Ruby Tanaka

Written by Ruby Tanaka

Modified & Updated: 30 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Bunaken, an enchanting little piece of paradise nestled in the turquoise waters of the Celebes Sea, is a hidden gem worth exploring for any avid traveler. This small island located in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, is not just a picturesque tropical destination; it is also home to a plethora of natural wonders that will leave you in awe. From vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life to lush rainforests brimming with exotic flora and fauna, Bunaken offers an unparalleled experience for both adventure seekers and nature enthusiasts.

In this article, we will delve into 11 unbelievable facts about Bunaken that will surely ignite your wanderlust and inspire you to add this stunning destination to your travel bucket list. So, prepare to be amazed as we dive deep into the fascinating world of Bunaken and uncover its hidden treasures.

Key Takeaways:

  • Dive into Bunaken’s underwater paradise, home to over 3,000 fish species and stunning coral walls. It’s a top diving destination with rare marine life and vibrant sea gardens, perfect for nature lovers.
  • Experience Bunaken’s secluded island retreat and warm hospitality. From breathtaking sunsets to up-close encounters with marine life, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site offering a tranquil and unforgettable getaway.
Table of Contents

Breathtaking Marine Biodiversity

Bunaken is renowned for its incredible marine biodiversity. The crystal-clear waters surrounding the island are home to over 3,000 different species of fish, making it a diver’s paradise. From colorful coral reefs to majestic sea turtles and vibrant schools of fish, the underwater world of Bunaken is a sight to behold.

A World Heritage Site

Bunaken is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized for its outstanding natural beauty and ecological importance. The protected marine park encompasses the five islands of Bunaken, Manado Tua, Siladen, Mantehage, and Nain, ensuring the preservation of its unique ecosystem for future generations.

Magnificent Coral Walls

Bunaken is famous for its awe-inspiring coral walls. These vertical underwater cliffs drop hundreds of meters and are adorned with an array of coral formations in various shapes and colors. Exploring the coral walls is like diving into a vibrant underwater tapestry, with each section offering a new and captivating sight.

Prime Diving Destination

Bunaken is consistently ranked as one of the top diving destinations in the world. Divers flock to this tropical paradise to witness its extraordinary marine life, including rare species like the coelacanth, a prehistoric fish that has remained virtually unchanged for millions of years. With its numerous dive sites catering to different levels of expertise, Bunaken offers something for everyone.

Thriving Sea Gardens

Bunaken’s underwater landscape is teeming with vibrant sea gardens. These gardens are formed by the intricate network of coral reefs that provide shelter and sustenance to a multitude of marine organisms. Snorkelers can also enjoy these breathtaking gardens, observing the marine life from the surface.

Up-close Encounters with Marine Life

Exploring Bunaken allows visitors to have unforgettable up-close encounters with marine life. From swimming alongside graceful sea turtles to spotting elusive seahorses and playful dolphins, the waters of Bunaken offer a chance to witness the wonders of the underwater world in their natural habitat.

Underwater Volcanic Activity

Bunaken is located in an area known as the “Ring of Fire,” where underwater volcanic activity contributes to the formation and growth of its coral reefs. The volcanic activity, combined with optimal environmental conditions, has created an underwater paradise unlike any other.

Paradise for Macro Photography

Bunaken is a paradise for macro photography enthusiasts. The diverse marine life, from intricate nudibranchs and camouflaged octopuses to tiny seahorses, provides ample opportunities to capture stunning close-up shots. Underwater photographers from around the world visit Bunaken to capture its mesmerizing beauty through their lenses.

Spectacular Sunset Views

Aside from its underwater wonders, Bunaken also offers breathtaking sunset views. The golden hues reflecting on the calm waters create a magical ambiance, perfect for romantic walks along the beach or enjoying a seaside dinner with the stunning panorama as the backdrop.

Secluded Island Retreat

Bunaken provides a secluded island retreat, allowing visitors to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With limited development and a focus on sustainable tourism, Bunaken offers a tranquil and pristine environment where one can truly unwind and connect with nature.

Warm and Welcoming Locals

One of the greatest treasures of visiting Bunaken is encountering the warm and welcoming locals. The people of Bunaken embrace visitors with genuine hospitality, sharing their rich cultural heritage and creating an unforgettable experience that extends beyond the breathtaking natural beauty of the island.


In conclusion, Bunaken is a truly remarkable destination that showcases the incredible beauty and biodiversity of the underwater world. From its stunning coral reefs to the diverse marine life that inhabits its waters, Bunaken offers an unforgettable experience for divers and nature enthusiasts alike.

With its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral formations, and breathtaking marine species, Bunaken has rightfully earned its reputation as one of the top diving sites in the world. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced diver, exploring the wonders of Bunaken is an adventure like no other.

So take the plunge and discover the 11 unbelievable facts about Bunaken. Dive into its mesmerizing depths and witness the splendors that lie beneath the surface. Allow yourself to be captivated by the sheer beauty and rich biodiversity that make this Indonesian gem a must-visit destination for any nature lover.


Q: How do I get to Bunaken?

A: The easiest way to reach Bunaken is by flying to Manado, the capital city of North Sulawesi, Indonesia. From Manado, you can take a boat ride to the island of Bunaken, which typically takes around 30 to 45 minutes.

Q: Can I visit Bunaken if I am not a diver?

A: Absolutely! While Bunaken is famous for its diving opportunities, you can still enjoy the beauty of the island even if you don’t dive. Snorkeling is a popular activity that allows you to observe the vibrant marine life up close. Additionally, you can take boat tours around the island and admire the stunning coastal landscapes.

Q: When is the best time to visit Bunaken?

A: The best time to visit Bunaken is during the dry season, which typically falls between April and October. The weather is generally sunny and the sea conditions are calmer, providing optimal visibility for diving and snorkeling.

Q: Are there accommodation options on Bunaken Island?

A: Yes, there are several resorts and guesthouses on Bunaken Island that cater to tourists. These accommodations offer comfortable rooms, delicious meals, and various amenities to ensure a pleasant stay during your visit.

Q: Is Bunaken suitable for beginner divers?

A: Yes, Bunaken offers diving opportunities for divers of all skill levels. There are dive centers on the island that provide training courses and guided dives for beginners. However, it’s important to always dive with a certified instructor or guide and follow proper safety precautions.

Q: Can I see sharks in Bunaken?

A: Yes, Bunaken is known for its shark population, including reef sharks, blacktip sharks, and occasionally even hammerhead sharks. However, it’s important to note that sharks are wild animals and encounters are never guaranteed. It’s always thrilling to spot them during your dives, but remember to maintain a respectful distance and observe from afar.

Bunaken's breathtaking beauty and fascinating facts leave you yearning for more. Satisfy your curiosity by exploring nearby Bitung, a hidden gem brimming with intriguing tales and stunning landscapes. From its vibrant history to its thriving ecosystem, Bitung promises an unforgettable adventure that will leave you captivated and inspired.

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