R and R Diving Site/Marine Sanctuary BUNAKEN NATIONAL MARINE PARK
A marine park situated at the northern part of Sulawesi Island, Indonesia, the Bunaken National Marine Park could be the next rest and recreation site for you. The marine park was formally established way back in 1991 and is currently one of the fastest growing systems of marine parks in Indonesia.
The Bunaken National Marine Park has a total surface area of 89,065 hectares. It is part of the Indo-Pacific region which supports the highest marine biodiversity on earth. This park was established because it serves as the migratory route for protected animals. It also is the home of many rare and endangered animals such as coelacanths, dugons, whales, dolphins and turtles. It also is a good source of livelihood with over 20,000 residents depending on its resources. It also serves a tourist spot simply because of its rich coral ecosystem.
Northeastern currents sweep through the park. As you dive or snorkeler within the vicinity of Lekuan or Fukui, you may see 33 species of butterfly fish and numerous types of groupers, damsels, wrasses and gobies underneath its bountiful waters. The abundance of hard corals of the marine park is the very core of the reefs. Without these hard corals, many marine organisms would be homeless and hungry as these serve as shelter and egg-laying. Thus, the maintenance of these corals is very crucial.
If you’re coming from Singapore, the regional airline SilkAir caters flights from Singapore to Manado four times a week (Moday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday), which would take about three and half hours travel. When you’re within Indonesia, there are daily flights from Jakarta to Manado.
From Manado, you may get a public boat which leaves daily at 2:00 pm except on Sundays. The public boat will dock on the Bunaken Village.
There are a lot of accommodations within Bunaken, only that it can be quite expensive. The most popular in Bunaken are Pangalisang Beach, Lorenso’s Homestay, Liang Beach, Panorama, Nelson’s and Papa Boa.
If you want to stay within the boundaries of Bunaken National Park is Siladen Resort and Spa.
Bunaken’s neighbour Siladen however, offers few accommodations. Should you wish to stay there, try the more popular among budget travellers, the Martha’s Homestay.
Bunaken National Park Fee
All visitors of Bunaken National Park are required to pay the entrance fee of Rp 50,000 (about $6 or Php 232.30) per day or Rp 150,000 ($17 or Php 697.00) for a waterproof plastic entrance tag valid for the full calendar year. The entrance fee system is in accordance with the North Sulawesi Provincial Government Provincial Law Number 9/2002. The system is in adaptation of the well-known Bonaire Marine Park System. The proceeds from the sales of the entrance are managed by the Bunaken National Park Management Advisory Board which has been successful in raising over $250,000 for conversation programs in Bunaken Marine Park.
Bunaken Marine Park Experience
Bunaken National Marine Park has a unique bathymetry. The absence of a continental shelf in the northern part of North Sulawesi gives the coastal area to drop down directly the continental shelf. Here are some facts you should know about Bunaken Park:
· The Park homes to at least 58 different genera and sub-genera of corals
· An estimated 2,000 fish species are found in its waters.
· The deepest part measures to around 1,360 meters and is found between Manado Tua and Montehage
· There are numerous dive sites in Bunaken, among these are the following:
- Living Colours Diving Bunaken. The resort is found on the eastern part of the island. It caters diving/snorkelling activities as well as your accommodation. Trips and tours as well as transportations to and from Manado may also be arranged.
- Cha Cha Dive Lodge Bunaken. The resort is run by an Irish-Italian/Japanese couple. It provides you with good accommodations and excellent cuisines. The resort is located on the eastern part of the island.
- Two Fish Divers Bunaken. It is based at Pangalisang and operated by PADI. Diving is safe as you will be guided by two British instructors.
- Bastianos Resort and Diving Center. The resort is located at the western part of the island and is located at Liang Beach. It started its operations on 2004. The dive center is managed by an Indonesian instructor FransRattu.