The inland region of this area is home to diverse ethnic groups and features dramatic mountain ranges, rice paddies, hidden villages, and spectacular waterfalls. The sea area of South Sulawesi is part of the coral triangle, making it a popular cruising destination for yachts. Some of the most notable areas include the Wakatobi Group, Selayar Islands, Bira Beach, and Taka Bonerate Atoll. Bira Beach is famous for traditional boat building of the iconic Indonesian (now UNESCO protected) Phinisi sailing vessel and is the home of the Bugis, a seafaring people feared by European colonialists, who inspired the creation of the word “Boogeyman.” The area is also rich in cultural trade history and is home to the ancient artefact of the Dongson Kettledrum, the largest of its kind. A great stop off to see these giant wooden vessels getting built on the beach in still traditional methods.
The Selayar Islands offer white sand beaches, crystal-clear waters, and unique wildlife, including the Spectral Tarsier. The area is also popular for diving trips and is known for its wall diving and protected coastlines. The Wakatobi Islands are a national marine park and a premier international diving location, renowned for its rich marine life, including hundreds of species of fish and coral. Jacques Cousteau referred to Wakatobi as an “Underwater Nirvana.” Over 50 dive sites are available, and conservation efforts are being led by the Wakatobi Resort. The Wakatobi islands are known for their steep drop off wall reefs, making for amazing diving but tricky anchorages.
Taka Bonerate National Park is the third largest atoll in the world and is home to a diverse range of animals, including sharks, octopus, turtles, and dugongs. The area is also a popular cruising destination for activities like kayaking, snorkeling, and dolphin watching.
The Tana Toraja region in Sulawesi is a unique and eerie cultural experience for visitors. This area is still deeply rooted in its traditional customs and rituals, with the life of a deceased person celebrated through multiple festivals after their passing. The re-clothing and washing of the corpse during these ceremonies is a significant event and is held three times a year. Visitors may also witness traditional practices such as infant burials within tree trunks, open tombs in cliff sides, and stone graves representing canoes or boats which store human skulls and bones. At the heart of Tana Toraja lies Kete Kesu, a well-preserved and beautiful architectural site. The highlands of Tana Toraja are also a famous coffee growing region, producing dark and chocolatey coffee accents celebrated around the world. Additionally, the area offers a unique opportunity to learn about the traditional customs and practices of the Torajan people, and to witness how they continue to preserve their cultural heritage.
The majority of journeys to South Sulawesi are either originating from Bali or traveling to Bali. The major commercial port city of Makassar is not typically a favored destination for yachts.