Diving in Manado
There are no deep dives here, as all sites are shallow, with some even lesser than ten meters.
Dive Resorts in Manado
Cocotinos Manado Resort
A boutique beach resort, Cocotinos Manado is less than an hour away to Bunaken Marine Park and only twenty-five minutes away from Manado International Airport. Watch and hear the waves touch the sand from your private veranda, enjoy a sumptuous meal at their open air restaurant or you may also participate in the daily lives of the locals and occasional festive events in the nearby villages to have a feel of the Minahasa culture. During surface intervals of your diving trips, you may also opt for white water rafting and mountain trekking. But if you prefer a quiet and relaxing time, there is also the Laleina Spa for a soothing massage, or take a dip by the pool. For divers, the resort caters to those who prefer diving of the beaten track giving you the chance to experience less explored dive sites.
Tasik Ria Manado Resort
Tasik Ria Resort is a serene palm fringed environment which offers divers a superb diving getaway. Located at the Northwest of North Sulawesi, it only takes forty five minute drive from Sam Ratulangi International Airport. The resort has comprehensive diving facilities including their newly renovated diving boats. Divers can easily explore the waters of Bunaken National Marine Park which is only a forty five-minute boat ride from the jetty or exotic dive sites such as Lembeh and Bangka Straits which are ideal spots for micro lovers. Exquisitely furnished sea or pool view rooms, luxurious spa treatment, and wide range of European and Local delicacies, guests will surely have their expectations fulfilled by Tasik Ria.
Eco Divers Manado
Eco Divers Resort is the best value for money resort with first class customer service and highest safety standards. Boasting of its Minahasa Lagoon which has its own house reef, and lies by the South section of the Bunaken National Marine Park, it gives easy access to many pristine and secluded coral and critter dive sites. There are 15 Sea View Cottages and 8 Garden View rooms, with 2 wheelchair accessible rooms, all with en suite bathroom, air con, mini bar, and a terrace. The resort also offers 2 traditional Indonesian spas with full range of treatments, a dip by the Jacuzzi or infinity pool, or have a bite from their 2 restaurants: the River Restaurant serves international cuisine and the Jungle Restaurant serves tasty local dishes. A well-preserved beach front with everything you need for a fantastic holiday, surrounded by the lush rain forest is here at Eco Divers Resort.
Bastianos Bunaken Resort
Located on the west part of Bunaken Island on Liang Beach, Bastianos Bunaken Resort is just a stone’s throw away from Bunaken National Marine Park. Awarded Best Dive Resort of the Year in 2012, accommodation at Bastianos are traditional wooden rooms with Western style bathroom and hot shower, either at the hill-side or beachfront side. You can enjoy a drink at the cozy mini bar by the beach and watch the sunset or listen to some cool music, play pool at the restaurant, take a dip at the swimming pool or out front the resort and go snorkeling, or have a their must-try soothing massage at Bastianos Spa & Shiatsu. And if you want to learn more about marine life before diving, the resort has a Marine Life Library too. With great views of the ocean and beautiful sunset near Manado Tua, this resort assures you the best of experience both under and above water.
Marine Life Highlights in Manado
Dive Sites In Manado
Pulau Siladen is the smallest island among the 5 main islands in Bunaken National Marine Park. Nearest to Manado, it takes about thirty minutes by boat to reach this lush tropical island. Currents are rarely strong in Pulau Siladen with an average visibility of 30 metres. Maximum depth can reach up to 50 metres but average is at 20 metres.
This dive site is predominantly rich in Nudibranchs which are often found together with Leaf Scorpionfish on the ledges. Divers will also have a chance to encounter tons of Angelfish, Parrotfish, Triggerfish, and Wrasse. The wall in Pulau Siladen looks like a book shelf with lots of ledges and each one houses a diverse forms of marine species making it seem like a fish supermarket.
Named after a Japanese tour operator who concluded that this was her favorite diving spot, Sachiko’s Point is one of Pulau Bunaken’s dive sites by the North. This diving site is just forty-five minutes away from Manado by boat. It has some major currents but diving is usually carried out when conditions are calm and peaceful. Visibility ranges from 10 to 25 metres with an average depth of 20 metres and maximum of 50 metres.
Sachiko’s Point is known for its wide array of corals and sponges. Often sighted here are Trumpetfish, Groupers, Triggerfish and Unicornfish, Sweetlips, Large Snappers, and Angelfish. This dive site is suitable for all levels of diving proficiency.
Undeniably the best dive spot in Pulau Bunaken is Bunaken Timur. A large variety of fish can already be seen within the first 5 metres that divers hardly see under deeper waters. Some even claim that it is the best dive spot in Indonesia. Only forty minutes by boat from Manado, Bunaken Timur is located on the east side of Bunaken. It has minor possibility of strong currents with average depth of about 20 metres and maximum of 40 metres and a typical visibility of 25 metres.
This dive spot is suitable for advanced divers. If you choose to dive at only one spot in North Sulawesi, Bunaken Timur is the top choice for all divers. With usual sightings of Great and Barred Barracuda, Bumphead Parrotfish, Bigeye and Golden Trevally, Maori and Napoleon Wrasse, Snubnose Drummer, Eagle and Devil Rays, Blue-spotted Stingrays, Seabass, Sharks, Batfish, you name it and this dive site might surprise you with a lot more.
Mandolin dive site is located thirty-five minutes by boat from Manado, along the strait between Bunaken and Manado Tua. It is named after the same traditional musical instrument due to its shape from a birds eye view. With the currents moderate to strong, it brings about pelagic and schools of species. Visibility averages at 20 metres with a maximum depth of 40 metres and average depth at 20 metres. It is most suitable for advanced divers.
A wall going deep down with large steps, Mandolin dive site has numerous small caves where numerous fishes live. There are schools of reef fish, Angelfish, Gobbies, large numbers of Trevallies, big Barracudas, Snappers, Unicornfish, Triggerfish and Surgeonfish. In the deeper parts, there are possible sightings of Whitetip Reef Sharks, banded Sea Snakes, smaller Tunas, Moray Eels and Turtles.
Manado Tua or Old Manado is well known for its extinct volcano that formed the island, with a rainforest on its summit. It has three main dive sites namely Panggulingan, Muka Gereja (Church Front), and Negeri (Country) and is a forty five minute boat ride from Manado. With an average depth of 20 metres and maximum of 35 metres, currents are moderate to strong on this island.
There are underwater plateaus sloping from 5 to 30 meters surrounding Manado Tua, fringed by steep coral walls plunging 25 to 50 meters down, with many canyons and caves with hanging coral reefs, embodying a magnificent sea garden. For big fishes, divers may have to go beyond 15 metres to spot Giant Groupers, Napoleon Wrasse and schools of large Barracudas. Groups of Surgeonfish, Snappers, Damselfish, Butterfish and reef Sharks can also be found on this dive site.
The Molas Wreck is a Dutch merchant ship that sunk in 1942, around the time of World War II. The top of the wreck is at around 26 metres while the bottom is at 38 metres. It is mostly intact but has heavy coral growth and sits on a sandy slope about halfway between Bunaken and the Manado harbor. Average depth is at 25 metres and maximum is up to 40 metres with a visibility of 10 to 30 metres.
The corals heads above the wreck makes a great home for Mantis Shrimp, Sea Snakes, and Ribbon Eels and is a good site for Nudibranchs and Cuttlefish as well as some Barracudas and Sharks. Groupers, Trevallies and Napoleon Wrasse can also be found at the wreck.
Nain Island is located at the Northeastern coast of Montehage. An hour and forty minutes from Manado, it is the Northernmost island in the Bunaken National Marine Park. This dive site has an average depth of 30 metres and a maximum of 80 metres, with very strong currents. Nain Island along with other three dive sites near it, are far from help from the mainland making the dive guides reluctant to bring divers because of the dangers involved.
Experienced or technical divers are the only ones allowed on this dive spot. The interesting part begins below the 40-metre level mark and caves are located beyond 60 metres. The risk though is often rewarded by rare sights of Hammerhead Sharks, huge Tunas, Dolphins and Pilot Whales.
Diving In Manado
Manado is the main gateway to access one of the most applaud dive destinations in the world, Bunaken Marine Park. Over 70% of all the fish species in Indo-Western Pacific can be found in this region. The marine biodiversity is magnificent!
Manado city is the capital of North Sulawesi, a province of Indonesia. The economy of the city was previously driven by trades with nearby cities in Indonesia and Philippines. As time goes by, ecotourism took lead in bringing economic growth to the city. Scuba diving and snorkelling in 30 over diving sites in Bunaken National Marine Park, nature attractions in the Tangkoko Nature Reserve, and cultural sites in the Minahasa Highland are prime areas for tourism activities. The diving and non-diving activities make it an ideal destination for divers visiting with their non-diving family members.
Manado’s most popular dive sites include Mandolin, Timur and Siladen where the biodiversity of marine life is rich. On top of that, due to the regular visits by divers, the marine life at these sites are used to divers maneuvering around them making it easy for divers to take down beautiful shots with their cameras.
Although there are several dive resorts and hotels in this area, visitors are encouraged to make reservations for their stay prior to arriving. This is to prevent disappointment when the resorts and hotels are fully packed during peak seasons.
In terms of shopping, Manado may not be the best place to go for a shopping spree as there are only two big shopping malls here, Mega Mall and Bahu Mall. Although their range of products are not comparable to major shopping malls in Jakarta or Bali, the two shopping malls have shops and restaurants (including KFC and Pizza Hut) that will be able to meet all the basic requirements of visitors during their stay here.
Manado is also 90 minutes away (on car) from another city of North Sulawesi, Bitung, located at the east coast of North Sulawesi and faces Pulau Lembeh. Lembeh is another famous dive site in Asia, known for its muck diving.
|Best Diving Season:||April to October|
|Weather:||Wet Season November to April & Dry Season May-October|
|Marine Animal Highlights:||Napoleon Wrasse, Flamboyant Cuttlefish, Sailfin Tangs and Dogtooth Tuna|
|Recommended Thermal Protection:||–|
|Transportation:||Sam Ratulangi International Airport & From Airport Oplet or taxi|