A MARINE WONDERLAND
Bunaken Island is part of the Bunaken National Marine Park, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2005. This distinction is well-deserved, as the island and its surroundings are teeming with diverse marine life and vibrant coral reefs. Nestled in the heart of the Coral Triangle, Bunaken is an idyllic island paradise that has remained relatively untouched by the bustling tourism industry, making it a coveted destination for nature lovers and underwater enthusiasts.
Bunaken’s fame in the diving community is largely attributed to its astonishing biodiversity. The marine park boasts an astounding collection of marine species, with over 70% of all fish species known in the Indo-Western Pacific region residing here. Bunaken’s underwater stage is home to an array of charismatic marine creatures. It’s not unusual to spot barracuda, those sleek and formidable predators, patrolling the depths. Turtles, with their serene presence, gracefully glide through the water, occasionally coming up for a breath, offering a rare chance to observe them up close.
The most thrilling of encounters often involve the enigmatic reef sharks and their impressive acrobatics. These graceful creatures move with an effortless elegance, instilling a sense of wonder and respect for the delicate balance of life within the marine park.
Famous with a rich tapestry of dive sites, each with its own unique charm – among the renowned sites, Lekuan I and II stand out for their towering underwater rock formations and striking coral formations. Diving amidst these geological marvels is an experience like no other, as you navigate through canyons and swim-throughs, discovering hidden marine life at every turn.
The Muka Gereja Wall, adorned with an assortment of corals and sponges, is a vertical playground for divers, promising a mesmerising journey along its precipitous slopes.
And then, there’s the legendary Barracuda Point, a site that lives up to its name. Here, you can witness barracuda in mesmerising schools, creating a spectacle that remains etched in your memory.
How to Get to Bunaken from Bali
Your journey to Bunaken begins with a flight to Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi. From Bali, you can book a direct flight to Sam Ratulangi International Airport (MDC) in Manado, which takes approximately 3 hours. Several airlines operate this route, so you have multiple options to choose from.
From Manado, you will need to travel to the port of Manado Tua, where you can catch a boat to Bunaken. The journey to Manado Tua takes around 30-45 minutes by car from the airport. Once you arrive at the port, you can choose from several boat operators that offer daily transfers to Bunaken.
The boat ride to Bunaken is an adventure in itself, as you’ll be treated to scenic views of the surrounding islands and the deep blue sea. The journey typically takes around 30-45 minutes, and the boats are equipped to carry passengers and their luggage comfortably.
“Bunaken is a hidden gem in Indonesia that deserves a spot on your travel bucket list. Its unparalleled marine biodiversity, stunning coral reefs, and pristine natural beauty make it a perfect destination for those seeking a unique and untouched paradise. With its relative ease of access from Bali, you can embark on a memorable journey to Bunaken, where you’ll experience the magic of both the land and sea. Plan your trip today and dive into the wonders of Bunaken – find more at BBTF 2024 as we explore the beauty senses of Indonesia – Join us”. I Putu Winastra, the head committee of BBTF 2023-2024 and chairman of ASITA Bali chapter stated.