On previous articles, we have already talked about the vast Gulf of Tomini, the Togean Archipelago in it, and the beautiful Kadidiri Island. Now, to complete the series, we would talk about another island on Togean Archipelago, Gulf of Tomini. The island is called Una-Una. This object is interesting and worth visiting because it has unique geological formation; it is a volcanic island. This island is a part of the province of Central Sulawesi. It is located not very far from Kadidiri Island.
The island of Una-Una is also famous with the name Ringgit Island or Colo Island. “Ringgit” means money. The island was named that way because this island used to be rich before a massive eruption stroke the island. Meanwhile the name Colo was take from Mount Colo, a volcanic mountain stands on the island.
How to Get There
The island of Una-Una is quite isolated and remote so it may need some efforts to reach the island. It is about 30 kilometers away from the mainland of Sulawesi. To reach this place, first you need to get to the city of Manado through Manado International Airport. The flights are available from Singapore, Jakarta, and Bali. From Manado, there are two options of route that you can take to reach the volcanic island of Una-Una.
Route via Wakai:
- From Manado, get to Gorontalo city using public bus, rented car, or small plane.
- From Gorontalo, catch a ferry or public boats to get to Wakai.
- From Wakai, rent a small speedboat that you can take to reach Una-Una and other island on Togean Archipelago.
Route via Togean Island:
- From Manado, get a flight to Luwuk. The flight is available twice in a week, so make sure to check the schedule first.
- There is also a daily flight from Jakarta to Luwuk, so you do not need to get to Manado first.
- From Luwuk, get a public bus to reach Ampana. The trip will take about eight hours.
- On Ampana, there is a port where you can find public speedboat that usually carries tourist to anywhere at Togean Archipelago. This boat departs four times a week at 10.00.
- For more comfortable and flexible schedule, you can also rent a small speedboat for your personal use.
- For cheaper and more challenging effort, try to get a lift on local fishermen’s boat.
Where to Stay
There are no facilities and accommodations on the island of Una-Una so it is quite impossible for you to spend the night there. The closest accommodation is available on Bomba Kadidiri Island where you can find several cottages and bungalows with ranging price.
The island of Una-Una was formed due to the volcanic eruption of Mount Colo. Although it is a volcano, Mount Colo is not very active. Through all the history, there were only three eruption ever recorded on this island. The first one was not noted the date. The second one was on 1898 and the last one was on 1983.
The most affective eruption was the last one. On that event, a sulfuric cloud had exploded and the thickness reached 5 kilometers up to the sky. That eruption destroyed almost everything on the island including people’s houses and farms. Luckily, the people had been evacuated before the eruption.
After the eruption, the island remained inhabitant for several years. But now, some people has returned back to the island and started new life. At first, they were just coming around for farming as the volcano had caused the soil to become fertile. But as time went by, they started to live there as well.
The most unique activity to be done at this island is to hike the Mount Colo. As explained before, Mount Colo is the only thing that forms the island. It is what makes the island unique. The stratovolcano is only 507 meters high above the sea level so it would not take much time to climb it up to the peak. At the top of the mountain, you will find a large caldera with 2 kilometers of width.
Hiking Mount Colo is quite safe as the volcano is not very much active. At this island, you will find plenty of deer. The population of the deer had risen after the eruption as it killed lots of the deer’s predators. Local people sometimes eat deer because it is way easier to get than beef or lamb.
Besides exploring the mountain, it is also great to walk around the beach at the island of Una-Una. The beach at this island is different than the beach at other islands on Togean Archipelago. While other beach has white bright sand, the beach at Una-Una has black sand because it got mixed with a large amount of volcanic dust.
The nature of Una-Una can also be enjoyed underwater. Diving around this island, you will see fascinating marine life with various species of faunas and corals. The corals are dominated with big corals. During certain season, you will see a large school of bubara and barracuda swimming around in harmony.
The most popular diving spot around Una-Una Island is Fishomania the Pinnacle. This spot is the easiest place to encounter the large school of fishes such as barracuda, napoleon, or jackfish. Other interesting spots are The Gap, Dominic Rock, Jack’s Point, Kololio, The Crack, Apollo Cape, and much more.
Snorkeling is also possible to do at several spots. But one thing that you need to remember, there is no equipment rental at this island. Therefore, you need to rent your equipment from other island such as Kadidiri, Togean, Bomba, or Wakai.
Other unique attraction to explore at the island of Una-Una is the floating village of Bajo Tribe, a native tribe from Gorontalo. Bajo Tribe is like gypsies who live on a floating house above the sea. They get foods by fishing at the sea using traditional equipment. They earn for living by being fishermen. Overall, their life is very dependent to the sea. Although they live far from modern technology, the people of Bajo are very friendly to foreigners.
Before departing to this stunning volcanic island, there are several things you better know and prepare first, such as:
- There is no ATM at this island so you should prepare enough cash, even though there are several bungalows that accept credit cards.
- Internet connection and phone signal is not available. So make sure to inform your family beforehand, just in case they try to call you.
- It is recommended to do some shopping for foods, beverages, and other necessities on the mainland of Sulawesi.
- The island of Una-Una is very remote from other islands. So make sure you have everything perfectly prepared.
- If you need to cash in from ATM or to buy some things in retails, you need to take the speedboat to Wakai.
Exploring a remote pristine island is such a very interesting activity. It gives you unique experience and great euphoria once you reach the island and get stunned by its beauty. The nature of Una-Una Island would never disappoint you.