There are over 50 dive sites inside the marine park. A good deal of them are for experienced divers, but inexperienced ones may have sufficient options too. particularly popular are wall dives and drift dives. Bunaken is known for its currents throughout dives. If you don’t like drift dives, do mention this up front to your dive manual or at your dive school so they can pick the right dive site for you.
Some amazing dive sites that are acceptable for inexperienced divers are Sachikos Point, Lekuan 1, 2 & 3, Muka Kampung, Bunaken Timur 2 and Fukui. If you’re staying at Bunaken Island Dive Sites, large part of the dive sites are located no more than 20 minutes by boat in your resort. Read an extensive description of the Bunaken dive sites here.
Some of the species we encountered during our dives were — of course — several turtles, lion fish, bat fish, groupers, puffers, snapper, surgeonfish, humphead parrotfish, butterfly fish, wrasses, angelfish, damselfish and many, more.
Typical diving day at Bunaken
A typical day at Bunaken Island begins with a great breakfast around 8 am. After breakfast you’ll depart for the very first dip. Your diving college has already ready and packed everything. If you did previous dives (the times before) your gear will be awaiting you at the ship. If it’s your very first dip, you’ll have to go a bit sooner and check for the right stuff. Boats usually depart around 9am, but if you’ve special prerequisites then you should discuss this the day before.
Once you first dive there’ll be a tea break of about one hour. In this tea break the ship guys will already move to the next dive site. Following your second dive it’s time for a wonderful lunch on board of the ship. In case you’ve 3 drops planned daily, you’ll have your 3rd dip after lunch. In case you only do two dives, you’ll be brought back to your resort after lunch.
Alternatives to Bunaken Island
Within a few hours by ship you’ll get to the beautiful Bangka Islands. This is another marine park with beautiful diving conditions. Here you’ve a wonderful mixture of dive sites and corals are in very good shape too. Another spectacular region to dip is at Lembeh Island. This island is located at the eastern side of Northern Sulawesi and individuals come here to the great muck diving conditions. To get at Lembeh, you first take a ship back to Manado. From there it’s a 1,5 hour drive to Bitung, the port town adjacent to Lembeh Island.
Non-divers at Bunaken
Non-divers can nevertheless have an amazing time at Bunaken Island. Most hotels offer snorkeling packages, and there are hotels with their own home reef where one can simply snorkel right in front of the resort.
Depending upon the location where you’re staying you can experience amazing snorkeling condition. We’d especially great snorkeling adventures in east side of Bunaken Island across Pangalisan beach. Here you can only go in the water throughout the mangroves and relish the many beautiful corals including unlimited gardens of soft corals. We saw many species during snorkeling sessions which we also saw during our dives, a few turtles. Bunaken is a very small island. You may like a great brief walk around the island, however, the 2nd time you’ve already seen it all. Another good thing to do would be dolphin and whale watching.
If you aren’t in diving or snorkeling, you better bring along a few nice books to read. As an alternative, you could consider diving class like all dive schools offer many types of classes. Entrance fee. Entrance to the park prices Rp50, 000 daily or Rp150, 000 per calendar year. Clearly, if you’re staying more than three times, it’s best to pay for the annual conservation fee. Children below 10 years are exempt. The fee isn’t always automatically imposed upon entrance to the playground. It’s your very own liability to cover it and many resorts will charge this upon arrival.
As evidence of payment, you’ll be given a water-proof plastic label that has to be carried in any way times. Spot checks aren’t uncommon by the patrol boats, although we did not experience any checks during our stay. Peak season & low season. You may visit Bunaken during the year. Peak season generally is from July until Sept, also in the month of January. The best diving conditions are generally between the months of Apr and October. Visibility under water is going to be a little less good from Nov onwards, however, diving conditions are still pretty far good during these months.
We visited Bunaken in December, and we were warned in advance that the diving conditions may not be good. Fortunately it turned out the be a wonderful week, with no rain whatsoever and very pleasant diving conditions. During peak season costs of rooms and dive packages are usually greater. During low season some resort operators may close for renovations or to take a well deserved break themselves. This is ordinarily the case around Feb and lasts till the beginning of April.