Central Sulawesi is one of six provinces on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia. This area is bordered by the provinces of Gorontalo, West Sulawesi, South Sulawesi and South East Sulawesi. The largest city, which is also the capital, is Palu. Sulawesi itself is the world’s eleventh largest island and located between Borneo and the Maluku Islands.
Central Sulawesi has history dating back 40,000 years. It was at this time that ancient inhabitants drew still-visible cave pictures. Later, they carved about 400 megaliths to represent various forms including some human shapes. These megaliths are still in existence in the Lore Lindu National Park. Fast forward a few thousand years to Islam arriving in the province during the 17th Century. This was followed by Dutch rule the 18th Century during which time Protestant missionaries tried to convert the island. Today, about 25% of Central Sulawesians are Protestant. More recently, during WWII, the Japanese occupied Sulawesi. Following independence, Central Sulawesi was a part of North Sulawesi but became its own province in 1964.
Since the turn of the century, Central Sulawesi has been plagued by religious tensions. Violence between the Christians and Muslims has claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people since 1999. Although violent riots occurred in 2006, it does seem that the area’s instability has been quelled in the last few years. Today, tourism is just beginning to return to this beautiful province. Although it may still be hard to reach, those who visit are rewarded with verdant nature and sunny seascapes.
Most of activities in Central Sulawesi center around the underwater environment. However, visitors should also take some time to enjoy sea kayaking or hiking around Una Una volcano. The other draw in this province is Lore Lindu National Park where guests can see human-form megaliths dating to 1500BC. Day hikes or multi-day treks can be completed in the park.
Getting to Central Sulawesi is a bit of a challenge. There are airports in Palu and Luwuk with domestic connections to Manado and Makassar. It is also possible to reach destinations in Central Sulawesi by bus from other provinces on the island. Keep in mind that roads are often damaged and traveling on them can be quite slow. If you are trying to reach a coastal resort, consider a private boat transfer or catching a ride on a local ferry.