Manado offers a dominating volcanic landscape, creating a unique backdrop for you to discover North Sulawesi, one of the world's best dive destinations yet least discovered. You can dive all year-round here, and you'll find amazing variety and exotic surroundings, home to many unusual marine species, for example the prehistoric fish "coelacanth". In North Sulawesi waters you can find even dugong and orcas! The majority of sites are easily accessible within one hour from Manado and yet North Sulawesi's remote location means that the sites are never crowded with other divers.
Manado's main diving area is the reefs of the Bunaken National Marine Park, consisting of five islands: Bunaken, Manado Tua, Nain, Montehage, and Siladen, as well as a part of the North Sulawesi mainland. This area is a rich and unspoilt ground with pristine and abundant soft coral and fish life in huge concentration. The night diving in the park is spectacular, rare creatures are round every corner, and there's even a WWII wreck in day range.
Diving in and around Bunaken is mostly wall diving and drift diving, but also includes several beautiful coral slopes. There are 22 official dive sites within the park. The variety of both fish and soft coral is outstanding, making this area one of the top places in the world with regards to biodiversity. the resident inhabitants of these steep coral walls fringing Bunaken Island are schools of Barracudas and Jacks, Green Sea Turtles and reef sharks, Sea snakes and Napoleon wrasses. Besides the corals and fish life, you find an abundance of invertebrates and small marine life forms tucked away on the precipitous walls. With visibility around 25m and water temperature 26-30 C, this is a world-favourite destination for underwater photographers and naturalists alike. Bunaken offers superb opportunities for both macro and wide angle photography, as well as underwater videography.
Nain and Siladen Islands offer huge fields of hard coral in addition to their wall dives. Montehage yields excellent visibility and is a favorite location for sharks and big schools of barracudas, jack and bumphead parrot fish. The hard coral slopes offer some excellent drift dives where you can watch schools of coral fish in all shapes and sizes and colours, as you glide by the huge sea fans and impressive sponges.
Manado Tua is a fascinating cone-shaped volcanic island featuring steep slopes on land covered with coconut palms and almost vertical drop-offs under water. Here you find the prettiest and most pristine coral, as well as many nudibranches and other macro life. The impressive overhanging walls are a breathtaking experience to dive, whilst the shallows provide some of the best snorkelling. In the many indents, caves and outcroppings of the walls, you often find reef sharks and other big fish, making this a preferred area for deep diving.