9 Best Coral Reef Locations in Indonesia for Diving

As a maritime country, Indonesia has various kinds of marine beauty and biodiversity. Of the approximately 800 hard coral species that have been identified in the world, 450 of them are in Indonesia. Meanwhile, there are more than 2,400 species of reef fish living there. No need to go abroad to enjoy the beauty of coral reefs. There are hundreds of the best locations in Indonesia for those of you who like to dive.

The Best Coral Reef Locations in Indonesia

That’s the reason, if you have time to dive or snorkel, you must visit the best coral reefs in Indonesia. 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 speed boat or chartered boat with a journey of about 30 minutes from the port of Manado city.

Around this island, there is Bunaken Marine Park which is part of Bunaken National Park. Well, you will find 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, mollusks, reptiles, and marine mammals. If you’re lucky, you can even see green turtles, barracuda fish, eagle rays, ancient sea kingfish, and dolphins, you know.

2. Raja Ampat Islands Marine Park

The waters of Raja Ampat are often categorized as the most beautiful sea in the world. One of the reasons is that the Raja Ampat Marine Park has the most complete flora and fauna.

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This area also has the best coral reef area in Indonesia with 540 types of hard corals, more than 1000 types of reef fish, 700 types of mollusks, and many unique species. These species include Dwarf Seahorses, Wobbegong, and Manta Rays, as well as some typical Raja Ampat fish such as Eviota Raja.

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 because, in addition to being the center of the world’s coral reefs, this park is often a marine tourism object for divers.

If you look under the sea, you will find a lot of biodiversities. So beautiful, the Wakatobi National Marine Park area has even become the world’s underwater research center.

4. Derawan Islands Marine Park

Located in the Derawan Islands, Derawan District, Berau Regency, East Kalimantan, the Derawan Islands Marine Park has 28 dive spots. This marine park even ranks third in the world as an international standard diving destination.

The waters are very rich in biodiversity. A total of 460 types of coral reefs and about 832 species of reef fish there. The types of coral reefs in the Derawan Islands consist of fringing reefs, barrier reefs, and atolls.

You can find various unique and protected species such as coconut crabs (birgus latro), whales, dolphins, green turtles, hawksbill turtles, and dugongs there. There are also other unique species such as manta rays and pigmy seahorse.

5. Alor Marine Park

Alor Marine Park is directly adjacent to Timor Leste. This place became the most popular dive point in Indonesia in 2016 during the Anugerah Pesona Indonesia event. The underwater world of Alor has 50 diving spots spread across several islands, including those in the Pantar Strait.

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The clarity of the water and the biodiversity of marine life there make it an alternative if you can’t go to the Raja Ampat Islands Marine Park.

6. Komodo Island Marine Park

The waters around Komodo Island and Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggara Province, are the best diving areas in the world, as well as the Raja Ampat Islands Marine Park. At Pink Beach, you can directly enjoy the underwater beauty that is so enchanting.

In Komodo Island Marine Park, there are more than 1000 species of fish, 385 coral reefs, 105 species of crabs, 70 species of sponges, 10 species of dolphins, 6 sharks, green turtles, Hawksbills, dugongs, and manta rays.

7. Banda Marine Park

This park is located between the clusters of Neira Island, Volcano Island, Sjahrir Island, and Hatta Island which is located in Central Maluku Regency. Ecological studies of the Banda Islands show that the coral reefs in Banda have extraordinary biodiversity, with 310 types of reef-building corals, about 871 species of fish, and very high populations of sharks and groupers.

More than that, there are also several types of ancient fish and shellfish that are kept as protected as the Napoleon Fish. Because of its beauty, Banda Marine Park was chosen as a World Heritage Area for Indonesia’s underwater paradise.

8. Liberty Wreck, Tulamben, Bali

The best diving spots in Bali are located in Tulamben, especially at the USAT Liberty Wreck, which is the most famous diving shipwreck in Indonesia.

Liberty is 120 meters long and truly impressive. Sinking in 1963, every inch is full of biodiversity. At the shallow end, the boat is about 5 meters high, which is perfect for snorkeling. However, if you’re a confident apnea-free diver and can hold your breath long enough, exploring the deep caves, dark chambers, and rock-covered walls is not to be missed.

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Soft corals, sponges, gorgonian fans, and anemones sweep over the rotting shores of boats, attracting a wealth of fish life including eels, bump heads, triggerfish, and napoleon wrasse, groupers, sweetlips, butterflyfish, and even turtles.

9. Nusa Penida, Bali

Apart from the extraordinary cultural and historical attractions, Bali – Indonesia’s leading tourist destination offers a very diverse underwater world. The most accessible and one of the best snorkeling in Indonesia can be found there. Bali is surrounded by incredible coral reefs all of which are worth a visit, but Nusa Penida has a unique beauty. This offshore island on Bali’s southeast coast is the best snorkeling spot in Indonesia.

The island’s coral reefs are home to Manta Rays. In fact, in one particular place, called Teluk Manta, you are guaranteed to encounter some Manta Rays while snorkeling on shallow reefs. However, the reefs are shallow, and the currents can be strong – so be careful. If you are an inexperienced snorkeler, we recommend staying in Bali and visiting Tanjung Benoa Reef in Nusa Dua. The vibrant coral reefs are safe for all levels, and you’re guaranteed to find schools of damselfish foraging in the colorful reef ecosystem.

How beautiful is Indonesia? Hopefully, the pandemic will end soon and we can travel again!