As a maritime country, Indonesia has different types of marine beauty and biodiversity. Of the approximately 800 hard coral species identified worldwide, 450 are found in Indonesia. More than 2,400 species of reef fish now live there. You don’t have to travel abroad to enjoy the beauty of coral reefs. There are hundreds of the best places in Indonesia for those of you who love scuba diving.
The best coral reef sites in Indonesia
So if you have time for diving or snorkeling, you must visit Indonesia’s best coral reefs. Here are the recommendations:
1. Bunaken Marine Park
Bunaken is an island in Manado Bay, north of the island of Sulawesi. Bunaken Island can be reached by speedboat or chartered boat in approximately 30 minutes from Manado City Port.
Surrounding this island is Bunaken Marine Park, which is part of Bunaken National Park. Well, you will find a stunning biodiversity there.
The coral reefs in Bunaken Marine Park are home to 390 species of coral reefs as well as various species of fish, molluscs, reptiles and marine mammals. If you’re lucky you might even see green turtles, barracuda fish, eagle rays, ancient sea kingfish and dolphins.
2. Raja Ampat Islands Marine Park
The waters of Raja Ampat are often cited as the most beautiful sea in the world. One of the reasons is that Raja Ampat Marine Park has the most complete flora and fauna.
This area also has the best coral reef area in Indonesia with 540 species of hard corals, more than 1000 species of reef fish, 700 species of mollusc and many unique species. These species include pygmy seahorses, wobbegong and manta rays, as well as some typical Raja Ampat fish such as Eviota Raja.
Also read: Learn about the different types of diving and the differences
3. Wakatobi National Park
This park is located in Wakatobi Regency, Southeast Sulawesi. It covers an area of 1.39 million hectares.
Wakatobi National Marine Park is often referred to as an underwater paradise, as this park is not only the center of the world’s coral reefs, but is also often a marine tourism destination for divers.
If you look under the sea you will find a lot of biodiversity. So beautiful that the Wakatobi National Marine Park area has even become the underwater research center of the world.
Also Read: 5 Tips To Take Care Of Your Scuba Gear To Make It Last Longer
4. Derawan Islands Marine Park
Derawan Islands Marine Park is located in Derawan Islands, Derawan District, Berau Regency, East Kalimantan and has 28 dive sites. This marine park even ranks in the top 3 in the world as an international standard diving destination.
The waters are very rich in biodiversity. There are a total of 460 species of coral reefs and about 832 species of reef fish. The types of coral reefs in Derawan Islands consist of fringing reefs, barrier reefs and atolls.
There you will find various unique and protected species such as coconut crabs (Birgus latro), whales, dolphins, green turtles, hawksbill turtles and dugongs. There are also other unique species such as manta rays and pygmy seahorses.
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5. Alor Marine Park
The Alor Marine Park borders directly on Timor Leste. This place became the most popular dive site in Indonesia at the Anugerah Pesona Indonesia event in 2016. The underwater world of Alor has 50 dive sites spread over several islands including those in the Pantar Strait.
The clarity of the water and the biodiversity of marine life make it an alternative if you cannot go to the Raja Ampat Islands Marine Park.
6. Komodo Island Marine Park
The waters around Komodo Island and Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara Province are the best diving spots in the world, as is the Raja Ampat Islands Marine Park. At Pink Beach you can directly enjoy the enchanting beauty of the underwater world.
In this Komodo Island Marine Park there are more than 1000 species of fish, 385 coral reefs, 105 species of crab, 70 species of sponge, 10 species of dolphin, 6 shark, green turtle, hawksbill turtle, dugong and manta ray.
7. Banda Marine Park
This park is located between the clusters of Neira Island, Volcano Island, Sjahrir Island and Hatta Island which are located in Central Maluku Regency. Ecological studies of the Banda Islands show that the coral reefs in Banda have an exceptional biodiversity, with 310 species of reef-building corals, about 871 species of fish and very high populations of sharks and groupers.
In addition, there are also several species of ancient fish and shellfish that are protected such as the napoleon fish. Because of its beauty, Banda Marine Park has been selected as a World Heritage Site for Indonesia’s underwater paradise.
8. Wreck of Liberty, Tulamben, Bali
Bali’s best dive sites are in Tulamben, particularly at the USAT Liberty wreck, Indonesia’s most famous dive shipwreck.
Liberty is 120 meters long and really impressive. Since the sinking in 1963, every inch has been teeming with biodiversity. At the shallow end, the boat sits at around 5 meters, which is perfect for snorkeling. However, if you are a confident apnea-free diver and can hold your breath long enough, you should not miss exploring the deep caves, dark chambers and rock-covered walls.
Soft corals, sponges, gorgonian fans and anemones sweep the boats’ rotting shores, attracting an abundance of fish including eels, bumpheads, triggerfish, Napoleon wrasse, groupers, sweetlips, butterfly fish and even turtles.
9. Nusa Penida, Bali
Apart from the exceptional cultural and historical sights, Bali – Indonesia’s leading tourist destination – offers a very diverse marine life. The most accessible and one of the best snorkeling in Indonesia can be found there. Bali is surrounded by incredible coral reefs, all worth visiting, but Nusa Penida has a unique beauty. This barrier island off the southeast coast of Bali is the best snorkeling spot in Indonesia.
The island’s coral reefs are home to manta rays. In fact, at one particular spot called Manta Bay, you are guaranteed to encounter some manta rays while snorkeling on shallow reefs. However, the coral reefs are shallow and currents can be strong, so use caution. If you are an inexperienced snorkeler, we recommend staying in Bali and visiting Tanjung Benoa Reef in Nusa Dua. This vibrant coral reef is safe for all levels, and you’re guaranteed to find schools of damselfish feeding in the colorful reef ecosystem.
How beautiful is Indonesia? Hopefully the pandemic will end soon and we can travel again!