Encounter thousands of fish, but also dugongs, in Sulawesi
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Bunaken National Park is a famous maritime park in Indonesia. With more than 3.000 kinds of fish and gentle dugongs in its waters, it’s a special place to visit.
North of Sulawesi you will find a most amazing diving paradise on earth: Bunaken National Park, a maritime park founded in 1991. It’s made up of 90 per cent water and has only 6 islands that are surrounded by one of the most diverse coral reefs of Indonesia.
The island Bunaken is the largest and this is where most of the accommodation and restaurants are. Despite its popularity with tourists, it’s not very busy. The coral reefs around the islands are a popular diving and snorkelling spot.
The water in the park is very deep around 1.550 meter, and visibility can be up to 40 meters. The warm water makes it a great place for diving, and the diverse marine life is amazing. There are around 300 kinds of coral, and 3000 kinds of fish, as well as turtles, so plenty to see under water.
The islands themselves are also worth a visit, where you can take walks among mangroves and rain forests, where you could encounter monkeys and other wildlife. It’s also a great place to discover by kayak.
One of the most special animals is the dugong (or Indian manatee). They are occasionally seen in the fields of sea grass.
These friendly creatures don't visit the coral reefs. You really have to go to the beds of grass. Ask about sightings of the animals on the spot.
Unfortunately, dynamite fishing (amongst other things) has done some damage to the area. It is the main reason why Bunaken National Park has not yet made it to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Thanks to many initiatives to prevent further damage, the park has now been short-listed.
The islands themselves are also worth a visit. This applies to the main island of Bunaken, but also to Manado Tua, Mantehage, Nain and Siladen. You can take a walk in the mangrove forests and wet rainforests. With some luck you'll spot monkeys and other wildlife.