city and capital of Gorontalo Province, Indonesia

Gorontalo is a city in Northern Sulawesi, and the provincial capital of Gorontalo province.

Understand edit

With its old Dutch colonial buildings, surrounding waterfalls, hot springs, and pristine coral reefs for diving, Gorontalo should be a world famous destination. However, most travellers only use it as a hub for the Togean islands. A large majority of Gorontalo residents are Muslims.

Get in edit

By plane edit

Gorontalo is served by 1 Jalaluddin Airport (GTO  IATA). The largest Indonesian airlines all connect Gorontalo to Makassar. Garuda Indonesia in addition has direct flights to Jakarta. Lion Air subsidiary Wings Air has regional flights to and from Manado, Luwuk, and Palu.

By boat edit

  • The overnight ferry, Touna Tomini, from Ampana / Togean Islands calls on Gorontalo every Thursday and Sunday, making the return trip the next day. Note: There's only 1 ferry and when it breaks down there's none.
  • The new fast ferry from Togean leave Dolong (handy for Malenge) on wednesdays at 7:00 and Saturdays at 8.00AM to Buckland (arrive at 13:00) from where it's a 3-hour drive to Gorontalo.

By bus edit

  • Buses from Manado run daily (price Rp60,000).
  • Kijang (public cars) from Manado is a more comfortable option that will drop you at your preferred hotel. Rp150,000 for front seat (more comfortable), Rp100,000 for backseat (brace yourself for a bumpy ride).

Get around edit

Map of Gorontalo (city)
  • Bentor is a cross between a rickshaw (Indonesian: becak) and a motorbike (motor), and will take you around town for Rp5,000. The price is about Rp20,000-30.000. for destinations outside of town, such as beaches and waterfalls. Arriving from the Togeans, the 4 km ride from Gorontalo harbor to the city should cost you Rp40,000 (Oct 2018).
  • Local buses and bemos (minivans in light blue color) have been observed, but they seem only useful for the locals.
  • Transportation sharing app like Grab and GoJek is available, although the number of cars is still limited. There is also some limitation (e.g. you can be dropped to the shopping center, but you can't be picked up from there).

See edit

  • 1 Fort Otanaha (Benteng Otanaha), Jl. Usman Isa, Dembe I. 09:00-17:00. Otanaha Fortress is one of the tourist sites in Gorontalo province Sulawesi Island, Indonesia. It was built in 1522 by King Ilato from the Gorontalo Kingdom and Portuguese sailors to strengthen the area's security and defense. Located in Dembe Hill, this fort was made from a mixture of sand, calcium, and eggs of Maleo birds.
  • 2 Lake Limboto (Danau Limboto), Jl. Usman Isa. One of the largest lakes in Gorontalo. Besides the lake, there is a Museum Pendaratan Pesawat Amphibi (Amphibious aircraft landing museum), a place of First Indonesian President landing used Catalina amphibious aircraft in 1950.
  • 3 Limboto Tower (Menara Keagungan Limboto), Jl. Baso Bobihoe No.308, Kayubulan.
  • Dutch colonial mansions littered the city.
  • Waterfalls
  • Hot springs

Do edit

Diving edit

Gorontalo is home to the Salvador Dali coral sponge, indigenous to this region. With more than 25 dive sites accessible from the shore around Gorontalo, this should be a mecca for dive enthusiasts. However, so far this gem has remained relatively hidden.

  • Miguel's Diving (book from Oasis hotel).
  • Nemo Adventures (book from Melati hotel).

Snorkeling edit

Visit North Gorontalo, There is 1 Saronde Island with good condition coral and fish also the white sand beach. As of June 2022, the island has become a private island with an entry fee of Rp5,000,000. Another 2 Mohinggito Island is also good place for snorkeling with cheaper entry fee of Rp40,000.

Whale shark watching edit

Whale shark watching in Botubarani village.

Probably the one thing that the city is most famous for and the main reason why some tourists stay overnight. You can do this in 3 Desa Wisata Botubarani and Olele Marine Park, and you can snorkel in the area as well.

There used to be a prawn processing plant nearby which attracted whale sharks for feeding. The plant has closed, but the locals are feeding the whale sharks to keep them in the bay so that it is "guaranteed" that tourists can see them all year round. This is arguably unethical because whale sharks are normally migratory animals. Secondly, tour operators and tourists alike are not educated enough on how to avoid injuring white sharks (for a start: do not touch them, and get out of their way). So knowing these things, act according to your own conscience.

Buy edit

Buy supplies for Togean Island because the island is remote and essentials are expensive so bring sunscreen, mosquito spray/coils, and other essentials that you can think of.

  • 1 Citimall Gorontalo (formerly Gorontalo Mall), Jl. Sultan Botutihe No.68, Heledulaa Sel. 10:00-22:00.
  • 2 Santika Supermarket, Jl. S. Parman No.53, Biawao, +62 813 488 68596. 09:00-21:00.

Souvenirs edit

  • Karawo, is a traditional fabric of Gorontalo.
  • Upiya Karanji, is a traditional Gorontalo's skullcap.

Eat edit

Ilabulo, A traditional Gorontalo snack
  • KFC (at Mega Zinur mall).
  • Night market (Just opposite Melati Hotel). A number of food stalls sell the usual suspects. Fried rice, Fried noodles, Soto Ayam and Gado Gado. The food is good, and the seating area near the stalls makes it a great place to mingle with the locals who seem ridiculously happy to say hello to you.
  • 1 Ohara Restaurant, Jalan Yos Sudarso No. 51, Tenda, +62 85240206577. 0800-2130. Here you can enjoy ikan bakar (grilled fish) from a seat overlooking the Sungai Bone (river).
  • 2 Red Black (near Citimall Gorontalo), +62 85145275512. 10:00-22:00. Your typical fast-food joint. Try the tiny burger. It's small but it's tasty. As always with western food in Indonesia, you pay more than you would for rice and noodles (ca. 10,000 for a burger), but after the Togean diet, you can treat yourself.
  • 3 Rumah Makan Intan, Limba U Satu, South Kota, +62 823 941 88866. 24 hours. Serves Gorontalo satay called sate tuna. It is tuna skewers served with separated peanut sauce and sambal.
  • 4 Rumah Makan Sabar Menanti (Rumah Makan Hola), Jl. Pertiwi No.31, Biawao, +62 435 821206. 06:00. Nasi kuning kaldu Gorontalo, a plate of yellow rice with tuna floss, served with separated vermicelli soup and boiled egg.
  • 5 Rumah Makan Tondano, Jl. Tondano, Bulotadaa, +62 852 999 45946. 07:35-22:00. Serves Milu siram, a corn soup dish with lemon basil. A delicacy from Gorontalo.

Drink edit

The local shops sell beer for you to consume in the privacy of your hotel. To enjoy a night out, I'm afraid you will have to put up with being at a karaoke place paying Rp30.000/hour for the pleasure.

Sleep edit

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget Less than Rp500,000
Mid-range Rp500,000-1,000,000
Splurge More than Rp1,000,000

Budget edit

  • 1 Grand Q Hotel Gorontalo, Jl. Nani Wartabone No.25 (couple blocks south of mall), +62 435822222. This nice hotel has a pool, hot tub, gym, restaurant, bar, and wifi. Rp486,127.
  • 2 Hotel Amaris, Jl. Sultan Botutihe No.37 (just southeast of Citymall Gorontalo and Magna Hotel), +62 435830988. Multi-story modern hotel with free breakfast, a/c, and wifi, close to mall and other downtown amenities. Rp309,353.
  • Hotel Karina. A popular cheapie with rooms to match the price. A good option if the Melati is full.
  • Hotel Paradise, Jl. Pertiwi No.59, Biawao, Kota Sel, +62 435 831934. Plenty of rooms, all have air-conditioning, cable TV and comfortable beds. Not exactly paradise, but it will do. Rp300,000.
  • Hotel Yulia. The rooms are fairly standard. Beds with spring mattresses and tv. All rooms have similar layout, but the more expensive has more space around the furniture. Rp400,000.

Mid-range edit

  • 3 Century Beach Resort, Dumbo Raya, Lorong Al. Pat 11, Leato Sel. (take Jl. Laksamana Martadinata south of Gorontalo until you reach Leato Sel township, hotel next to bay (~8 km)). A beach resort in case you want to stay on the Gulf of Tomini Rp677,632.
  • 4 Maqna Hotel by Prasanthi (next to Citymall Gorontalo), +62 4358592676. This hotel attached to the premier mall in downtown Gorontalo has a sharp image with outdoor pool, spa, gym, a/c, wifi, and restaurant, plus great views. Rp574,514.

Splurge edit

  • 5 Pulo Cinta Eco Resort, Patoameme, Botumoito, Boalemo Regency. An exotic love-shaped resort island. Rp3,500,000.

Go next edit

  • Togean islands for that Robinson Crusoe island experience. Take Tuna Tomini Ferry to Wakai: Rp65,000 for Economy Class, Rp75,000 for Tatami Class (you can lie down), or Rp89,000 for Business Class (with aircon).
  • Manado public bus departs at 5:30am (Rp110,000), shared car departs at various time (Rp200,000 for front seat, Rp175,000 for middle seat, Rp150,000 for back seat). Expect a 10-12 hours ride.
This city travel guide to Gorontalo is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.