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Things To Do In Gorontalo


After apart from North Sulawesi, Gorontalo become an independent province on December 2000, with the capital of Gorontalo itself. There are some opinion about the meaning of Gorontalo name, like; Hulontalangio, which is a name of a tribe that resided in the area; Hua Lolontalango, which means cavemen who used to walk back and forth; Hulutalangi, which means a nobler, Huluo Lo Tola, which means a place where snakehead fish breed; Pongolatalo or Pohulatalo, which means a waiting place; Gunung Telu, which means three mountains; Hunto, which means a place that is always flowed by water. In my opinion the last meaning is the suitable one for Gorontalo that lies on Minahasa Peninsula.

The local inhabitants are coming from Gorontalo ethnic with Gorontalo traditional language. The tourism objects are commonly coming from the historical site, like: Orange Fortress, Ju Panggola Graveyard, Nani wartabone monument, Limboto Lake and Otanaha Fortress.

Gorontalo, is nestled in the calm waters of the northern shoreline of the Tomini Bay, on the southern fringe of Sulawesi's protective northern arm. Here the weather is balmy and equatorial, the landscape punctuated by chains of mountains.

Being the main gateway to the diving mecca of the Togean Islands and only a 1 hour flight from Manado, Gorontalo is easily reached and often passed through. However, stop to have a look around and you may be surprised by what Gorontalo has to offer, along with its unique diving environment.


How to get there

Visitors to Gorontalo no longer need to travel overland. Regular flights now connect Gorontalo with the outside world. Daily flights are available from Jakarta viaMakassar ( to Gorontalo with Lion Air and Sriwijaya Airlines. Recently Garuda Indonesia has also opened daily flights to Gorontalo from Jakarta, Denpasar (Bali), Surabaya and Makassar. Jalaludin Airport is the primary airport of Gorontalo City and is located about 20 minutes from downtown Gorontalo. From Manado, Wings Air now has daily flights to Gorontalo, leaving every evening.

If you prefer to travel overland, that option is also availale and private transport can be arranged in Manado with a driving time of about 9 hours by private transport. Alternatively, you could go by bus, and there are several bus lines available. The bus trip from Manado to Gorontalo takes about 10 hours. Fajar Indah is a recommended company. Roads are mostly in good condition, with a few small dirt and rock sections under repair. By sea there are passenger ships such as the KM. Tilongkabila and a ferry ship directly from the Gorontalo port.

 Things To  Do In Gorontalo

1. Experience world-class diving at Olele Beach

Tagged as an underwater paradise, Olele Beach is one of the most famous diving destinations in Gorontalo. It is home to various creatures such as dolphins, giant reefs, gobi fish, damsels, butterfly fish, and pigmy seahorses. Diving tours are offered here, and these can be booked in advance. The best diving season at Olele Beach is from November to April. Although there is no guarantee about dolphin sightings, February to April would be a good time to try to see them.

2. Take stunning photos at Otanaha Fortress


Are you brave and fit enough to take 348 steps of stairs? If your answer is yes, you should definitely visit Otanaha Fortress, a structure built in 1522 by the King of Gorontalo Kingdom and Portuguese sailors. Built using sand, calcium and eggs, it was intended to strengthen the security and defense of the area. At present, thousands of tourists come to this place to enjoy the panoramic view of Limboto Lake from the top of the fortress. Go during late afternoon and if the skies are clear, you will be able to take photos of a magnificent sunset!


3. Stay in a stilt house at Saronde Island

A trip to a tropical country such as Indonesia wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the beach. Saronde Island is one of Gorontalo’s must-visits, boasting of white sand, pine trees, and good fishing spots. If you can stay for a few days, you can rent a stilt house and enjoy living in the midst of blue waters - just like in Maldives. If you’re up for more adventure, rent a boat to explore the rest of the island. Aside from boating, there are no other water sport facilities in the area, making it an ideal place for pure relaxation and indulgence in nature.

4. Meet local fishermen at Limboto Lake

Take a peek into the lives of the local fishermen at Limboto Lake, located in the Limboto District of Gorontalo. The lake is an ideal location for fishing, boating, and swimming. Visitors can also enjoy grilled fish, supplied by the local fishermen themselves. If you have extra time on your trip, stay until the sunset and see the beautiful colors of the skies being reflected on the waters of the lake.



 1.Otanaha Fortress


Otanaha fortress is a potential object for Gorontalo, instead of this located on strategic area, the historical value also become the main point for the tourists who want to visit to Gorontalo.

Otanaha Fortress is stand on the mountain hill around Limboto lake. There are 3 fortresses on Otanaha residence, which is Otanaha, Otahiya, an Ulupahu fortress. Seems like they are husband, wife and the kid.

Since 15 century, Otanaha fortress was build by the Portuguese as an agreement between King Ilato and Portuguese to avoid the pirates. Unfortunately, the Portuguese was just made a harness into the Gorontalo kingdom. This made the King drove the Portuguese out from Gorontalo.

The unique of the fortress applies in the material that was used to build the castle, which was the mixed of sand, plaster and the white part of Maleo egg. The panorama of Danau Limboto also can be seen clearly from Otanaha, because the fortress itself stands in the top of the highland. Precisely, it located in Dembe I, Kota Barat. The distance is approximately 8 km from the center of Gorontalo city.

Beside Otanaha, there are two more castles that also located in the same area, Otahiya and Ulupahu castles. The visitor must pass 345 steps of stairs to reach the three of the castles because of its position that located in the top of the highland. There is also alternative way to be able to reach the top of the mountain.

2.Bolihutuo Beach


Bolihutuo Beach is known also as Boalemo Indah Beach, this is one alternative destination to spend your weekend. This beach is located in Bolihutuo village, Botumoito sub-district, Boalemo district, Sulawesi Utara Province. It’s 130 km away from Gorontalo City.

The beauty of Bolihutuo Beach is like pearl carpet on Tomini Bay coastal area. White sand combined with chasing waves looks like they’re whitening the blue sea. This view will surely fondle your eyes to enjoy this beach even more. There are shady high pine trees you can find on the edge of the beach which will make the atmosphere even milder.

There are rented boats for you to go around the beach. You will be charged for about IDR 3,000 per minute. There are water-bicycle, speedboats, diving equipments and some other facilities for tourists to rent in Bolihutuo Beach. There are also grottos and gazebos for you to take a rest and relaxed for a while.

Other facilities you can find in the beach are restaurants, cottages and information centre. If you want to stay overnight, you can rent a cottage for about IDR 150,000 per night. To enter the beach you need to pay IDR 3,000 per person.

To reach Pantai Bolihutuo you will have to travel through Gorontalo City, capital city of the Gorontalo province.

Daily flights are available from Jakarta via Makassar to Gorontalo with Lion Air and Sriwijaya Airlines. Garuda Indonesia has also recently opened daily flights to Gorontalo from Jakarta, Denpasar (Bali), Surabaya and Makassar. From Manado, Wings Airand Lion Air now also have daily evening flights to Gorontalo. Tickets for all of these flights can be purchased online.

fter arriving at Gorontalo, you will proceed on to Pantai Bolihutuo in the Boalemo District. To reach Pantai Bolihutuo, tourists will have to travel along the Trans-Sulawesi road, a distance of about 120 km from the center of Gorontalo. From Gorontalo City you can proceed to this beach by private car or rented vehicle. There are also public transportations available at a cost of Rp. 25,000 per person.

3.    Cinta Island


Pulau Cinta or love Island is become more popular today in Gorontalo, since it been promoted in Festival Sail Tomini Boalemo few years ago.

Are you a newlywed and want to have perfect escape with your spouse? Then, celebrating your love together at this Island will be your best experience. Looking at the name that indicated the Love, the form of the Island is also unique, with a heart shape characterizing Love sign.

Cinta Island is located in Boalemo district, Gorontalo, approximately 2 hours drive from the city of Gorontalo. After arriving in the district, we can immediately drove to the District Tilamuta and seek the tourism site of Bolihutuo. Here, we can rent a boat service to cross to the Island of Love. It takes only 15 minutes and we are arriving at Pulau Cinta.

The island is very highly recommended for you who want to spend a honeymoon period, because it really deserted island and unpopulated. The most terrific thing is about the nature sightseeing that pamper you with bright warm sunshine and tropical nuance. There are only 15 unique resorts at this place. Those resorts will accommodate our need during the stay and enjoy the nuance of love.

4.    Dulohupa Custom House


Dulohupa custom house is located in the Village Limba, Kota Selatan District, Gorontalo. Among the residents of Gorontalo the house is also called Yiladia Dulohupa Lo Ulipu Hulondhalo. This traditional house has stage-shaped with body that made of boards and the roof structure nuanced as Gorontalo area. Besides, the traditional house Dulohupa is also features wooden pillars as a decoration and a symbol of the traditional house. It also has two staircases that located to the left and right of the house and become the symbol of traditional ladder or it been called as tolitihu.

Dulohupa custom house in Gorontalo is built on the principles and beliefs. The roof from this Dulohupa traditional house is made of best straw and shaped like a saddle that is a triangular roof duplex depicting the the Shari'a and the custom of indigenous people of Gorontalo. The roof top illustrates the trust of Gorontalo people to the Almighty God and religion, which is the primary importance upon the other. Meanwhile, the bottom roof of this house is describing the customs and culture. On the first peak of the roof there are two crossed sticks mounted on roof tops or called Talapua. Gorontalo residents believe that Talapua can ward off spirits - demons, but as the development of Islamic belief, now Talapua is not installed again.

On the front wall of the house there is Tange lo bu'ulu that hanging beside the entrance of Dulohupa traditional house. Tange lo bu'ulu illustrates gorontalo population welfare. While the inside of the traditional house style Dulohupa open because there is not a lot of insulation. Also in the house there is a pavilion devoted customary as of the king and the royal family.

Dulohupa custom home has a lot of wooden pillars. Besides as an advocate for the shape of a house on stilts, the pillars also have meaning. In the traditional house Dulohupa there are several types of pillars, namely, the main pillar or wolihi amounted to 2 pieces, front pillars amounted to 6 pieces, and the basic pillars or Potu totaling 32 pieces.

5.    Torosiaje Tourism Site


Torosiaje Tourism site is located in District Popayato, Pohuwatu regency. From the city of Gorontalo, the distance is only about 270 km to the crossing of the Trans Sulawesi.

After arrival at Popayato, followed by a boat trip for Torosiaje is above the sea or about 600 meters from the beach.

During fifteen minutes of sailing, you are instantly greeted by the stilt houses that stand on the water with a height of up to 2 to 3 meters that belong to Bajo people. All houses in Bajo village have U-shaped ornaments were very simple and overlooking the bay of Tomini. Torosiaje is the number one tourist village in Gorontalo and it opens to anyone who comes.

If we take the night travel to reach Torosiaje is just like the firefly that went into the lights over the dark night sky. We can use Leppa or a small boat that belongs to Bajo people and it can contain only 8 people. All boats that come to Torosiaje are considered coming from the backyard.

Bajo people always assume the vast ocean is the main terrace of life. To get to the 'square' in the middle Torosiaje, each boat will down into the alley between the houses to pass under the bridge that decorated with a small board written "Welcome to Bajo".

6.    Tomini Bay & Olele Beach


There are so many things that make Gorontalo perfect for holiday, the beauty of its nature, the culture and not forget to mention, the friendly people. Mountains, hills, shore line are the main characteristic of Gorontalo and it makes the island perfect for marine tourism.

Most of diving site take you just a few minute from town, diving in Gorontalo means diving within the richness of biodiversity, health and unique coral and reef. Meanwhile, one perfect destination that characterizing the beauty of marine life is Tomini Bay.

Tomini Bay is famous for under water habitat and undefined creatures. There is several number of unsettled small islands here and this place is just like heaven for divers, because the geographic position of Tomini Bay itself, which is crossed by the equator line, has naturally presented various kinds of sea creature inside. Tomini Bay is said to be the hidden Paradise on the Equator. There are more than 8 dive sites spread along the West and East coast of Olele beach such as shadow land, sentinel, honeycomb, traffic circle, traffic jam, jinn caves, helicopter bay and silver tip ground. Olele is also known as Gorontalo waterpark.

Olele Beach that located in Olele Village is a gate to the underwater paradise of Tominy Bay. The amazing beauty of underwater life on this area has been recognized by many of the divers in the world. It is proofed by the enthusiasm of the divers who come to this area.

In Tomini Bay and Olele Beach, you can find dolphin (torsiops trancatus), Giant Reef (Petrosia Sp.), School of Gobi Fish (Bryaninops erythrops), Salvador Dali reef (Petrosia lignose), Acanthogorgia Sp., Anemon Koralimorf (Discosoma Sp.), plectorhinchus chaetodonoides, Blenni (Escenius Caeruliventris), Cardinal Fish, damsel, platax pinnatus, scorpaenopsis, oxycephala, goropa fish, butterfly fish, pusillus, cockatoo fish, Randal fish, parapterois hetururus, Bothus Sp ” half face fish, frog fish, Nudibrancia, Seahorse and pigmy seahorse.

How to get there :

Jallaludin airport is the entrance for the visitors who use the airplane service. It located approximately 15 km from the town of Gorontalo. From Jakarta Sukarno Hatta Air Port, there are flights that served every day. For visitors who use sea service, Gorontalo has 3 harbors, Anggrek Harbor, Kwandang Harbor and Crossing Harbor

7.    Limboto Lake


Limboto is a lake located in Limboto District, Gorontalo, Indonesia. This lake has a depth of between 5 to 8 meters, the tourists that coming to this lake can enjoy various activities such as, fishing, boating competitions, or swimming. In addition, they can also enjoy the fresh grilled fish that supplied by local fishermen. It’s affordable and interesting.

Lake Limboto is becomes widely from year to year and the depth is steadily decreasing. Limboto lake in 1999 vast ranged between 1900-3000 ha, with a depth of 2-4 meters (Fisheries Branch Gorontalo Regency, 2000). While in 1932, the vast waters reached 7,000 ha.

The lake is becomes a estuary for 5 rivers and becomes a favorite place for tourists to spend their vacation time, especially in the morning and evening. At that time, the lake becomes more beautiful for the reflection of the rising sunset.

For those who like fishing, this lake is a perfect to do that activity while enjoying the windy situation, green sightseeing and of course, the fish. We can bring the fishes to the diner stall; they can cook and directly served.

8.    Lombongo Hot Water


Settled in a vulcanic area, makes Gorontalo has lots of natural hot water springs. One of the more famous natural hot water springs in Gorontalo that always been visited by tourists is Lombongo Hot Water Spring that opened in 1989. It located in Duwono village, Suwana Subdistrict about 17 kilometers from Gorontalo city. This ecotourism spot consists of one cool water pool and one hot water pool of 500 square meters with a depth of one to two meters.

The Lombongo Hot water Pools are unique in their beautiful scenery: there are streams of cool mountain water and various types of green trees which will make bathing here even more relaxing. The water that springs from between the rocks is believed to heal skin disease. This water of very high temperature can also be used to boil eggs.

At the Pools are also events of traditional arts organized by the Tourism Service of Bone Bolango District. If you plan it right you can both enjoy submerging in hot water and marveling at the local traditional art performances.

The Lombongo Hot water Pools is located about 17 kilometers from Gorontalo city. You can go to location by car or public transportation such as ojek. 

 9.    Lahilote Beach, Gorontalo

Lahilote beach is popular by Pohe beach among local people. This beach is located near to Gorontalo city, which is only 6Km. This is the nearest destination that can be reached easily by tourist that give visit to Gorontalo. 

This beach is also famous by its urban legend about a man named Lahilote that try to propose an angel. If we visit this beach, we can see stones with footsteps shape that being called as Botu Liyodu Lei Lehilote that means the footsteps from Lahilote. 

Lahilote has curved shoreline and similar to a bay. At one of the beach ends we can see the curve from this beach, and it has background the greenish hill and shady trees. The waves at Lahilote are just kind of small waves and it is fine to jump for swimming, even snorkeling. 

To go to this beach is can be reach from Gorontalo and it can be followed by using public transportation, bendi or pedi cap and Ojek or motorcycle taxi.

Association of International Business and Professional Management (AIBPM) JL. Kahuripan No. 9 Hotel Sahid Montana, Malang, Indonesia

Gorontalo State University
Jl. Jendral Sudirman No. 6 Kota Gorontalo - Indonesia

Phone: +62 341 366222

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