Staggering coral walls in the Bunaken Marine Park, muck diving and sand / reef slopes around Manado Bay and a 60m long wreck.
28 – 29 degrees year round
Up to 30m
Year round easy diving although there are some current sites for those who like drifts.
Highlights of Bunaken
Stunning walls and hard corals. Lose count of the number of turtles in a single dive. Look out for reef sharks, schooling fish, sea snakes, passing eagle rays, sting rays, abundant critters and macro life, resident dolphin and pilot whale pods alongside the boat, occasional dugongs, seasonal sperm whale sightings, vibrant and colourful corals.
Highlights of Manado Bay
A mix of black and white sand muck and reef diving which is home to some of Indonesia’s rarest and most unique critters including mimic octopus, squid, flamboyant cuttlefish, sea horses and numerous crustacean, nudibranch and frogfish species. For macro underwater photographers Manado Bay dive sites are treasure troves full of opportunities.
Kick off your day with a two dive trip to the Bunaken Marine Park which is just 35 minutes away. Look out for the resident spinner dolphin pods that like to play alongside our boats. Return to the resort for lunch, followed by a third dive to explore Manado Bay OR opt for a three dive safari trip with lunch served on the boat.
Please note that when diving in Bunaken Marine Park there is a (one off) Marine Park entry fee of IDR 150,000 per diver / snorkeler.
Manado Bay night dives reveal a host of rare critters and are definitely a highlight.
Murex dive boats are purpose built for your comfort, safety and to deliver a smooth ride. With 7 boats in our fleet, which range in size, we are able to offer flexible schedules and cater for private boat options as well as for larger groups of families and friends. Facilities on board include:
- Shaded areas below and sun deck
- Toilet facilities
- Non-slip steps
- Long ladders for easy boarding
- Individual tank racks and gear space
- Fresh water box for cameras
- Cushioned seating
- Hot and cold refreshments
- Personal towels for each guest
- First aid kits and emergency oxygen
- Spare equipment
- Communication devices
- Life jackets
Step off the volcanic black sand beach and discover a world of critters and intriguing macro life right on your doorstep. This easy dive site can be explored with or without a guide.
Our Murex Dive Guides have thousands of dives experience and undergo intensive marine biology and underwater photography training programs to ensure you have the best experience possible.
You’ll never need to carry your gear or change a tank as it’s all part of our service – all you need to do is enjoy your dives at some of Indonesia’s best dive sites!
World-Famous Wall, Reef and Muck Diving in Bunaken Marine Park and Manado Bay.
Our Favorite Bunaken and Manado Bay Dive Sites:
Murex House Reef
Lekuan 1, 2 and 3
Sachiko’s – Bunaken Island
Sachiko’s Point is a beautiful wall dive on the north side of Bunaken Island. It is covered with gorgonian sea fans and we often spot barracudas, black tip reef sharks and Napoleon wrasses in the blue water. The reef shallows are perfect for snorkeling and a group of bumphead parrotfish is often seen feeding on the hard corals.
This dive site, named after its location, is on the east side of Bunaken Island (Timur, means “East” in Indonesian). It’s a 40m deep wall, covered with hard and soft corals. The shallow reef top is one of the most pristine around Bunaken and offers the best snorkeling around the island – this is also a great site for green and hawksbill turtles, occasional passing eagle rays and an array of macro critters.
Pangulingan or Tanjung Kopi
Located on the northern side of Manado Tua, this is an advanced dive because of the strong currents that can sweep you across the reef. The reef plateau starts at 5m deep and slopes down slowly to 30m. At 30m the wall drops down to greater depths. Due to the current you can often see bigger fish here. There are resident schools of batfish and jackfish that hang out in the current and often Napoleons make an appearance.
A stunning hard coral reef top makes this one of our favorite spots. Clouds of small, colorful reef fish occupy the corals including butterflyfish, angelfish, damsels, anemonefish and parrotfish. Looking out to the blue there are often schools of fusiliers and mackerel, passing turtles and occasional eagle rays.
In days gone by there was a papaya fruit plantation on the shore here — hence the name Tanjung Papaya. The main attraction here is the bizarre artificial reef made out of motorcycles! Coral growth has taken hold on the 30+ motorbikes and they are a great spot for finding nudibranch, razorfish, all types of pipefish and lionfish. Next to the motorcycles is a rubble reef patch where you can spend hours spotting all the camouflaged macro critters including mantis shrimps, ribbon eels, ghost pipefish and stonefish to name just a few.
City Extra – Manado Bay
City Extra is a true muck diving site and the sea grass laden shallows boast seahorses, ghost pipefish, flying gurnards and other critters. Going deeper on the sandy slope will give you the opportunity to spot different species of frogfish, flamboyant cuttlefish and even the elusive mimic octopus.
Poopoh (Bethlehem & Tanjung Kelapa)
Located in the southern section of the national park is Poopoh, a small fishing village. In front of this village there is great muck diving on black sandy slopes covered with sea grass. Here you’ll find frogfish, mimic octopus, dugongs and ghost pipefish. At the end of the sandy slope a mini wall, fully covered with soft corals and with a huge concentration of fish species, leads you back to the boat.
Poopoh is the third richest dive site in the world, in terms of species diversity. Dr. Gerry Allen and Dr. Mark Erdmann conducted a fish count survey in 2012 and counted 310 different fish species in one dive. Over the course of two dives they counted a total of 385 different fish species. Only two other dive sites, both in Raja Ampat, have a higher density of fish species counted during one dive.
Explore More from Murex Manado
If you’d like to explore more of North Sulawesi during your stay we also offer day trips to Bangka Island which is famous for it’s kaleidoscopic soft corals and vibrant reefs and also to the Lembeh Strait which offers the world’s best muck and critter diving. These are usually three dive trips with lunch served either on the boat or in the restaurant at Murex Bangka Resort or at Lembeh Resort.
If you’d like to see all of the highlights of North Sulawesi in one trip we recommend our Passport to Paradise program which allows you to discover 3 distinct diving areas (Bunaken-Bangka-Lembeh) with seamless boat diving transfers from resort to resort. No packing, no wasted travel days – just dive, dive, dive!
Let us know your requirements and we can tailor make your travel itinerary to ensure you experience the best that North Sulawesi has to offer.
Take a look at our Underwater Image Gallery.