Bunaken island

Bunaken island is the place where most of the tourists stay and there are about 2500 local people living on the island. They live from tourism, fishing and building boats. There are 3 villages and both Muslims and Christians are living in harmony on the island. There is a church and a mosque in the largest village but that are about all the highlights of the village, there is not much else to do but it's definitely nice to walk through. On the island there are no cars and next to walking, light motor cycles and an occasional oxcart are the only means of transportation.

How to get to Bunaken

Once in Manado it depends on what you have agreed upon with your resort. Usually they will pick you up at the airport and bring you to their boat to bring you to Bunaken. If this is not the case you can take a taxi to the harbor of Manado (Pelabuhan Manado) and take the public boat to Bunaken from there. You will arrive in the village on Bunaken island and from there you have to find a resort. The public boat commutes once per day from Bunaken to Manado and vice versa. It leaves Bunaken to Manado every morning between 8 and 9 and returns from Manado to Bunaken between 2 and 3 in the afternoon. The crossing takes just less than an hour and the public boat goes every day except Sundays and public holidays. The public boat brings you to the village on Bunaken island and from there you search for a resort. Another option from Manado is to charter a speedboat that will bring you to the resort of your choice on Bunaken. Negotiate the price in advance with the captain of the speedboat and be very clear about your destination on Bunaken. It happens that they bring you to another resort on purpose because they receive a bonus from that specific resort. The tourists rate for the public boat is IDR 50.000 (approx. € 3,50) per person for a single trip Manado - Bunaken or back. To hire a speedboat, the price ranges from IDR 250.000 to IDR 600.000 (approx. € 17 to € 41) per trip depending on the time, size of the speedboat, number of people and of course your negotiation skills (Rates in early-2015).

Stay on Bunaken

It is wise to make a reservation for a resort on Bunaken while still abroad. Despite the fact that more resorts have been build the last few years it is very well possible that it will be very busy with tourists on the island. Especially in the high season when groups arrive, the resorts can be fully booked.

Some resorts are owned by foreigners and they can tell some nice stories about how they started here. The resorts are all build in such a way that the bungalows fit very well in the surrounding nature. In addition all resorts are located at the beach or only separated from the beach by a small path. Rates of the resort can differ quite a bit so check out their respective websites.

A recommendable resort is Bunaken Beach Resort, located on Pangalisang Beach on the Eastern side of Bunaken island. Bunaken Beach Resort is a comfortable and friendly resort with its own private beach and a beautiful sea view with mountainous mainland in the background where amazing sunrises can be enjoyed every morning.

Another recommendable resort is Cakalang Diving Resort, also located on Pangalisang Beach on the Eastern side of Bunaken island. Cakalang is a small holiday destination with just a few cottages on the beach and some rooms and they offer clean and simple accommodations, rooms with western toilet, fresh running water and tiled floors.