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Diving the Manado coast | North Sulawesi | Indonesia
Rhinopias at Poh Poh

While it might be the reputation of the Bunaken Marine Park that first attracts divers to North Sulawesi, there are just as many incredible dive sites nearby that lie outside the park zone. The coastal stretch north and south of the city of Manado is dotted by small bays with gently shelving reefs, short coral-clad walls and there is even a wonderful wreck dive.

Coastal dives that are closer to the marine park are marked by huge barrel sponges, whips and small soft corals. These reefs are a great hunting ground for juveniles. It's not unusual to see a pair of damselfish guarding their eggs in the crevices of a hard coral and a few fin-steps later, more damsels with newly-hatched babies.

South of Manado, the flatter underwater landscapes are often referred to as Little Lembeh at they reveal an incredible array of small and wacky critters while just north of Manado is the Molas Wreck, thought to be a Dutch cargo ship. She sits on the seabed at 40 metres so it's a deep dive, but if you can do it on a day without currents, you'll discover a hull that become quite a spectacular artificial reef.

Manado dive photo gallery Scuba diving features

Marine Life Turtles
Top dive site The Molas Wreck
Seasons All year
Visibility 10 – 40 metres
Water temperature 23 – 29º C
Deco chambers Manado
Flights to Manado then 30 minutes transfer by car to coastal resorts
Dive operators and accommodation Plenty of resorts with onsite dive centres. Check the resort reports below.
Manado is easy to reach with direct flights from Singapore. When we first visited the region in the mid-90's everything felt remote and undiscovered. At the time there were just three simple resorts but that wasn't to last... now there are many dive centres and hotels right across the area. There are lovely, laid back places on Bunaken island, spa style resorts and an even wider range of accommodation styles on the coast, which give good access to the entire region.
Visibility is usually very good but there can be some ripping currents. If you have never been caught in a typical Indonesian washing machine current, you will be here. However, these never last too long and dives are mostly scheduled to avoid tide changes. For those who love muck diving, the coastal bays are great for critters like rhinopias, seahorses, pipefish, frogfish and stonefish.

Although this region gets a lot of divers, somehow it never feels really crowded as there are a lot of dive sites in the area. There will be other dive boats in close proximity to yours, but they are never on top of each other like they are in the Red Sea, for example. We have returned here time and again and stayed in quite a few different resorts – they are all so good! It doesn't matter if you stay on the coast or the islands as dives are scheduled everywhere. Choose one based on your preference for island style or mainland access.
Complete reports on this area are in
Diving Southeast Asia.

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