Bunaken National Park is one of the most popular nature sites in Indonesia, and the tourism sector has become a pillar of life for many people.
With 890.65 square kilometers or 280 miles, this national park saves 97% of marine animal habitats with 3% of the area being land with Bunaken Island, Manado Tua, Mantehage, Nain, and Siladen.
Serving Diverse Marine Life
This national park is one of the first national parks in Indonesia and includes representatives of tropical aquatic ecosystems. It includes mangroves, seagrass beds, coral reef fields, and coastal ecological systems.
There are 91 species of fish in the waters, including white one, gusumi horse, goropa, yellowtail passi, ila gasi, clownfish, angelfish, etc. Plus 13 types of live coral such as barrier types and fringing reefs. Several types of seaweed also adorn these waters. One of them is Thalassia Hemprichii.
Part of the mangrove forest is home to various mollusks, lobsters, crabs, and seabirds. Several species of algae are also found here, such as Caulerpa, Halimeda, and Padina. At the same time, the land is also rich in coconut, sago, woka, silar to Arecaceae with various land animals such as deer and kuskus.
Here, you can also meet Hawksbill Hawksbill Turtles, which are endangered and protected species that cannot be found anywhere else other than this area. Usually, these turtles like to play on coral reefs.
These various natural resources have attracted many tourists from local and other countries who never cease to come there. Recorded in 2003 to 2006, tourists who came amounted to 32,000 to 39,000 people with details 8,000 to 10,000 are foreigners.
Location of Bunaken National Park
The location of Bunaken National Park is in the waters of the Manado Sea, Wori District, Minahasa Regency, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. There are about 22 villages with 35,000 people, with the most work as fishermen, seaweed farmers, tour guides, ship captains, and workers in cottages.
What’s more unique is that Bunaken National Park is located in the Coral Triangle. This area is a natural habitat for more than 390 species of coral reefs and various other marine biotas. Bunaken National Park is located in five islands and Tanjung Pisok in the north, and Tanjung Kelaam on the south side.
A Brief History of Bunaken National Park
No one has thought this area has a long and interesting history to learn. This area is remote, and not many people dare to dive because there was a strong belief in the surrounding community about magical elements, myths, spirits, and ghosts that make diving a taboo. At that time, there were still not many people who liked to explore because there was still a lot of turmoil in Indonesia in the New Order period.
However, some explorers and researchers do not give up on exploring the beauty of the Manado Sea. Until 1970, diving activities began to be carried out seriously.
Finally, in 1975 in the Governor’s Decree No. 224 of 1980, the Bunaken island area changed its name to Bunaken Marine Park. Name changes continued to change until 1991, and this area officially became a national park area until 15 years later it became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bunaken National Park Tourism Activities
A visit here is incomplete if you haven’t tried various tourist activities, ranging from enjoying marine tourism, sunbathing, diving, and others.
- Try Diving and Snorkeling
For those who want to see the beauty of marine life directly, you should try diving and snorkeling activities in these waters. For the first time diving, don’t worry because there is a short lesson and training for beginners.
In this learning and training center, beginners will be taught basic diving techniques such as breathing, mask clearing, ear equalization to buoyancy control for 15 minutes.
When judged to be able, you will be invited to dive at 6 meters for 45 minutes. During the activity, internationally-certified diving instructors (SDI–Scuba Diving International) will always accompany and assist the visitors.
You can find 20 snorkeling spots on each island in this national park. But Bunaken island has 12 diving areas. Twelve snorkeling spots on Bunaken island include Mandolin, Sachiko Point, Muka Kampung, Tanjung Parigi, Ron’s Point, Lekukan 1, 2, 3, Pangalisang, East Bunaken, Church Front, and Barracuda Peak.
- Learning While Playing
This conservation area has become one of the most favorite tourist destinations for student study tours. This is not surprising because students can learn more about marine life and its ecosystem, try planting mangrove trees, and transplant coral reefs. If you bring children, you can also invite them to learn and play together around this area.
- Watching Dolphins and Whales
In the morning, after sunrise is the right time to see dolphins and whales in these waters. Visitors can rent a traditional boat from the local community to take you to the middle of the sea, waiting for the appearance of the cute animal.
- Sunset Hunting
The experience of watching the sunset behind the expanse of the ocean and a tinge of orange bouncing over the surface is indeed precious and a pity to miss. The area with the best sunset view is on the island of Mantehage.
- Relax on the White Sand
For those who prefer to relax, you can try to go to Siladen Island by using a fast boat for 45 minutes. The island is quite wide, with a size of 32.25 hectares. The island’s condition, which is dominated by coastal areas, has many inns, is very quiet and peaceful, which many people choose to rest.
- Visiting Mangrove Forest
On Mantehage Island, you can walk around the mangrove forest while seeing various types of rare birds. In addition, visitors can try Manado’s alcohol, namely Cap Tikus.
Are you planning to visit Bunaken soon? Find out more about Bunaken and Indonesia by visiting Wonderful Indonesia.