The Bunaken National Marine Park

The Bunaken National Marine Park was formally established in 1991 and is among the first of Indonesia’s growing system of marine parks. However, it was not until 2000 that the park began to get serious funding from the users, in order to be able to rezone and send out environmental patrols to move towards more sustainable conservation. The Park lies off shore from Manado, and covers a total surface area of 89,065 hectares, 97% of which is covered by sparkling clear, warm tropical water. The remaining 3% of the park is terrestrial, including the five islands of Bunaken, Manado Tua, Mantehage, Nain and Siladen.

We currently represent many resorts that are based on Bunaken or Siladen Islands or on the mainland around Manado.

Bunaken National Park

The Bunaken Entrance Fee

The entrance fee for the Bunaken National Park is IDR 150,000 (foreigner). For the moment it is not the responsibility of the dive operator or the travel agent to collect this fee. Please ask your dive operator for the best way to comply with the administration of this fee. There is NO one-day entrance fee tag of IDR 50,000 as still stated on some other websites.

The Bunaken Entrance Fee: Questions and Answers

Why do I have to pay a fee to enter Bunaken?

Bunaken is a national park, protected since 1991 for its fantastic reefs and mangroves and outstanding biodiversity. As with any park, conservation costs money. In order to obtain conservation financing for the park, the Bunaken Management Advisory Board has adopted a tool used throughout the world for national parks – entrance fees. Note that the entrance fee system is formalized in North Sulawesi Provincial Laws No. 14/2000 and No. 7/2002; violation of these laws is considered a criminal offense.

Where does my money go?

Eighty-percent of the funds collected from the entrance fee system are used specifically for conservation programs in the park, including enforcement, conservation education, trash management, and environmentally-friendly village development. The remaining 20% is split between local, provincial, and national government.

Why do I still see management problems in the park?

The entrance fee system was only begun on 15 March 2001. It will take time to accumulate the funds needed to properly manage the park. Please be patient – we are 100% committed to saving Bunaken National Park and making it even better for the next time you visit.

What are the priority programs to be funded by the entrance fee system?

Top priorities include strengthening and expanding a joint ranger/villager patrol system to eliminate destructive fishing practices such as blast and cyanide fishing and enforce the park zonation rules (eg, no fishing in designated tourism zones), as well as funding reef-friendly village development programs designed to increase villager support for the park. Other priorities include management of the plastic trash problem, conservation education in the villages, and reef and mangrove rehabilitation.

Why isn't trash management the top priority?

While plastic trash above and below water is unsightly and a primary complaint of visitors to the park, stopping fishing practices that destroy the reef is a more urgent matter. The trash problem is a complex one that has multiple sources, but for the time being, the focus will be on beach cleanups and island waste management while the bigger problem of Manado city trash is negotiated with the government and international development agencies. Stopping the flow of Manado trash into the park is considered a long-term priority.

Why do I still see people fishing if this is a protected park?

Over 30,000 people in 22 villages live within the park’s boundaries and have been there for at least a century before the park was created. While many of these people are farmers and blue water fishermen, some of them do depend upon the reefs for their survival. The zones of Bunaken National Park include areas reserved specifically for conservation, for tourism, and for village use. These divisions allow all three of these interests to peacefully coexist.

How can I help Bunaken further?

As an honored guest to Bunaken, please respect the rules and especially the reefs of the park. Avoid damaging corals and other marine life by controlling your buoyancy and not standing on the reef. Report any violations you see immediately to your host operation or the park patrols – anchoring on the reef is a primary violation! While on the islands, consider patronizing local food, drink and handicraft vendors – one more person benefiting from tourism is one less person pressuring the reefs.

Secondly, consider donating to the park through the dive operators of the North Sulawesi Watersports Association (NSWA) or the BNPMAB. The NSWA has several donation programs, including a scholarship program for local youths in the park. The BNPMAB has overall responsibility for conservation programs in the park and can put any donations to good use.

Thank you for visiting Bunaken National Park. We hope you enjoy your stay, and aim to ensure it is even better the next time you visit.

Bunaken National Park Management Advisory Board

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