Minahasan Tour: Highland Treasures and Timeless Traditions

Discover stunning scenery, traditional markets, and historical sites with expert local knowledge

Our Minahasan highland tour allows you to explore this incredible region and learn about the local culture and history of North Sulawesi. All of our guides are multi-lingual and have expert knowledge of the area. Here are some of the highlights included in this remarkable day trip:


Waruga are historical Minahasan stone tombs. They consist of a decorative upper part and a box-shaped lower section. Bodies were placed in the tomb facing north and in a seated position. This unique positioning meant that bodies could essentially be ‘stacked’. When a family member passed away the tomb would be opened and the next person placed inside on top of the previous body. The tomb would be closed and the decoration would be added to. The decorations show how the bodies are stacked and often include an illustration of each person’s livelihood.

This tour is guided by one of our members of staff in combination with the local caretaker who explains the history of the site and the individual waruga.

Tomohon Traditional Markets

The climate of the Tomohon Highlands is perfect for growing a variety of fresh produce. During this tour, you will visit the flower market and food market where you can see a variety of local specialties for sale.

As well as raw produce there are always local ladies who are cooking up a selection of traditional treats including the local style of donuts and traditional muffins. It’s intriguing to watch them cooking with the most basic of utensils yet turning out the most delicious sweets.

Expect vibrant colors, a hive of activity, and no shortage of opportunities here to try out your bartering skills.

Pirnaras Waterfall

Take a gentle stroll through the lush green jungle that eventually opens up to an oasis! The waterfall cascades into a beautiful pool of crystal-clear freshwater. During the walk to the waterfall, there are opportunities to spot some of Sulawesi’s rare species of birds, lizards, and butterflies.

This is a wonderful tour for any nature enthusiast and a must for photographers.

Lake Linow

Lake Linow is also known as ’the changing color lake’. The color of Lake Linow varies across its surface and throughout the day due to its highly sulfurous nature and the changing light.

During the tour, we will take an easy stroll around while looking out birdwatching for some of the bird species that have made the area surrounding the lake their home. Watch out for the bubbling geothermal mud holes along the way! This is a wonderful spot to stop to enjoy a beverage and soak up the views.

Lake Tondano

Lake Tondano is a shallow volcanic crater lake that sits at 600 meters (2,000 feet) above sea level. Lake Tondano is the largest lake in North Sulawesi and is also home to the halfbeak fish (Tondanichthys kottelati) which is endemic to the lake.

During this tour, there is the opportunity to enjoy lunch at one of the lakeside restaurants that are built on stilts over the water. As we depart from the lake you will see the many stilted houses that are home to fishermen and the surrounding rice fields that are the largest producers of rice in the region.

Japanese Caves

During World War II Japanese soldiers used a system of caves in which to hideout, store resources, and move around the region undetected. The caves are dotted along the roadside and remain intact and safe to enter.

We can enter and explore some of the larger caves that are a somber reminder of the turbulent history of Indonesia. This is a short stop that can be included as we travel from one site to the next.

Mahawu Volcano

Mount Mahawu is a stratovolcano that is capped with a crater that is 180m wide and has two pyroclastic cones – there is easy access to the crater rim via steps. Once on the rim of the crater, there are staggering views across the region, and of course, into the crater itself. Depending on your wishes, we can use this as an incredible viewing point or we can make a trek around the rim of the volcano. We can also see the mountain by hiking on Lembeh Island.

Additional Information

  • Our Minahasan Highland Tour departs from Lembeh Resort after breakfast, at around 7.30am.
  • We recommend wearing sturdy shoes (running shoes or similar) and bringing your camera!
  • The tour takes around 7 – 8 hours depending on the sites that you would like to visit.
  • Price: 1 person: IDR 1,750,000 | 2 people: IDR 1,475,000 per person | 3 people: IDR 1,375,000 per person | 4 people: IDR 1,250,000 per person
  • A traditional Minahasan lunch, entrance fees, English speaking guide, and refreshments are all included.

For those interested in more of our land tours and experiences, take a look at some of our other tours here.