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Gorontalo expresses itself as a “Culture City”, as seen from the variety of traditional dances, music, and legends that it has. From colonial heritage buildings and fortresses to beach resorts with modern facilities, Gorontalo city is a veritable treasure chest of sights and experiences to be had.
The city of Gorontalo, capital of the province of 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.
Life here is quiet and simple, like a clean and friendly, rural country town. Tourists are virtually unknown within the town, so you can experience the cultural, daily workings of a Sulawesi town.
There are many small islands around the north and the south of the province, 67 of which have been identified and named. In 1525, with Portuguese assistance, three small rock fortresses were built overlooking the waters of Lake Limboto. Still in place today, the Fort Otonaha complex has commanding views.
The people of Gorontalo achieved independence from Dutch rule in 1942. The fight was against colonialism was led by guerrilla, freedom fighter and nationall hero Nani Wartabone, who forced out the occupying Japanese during World War II. Since the city escaped Allied bombings during the war, a number of Dutch-colonial era buildings are still intact. Although many are in poor condition, Gorontalo City still has that distinctive colonial appearance.
After Indonesia proclaimed its independence in 1945, Gorontalo became part of the province of North Sulawesi, but in the year 2000 Gorontalo a separate province.
The province is divided into five districts and one city. These are Boalemo, Bone Bolango, Gorontalo, Pohuwato, and North Gorontalo, and Gorontalo City, which is also the province’s capital city.
Visitors to Gorontalo no longer need to travel overland. Regular flights now connect Gorontalo with the outside world. Daily flights are available from Jakarta via Makassar ( 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. Tickets can be bought online at this website: www.lionair.co.id.
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.