Gorontalo is the newest province on Sulawesi. Recently separated from North Sulawesi, The province was established in December 2000 after being split from North Sulawesi Province. The capital is a city with the same name, Gorontalo, it covers more 12,000 sq. km. with a population of 840,000. The area is composed of extensive coastlines, rugged mountains, and a large central valley almost entirely surrounded by steep slopes. The Mountainous panorama of Gorontalo serves a magnificent scene, and it’s also a place to live for various kinds of unique animals and trees, such as Babi Rusa, Anoa, Tarsius and Maleo bird, those are kinds of animal that lived in both of the forest. Maleo bird has big egg that bigger than bird itself. Tarsius is the smallest primate in the whole world; it has approximately 10 cm length. Gorontalo’s Forest has Ebony, Lingua, antu, Meranti and Rattan trees.
In the south part of Gorontalo’s sea, which is known as Tomini Bay, there are a number of small islands that spreads around the sea. Those islands are still unsettled and the white sand surrounds each of the islands. Tomini Bay is a heaven for the 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.
According to local legend, Gorontalo appeared when the seas subsided, leaving a wide land area with three mountains in the middle. This legend is plausible given the presence of high limestone cliffs along the southern coastline where ancient corals and giant shells are clearly evident in the cliffs. Scuba diving along this coastline is spectacular. Before the arrival of foreign influences, Gorontalo was organized into a federation of five kingdoms. This federation had a representative assembly to choose the king and then to advise him. Succession was not hereditary but based on the worthiness of the candidate and popular sentiment. A bad king could be - and was - removed by vote. Queens also came to power. This system had been functioning since the 14th century.
Located just north of the equator, Gorontalo City charms visitors with its architecture and shade trees, streets bustling with horse drawn buggies and motorized rickshaws, and friendly residents. Those shouts of "Hello, mister!" mean that people are really pleased to see you. In addition to the Fort Otonaha complex overlooking Lake Limboto, other areas of interest include Lombongo Hot Springs and an easy jungle trek to a waterfall in Nani Wartabone National Park (formerly Dumoga-Bone). Although Gorontalo City is often a transit point for those going to the Togian (Togean) islands, diving is seasonally available from the City.
Gorontalo tourism travel guide and tourist attractions popular destinations can be enumerated as follow :
The Sacred Graveyard of Ju Panggola.
Sacred Graveyard of Ju Panggola built in 14th century is located in the sub district of Dembe I, 8 km from the center of Kota Barat in Gorontalo city. People of Gorontalo that live around the cemetery consider this cemetery as a sacred place because it has a unique characteristic, related to the Islam culture. Therefore, it isn’t surprising to find out that many of visitors do meditation around the cemetery area.
Olele Sea Garden.
Olele Sea Garden is distinctive from others and has the marine resources. It is closest diving point, only 45 minutes from Gorontalo city. Other diving site is Lahilote Beach.
The beach is a gate to the underwater paradise. The amazing beauty of underwater life on this area has been recognized by many of the divers. It is proofed by the enthusiasm of the divers who come to this area. Bitilia Sea Garden some diving spots with remarkable beautiful underwater view. This place is 15 minutes drive from Boalemo Indah Beach.
Lahilote Beach is located at Pohe Village, about 6 km from down town of Gorontalo. This beach it self is worth to visit but sometimes crowded by local people at weekend.
Boalemo Beach is white sand seashore with calm and clear water, can make yourself comfortable and relax, swimming, boating, and diving. Along the seashore, there are coconuts and pine trees. Moreover, it has some luxuries resorts.
Saronde islands that are part of Gorontalo Province is a small uninhabited island that relies on the potential of natural and cultural charm, located in the northern Gulf of Kwandang , North Gorontalo, it can be reach about 1 hour from Gorontalo City (including 30 minute ride a boat from Kwandang Harbor).
Saronde island has about 1 km (a half miles) long beach, on the North to the West coast consists of white sand beach, on the South to the east filled with rock neatly arranged and surrounded by beautiful coral reefs.
Saronde Island is pleasant island in tropical paradise, here visitor may do swim, snorkeling, diving, fishing, or sunbathing on the beautiful white sandy beach.
Leato beach is white sand beach. The seashore with its white sand give us an impression of making refreshment to the visitors. Watch the process of repairing wooden boat in traditional way. The underwater life of this place is quite interesting. The beautiful coral-reef, the unique of fishes and sunken ship has become the attraction for the divers. This beach is located on North Leato, about 12 km from the town center. Nani Wartabone Monument.
It is a historical monument of a local Gorontalo hero, named Nani Wartabone. He played an important role for the independence of Gorontalo. This monument is located in the center of Taruna Remaja Gorontalo Park.
Hunto Mosque (Sultan Amai Mosque).
Hunto Mosque is one of the oldest mosque in Gorontalo (300 years old). The Mosque is located in Siendeng Village in Gorontalo city. In this mosque, there are well and beduk (an Islamic traditional drum) that has the same age as the Mosque itself.
Lake Limboto locates at village named Iluta, which is 10 km from the town center, marks the entrance of this Lake. The unique characteristic of this lake lies on the variety of freshwater fish species, which only can be seen on this lake. Besides, on this lake there was a landing field for the amphibian airplane name Katelina, which carried The First President of Republic Indonesia, Soekarno.
Central of Kerawang.
Central of Kerawang Handicraft Industry (Karawo). Kerawang is one of Gorontalo’s traditional handmade cloth.