Free shore access
This spot have a free shore access: you can go snorkeling there freely and without having to book a tour or pay an entrance fee.
This spot has been added by
Last updated on February 4, 2024
Bunaken Timur (Bunaken East) refers to the reef fringing Bunaken Island’s eastern shore. With its gorgeous coral formations alive with hundreds of fish species and a lot of sea turtles, it is the best snorkeling spot on the island.
Bunaken Island is just off Sulawesi Island’s north shore. It can only be accessed by boat. Manado is the main starting point to get here. Most hotels also offer transfers for their guests.
Bunaken Timur snorkeling spot extends over the southeastern coast, between Lorenso’s Cottage (northern limit) and the main jetty (southern limit, see map below). If you are staying on the eastern coast of Bunaken you can walk along the shore to reach the location.
Some boat snorkeling tours departing from Manado, Siladen, or Bunaken include a snorkeling session at this location.
The water entrance is better at high tide, when the water is deep enough on the reef flat to snorkel to the drop off.
To snorkel this location, it is important to check the currents. A light current usually runs along the reef. Most of the time, the current direction is from the North to the South (as marked on the map above), but it can also run northwards. The best way to explore Bunaken Timur is then to drift-snorkel it, by entering and exiting the water from different points.
When the current direction is southwards, the recommended snorkel entries are in front of Lorenso’s Cottage (entry 1 on the map above), the Bunaken Sea Garden Dive Resort (entry 2), or Two Fish Divers (entry 3). The southernmost entry is near the Raja Laut Dive Resort (entry 4), but it is to be avoided if the North > South current is too strong. You can exit the water at any of the small beaches found between the mangroves. Stay away from the jetty, around which there is important boat traffic.
If you take part in a snorkeling tour, your boat will take you directly to the reef.
The snorkeling area covers the reef fringing the island’s south-eastern shore. Corals are very healthy over the whole area, except for a few dozen of meters north of the jetty where some of them are damaged.
Put on your diving mask and enter a magical place where thousands of fish peacefully swim over dense coral gardens. Following the drop-off, you will spot different species of Butterflyfish going by pairs, Trumpetfish, huge Porcupinefish, Parrotfish, and Boxfish.
Above tabular corals, schools of hundreds of Chromis hide with every sudden movement. You can spot several clownfish species here, the most common being Clark’s clownfish and pink skunk clownfish. However, you will spot fewer anemonefish than you might around neighboring Siladen Island.
Some of the most colorful fish in Bunaken are angelfish: the Regal angelfish is most often seen around the reef flat, which makes it quite photogenic, while the Majestic angelfish dwells in deeper waters (↕10-12 feet/3-4 meters) along the drop-off.
Keep an eye on the drop-off and you might repeatedly spot the silhouettes of sea turtles (The Green sea turtle and the Hawksbill sea turtle can both be seen here). They like to swim along the reef but seldom enter the reef flat. If you skindive you can try to get closer to them, but they are fearful creatures and they might escape to the deep blue in a heartbeat.
There are many accommodation options on Bunaken East Coast, fitting all budgets. Lorenso’s Cottage and Living Colours are the closest to the reef’s main access at low tide.
These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.
This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.
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Snorkeling spots are part of a wild environment and their aspect can be significantly altered by weather, seasons, sea conditions, human impact and climate events (storms, hurricanes, seawater-warming episodes…). The consequences can be an alteration of the seabed (coral bleaching, coral destruction, and invasive seagrass), a poor underwater visibility, or a decrease of the sea life present in the area. Snorkeling Report makes every effort to ensure that all the information displayed on this website is accurate and up-to-date, but no guarantee is given that the underwater visibility and seabed aspect will be exactly as described on this page the day you will snorkel the spot. If you recently snorkeled this area and noticed some changes compared to the information contained on this page, please contact us.
The data contained in this website is for general information purposes only, and is not legal advice. It is intended to provide snorkelers with the information that will enable them to engage in safe and enjoyable snorkeling, and it is not meant as a substitute for swim level, physical condition, experience, or local knowledge. Remember that all marine activities, including snorkeling, are potentially dangerous, and that you enter the water at your own risk. You must take an individual weather, sea conditions and hazards assessment before entering the water. If snorkeling conditions are degraded, postpone your snorkeling or select an alternate site. Know and obey local laws and regulations, including regulated areas, protected species, wildlife interaction and dive flag laws.
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