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Bunaken Oktober 21, 2008

Posted by syairdunk in Tourist Destination.
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Bunaken is one of Indonesia’s most famous dive areas, and it draws scuba divers from all over the world. In addition to Bunaken itself, a rather featureless banana-shaped island, the national park includes the neighboring islands of Manado Tua, a distinctive cone-shaped extinct volcano, Siladen, Montehagen, Nain, and Nain Kecil.

Bunaken is barely a degree above the equator and thus tropical. The “Rainy Season” from November to mid April, brings frequent rains, sometimes in storms lasting for several days, which make the air nice and cool but also reduce visibility. The “Dry Season” from May to October, when temperatures climb to 35° and visibility reaches a maximum. Bunaken receives far less rain than the mainland and is well ventilated with sea breezes.

Bunaken is about 45-60 minutes by boat from Manado. Most resorts will arrange transfers from the airport for their guests. Alternatively, a public boat leaves daily except Sunday at 2PM, or you can charter a boat anytime

As of 2006, entry to the park costs either Rp 50,000/day (US$6) or Rp 150,000/Calendar year (US$17), usually paid at your lodgings. As proof of payment, you will receive a plastic tag that must be carried at all times; it is waterproof and can be attached to your diving gear.

ourism on Bunaken has been very much geared towards divers over the years, but the trend seems to be changing and more and more snorkelers are visiting the area as too are those who wish to just relax immersed in nature…away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Possible activities for landlubbers include:

* Beach-combing, especially at low tide when the reef top is accessible
* Hiking to some of the secluded coves on the Eastern and Northern part of the island, but trails are poorly marked
* Fishing, but only outside of the park boundaries: hire a boat or join one of the local fishing boats.

The thing to do in Bunaken is dive, dive and dive! However, the steep walls and occasionally strong, rapidly changing currents mean that many sites cater more to the intermediate/advanced diver, although there are beginner-friendly sites too and all dive shops can arrange intro dives and Open Water Diver courses. The North Sulawesi Watersports Association offers oodles of detail on diving in the park. The park also offers outstanding snorkeling!

All dive shops in the park are affiliated with resorts, so see Sleep below for listings.

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