Gorontalo is blessed by two wonderful coastlines; whereas the largely untouched northern shores, the Celebes Sea feature rugged jungly seascapes, the Gulf of Tomini in the south is typical of turquoise shallows and idyllic offshore isles.
Most of Gorontalo`s offshore islands are uninhabited, with fine sandy beaches, coral reefs and warm shallows, and the equatorial setting makes the region a tropical paradise with world-class diving locations. Besides, Gorontalo is the northern gateway to the outlying Togean Islands – home to the world`s last sea-gypsy settlements and the ultimate ‘off the beaten beach’ destination.
WHERE IS GORONTALO
Gorontalo is one of the least visited parts of Sulawesi and one of the most conservative Muslim regions in Indonesia.
The region`s close distance to the Philippines indicates the greatest quality – beach and sea! It is not easy to travel around as the road infrastructure is not the best, public transport poor and the rainy season makes Gorontalo often inaccessible.
However, it is the main gateway to the Togean Islands for the travellers and scuba divers coming from the North Sulawesi.
THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE NORTHERN GORONTOLO (CELEBES SEA COAST)
1.SUMALATA WATERS RESERVE – this isolated coastal region of North Gorontalo is home to the world`s most extraordinary turtle habitat; 4 different species of sea turtles (out of 7 existing species on earth) inhabit the area of Pepaya, Mas and Raja Islands, and due to illegal poaching they are extremely threatened
2.LITO SARONDE – Saronde Island is one of the most pristine beach destinations in Indonesia, and indeed, its white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and coral reefs are like a magnet for holidaymakers. There are other tiny isles that can be explored, e.g. Bogisa, Mohinggito, and Lampu
THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SOUTHERN GORONTALO (TOMINI GULF )
3.OLELE MARINE PARK – world-class diving sites (Salvador Dalí Sponge – a unique type of sponge with a similar physical appearance of a painting by the famous painter Salvador Dalí), ‘Miguel`s Diving’ dive centre is the most popular (Out Barani Beach is known for whale shark diving)
4.OLELE & BOTOTUNO BEACHES – beautiful long stretches, palm trees, beach huts, great diving and snorkelling, photography, swimming & chill out
5.PULO CINTA ECO-RESORT – this private sand-island is a holiday resort with clear shallows and luxurious overwater bungalows, well-known among the Indonesian elite
6.TOROSIAJE – the best accessible sea-gypsy village in Gorontalo. There is a home-stay option for the adventurous ones. NOTE The Bajau Laut people are the nomadic seafarers who have been living in the area for centuries. The sea gypsies are fishermen and pearl traders who have their homes in overwater, stilt houses by tradition
7.TOGEAN ISLANDS – situated right on the equator, 56 paradisiacal isles and 37 villages are scattered across azure, brilliant waters of the Tomini Bay. This little tropical wonderland is home to Bajau Laut people, known as the sea gypsies, and one of the most attractive diving destinations in Indonesia. The remoteness of the Togean Islands helps the sea nomads to preserve their traditional lifestyle and the islands to remain untouched
WHEN TO TRAVEL
The dry season runs from May to October, when travelling is easier, and most of the destinations are accessible.
HOW TO GET THERE
Fly to Gorontalo (via Makassar). Otherwise, catch a daily bus or Kijang (public car) from Manado to Gorontalo.
For all domestic flights check out Lion Air, Garuda Indonesia or Sriwijaya Air
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