The reefs of the five islands making up the Bunaken-Manado Tua National Marine Park are reputed to be some of the best wall dives in the world. There are some 18 to 30 recognized dive sites around the islands.
Bunaken island is where you'll find most of the dive sites, as well as most of the dive resorts. Nearby Siladen has a couple of resorts as well.
Bunaken National Park Entry Fee
All visitors to the park, whether they dive or not, must pay a one-time admission fee of 150,000 Rupiah (about US$15).
Getting to Bunaken
If you're staying at a resort on Bunaken, you'll need to get to the pier in Manado. The nearest airport is in Manado, about 10 kilometers away from Manado harbor. A taxi from Manado or the airport will run around 100,000 Rupiah. However, most resorts such as Two Fish offer a transfer service from the airport or Manado hotels for little or nothing.
There is a public boat service which leaves the pier in Manado for Bunaken on a daily schedule, but you're much better arranging transport directly with your resort, since most of them are some distance from Bunaken Village, where the public boat docks.
Bunaken Dive Resorts
There are around a dozen or so dive resorts, most with their own dive shops, on Bunaken, along with another couple on the smaller Siladen. Here's a selection of what's available.
- Two Fish Divers
- One of the first "double plays" in North Sulawesi, with resorts on both Bunaken and Lembeh. I was quite impressed with them.
- Bunaken Seabreeze Resort
- Charming, but without air conditioning, resort on the southeast coast, near the main village. Bunaken Divers also operates their own live-aboard.
- Small, apparently very laid back, resort of about 10 rooms located near the center of the southern bay of the island. Although appearing very relaxed, Froggies is a serious dive resort, and so welcomes divers only
- Living Colours
- Living Colours seems to be the most well known of Bunaken's resorts, with favorable mentions by Lonely Planet and others. Comments from real guests are generally favorable, although some regard it as isolated. The Lonely Planet recommendation not withstanding, it's worth noting that Living Colours is one of the pricier options on Bunaken.
Siladen Dive Resorts
- Onong Resort
- Small resort with just seven air conditioned cottages on a white sandy beach. Operated by Celebes Divers, which also has a resort on the Sulawesi mainland. Check with Safari Tours for special rates.
- Siladen Resort
- The Siladen seems to be one of the poshest options in the park. Pity their web site seems to have been developed in the last centurey.
You may also wish to contact Safari Tours, a full service travel agency based in Manado. They handle many of the resorts above, as well as resorts along Lembeh, around Manado, and beyond. They can also arrange a variety of land-side tours to the countryside and national park.