North Sulawesi, best known for its breathtaking and vibrant coral walls has become world renowned for good reason. The area boasts vibrant corals, abundant fish life and a healthy population of green and hawksbill turtles. The region offers a mix of both reef and muck diving with a range of impressive macro critters. The currents here are medium to strong in some parts, with warm water and good all year-round visibility.
We opted to stay on Pulau Siladen Island at the Siladen Island Resort and Spa accessible by boat from the main island of Manado. Run by General Managers Ana and Miguel Ribeiro, the resort is an impressive example of exquisite and secluded comfort in the heart of the Bunaken Marine Park.
The property is located on the western side of the island on a 300 meter long stretch of white coral reef beach facing the Manado Tua volcano. So as you would expect, there are breathtaking sunsets all year round.
This is a full-service dive resort, with all the luxuries and comfort divers need. Great boats and fabulous guides that know where to find even the smallest of critters make the diving experience here second to none. Ever seen a baby frog fish less than the size of a lady beetle? Your guide will find it!
When you’re not diving on one of the marine park’s fabulous dive sites, there is a large free form salt water swimming pool complete with sun beds, umbrellas and beach towels.
The accommodation is very private and beautifully appointed with a combination of Garden, Beach View and Luxury Villas. We stayed in one of the 6 Beach View Villas, generously sized at 64 sq meters with beautiful wooden features, including: a king size draped poster bed, private outdoor bathroom, private sun beds and a sun deck.
While the resort caters for both divers and non-divers alike, 80% of guests during our stay were divers, so it’s a fabulous place to meet people from all over the world, share stories and make life long friendships.
While the region boasts a huge number of dive sites, here are a few of our favourites:
A phenomenal wall dive off the south west corner of Siladen Island and accessed from the jetty in the main village. On its impressive coral wall lie Scorpion Fish, a kaleidoscope of colourful Nudi Branch, Orangutan Crabs and Bubble Corals, with Green Turtles and Sharks frequent visitors. The variety of species on this site is remarkable.
Sachiko and Cha Cha
These two dive sites are fantastic drift dives which can be dived shallow or at depth making them suitable for all levels. Famous for their huge sponges, barrels, plate corals and boulder corals, the colours down there will blow your retinas! There is also a collection of Gorgonian sea fans which if your lucky will harbour a collection of Pygmy Seahorse. These two sites are comfortable drift dives with almost guaranteed turtle encounters and possibilities of pelagics such as Eagle Rays.
Bunaken Marine Park is located just of Bunaken and Manado Islands in Indonesia’s North Sulawesi.
Manado is accessible via a 4 hour direct flight from Singapore with Silk Air, with links to other Indonesian cities such as Jakarta.
A Beach View Villa at Siladen Island Resort and Spa will cost you around $2,900 Euro per couple (depending on the season), this includes all meals (full board) for 7 nights. Diving is not included, yet is very reasonably priced.
Want to know more? Visit www.siladen.com