This tour is minimum 6 passengers and is guided by Tim Harvey (recently featured as a 'hero of travel' by Traveller Magazine).
EVEN if you don’t know it yet, chances are the Spice Islands are deeply embedded in your culture. Anyone who’s ever been to a pirate party or watched Pirates of the Caribbean will have heard of the East India Trade company. The Caribbean had nothing to do with it. That wasn’t until the British finally smuggled Nutmeg to Grenada in the early 1800s. Until then, Banda Neira endured a bloody history with the Dutch, who fiercely defended the islands, building their empire on a spice worth more than gold. The pirate ships of old, Pinisi Schooners, built in the tradition of Dutch seafarers, still dot the horizon, smuggling tourists to this far flung colony. These days the ‘forgotten islands’ are just that, forgotten by hollywood and forgotten by America (these islands were traded to the Dutch by the British for New York in the 1600s). Yet they are closer to the port of Darwin (Australia) than they are to Indonesia’s capital Jakarta. What will impress you as you explore, is the beauty and sophistication of these islands. Dutch colonial architecture, fortresses, mountains, spice plantations, beautiful coral reefs and beaches ... it’s no wonder it’s sometimes referred to as the Caribbean of Indonesia.
These days, the islands are known by just 2,000 discerning travellers every year, who would describe them as one of the most beautiful places on Earth.
- Enjoy full board waterfront accommodation
- Take daily guided excursions
- Chance to snorkel or swim the famous coral-encrusted lava flows
- Learn about and explore the islands’ rich colonial and indigenous history
- Discover remote beaches and idyllic hideaways
- Smell and taste the island’s famous spices
Note, this itinerary is indicative. The order of days could change depending on conditions.
DAY 1 (D) Arrive Ambon, transfer to hotel and overnight.
DAY 2 (B, L, D) Breakfast, hotel transfer and boat trip to Banda Neira (4 hours) with chance to spot whales enroute.
DAY 3 (B, L, D) Morning visit to Rhun Island, a British settlement first colonized in 1599. You will be guided by a knowledgable tour leader and lunched will be served by a local family in Rhun. Afternoon visit to Ay, one of the main nutmeg producers and visit the sand dunes of Nailaka Island Snorkelling and swimming these locations is beautiful.
DAY 4 (B, L, D) Spice tour to Banda Besar to learn all about the plantations. A snorkelling trip at the end of the day has the chance of encountering massive Ocean Sunfish.
DAY 5 (B, L, D) Visit to Hatta Island, the jewel of Banda Neira and its long sandy beaches and tropical scenery.
DAY 6 (B, L, D) Morning visit to Pisang. This stunning natural marvel has coral growing over relatively recent lava flow. Late afternoon visit to fort Belgica for sunset cocktails and canapes.
DAY 7 (B, L, D) Volcano Hiking Gunung Api (optional - if you’d prefer, you can snorkel locally). Rise early to begin your hike to the 660m peak of Gunung Api. The trip takes about 5 hours and affords you a 260 degree view of Banda Neira.
DAY 8 Transfer to airport for your speed boat trip back to Ambon to catch your onward flight.
Style of travel
This trip is suitable for any age. You only need a basic level of fitness. This trip can be tailored to your specific interests and needs. Your guide will be on hand to look after you throughout.