Guide to Diving in Manado – Gateway to Diving Paradise

Diving in Manado – Facts Sheet

Destination: Manado, North Sulawesi

Country: Indonesia

Temperature: 20 – 28°C (68 – 82°F)

Typical Visibility: 5 – 15m (16 – 50ft)

Diving Season: Year round

Types of Dives : Muck Dive

Comparatively speaking, parts of Indonesia are a diving haven thanks to its ideal location in between major oceans. When it comes to Manado however, it’s a small town that’s in between two diving paradises. Normally seen as the gateway to more popular diving meccas such as the Lembeh Straits and Bunaken national park, it’s sadly often overlooked.

However, that’s not to say that Manado itself doesn’t have its fair share of great diving sites, because if you take the time to explore this hidden gem, you will soon realize that this stunning little coast has some great diving of its own.

Like many dive sites in Indonesia, Manado is a great place to spot all sorts of marine life. In particular, with its close proximity to the Bunaken marine park, it shares a lot of similarities, with sightings such as lionfish, cuttlefish and various species of nudibranchs.

One of the great things about Manado is that while the thin strips of reef might not seem like much during the day, they make for great night diving, where one can spot all sorts of things.

Squid, bumphead parrotfish and even dragonets have all been sighted at the various dive sites around Manado. Going further afield, there are some fantastic diving opportunities with the islands of Bunaken, Manado Tua and Siladen just a stone’s throw away.

Some of the best and perhaps most underrated dive sites in Manado are :

  • The Molas is a 40M wreck which is its own artificial reef and a haven for macro photographers and those looking to find some smaller life. A dive here will have you for ribbon eels, nudibranchs as well as batfish, crabs and the rather elusive pipefish.
  • Tanjung Pisok is a great spot for the occasional reef shark as well as countless butterfly fish and other soft coral feeders. This colorful sloping reef really is surprisingly beautiful.
  • Critter Circus is an amazing dive site because of its vicinity to the beach and it’s huge fields of sea grass. A perfect place to spot dragonets, sea snakes and many types of pipe fish – it’s often overlooked and underestimated.

Manado offers some unique diving experiences and there are at least a dozen individual dive sites just off of the coast. For those who have a few extra days on their trip, you can do a lot worse than spending them exploring the coastline of this popular destination.

The great thing about Manado is that while everyone else is diving the national marine park and farther afield, you can enjoy these rather spectacular dive sites relatively undisturbed.

With much of the same marine life and some fabulous dive spots of its own, Manado is as good a destination as any other.