Diving in Manado & Bunaken
Bunaken National Park and Manado in Sulawesi, Indonesia are known for their beautiful coral reefs and diverse marine life, making them a top destination for diving enthusiasts. Located in the heart of the Coral Triangle, the park offers more than 90 different types of coral and more than 390 species of fish, including large schools of fish, sea turtles and even the occasional shark.
Diving at Bunaken and Manado is excellent from the Lumbalumba Resort. For years, Lumbalumba has been our sales topper in Manado. With a combination of conviviality, beautiful diving and good value for money, more and more divers are finding Lumbalumba.
- Visibility is 15 to 35 meters
- Currents are usually mild and sometimes strong
- Plenty of dive sites for the novice diver
- Late December to late February more wind and then the resort is closed.
Best travel time: The best time to dive in Bunaken & Manado is between April and November. This period is considered the “dry season” in Sulawesi, with the least amount of rainfall and the calmest seas. Visibility is also at its best during this time, allowing divers to fully appreciate the vibrant coral and varied marine life the area is known for.
In addition to the incredible diving opportunities, there are a variety of other activities in the area for visitors to enjoy. The city of Manado is known for its delicious local cuisine, including dishes such as ikan bakar (grilled fish) and mie kocok (noodle soup). Visitors can also hike to the top of Mount Lokon for breathtaking views of the surrounding area, or explore nearby Lake Tondano, home to a variety of waterfowl.
Wetsuit advice for Manado & BunakenA 3 mm wetsuit is recommended. Water temperatures in Bunaken range from about 27-29°C throughout the year.
What will you experience on this trip?
View itinerary here
Day 1 - Travel to Manado, Sulawesi
Today begins the journey to Manado in Sulawesi. Traveling from a airport in europe to Manado, the capital of North Sulawesi in Indonesia takes about 20 to 30 hours, depending on the route and airline.
The most common route for travelers to fly to Manado is via Jakarta or Denpasar (Bali) and then take a connecting flight to Manado. Many airlines, including Garuda Indonesia, Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways, offer good flights to Manado.
It will be a long and tiring journey for a while, but the reward is the wonderful diving experience and the natural beauty of the area.
Day 2 - Arrival in Manado
Today you will arrive at Manado airport. A Lumba Lumba staff member is already waiting for you to take you to the resort. The drive to the resort takes about 40 to 60 minutes.
Once you arrive, it’s just a matter of checking in and settling into your accommodation. The vacations have really started now. After such a long trip it is nice to relax for the rest of the day, this can be done very well around the resort pool, among other things. You can also have a quick chat with the dive shop crew about the planned dives for the next few days.
Day 3 to 7 - Diving in Bunaken & Manado
It’s time to explore Sulawesi underwater. Diving at Lumbalumba means safe diving among the amazing coral reefs of Bunaken N.P.. Lumbalumba dives in small groups and works with flexible schedules. They have a private pier across the resort (just cross the main road) with the dive center. There are professional and well-trained dive guides employed to take care of everything for you so no lugging your own diving equipment. Everything is rinsed and dried for you.
A diving day usually begins at 8:30 a.m. With the boat you sail to the dive sites and make two dives in the morning. If you wish you can add a 3rd dive to this, then enjoy a delicious lunch on the boat and sail back to the resort after the 3rd dive. Included in the package, is one unguided (but with your own buddy) house reef dive, during the day. A night dive is also possible on the house reef or a nearby reef, accompanied by a dive guide, for an additional fee.
Day 8 - Land excursions
Today diving is no longer possible, but there is still the opportunity to do something.
A popular option is the Minahasa Highland Tour, which takes visitors on a journey through the picturesque highlands of Minahasa. The tour includes stops in traditional Minahasa villages, where visitors can learn more about local culture and customs. The tour also includes a visit to beautiful Lake Tondano, home to a variety of waterfowl.
Another popular excursion in Manado is the Tangkoko Nature Reserve Tour. This tour takes visitors to the Tangkoko Batuangus Nature Reserve, a protected rainforest area with a wide variety of wildlife, including the critically endangered black crested macaque, ghost animals and hornbills.
Whitewater rafting is also another option. An exciting & sporting excursion.
Day 9 - Home
The beautiful journey is already over. Today you fly home. The resort will return you to the airport today after which you will catch the plane to Europe.
Do you actually think 9 days is way too short? You can extend your trip with other beautiful diving destinations in Indonesia such as nearby Lembeh, or Bali (which you often fly through anyway), Komodo or Raja Ampat. It is well worth it.
By the way, did you know that we also offer a combination trip of Bunaken, Bangka and Lembeh: Uncover Sulawesi? In doing so, you stay for the Bunaken part at Lumbalumba.
The stay and surroundings
Lumbalumba Resort Manado
Lumbalumba Resort is located on a hill overlooking Bunaken volcano. Despite its small scale, Lumbalumba has a swimming pool and a truly beautifully landscaped 3.5-acre garden that is given great attention.
There are 4 detached chalets (Dolphin, Eagle Ray, Sea Horse, Turtle), each for up to two guests. All chalets are located on a mountainside with spectacular views. All cottages have private bathrooms with fixed sink, shower and toilet. Also, the cottages are equipped with air conditioning or fan. In the evening, you can enjoy a spectacular sunset from your hammock on the veranda.
There is also a family chalet with 3 rooms (Starfish, Mandarin and Sepia), which can also be used individually. And there is a new 2-bedroom double chalet at the top of the hill. These are larger rooms (Frogfish and Napoleon) where a 3rd bed could be added.
The resort has delicious cuisine, cozy bar with restaurant and an infinity pool. There is free Wifi throughout the resort.
Accommodation is on a full board basis. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are in the restaurant. Lunch you eat either on the dive boat or in the restaurant. Mostly Asian dishes are prepared.
The pool is situated 40 meters above sea level. Made of natural stone and has an overflow (infinity) on all sides. The pool is 2.5 meters deep.
Ps. Lumbalumba is located on a hill, which means it is useful to be reasonably fit to climb the hill.
What is included
This travel package is €1099 per person based on two people in one bungalow. The trip can be extended as desired. A number of things are included by default in this travel package.
Prices are subject to price changes, increases or changing exchange rates. Flights are always based on the cheapest possible booking class.
Want to know more about the possibilities? Get in touch with us!
Included in this trip, from €1099, - p.p.
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Frequently asked questions about this diving vacation
At Lumbalumba, you can do both boat dives and shore dives.
Bunaken National Park consists of two parts. The southern part can be reached in just about 10 minutes from the resort; the northern part is a little further by boat about 30 minutes.
The Northern part is the largest and includes the five islands: Bunaken, Manado Tua, Siladen, Mantehage and Nain. All the islands are surrounded by plateau reefs and steep drop-offs for which the park is famous. This section is also known for the abundance of turtles, with often more than 30 seen during a single dive.
The Southern section is smaller but offers excellent muck diving and is rated higher than Lembeh Strait by many divers. It also has one of the best coral walls in the park.
Standard 2 dives per day are included in this package. You can extend this with a 3rd or even 4th (night) dive.
It is also possible to dive on the house reef from the shore. The package includes 1 unguided house reef dive as standard. No solo diving is allowed on the house reef, so the unguided dive is with your own buddy.
Yes definitely! And it’s fantastic. You will encounter the most fascinating critters on a night dive.
A night dive by boat costs €58 p.p. (minimum 2 divers) and a guided night dive on the house reef costs €30 p.p.
Included in this package is standard one unguided house reef dive on the dive days. The first dive on the house reef is with a guide. Then you can dive independently with a buddy on the house reef.
Yes, the following courses can be booked (in advance):
PADI Discover Scuba Diving (DSD) €125
PADI Open Water Course €480
PADI Advanced Open Water Course €375
PADI Nitrox Course €150
Yes indeed, on the same site… nice and easy 🙂
The standard tanks are both DIN and INT.
The Alu 80, 95 and 100 cu ft tanks are only available in INT. It is important that you bring your own inverter if you have a DIN regulator.
Larger tanks are available; they are only available in the INT configuration.
Yes definitely! If you make 2 dives on the same 2 tanks, there is no extra charge for this.
Nitrox costs €7 per tank
A complete diving equipment, including dive computer costs €30 per day.
Other activities & excursions
Absolutely! Snorkeling tours are offered daily by boat.
A snorkeling day trip usually consists of 2 or 3 snorkeling sessions around Bunaken National Park or in Manado Bay. For the more avid snorkelers, even 3 to 4 snorkeling sessions can be offered in one day.
Besides snorkeling, you can take several excursions mentioned below.
There is a lot of above-water stuff to do in Sulawesi. So you can climb the active volcano Lokon, go on wild water rafting, various jungle excursions and even paragliding. It is also possible to book a zipline excursion, but this is on request. The prices of all excursions can be found under “optional costs.