Gorontalo is the capital of Gorontalo Province in the middle of Minahassa Peninsula, North Sulawesi. It is a non-touristy town and one of the gateways to the Togean Islands.

Gorontalo City sits on the coast of Tomini Bay halfway across North Sulawesi and is just an hour’s flight from Manado and a 12-hour ferry journey to Togean Island. Despite being a fairly large town Gorontalo is laid back and unhurried. It’s not really worth spending too much time here; however, there are one or two attractions worth seeking out.

The Benteng Otanaha Historical Site, eight kilometers from town, is a popular side trip in Gorontalo and reveals a slice of its history. There are three 16th century forts here and a set of steps takes visitors over and above them for stunning views of the region - Lake Limboto can be seen in the distance.

Getting There & Away

Gorontalo is 230kms west of Manado, the main city in the North Sulawesi region. Sam Ratulangi Airport in Manado is a 3-hour flight from Jakarta and under an hour from Gorontalo Airport. You can also take a bus to Gorontalo in around 5 hours. The Togean Islands are a 12-hour ferry journey away from Gorontalo.

Things to Do

Gorontalo Attractions

Benteng Otanaha Historical Site

This early 16th century site features three ancient forts and fine views over gorontalo and surroundings.

Side trips from Gorontalo

Togean Islands

Lying 200kms southwest of gorontalo in tomini bay, these islands have superb diving and are accessible by ferry from gorontalo.


Gorontalo Culture Festival

Showcasing gorontalo’s cultural heritage, this annual festival in early may features traditional dance, music and food.