Rising out of the shimmering emerald Banda Sea, the Banda Islands are a collection of 10 volcanic islands found on the famed spice island route.
Voted one of the best dive and snorkelling destinations in all of Indonesia, and possibly the world, this remote pocket of islands deliver raw, natural beauty, warm local culture and are packed with historical relics and interesting tales.
If a remote sailing experience is what you’re looking for, then an expedition through the Banda Islands is the order of the day.
At the centre of the islands you can discover Indonesia’s own tropical version of Mount Fuji, known as Gunung Api. The rest of the islands curl around this mountainous landscape, offering up completely untouched, picture-perfect beaches that you can make your own for the day.
Not only are the Banda Islands one of the most picturesque destinations in all of Indonesia, but up until the 19th century they were also the world’s only source of widely used spices such as nutmeg and mace. The Banda Sea plays an important role in the production and quality of the nutmeg, as the sea breezes and salty rains influence the taste and quality of the spice, which is still claimed to be the best in the world.
The central island, known as Pulau Neira, and its capital Bandaneira, is peppered with ancient, historical relics dating back to Portuguese and Dutch colonisation. Pulau Banda Besar, also known as the Great Nutmeg Island, offers up its bounty to be sampled in the form of Buah Pala, a dried sweet snack from the nutmeg tree as well as local nutmeg jam.
Further outlaying islands such as Hatta, Ai, Run and Neilaka are home to beaches of spectacular, raw beauty, limestone rock cliffs and tumbles of green jungle.
While most destinations in Indonesia offer world-class diving and snorkelling experiences, the Banda Islands truly are unique to this region of the world, where you will be greeted with some of the most pristine water conditions, all year round. Steep drop-offs characterise the underwater landscape, vibrantly decorated with coral gardens and a multitude of sea creatures and marine life.
Diving and snorkelling the Banda Islands is a peaceful experience, completely free from overcrowded diving sites, offering a true insight into the beautiful bounty that this island chain is home to.
Pop up for some air and take to the land with a climb to the highest peak in the Banda Islands – Gunung Api, definitely worth the 2-hour ascent and the stunning panoramic views. Alternatively it is worth taking a trek or a stroll across any of the islands to get a feel for the warmth of the locals and their fascinating culture.