surrounds the five islands that are part of it. There are 20 dive points in Bunaken with varying depths, the deepest reaching 1,344 meters.
Among the 20 existing dive spots, twelve of them are lined up from the southeast to the northwest of Bunaken Island. If you are an interested traveller, try one of the twelve spots. The reason is, the spots on Bunaken Island are the most favourite to enjoy the beauty of Bunaken Marine Park.
At the dive points on Bunaken Island, there are great underwater walls or hanging walls. The term represents giant coral walls that stand vertically and curve upwards as a food source for fish in the waters around Bunaken Island.
In addition to diving activities, exploring Bunaken Beach can also be a very interesting activity. Enjoy the beauty of the existing panorama, relax, or you can also do island hopping from one island to another. If the tour duration is excessive, you can also expand your exploration to the Duasudara Nature reserve.
For additional information, the best time to visit Bunaken National Park is from May to August. Especially if you want to go in July-August, make sure you get a resort and dive operator because these months are the holiday season.
Facilities at Bunaken Nasional National Park
As one of Indonesia’s marine tourism paradises, Bunaken Manado tourism facilities are also very adequate. Various accommodations in the form of inns or hotels with varying prices and facilities are available. Try to have ordered ahead of time to anticipate running out of stock.
For those of you g a backpacker-style trip, you can also rent and spend the night in people’s homes. The rental fee is generally around 100-200 thousand rupiah, depending on the facilities and the duration of the stay. Rental prices can also change if you also want to make food for the owner of the house.
Bunaken Marine Park Access and Location
To go on a tour to Bunaken, if you previously used the air route and landed at Manado’s Sam Ratulangi Airport, continue your journey to Manado Bay. This trip will cover a distance of about 16 km with a duration of approximately 30 minutes by taxi to Blue Banter Marina & Dive Center.
Next, you will go on a sea voyage. If you want fast but expensive, you can choose to take a speedboat, and the price starts from IDR 800,000 – 1,300,000 for a capacity of 6-30 people. The second cheaper option is to take a taxi boat for IDR 30,000 / per passenger. On Bunaken Island, there is also a motorcycle taxi, and the price starts from Rp. 15,000.
Are you planning to visit Bunaken soon? Find out more about Bunaken and Indonesia by visiting Wonderful Indonesia.