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Just 12 miles south of Manado, the Lumbalumba Resort has a rather interesting house-reef for snorkelers. If its coral reef is less spectacular than those of the neighboring Bunaken National Park, the sandy areas of the back reef offer an experience close to muck snorkeling. If you have a keen eye, you can spot seahorses, shrimpgobies, scorpionfish, snake eels and sometimes small stingrays.

Bluespotted stingray in Manado
The Bluespotted stingray is a regular visitor to the location.

How to get to the Lumbalumba Resort snorkeling spot?

The Lumbalumba Resort is a small hotel located about 12 miles southwest of Manado, the main city of North Sulawesi. Manado, which is home to a major airport (Sam Ratulangi International Airport, 12 miles north of the city), is also the gateway to the Bunaken Marine Park, home to world-class snorkeling spots like Siladen Island or Bunaken eastern drop-off.

Whether from the airport or the city center, you can easily reach the resort by taxi. If you are not staying at Lumbalumba Resort, you can request permission to enter the water from the hotel jetty.

Lumbalumba Resort, Manado snorkeling map
Lumbalumba Resort snorkeling map.

Water entrance for snorkeling at the Lumbalumba Resort

The most convenient snorkel entry is from the concrete steps located at the dive center (see map).

Lumbalumba Resort reef snorkeling tips

The recommended snorkeling area extends between the coast and the front of the coral reef, which is more or less at the level of the jetty. Most visitors snorkel on the right side (zone 1 on the map) but you can also snorkel on the other side of the jetty (zone 2). In this case, watch out for boats when snorkeling around the jetty.

Coral reef at the
At the Lumbalumba Resort, the coral reef is quite damaged, probably because of the presence of Crown-of-thorns starfish (one is visible in the center of the image).

Between the coast and the reef, there is a shallow area where you will encounter sandy bottoms, rocky scree, and a few roots (↕2-6 feet/0.5-1.5 m).

Don’t overlook this bare underwater landscape: it is home to species typical of “muck snorkeling”, such as scorpionfish, snake eels, shrimp-gobies, and above all fascinating seahorses. The latter are sometimes present on the sand, clinging to small marine plants, only a few meters from the shore. These sandy areas are also frequently visited by bluespotted stingrays.

Devil scorpionfish at Lumbalumba Resort
A Devil scorpionfish noted in a rocky area.

As you swim opposite to the shore, the seabed gradually becomes covered with corals. These are rather in poor condition, and alternate between patches of living corals and dead corals/coral debris (↕3-10 feet /1-3 meters).

Despite the seabed aspect, you’ll see a lot of fish on the reef: several kinds of anemonefish, scorpionfish, batfish, damselfish, and many more colorful species (see species list at the bottom of the page). On the front of the reef, the sea becomes too deep to be snorkeled.

Seahorse in Manado
The Common seahorse, also known as the Spotted seahorse, is common at this location. It can, however, be difficult to note on the seabed. This species can reach a length of 6.7 inches / 17 cm.

Restaurants and accommodation nearby

This spot is the house reef of the Lumbalumba Resort, but you have to cross a road to access the shore from the hotel.


  • Level required Beginner
  • Maximum depth6 ft / 2 meters on the reef top, 20 ft / 6 meters on the slopes
  • Water entranceFrom concrete steps
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersLow
  • Access costsFree

MAP Spot

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.