North Sulawesi

The Bunaken National Marine Park is located off the northernmost tip of Sulawesi, and encompasses the five islands of Bunaken, Manado Tua, Mantehage, Nain and Siladen, all of which combined only make up 3% of the parks total area of 890 km², while the other 97% is all marine habitat. The islands were all formed by volcanic activity millions of years ago, and thus the diving mainly consist of steeply sided coral covered walls with superb visibility. The depths between the islands ranges from 200 to more than 1,500 meters, ensuring that nutrient rich clear waters are brought to the shallows and help create plenty of food for the corals and fish that inhabit this area.

Constant oceanic currents which sweep past the islands bring a fresh and abundant amount of larvae to the area, while counter currents around the islands help to trap these larvae and keep the amount of fish and coral numbers very high in the park. One can plane to see many different species of angelfish, butterfly fish, and wrasses and gobies in the park. With highlights being reef sharks, napoleon wrasses, turtles, eagle and stingrays, and the occasional pod of dolphins, and mostly very easy diving conditions, it’s no wonder Bunaken is high on the list as best dive locations worldwide.

Bunaken National Park is most accessible from the city of Manado, which overlooks the island of Bunaken. Just a short drive from here is the world’s muck diving capital, known as the Lembeh Straits. Very different diving from what one can expect to see in Bunaken. The dive sites here are mainly black sand and mud (muck) dives in small protected bays located on either side of the strait which runs between Sulawesi mainland and the long but narrow island of Lembeh. Here all wonders of critters and creatures can be found. From hairy-frogfish, mimic octopus, and many numbers of different nudibranches to more than 4 different species of pygmy seahorses and rare endemic pipefishes. A trip to northern Sulawesi should include both the famed and coral rich area of Bunaken National Park, and the once in a lifetime critter diving of the Lembeh Straits.

Recommended Diving Liveaboards

KLM Sunshine

From 175 USD/Day
KLM Sunshine is a traditional Phinisi boat cruising in North Sulawesi (Lembeh and Bunaken) as well as Sangihe Islands and Buyat Bay, Halmahera, North Molluku and Togian Islands. She can host up (...)

Blue Manta Explorer

From 285 USD/Day
Blue Manta Explorer is a luxury liveaboard running by professional dive team - Manta Fleet, it offers dive liveaboard trips in the Komodo, Raja Ampat, Banda Sea, it can hosts 18 - 22 guests per (...)

Dewi Nusantara

From 450 USD/Day
Dewi Nusantara specializes in taking divers on unforgettable 12 day cruises to Raja Ampat, Komodo National Park or Cenderawasih Bay and Wakatobi, offering guests some of the largest cabins and (...)

Seahorse

From 350 USD/Day
At 33 meters long and 8.5 meters wide, the MSY Seahorse is a spacious and majestic vessel built in the traditional Indonesian seafarers style from the island of Sulawesi. MSY Seahorse combines (...)

Other Choices

Raja Ampat Aggressor

From 349 USD/Day
Raja Ampat Aggressor (formerly Ocean Rover) is a professional dive yacht running by Aggressor Fleet, it offers dive liveaboard trips in Raja Ampat, Cenderawasih Bay, Triton Bay and Banda Sea, it (...)

Ambai

From 266 USD/Day
MV Ambai, built in Sulawesi, started operation in May 2012. It can receive up to 16 divers in absolute comfort. Its design is however especially conceived as a dive cruise boat. He will bring you (...)

Adelaar

From 360 USD/Day
Adelaar is a beautiful old Dutch Schooner which has been sailing the Komodo Archipelago for the past 17 years . It's a luxurious five star boat, to accommodate the modern traveler in Komodo (...)

Sea Safari 6

From 367 USD/Day
Sea Safari VI is a professional dive liveaboard running by SeaSafari Fleet, it offers liveaboard trip in Komodo, Banda Sea and Raja Ampart area, it can host max. 20 guests per trip. ### (...)

Availabilities for North Sulawesi