Diving in Sulawesi

Home to amazing reefs, rocks, walls, wrecks and caves, the dive sites in Central Sulawesi are the stuff of dreams. Here divers can swim with a huge number of species, from big to small and many endemics. All levels of divers are sure to enjoy diving in Central Sulawesi, but underwater photographers will capture some of their best-ever shots while diving in this pristine environment.

There are three main diving destinations in the province of Central Sulawesi. Those are Donggala near Palu, the Togian Islands and the Banggai Archipelago. Just 37 miles (60 kilometres) from the capital of Palu, Donggala is a small peninsula on the west side of the island surrounded by pristine reefs. It’s here that divers can gape at frogfish and reef sharks. The beauty of the underwater environment draws repeat visitors throughout the year.

The Togian Islands are the best-known diving destination in Central Sulawesi. They are located in the Gulf of Tomini, which is reputed to be the calmest deep water bay in the world. As such, these islands offer excellent training opportunities. The six main islands play host to over 819 species of fish and several endemic species, including 3 species of coral. The crystal clear waters are perfect for exploring the walls of this group of islands.

Finally, the Banggai Archipelago is the most eastern dive location in Central Sulawesi. This area is located in the northern section of Tolo Bay and is only accessible by liveaboard. While many of the reefs have been damaged by destructive fishing practices, those visited by dive boats are still healthy. Because the area is more exposed than the Togian Islands, there are more pelagic species to be seen. In addition, the endemic species known as the Banggai cardinalfish can only be seen in this area.

Divers can expect warm, equatorial weather with waters ranging from 84-91°F (29-33°C) and crystal clear visibility. Keep in mind that visibility may be negatively affected by nearby mangroves. Dive seasons vary based on location. The Tongians’ season lasts from March to December while the Banggai Archipelago can be dived from September to February. Donggala has a dive seasons from December to May and July to September. Wherever you choose to dive, you are sure to have memories that will last a lifetime from Central Sulawesi.

What to see

Marine life is plentiful in Central Sulawesi. Divers can expect to see colorful hard and soft corals, sponges, gorgonians and fans. These include at least three endemic coral species. 819 species of colorful fish shimmer throughout the reefs, walls and wrecks. Reef sharks and schools of blacktail barracudas stalk their prey while bobtail squid and frogfish create odd spectacles. Eagle rays glide past in the blue and hawksbill turtles can be seen eating in the shallows. For the lucky few, a dugong may make an unexpected appearance near the mangrove entrances. Your dive logs are sure to be full and happy after merely one dive in Central Sulawesi.

Getting there

Getting to Central Sulawesi is a bit of a challenge. There are airports in Palu and Luwuk with domestic connections to Manado and Makassar. It is also possible to reach destinations in Central Sulawesi by bus from other provinces on the island. Keep in mind that roads are often damaged and traveling on them can be quite slow. If you are trying to reach a coastal resort, consider a private boat transfer or catching a ride on a local ferry.

Sultan Hasanuddin Airport (UPG)

Liveaboards in Sulawesi

El Aleph

El Aleph

Price on Request
Ambai

Ambai

From $3315

La Galigo

La Galigo

From $1650

Adelaar

Adelaar

From $3805

Kalimantan Explorer

Kalimantan Explorer

From $533

Magia II

Magia II

From $525

Popular Dive Sites in Sulawesi

Wainiluh-Komodo-National-Park-liveaboard-Indonesia

Wainiluh

Torpedo-Alley-Dive-Site-Liveaboard-Indonesia

Torpedo Alley

Mellisa-Garden-Liveaboard-Indonesia

Mellisa Garden

Batu-Lima-Liveaboard-Indonesia

Batu Lima

Other Indonesian Destinations

Triton Bay

Triton Bay

Bali

Bali

Sulawesi

Sulawesi

Cenderawasih Bay

Cenderawasih Bay

Flores

Flores

Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat

Subscribe and stay up to date with all the latest news and Events

Stay up to date with all the latest news and offers on Liveaboard Indonesia. Huge discounts with savings of up to 50%.