Here’s All You Need to Know about Bunaken National Marine Park!

Bunaken National Marine Park is one of Indonesia’s most successful examples of combining coral reef conservation with economic growth.

Established in 1991 by the Indonesian government, the park nests in the heart of the Coral Triangle, home to some of the richest marine biodiversity in the world. With up to 2.000 species of fish and 390 species of coral, the Bunaken National Marine Park is known to have some of the highest biodiversity in the world. Whether you want to snorkel to simply watch the turtles swim by or find small critters to photograph, Bunaken always delivers.

Read on to see what the marine park has to offer!

About Bunaken National Marine Park

Brief History

Raysa Nick Valdo via Google Maps

Bunaken is Indonesia’s national marine park, established in 1991. As the country’s first growing system of marine parks, it covers a total area of 890.65 km², 97% of which is marine habitat. The remaining 3% of the park is terrestrial, including the five islands of Bunaken, Manado Tua, Mantehage, Nain, and Siladen. The southern part of the park covers part of the Tanjung Kelapa coast.

Located in the northern part of the exotic Sulawesi Island, Bunaken National Maritime Park waits for you to discover near the centre of the Pacific Ocean’s famous Coral Triangle. The park is home to 390 species of coral, including many fish, molluscs, reptiles, and marine mammal species. It is also Indonesia’s representative of tropical water ecosystems, consisting of seagrass plains, coral reefs, and breathtaking coastal ecosystems that will never cease to amaze you!

Read Also: Dive into the Darkness: Night Diving Tips for Beginners

Bunaken’s Flora and Fauna

Piere Marshall via Google Maps

Bunaken National Marine Park is a fringing reef and barrier reef coral haven. This park has seven times more coral than Hawaii and preserves more than 70% of all the known fish species of the Indo-Western Pacific. A total of 390 species of coral recorded with its distinct feature is a 25-50 meter vertical coral wall inhabited by 13 coral genera.

Aside from the astonishing seaweeds and seagrasses, the park is also abundant in different fish species, marine mammals and reptiles, birds, molluscs, and mangrove species. About 2.000 fish species live in the waters; among them are the emperor angelfish, Almaco jack, spotted seahorse, and two-lined monocle bream.

When the sea is a pamper to the eyes, the islands are more prosperous in exotic faunas, including Celebes crested macaque, Timor Deer, and Sulawesi bear cuscus. Get your camera ready to spot them!

The 5 Beautiful Islands of Bunaken


KJ Ling via Google Maps

As the most popular island for tourist destinations, Bunaken awaits you with its spectacular view of natural wonders. First and foremost, the top thing to do while on the island would be to enjoy the enchanting underwater scenery. As one of the most fantastic diving spots in the world, Bunaken holds 20 diving spots you can choose from to discover the charm of its fish-to-coral habitat. 

If you are not so into diving, you can still enjoy the abundance of Bunaken’s sea heritage by snorkeling. Feel free to interact with the animals by feeding the fish while swimming safely on the surface. Don’t forget to bring your underwater camera to capture the precious moment. If you are lucky, you’ll meet whales and dolphins in their native habitat as well.

You can rent a boat to take you to the middle and enjoy the sweet rendezvous with these mammals swimming in the high sea!


Fabio Mariotti via Google Maps

Located northeast of Bunaken National Marine Park, Siladen Island offers a vast marine park with numerous colorful fishes, coral reefs, and a beautiful cave. Sitting on an area of 31.25 hectares, Siladen hosts the charming beauty of marine tourism.

If Bunaken is famous for the beauty of the sea, Siladen is famous for its coastline, a perfect place to sunbathe on the pristine sandy beach. Known as a quiet tourism island, Siladen is your perfect hideaway from the bustling routine of the city. Enjoy a pleasant experience of resting and sunbathing while basking in the splash of sunlight. This island has a catamaran (glass boat), diving spots, cottages, and food stalls around the area – a complete package to complete your holiday!

Read Also: Mastering Snorkeling, Best 5 Snorkeling Tips for Beginner

Manado Tua

Purnawan Kristianto via Google Maps

Manado Tua is an island covering a total of 89,065 hectares, sheltering Bunaken-Manado Tua, one of the most spectacular dive sites in the world. 

On land and underwater, Manado Tua is a haven of wonders. Here you can find the bigger types of fish such as the Napoleon wrasse, giant trevally, eagle rays, snappers, and groupers. Occasionally, you can also spot hammerhead sharks swimming freely. However, as currents here can be strong, Bob recommends only advanced divers should venture into these waters and best be accompanied by a professional.

Snorkeling can be your next option to watch the underwater sea life from glass-bottom boats. There are also jogging tracks and facilities for mountain biking and camping. If you’re up for hiking, climb to the inactive volcano summit to enjoy the fantastic view over the other islands and Manado Bay. In good weather, you can see the smoking cone of Mount Soputan!


Stefany via Travelingyuk.com

Montehage is an inhabited island located in Wori District, North Minahasa Regency, North Sulawesi. Despite being in the middle of the sea, most of the population’s livelihood is farmers due to the certain limit for fishing.

Also known as Mantehrawu or Manterao, the island has beautiful natural scenery and is overgrown by mangroves. The wave is also quiet, and the current is moderate, perfectly suitable for snorkeling and diving activities.

On this island, you can also go for some local food tasting. Several food stalls provide seafood and the famous Manado porridge. However, there has been no inn or hotel on the island, which means you’d have to spend the night in local homes or stay at Siladen Island when you want to stay.

The distance from Montehage Island to Siladen Island is only about an hour’s drive, so get your itinerary ready for an island-hopping adventure!


Rizal Putiray via Google Maps

Nain Island is the little Maldives of Indonesia. Nain is celebrated for its pristine and turquoise sea that meets the white soft sand line on the beach. An impeccable addition to your island-hopping trip, along with Siladen and Bunaken!

The island is only accessible during the low tide, mostly in the morning. You can either rent a boat for a private tour or join one of the open trip services, mostly available during the weekend. Small fishing boats will pick you up from your larger boat since only smaller ones can reach the shoreline.

Here you can enjoy marine and water sports activities, with diving being the most popular among tourists. Don’t worry, the current is suitable for professional divers, even amateur ones!

While diving, get your camera ready to record the beautiful fish and other creatures swimming around you, as there might be some prominent species, such as barracudas or groupers around. If you are lucky, you can find more unique species like hammerheads and jackfish!

Read Also: The Ultimate Guide to Surfing in Sumba: Discover the Perfect Waves

Why You Should Visit Bunaken National Marine Park

Two Fish Divers Bunaken via Google Maps

Bunaken National Marine Park is a must-visit destination for those who love the ocean and its inhabitants. Not only will you be treated to an incredible underwater world filled with diverse marine life and stunning coral formations, but you’ll also be supporting the local community in the area.

By visiting the park, you’ll contribute to the local economy and help the people in local businesses, such as scuba diver guides, boat renters, and other locals who rely on tourism for their livelihood. Additionally, your visit will surely help support educational and preservation programs vital to preserving the coral reefs and endangered animals that call the park home.

Aside from the guaranteed unforgettable experience, you’ll also be positively impacting the environment and the people who call Bunaken home. Experience Bunaken’s breathtaking underwater world and pristine beaches—a paradise waiting to be explored!

Bunaken National Marine Park via Referensiwisata.com

If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind holiday experience, visit Bunaken National Marine Park. This breathtaking destination is renowned for its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and abundant marine life.

Whether you’re a snorkeler or scuba diver, Bunaken offers an unforgettable underwater adventure that you simply can’t miss. Moreover, the park’s stunning natural beauty and tranquil ambience make it the perfect place to unwind and relax.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to create incredible memories that will last a lifetime. Plan your visit to Bunaken National Marine Park today!


Header image by: Arifa Chan via Google Maps

Writer: Ratna Asih Setyaningrum



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