Bunaken, the diving and snorkelling paradise

Bunaken is the area for the most beautiful beaches, beautiful sunsets and the perfect place for diving and snorkeling. You will find the most beautiful islands, large coral reefs, diversity of fish and other animals here. I myself am a big fan of Bunaken after having been there several times. In this blog I help you how to tackle your trip.

Bunaken Manado Tua National Park

Bunaken Island is located in Bunaken Manado Tua National Park. This park is located in the North of Sulawesi near the city of Manado and is 75,266 hectares in size. The city of Manado is about 4.5 hours flying from the capital Jakarta.

The Bunaken National Park mainly consists of sea with six islands. Most tourists stay on the island of Bunaken. And I don't mean mass tourism. You will find very few tourists here. The tourists who come here are mainly diving and snorkeling fans.

Diving & Snorkeling

There are many beautiful places for both diving and snorkeling. Bunaken is known for its cliff coral reefs with depths up to 1,566 meters. With snorkeling you can also swim along the coral reefs. As a result, you see completely different fish and reefs.

In addition, I have never seen so many (large) turtles as here. And if you are lucky you can also see dolphins or small sharks from the boat. In recent years, an orca pod even passed by in November. I was there during the summer holidays and unfortunately did not see them.

How do you get to Bunaken?

The best way to travel to Manado is by plane. This is possible from almost any major city in Indonesia and even via Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. From the airport you can take two routes.

  1. You have the transport arranged through the accommodation where you sleep. Then they will arrange your pick-up from the airport and your boat or
  2. You arrange it yourself. At the airport there are plenty of taxis or transport options to the Port of Manado (in front of the Celebes Hotel*). In the harbor you can arrange your own boat that will take you directly to the resort or you can take the public boat to Bunaken. From there you can continue to your accommodation with a small boat. The public boat leaves early in the afternoon and you can buy your ticket in the harbor.

We always go for the second option. The people in Manado are very friendly and happy to help you. I also like to see more of the country and how the people live.

*If you have already had a long journey and you want to spend another night in Manado, you can go to the Celebes Hotel. You will then already sleep in the harbor and you can immediately continue your journey the next morning. Keep an eye on; the surroundings of the harbor are pleasant and lively during the day, but quite deserted at night. If you travel alone, be aware of this.

Where to stay in Bunaken?

The last time we went to Bunaken we slept in the Panorama Diving Resort*. This resort has small traditional huts on stilts overlooking the sea. The owner is German and is also a diving instructor. It is also possible to go diving and snorkelling through the property.

Are you looking for a hostel or traveling on a budget, then you can go to Panorama Backpackers.

Panorama Diving Resort

At the Panorama Diving Resort you are a little further away from the village. As a result, everyone eats together at the resort in the evening. During dinner it is discussed where the diving and snorkeling spots are the next day and what these places are known for. Sometimes these spots for diving and snorkeling are the same and everyone can go on the same boat. But sometimes the divers go to a spot that is less beautiful for snorkelers and then two separate boats go.


The resort is in a perfect spot. The Bunaken National Park has about 40 spots, and new spots are still being added. In addition, many spots are 5-25 minutes from the resort. This also allows you to go snorkelling from the beach.

Why am I a fan?

I have been coming to Bunaken from an early age. First only for snorkeling and later also for diving. The water is so clear that you can see all the fish and coral in the water from the boat. When you put your head in the water, you see so many fish of all colors. One even more beautiful than the other. Nowhere in the world have I seen the undersea world as beautiful as here.

You will also find untouched Indonesia here. The people who live here are so nice, interested and happy to help you. On our last night in Bunaken we wanted to have a little party because it was the last a