Bunaken National Park: Routes, Locations & Interesting Activities

Manado Bunaken National Park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2005 and continues to develop and be maintained until now. Its natural beauty is wrapped in the friendliness of the local people, making this place a popular tourist destination both at home and abroad.

Combining the concept of a tourist area as well as nature conservation and economic development, there are many things that can be explored and enjoyed here. Already interested in visiting? If not, let’s continue to follow the article below to get the latest and other important information!

Description of Bunaken National Park

Bunaken National Park is one of the utilization of natural potential in Indonesia’s economic and tourism sector which has become the support of many people’s lives.

Appointed by the Indonesian Minister of Forestry in 1991, this area has officially become a center for the conservation of various coral reefs, fish, various land animals and so on. To finally become one UNESCO WorldHeritage since 2005.

With an area of ​​890.65 square kilometers or 280 miles, this national park has 97% habitat for marine animals with 3% of its area being land with the islands of Bunaken, Manado Tua, Mantehage, Nain and Siladen.

This national park is one of the first national parks in Indonesia and includes representatives of tropical aquatic ecosystems. It contains mangrove forests, seagrass beds, coral reef fields and coastal ecological systems.

There are 91 species of fish in its waters, including white oci, gusumi horses, goropa, yellow tails, ila gas, clownfish, angelfish and so forth. Plus 13 types of live coral such as barrier types and fringing corals. Several types of seaweed also adorn these waters, one of which is Thalassia Hemprichii.

(source: UW Photography Guide)

Part of the mangrove forest is home to various types of mollusks, lobsters, crabs and seabirds. Several species of algae are also found here such as Caulerpa, Halimeda and Padina. While the land is also rich in coconut, sago, woka, silar to Arecaceae with various land animals such as deer and cuscus.

Here, you can also meet the Hawksbill Turtle which is an endangered protected species and cannot be found anywhere else but in this area. Usually these turtles like to play in coral reefs.

These various natural resources have succeeded in attracting many domestic and foreign tourists who have continued to arrive. It was recorded that from 2003 to 2006, tourists who came totaled 32,000 to 39,000 people, with details of 8,000 to 10,000 of them being foreign tourists.

Unfortunately, this does not mean that the region is not free from threats. It is recorded from data from the Bunaken National Park Agency, there is damage to the ecosystem due to boat anchors, the use of illegal fishing tools such as bombs and cyanide, diving activities and of course garbage.

Seeing this, WWFH finally provided assistance in the form of a sea patrol which was part of the “Sulu Sulawesi Marine Ecoregion Action Plan” on 27 October 2018.

Apart from that, the Bunaken National Park Agency itself also made a movement to plant coral reefs to restore natural ecosystems with 75 people who are members of 32 institutions. This activity was held to coincide with the 27th anniversary.

Location of Bunaken National Park

Manado Bunaken National Park
Bunaken National Park (Photo by datawisata.com)

The location of Bunaken National Park is in the waters of the Manado Sea, Wori District, Minahasa Regency, North Sulawesi Indonesia. There are around 22 villages with a population of 35,000 people who work mostly as fishermen, seaweed farmers, tour guides, ship captains and workers in cottages.

Uniquely, Bunaken National Park is located in the Coral Triangle. This means that this area is a natural habitat for more than 390 species of coral reefs and various other marine biota.

Bunaken National Park is located in an area of ​​5 islands and the coast of Tanjung Pisok in the north and Tanjung Kelaam in the south.

Benefits of Bunaken National Park

Because Bunaken National Park is located in the Coral Triangle area, this wealth is utilized by many parties not only for tourism but also for the economic development of the local people.

This area has 3 functions in the context of regional and state development namely, the function of preservation, supporting the lives of the surrounding community and development in the natural tourism sector.

The benefits of Bunaken National Park have also been felt by many parties, especially the poor people living around this area. Many of them helped by setting up homestays affordable for the tourists who come.

Also read: Way Kambas National Park – Festival & Entrance Ticket Prices

How to Reach Bunaken National Park Location

How to reach the location of Bunaken National Park tends to be easy. The distance between downtown Manado is about 18 kilometers.

From downtown Manado, you can go to Marina Blue Banter harbor and take a boat to go to Bunaken Island which takes 10-15 minutes. Or you can come to the Marina Nusantara Diving Center (NDC) pier which is in the Molas sub-district and take about 20 minutes.

If departing from the port of Manado you can go by motor boat and it takes 30 minutes to Bunaken Island, 20 minutes to Siladen, 50 minutes to Mantehage and 60 minutes to Nian Island.

A Brief History of Bunaken National Park

Who would have thought that this area has a long history that is interesting to study. Actually this area is a remote area and not many people dare to dive.

This is due to the strong belief of the local community regarding magical elements, myths, spirits and ghosts which make diving a taboo activity. At that time too, there were still not many people who liked to explore because during the New Order period there were still many upheavals in Indonesia.

However, there are still a handful of people who are explorers and researchers who do not give up exploring the beauty of the Manado Sea. It was not until 1970 that diving began to be taken seriously.

Finally in 1975 in the Governor’s Decree Number 224 of 1980, the Bunaken island area changed its name to the Bunaken Marine Park.

Name changes continued to change until in 1991, this area officially became national park area until 15 years later became one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Bunaken National Park Tourism Activities

Bunaken national park
Snorkeling (Photo by celebes.co)

Visiting here is incomplete if you haven’t tried the various tourist activities, starting from enjoy marine tourism, sunbathing, diving and others. Enjoy and explore the exoticism of this region in the choice of holiday activities below!

1. Try Diving and Snorkeling

For those of you who want to see the beauty of marine life directly, you should try diving and snorkeling in these waters. For those who are diving for the first time, don’t worry because there are short lessons and training for beginners.

In this learning and training center, beginners will be taught basic diving techniques such as breathing, mask clearing, ear equalization, until buoyancy control for 15 minutes.

When it is assessed that you can, then you will be invited to dive at a depth of 6 meters for 45 minutes. During the activity, internationally certified diving instructors (SDI – Scuba Diving International) will always accompany and help the visitors.

You can find 20 spots snorkel on every island in this national park. However, Bunaken Island has 12 diving areas out of the total.

12 spots snorkel on the island of Bunaken include Mandolin, Sachiko Point, Village Front, Tanjung Parigi, Ron’s Point, Lekukan 1, 2, 3, Pangalisang, East Bunaken, Front of the Church and Barracuda Peak.

In addition, there is Siladen Island which has two dive points, namely Siladen 1 and 2. This area is suitable for beginners and professional divers, because the water is very clear so you don’t have to dive too deep to see the beauty of the coral reefs.

Other areas that have snorkel spots the best is Mantehage island with two dive points namely Bango and Tangkasi, Nian island with Batu Kapal and Waterway, and Manado Tua island with Buwalo, Tanjung Kopi and Pangalingan Negeri.

2. Learning While Playing

This conservation area is one of the most favorite tourist destinations for study tour students. This is not surprising because students can get to know more about marine biota and their ecosystems, try planting mangrove trees and transplanting coral reefs. For those of you who bring children, you can also invite them to study and play together around this area.

3. Watching Dolphins and Whales

In the morning, after sunrise is the right time to be able to see dolphins and whales in these waters. Visitors can rent a traditional boat from the local community to take you out to sea waiting for these cute animals to appear.

4. Hunt Sunset

The experience of watching the sun set behind the expanse of the ocean and the orange tinge that reflects on the surface is certainly something very valuable and not to be missed. Area with a view sunset best was on Mantehage island.

5. Relax on the White Sand

For those of you who prefer to relax, you can try to go to Siladen Island by using a fast boat for 45 minutes. This island is quite wide with a size of 32.25 hectares.

The condition of the island which is dominated by coastal areas, has many inns and is very quiet and peaceful, being the choice of many people to rest.

6. Visit to Mangrove Forest

On Mantehage Island, you can walk around the mangrove forest while seeing various species of birds that are hard to find. In addition, visitors can try the typical Manado alcoholic drink, namely Cap Tikus.

Entrance Ticket Prices for Domestic and Foreign Tourists

The price of the entry ticket is seen from the type of tourists who come. Visitors from within Indonesia are charged a fee of IDR 2,500 and IDR 150,000 for foreign tourists. Cheap enough right?

As for snorkeling activities, you have to prepare a fee of IDR 150,000 for one diving equipment in one hour.

Thus our discussion about Bunaken National Park this time. We hope you are interested and helped by the articles above. Finally, see you in other unique tourist destinations!

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