A Trip To The Tropics: 10 Best Things To Do In Gorontalo, Indonesia - Updated 2021

things to do in gorontalo indonesia

Gorontalo, a city in the province of the same name, boasts of a familiar country town feeling - with warm hospitality and good food at the forefront. It is characterized by ancient buildings, pristine beaches, great diving spots, refreshing rivers, and hot springs. From history to nature, Gorontalo offers an experience that any traveler will enjoy. To give you a glimpse of what the city has to offer, check out our list of the best things to do in Gorontalo, Indonesia!

Guam Air V&V

1. Experience world-class diving at Olele Beach

Tagged as an underwater paradise, Olele Beach is one of the most famous diving destinations in Gorontalo. It is home to various creatures such as dolphins, giant reefs, gobi fish, damsels, butterfly fish, and pigmy seahorses. Diving tours are offered here, and these can be booked in advance. The best diving season at Olele Beach is from November to April. Although there is no guarantee about dolphin sightings, February to April would be a good time to try to see them.

Olele Beach

Address: Gorontalo, Indonesia

Opening hours: 24 hours

2. Take stunning photos at Otanaha Fortress

Benteng Otanaha
Source: Photo by user Hendrik Saleh used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Are you brave and fit enough to take 348 steps of stairs? If your answer is yes, you should definitely visit Otanaha Fortress, a structure built in 1522 by the King of Gorontalo Kingdom and Portuguese sailors. Built using sand, calcium and eggs, it was intended to strengthen the security and defense of the area. At present, thousands of tourists come to this place to enjoy the panoramic view of Limboto Lake from the top of the fortress. Go during late afternoon and if the skies are clear, you will be able to take photos of a magnificent sunset!

Otanaha Fortress

Address: Jl. Usman Isa, Dembe 1, Kecamatan Kota Barat, Dembe I, Kota Bar, Indonesia

Opening hours: 8 am to 6 pm

3. Stay in a stilt house at Saronde Island

Saronde Island 1
Source: Photo by user Peto Syamsul Alam used under CC BY-SA 4.0

A trip to a tropical country such as Indonesia wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the beach. Saronde Island is one of Gorontalo’s must-visits, boasting of white sand, pine trees, and good fishing spots. If you can stay for a few days, you can rent a stilt house and enjoy living in the midst of blue waters - just like in Maldives. If you’re up for more adventure, rent a boat to explore the rest of the island. Aside from boating, there are no other water sport facilities in the area, making it an ideal place for pure relaxation and indulgence in nature.

Saronde Island

Address: Ponelo Islands, Gorontalo

Website: Pulau Saronde

4. Meet local fishermen at Limboto Lake

Menjaring asa
Source: Photo by user Hendrik Saleh used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Take a peek into the lives of the local fishermen at Limboto Lake, located in the Limboto District of Gorontalo. The lake is an ideal location for fishing, boating, and swimming. Visitors can also enjoy grilled fish, supplied by the local fishermen themselves. If you have extra time on your trip, stay until the sunset and see the beautiful colors of the skies being reflected on the waters of the lake.

Limboto Lake

Address: Gorontalo, Indonesia

Recommended length of visit: 3 hours

5. Feel the rush of the rapids at Longalo River

A post shared by fanilamusu (@fanizt83) on Sep 10, 2017 at 7:39pm PDT

Longalo River is Gorontalo’s offering for water sports enthusiasts. One of the most popular activities here is river tubing, where participants wearing a helmet and a life jacket embark on a rubber tire that flows from one end of the river to another. The currents and rapids make the ride exciting, while the natural scenery surrounding the river include forests and fields. The river is approximately 2.6 kilometers (1.6 mi) long with 6 point rapids.

Longalo River Tubing

Address: Gorontalo, Indonesia

Website: Longalo River Tubing Instagram

6. Shop local fashion at Gorontalo Mall

A post shared by Maleo Drone (@maleo_drone) on Jan 15, 2017 at 10:29am PST

Gorontalo Mall is the only shopping mall located in Gorontalo. From clothing to grocery items, it is a one-stop shop for everything you might need during your trip. There are also jewelry shops, as well as a bookstore and a theater. Craving for local food? Check out fast food outlets, restaurants, and cafes offering local fare. One of the most popular local dishes is satay, which is made of small pieces of meat grilled on a skewer. It is typically served with a spiced sauce.

Gorontalo Mall

Address: Jl. Sultan Boututihe No. 68, Ipilo, Kota Timur, Heledulaa Sel., Indonesia

Opening hours: 10 am to 11 pm

7. Savor authentic local food at RM Ratu

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Since it is surrounded by waters, Gorontalo is a great place to try seafood. There is RM Ratu for instance, one of the most popular restaurants in the area which offers tuna satay - a healthier version of the Indonesian favorite. Their menu mostly involves tuna dishes, including tuna soup and grilled tuna. The restaurant is located near the seaport and dining here will give you a view of the sea and the ships. Reserving a table by phone before coming is recommended.

RM Ratu

Address: Pohe, Hulonthalangi, Gorontalo

Opening hours: 11 am to 9 pm

8. Buy Indonesian snacks at Pia Saronde

Pia Saronde is a snack shop you will find all across the province. One of its most popular stores is located in the city center, near Gorontalo Mall. They offer Saronde Pie, a crusty bread with fillings in different flavor variants such as cheese, chocolate, milk, and durian. One box is sold for approximately 3.5 USD and contains 10 pieces of the pie.

Pia Saronde

Address: ln. Sultan Botutihe No. 29, Gorontalo

Website: Pia Saronde

9. Soothe your muscles at Lombongo Hot Springs

Now that you’ve explored the best of Gorontalo, it’s time to soothe your muscles with a dip in one of the pools at Lombongo Hot Springs. This ecotourism attraction located a few kilometers away from the city center boasts of one cool water pool and one hot water pool. The water in the springs are also believed to have healing effects on the skin. Surrounded by trees and plants, it is a great option if you want to relax on a hot summer day.

Lombongo Hot Springs

Address: Gorontalo, Indonesia

Opening hours: 8 am to 5 pm

10. Learn about customs and traditions at Potiwoluya Traditional House

A post shared by steve saldy (@steve_05) on Jun 4, 2016 at 5:40am PDT

One way to revisit Gorontalo’s history is through a look at the traditional houses that feature old Indonesian architecture. There is Potiwoluya Traditional House, which is rectangular in shape and supported by high pillars. Its roof is made of leaves and bamboo. The dwelling is also complete with a bedroom, a living room, a kitchen, and a porch. A quick visit here with a guide will be ideal for you to understand local customs and traditions when receiving guests.

Potiwoluya Traditional House

Address: Gorontalo, Indonesia

Recommended length of visit: 1 hour

Feel at home in Gorontalo

With its natural beauty and rich history, it’s no wonder Gorontalo is slowly becoming a favorite among local tourists and even international travelers. Enjoy your stay!

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Rica is a young freelance worker from the Philippines. She writes for a living, but more importantly, she lives to write. Travel is one of her favorite writing topics, alongside love and...Read more

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