Rafting is one of the most challenging water adventures. Besides pumping the adrenalin, rafting also allows you to enjoy the beauty of nature through the river and whatever surrounds it. People who really love rafting would definitely go through the distance to find a new arena to conquer. If you are one of them, then you would definitely want to check out Minahasa.

Minahasa is a peninsula located in the Province of North Sulawesi. It is actually famous for strong culture and divine nature. The district also has several wonderful rivers that are perfect for rafting such as Nimanga River, Ranoyapo River, and Sawangan River. All those rivers are in the grade 3 to 5+. Therefore, these rivers are for rafters with advanced skills and professionalism only.

Rafting in Minahasa (Source: adechandraa.blogspot.com. Credit: Ade Chandra)
Rafting in Minahasa
(Source: adechandraa.blogspot.com. Credit: Ade Chandra)


How to Get There

To reach those rivers, you first need to get to Manado, the capital city of North Sulawesi Province. There is an international airport called Sam Ratulangi International Airport that serves daily flights from Singapore, Jakarta, Balikpapan, Denpasar, Surabaya, Makassar, and much more.

From the airport to reach your rafting object, you can simply charter a car or motorcycle which is available at the airport. Chartering car with driver would cost you about $19 to $26. For motorcycle, it is only $4 per day.  Besides that, you can also get public transportation.

Here is more information about transportation to get you there:

  • To Nimanga River

Nimanga River is situated at the town of Tomohon. It is about 45 kilometers away from the airport. First you can get a bus to Tomohon with only $0.5. From Tomohon, get another bus to Sonder region for $0.3. From Sonder, get an ojek (motor taxi) to take you to the rafting starting point at Timbukar Village. The ojek should cost you aound $0.5 to $1.3, depending on how good you are at bargaining.

  • To Ranoyapo River

Ranoyapo River is very close to both Manado and Tomohon. If you are from the airport and using your own vehicle, you can drive through Trans Sulawesi Road. When you reach a crossroad, take a turn to Amurang – Ratahan Road.  After 10 kilometers of driving, you will find the road getting more challenging. It became narrower and is surrounded with forest. Roll your window down to catch the fresh air that blows from the forest.

If you want to use public transportation instead, you can take a public bus with the route of Tompaso Baru. Get off at Lompad Baru Village. From there, you need to get a public car to Lompad Lama Village. From this village, you can get to the rafting starting point by using ojek.

  • To Sawangan River

Sawangan River is the easiest to access. Located in Airmadidi region, you can simply drive through an asphalted road. If you want to use public transportation, you can get a bus from Pasar 45 to Airmadidi. The bus costs only $0.5. From the bus stop at Airmadidi, you can reach the rafting spot via ojek.

Ranoyapo River (Source: Flickr. Credit: James Wewengkang)
Ranoyapo River
(Source: Flickr. Credit: James Wewengkang)


Where to Stay

The most recommended place to stay is at the town of Tomohon as the town is the closest to all of those three rivers. There are several hotels and even resorts available at the town. Some of them are:

  • Hotel Happy Lyste
    • Location : Jalan Karya (Gang Djarum), Kakaskasen Village, Lingk IV, Tomohon
    • Phone : +62 431 3159220
  • Tomohon Guest House
    • Location : Jalan Raya Tomohon – Sarongsong, Lansot, Lingk. I Tomohon
    • Phone : +62 431 356926
    • Fax : +62 431 356926
  • Hotel Wawo
  • Lokon Boutique Resort
    • Location : Jalan Pariwisata, Kakaskasen Village, Tomohon 95362, North Sulawesi.
    • Phone : +62 431 351203
    • Fax : +62 431 351636
    • Email : lokon_resort@yahoo.co.id
  • Onong’s Palace Bungalows
    • Location : Jalan Kimerengkali, Knilow Village, Dusun IV, Tomohon, North Sulawesi.
    • Phone and Fax : +62 431 3157090
    • Email : info@tomohon-onong.com
    • Website : tomohon-onong.com
  • Highland Resort and Spa
    • Location : Kinilow, Jaga VI, Tomohon, Minahasa, North Sulawesi
    • Phone : +62 431 353333, or +62 431 353888
    • Fax : +62 431 353777
    • Website : highlandresort.info

Other option of accommodation is to book your stay in Manado. It is a bigger city so it has more supporting facilities and amenities. But it is a little bit further to the objects than it is from Tomohon town.


The Rapids

The rapid of Nimanga River consists of six levels. The first and second level is not so difficult for professional rafters. Those are considered as warming up. But starting from level three, you need to do some maneuver to beat the rapids. also become one of The Most Extreme Rafting Spots in Indonesia.

The most difficult rapid is called Rapid of Good Bye. The height can reach 4 meters and the slope could reach up to 60 degrees. After this hard track, there will be flat water so you could catch your breath back and enjoy the scenery.

The rafting track of Nimanga River is about 35 kilometers long. If you want to go quick, you need about two hours to finish it. But if you want to slow down and enjoy the adventure, it could take about six hours to finish it.

Flat Water at Nimanga Surrounded with Thick Formation of Trees (Source: Flickr. Credit: Antoine Hubert)
Flat Water at Nimanga Surrounded with Thick Formation of Trees
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Antoine Hubert)

Similar to Nimanga River, Ranoyapo River also has six levels of rafting tracks. The two first levels are warming up, the third level is medium, and the fourth to sixth are very challenging. On the level four, there will be double rapids that might be dangerous for amateur rafters.

Some parts of Ranoyapo River that is not a part of the rafting tracks are still untouched. People said there sometimes are wild animals there. That is why it is important to have a professional instructor that understand which part of the river is safe and which is not. The track of Ranoyapo River is shorter than Nimanga River. It is only 12 kilometers long.

The Steep Rapid of Ranoyapo River (Source: manadoparadisotour.com. Credit: Manado Paradiso
The Steep Rapid of Ranoyapo River
(Source: manadoparadisotour.com. Credit: Manado Paradiso

The rafting track of Sawangan River also consists of six levels that are gradually become more and more difficult. The distance between one level to another is quite close. So you really need to always be ready as the track is not easy to go through. Total length of the track is 10 kilometers. Even if the track is not that long, it might be exhausting due to its difficulty. Therefore, two resting points are prepared in the middle of the track. Take a rest for a couple of minutes and enjoy the nature of Minahasa before you continue to finish the rafting track.



  • ATM and Money Changer will be hard to find on the villages around the rafting site. You need to cash in some rupiahs while you are in Manado.
  • Rafting equipment can be rented through several operators. You can also hire a professional instructor there. Most of them are available at Manado.
  • To make sure your operator is trustworthy, check if they are a member of FAJI (Federasi Arung Jeram Indonesia) or Indonesian White Water Federation. FAJI is the member of the International Rafting Federation (IRF).
  • As the rapids rate is grade 3 and above, make sure you have the skill to do it. You also need to make sure that your body is all fit and healthy. No matter how good you are, always hire a professional instructor to guide you during the raft as he understands the river better than you do.
  • Minahasa Tribe is a native tribe with unique culture. It is also fun to explore their way of life by visiting the tourism village around the area.


It is always worth it to go far just to find one new place to explore. This quest is always challenging. By going to Minahasa, you will find not only one, but at least three new rivers to explore.


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