A vacation to Manado in the province of North Sulawesi, Bunaken is certain to occupy the top position in anyone’s list of visits. This destination is always interesting to visit, one of which is because of the existence of the Bunaken Marine Park, dominates the Manado Bunaken National Park area. Bunaken National Park 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 your life, you must visit this underwater paradise of eastern Indonesia. Especially for those who like diving activities, it is guaranteed that they will always miss coming 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, which 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, etc.
The damage is slowly improving, one of which is after the 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 very rich coral reef ecosystem, around 390 species decorate its territory. In addition, this marine park is also home to various species of fish, marine mammals, reptiles, birds,surrounding and mollusks. Bunaken Beach is decorated with mangroves as a home for herds of crabs, lobsters, mollusks, 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 spots 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 traveler, try one of the twelve spots. The reason is, the spots on Bunaken Island are the most favorite to enjoy the beauty of Bunaken Marine Park.
For those planning 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.
For consumption, many food stalls generally serve a variety of seafood with a typical beach drink, namely young coconut ice. The rest, there are diving and snorkeling equipment rentals. There are also dive instructors and tour guides who usually have mastered various languages.
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, take a sea trip. If you want fast but expensive, you can choose to take a speedboat, the price starts from IDR 800,000 – 1,300,000, with a capacity of 6-30 people. The second cheaper option, take a taxi boat for IDR 30,000 / per passenger. The rest, on Bunaken Island, there is also a motorcycle taxi, the price starts from IDR 15,000.
Ready to start your getaway to Bunaken? Visit Wonderful Indonesia, and don’t miss out on the magic!