Minahasa – North Sulawesi Indonesia

Minahasa, North Sulawesi, Indonesia has everything one could wish for: mountains, white sand beaches, volcanoes, hot springs, turquoise seas and some of the best diving spots in Southeast Asia. It’s a place I like to return to, for all these reasons, and because there is one particular place that’s perfect for a real good rest.

Pulisan Jungle Beach resort, located in northern Minahasa, was set up by Katrin, a German national, in 1996. Northern Sulawesi was then becoming famous for its world class diving, particularly the island of Bunaken, a stone’s throw away form the city of Manado. But Katrin’s vision was one of a haven of peace away form the hustle and bustle of the typical resorts. So she built her dream deep in the jungle, at the end of a long beach of white sand.

To get to the eight wooden bungalows, you can take a boat or a long taxi ride and walk 20 minutes along a small path through the jungle. This walk is enough to remove you from the chaos of life on the outside and set you up for a real relaxing time. The bungalows all have an en-suite bathroom, and you will be treated to the best food around. For the vegetarians out there, this is also a welcome break from the white rice and tempeh you will, no doubt, have had to endure any place else in Indonesia.

Pulisan Jungle Beach resort also has a fully equipped dive center, where you can take your diving license or any other specialty courses as well as just do fun dives at the amazing sites a short distance away by boat.

But the seas in Minahasa, North Sulawesi are threatened. It is, once again, the same old story of greed and corruption as anywhere else in the world that is endangering not only the marine life but also the people of Minahasa. The land is cursed with gold, and many illegal mines are already operating. As you might know, the process of extracting gold is extremely polluting, with products such as cyanide being used and tailings being released in the rivers or sometimes directly in the sea. And as if it wasn’t bad enough, Indonesia is granting mining licenses left, right and center, putting at risk the livelihoods of communities relying on fisheries and tourism in the region.

Bangka island is a perfect example, as it was designated a region for tourism development until it was changed to a area designated for mining development, following overt bribing of local politicians by Chinese companies. There are attempts to develop iron ore mining on the island and rumors of gold and even uranium deposits lurking below, and the population is doing everything in their power to stop it. Pulisan Jungle Beach resort has a long history of involvement in social actions in the area, with education programs and sponsorships. Now the fight has shifted to fighting these multinational and Indonesian companies. So, as a show of support, and for a good rest too, head out there!