Our Minahasan Highlands Tour is a wonderful way to experience the local people, culture and way of life here in North Sulawesi. You’ll find the people both welcoming and as curious about visitors as you are of them.
The Highlands are steeped in history, rich in culture and the natural landscapes are simply breathtaking. These rich and fertile lands are where cloves and other spices are grown, which previously made Manado an important port for European traders.
From trekking an active volcano and visiting a bustling market through to tranquil lakes and ancient tombs there is no shortage of options to explore.
Our Highland tours can be tailored around your interests – here are some of our favorite landmarks and sights to see along the way.
This is a full day tour which can be taken from any of our resorts. Lunch and an experienced, English speaking tour guide are included.
The traditional market in Tomohon is packed with locally grown fresh produce from herbs and spices through to tropical fruits and vegetables. It’s a great way to experience the hustle and bustle of daily local life.
Housed in a separate building is the butcher’s section which is not for the fainthearted, but easy to avoid. For those who wish to take a look around, expect to find pork, beef, chicken and also some more “interesting” meats, including cats, dogs, bats and even rats!
Also an option during your Highlands tour is a visit to Gunung (meaning volcano) Mahawu. There is an easy trek up steps to the edge of the caldera. There is a beautiful viewing point and for those who prefer a more active experience it’s possible to trek around the entire crater rim. This trek requires a light to medium level of fitness.
Lake (or Danau) Tondano is a huge crater lake which covers an area of 4,278 hectares. The lake is located at over 600 meters above sea level and the mountains which form the caldera rim are a further 700 meters high.
Tondano is the lifeblood of the local communities and not only supplies fish, irrigation for local villages and rice paddies, it is also a well known tourist hotspot. The cool air, local fishing villages on stilts in the water and fertile surrounding landscape are a highlight.
We usually stop at one of the lakeside restaurants during the highlands tour to sample the specialty grilled fish!
Waruga are ancient monolithic stone graves which were utilised by the ancient people of Minahasa. The bodies were placed in the graves in a sitting position and when another family member passed away, they were stacked on top.
The local caretaker of the waruga site will tell you the fascinating history of this ethnic tradition.
A visit to a larger waruga site can also be combined with a trip to Tangkoko Nature Reserve.
Lake Linow is also known as the “Changing Color Lake”.
As the position of the sun changes during the course of the day the sulphurous content in the water reflects the light from hues of blue through to turquoise and green. The lake is located in a tranquil park and forest area and it’s a wonderful spot for a stroll while taking photographs as the colors start to change.
It’s almost impossible to list every option available during this tour. There are beautiful waterfalls, Japanese caves dating back to World War II, the village of Woloan which is known for it’s “knock down” houses and even a village famous for its peanuts!
The day prior to your tour (or before), you’ll have the opportunity to talk through the types of sights and experiences that appeal most to you. Our tour guide will be able to make recommendations and ensure your tour meets your personal preferences.
This tour is an absolute must for any nature lovers! The Tangkoko Nature Reserve is an area of dense forestry which is based at the foot of the Dua Suadara Mountain. This area of gentle rolling hills and valleys has been protected since 1919 and covers an area of almost 9,000 hectares.
As we take a walk through the park, not only will you be able to see troops of the endemic Sulawesi Black Crested Macaque in the wild, cuscus and the Tarsier monkeys (the world’s smallest primate) which become active in the late afternoon.
Ornithologists will be in their element as we often spot Hornbills, Lori birds and other tropic and native species.
Weather permitting we have lunch on a beach or close to the ranger’s station.
This is a full day tour which can be taken from any of our resorts. Lunch is included. and we recommended sturdy walking or running shoes for this trip and long pants.
Trek from Murex Bangka through the tropical jungle to the quaint fishing village of nearby Lihunu. Meet the friendly locals as they go about their day to day life – farming coconuts, raising livestock and fishing. The village people are welcoming and friendly as you wander through the narrow streets, pass the churches and visit the local school.
This is a real insight into local village life and a chance to explore some of the local wildlife and fauna along the way. The Murex boat will be waiting at the village jetty to bring you back to the resort.
The is an easy to medium level trek and we recommend walking or running shoes. The trek and village tour takes around 2 hours and can be taken in the morning or afternoon according to tides.
This tour is only possible from Murex Bangka Resort.