Bunaken National Park, a marine park located in the northern part of Sulawesi Island, Indonesia, is indeed beautiful. Its marine life is among the most diverse forms of underwater life in the world, hence it’s one of the world’s most popular destinations for marine tourism. If you plan to be here anytime soon, you may now be trying to find a good resort to accommodate you during your stay. Bunaken Island Resort is one the best places to stay in the area due to its exotic panoramic view, good dining, and much more.
Direct access to the beach
Certainly there are many hotels with different levels of luxury to choose from in Manado, North Sulawesi’s capital city, but most will agree that for a more convenient and enjoyable stay you need to cross the sea to the small island of Bunaken (45 minutes by boat). This is where the majority of diving spots are located around the small island. Bunaken Island Resort, located on Liang beach (west Bunaken), which is just a few steps away, is where you will have a panoramic view of the sea and the dormant volcano on the neighboring island of Manado Tua.
Air-conditioned bungalows and villas
Although there is no TV or an IDD phone in the bungalow, each of them has an air conditioner that can be used from 5pm to 9am (electricity to bungalow units is turned off during the daytime). Air conditioning is a big issue when you stay on a tropical island, as many aren’t used to the humidity, especially at night. Many resorts have a fan in the room, but for some they can hardly get a good night sleep without air conditioning; even if they open the window at night. There are 2 types of accommodation, bungalows and villas. For a larger group (more than 4 people), book a villa as it has 2 bedrooms and a living room. It costs 59 Euro (65.5 USD) per person, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You’ll also love their partially roofless bathroom, because while you’re inside at night, you can look up to the sky for a beautiful view of the moon and stars!
Gorgeous views from your veranda
Each bungalow has a veranda facing the sea. After all the snorkeling or diving activities, what a lovely day you will have here, as you witness the sun slowly disappearing behind the dormant volcano of Manado Tua.
This resort is also facilitated with Wi-Fi, which is crucial for many who nowadays prefer to stay in a place with good internet connection, especially when they are far away from their homeland. It’s great being able to do work on your laptop in the veranda! Wi-Fi signal is stronger in some cottages, so make sure you talk about it when booking so that the resort can reserve the one with stronger Wi-Fi for you to upload your new photos onto your Facebook!
There are no restaurants nearby and this resort is the only place to have your meal during the day, unless you want to ride a boat to the big city of Manado for a meal. However, fret not as you can have abundant, delicious, and fresh home-cooked meal 3 times a day at the resort’s restaurant. Freshness is guaranteed as everyday local fishermen come here to sell their catches, and fruits are taken from the resort’s own farm.
In the morning they normally have a simple Western spread, such as banana pancakes, toast, cereal, and scrambled eggs. For lunch and dinner they mostly serve Indonesian food, unless you make a special request (they make good tuna sashimi too!). The food is plentiful and everyone will get their decent portion of shares. Menus aren’t the same for lunch and dinner, but if you stay for a day, you can request the local specialty called ‘ikan bakar Bunaken’ (Bunaken grilled fish), where it always comes with 'sambal’ (chilli sauce) and a side dish of stir-fried 'kangkung’ (water spinach that can only be found in East Asia). If you are a vegetarian, let the cook know so that he can make more vegetarian dishes on the table, which will also be shared with other guests.
Eating here is like eating together with your own family or good friends. Different dishes are placed in the middle of the restaurant’s long dining table, and shared among the hotel guests.
The resort management also does an excellent job at making their guests want to stay longer. Tell them if this is a special day for you or your loved one and they will make the day special by arranging a candle lit dinner or giving you a chocolate cake. Since this hotel is located in a very remote area and most guests are here for water activities, everybody here becomes good friends. It’s nice to talk, listen, and share stories about the water experiences you had earlier with your new friends from all over the world while having the meal. The restaurant has a lounge, and it’s also a good idea to spend some time here with fellow guests after a meal. Indeed, it’s a time to get to know one another, and you’ll want to take full advantage of this rare chance!
All water activities are organized by the resort. They have all types of diving and snorkeling equipment along with a team of certified diving professionals who will become your guide in the sea (as well as your boat driver), taking you to snorkeling or diving spots using their boats. They have several types of sea excursions and one of them is the ‘dolphin & snorkeling tour’. It costs 210,000 IDR per person (including lunch and the equipment), and during the journey to the snorkeling spots the guide will take you to places where dolphins are usually seen from the boat. You may need a great deal of patience before you can see the dolphins and there is no guarantee you will see them, but hopefully once you arrive at the territory, you will be fascinated by hundreds of dolphins doing acrobatic movements in the air (e.g. spins, somersaults etc.) around your boat!
Many activities for non-swimmers
If you can’t swim, you can rent a life vest, and if you prefer not to do any water activities, you can still join the dolphin tour without getting wet (they will charge you a smaller fee), meaning you stay onboard while watching others snorkel (you can borrow their floating vest too). Around the resort there are villages where you can take a walk and even chat with the cheerful and welcoming villagers, who speak little English and want to practice the language with you. The resort can even manage a trek to the neighboring Manado Tua Island. So whenever your next trip to Bunaken is, be sure you stay here for ultimate fun, even if you aren’t a swimmer!