With over 17,000 islands in the archipelago, Indonesia has no shortage of beaches. From the savannahs of Komodo to the historically significant Spice Islands, there’s something new to discover on every shore.
Aboard the Aqua Blu, guests are able to seek out their ideal tropical getaway — whether the day calls for underwater adventures or a sun-soaked siesta. As we go island-hopping, there’ll be plenty of opportunities to indulge in Indonesia’s diverse range of experiences.
Guests will find that there’s a lot more to beaches than just sand and water. They all have their unique stories to tell, whether it’s through rare wildlife, stunning backdrops, or artifacts of a past long gone.
We spoke to Aqua Blu’s Cruise Director Glenn Wappett about his favorite beaches in Indonesia.
Moyo Island: Swimming with Sharks
As the Aqua Blu sets sail on its 7-night Bali to Komodo National Park itinerary, the first stop is a remote hilly island called Moyo. The ship sets its anchors down near Amanwana Resort, a luxury hideaway set in a cove on the island’s western coast.
“There’s a beautiful moon-shaped beach there which faces the sunset,” Glenn recalls. “It’s a stunning area with Rusa deer running around the jungle and Blacktip reef sharks swimming in the shallow waters.”
Overlooking the turquoise waters of Amanwana Bay, this stop offers guests the opportunity to go kayaking, snorkeling, and paddleboarding. The bay is a protected marine park which is home to a variety of exotic species. Guests are able to get up close with sea turtles, spotted rays, and puffer fish, among other animals.
Moving inwards, it becomes apparent that there’s beauty on both sides of the beach. Hilly tropical forests are visible in the backdrop, which have the Mata Jitu waterfall hidden somewhere within. Enroute to this spectacular landmark, there are sure to be more animal sightings, including long tail macaques and flying foxes.
Horseshoe Bay: Pretty in Pink
Fast forward to day six of the Bali to Komodo National Park itinerary and guests will find themselves exploring the sights of Horseshoe Bay in Komodo.
Among these is one of Indonesia’s most iconic destinations: Pink Beach. Named after the color of its sand, this vibrant beach looks just as surreal in person as it does in the picture. The contrast between the sand and the turquoise water makes it feel like a place you’d find in your dreams.
“The sand is pink because of the coral reef which flanks it,” Glenn explains. “The erosion of the corals lends to its color.” Along with this, the sand is also made up of calcium carbonate left behind by foraminifera – tiny sea creatures which have red and pink shells.
Apart from Pink Beach, guests will also have the chance to see other sandy shores in Horseshoe Bay. From a slight distance though, and for good reason. “We can’t visit all of the beaches in Komodo because they have Komodo dragons living there,” Glenn says.
Komodo dragons are the largest lizards on Earth and can weigh more than 300 pounds. On top of that, they’re poisonous as well. They are endemic to a number of Indonesian islands, with the largest subpopulation being found on the namesake Komodo islands.
“We take the tenders within a stone’s throw away of beaches in the south of Komodo. Here, we can see Komodo dragons, wild boars, and eagles,” says Glenn.
Dawera & Daweloor: The Forgotten Islands
On Aqua Blu’s annual 12-night trip from Flores to Spice Islands, guests will have the opportunity to visit the pristine white sand beaches of Dawera and Daweloor.
These sparsely populated destinations are part of the Forgotten Islands – named as such, since they’re largely isolated from the rest of Indonesia and the world.
Because of their location, the waters around these islands remain untouched. Fishing vessels don’t venture this far out, and the natural ecosystems are remarkably well-conserved.
This makes them an ideal location for diving. Guests will find themselves immersed in nature of the purest form, spotting marine life such as hammerhead sharks, octopus, and barracuda fish.
Visiting Dawera and Daweloor is akin to exploring uncharted territories. The locations are barely documented, and guests are sure to leave with first-hand experiences that you couldn’t read about anywhere else.
Run Island or New York?
The island of Run is defined by its historical past. In the 17th century, it was valued for its nutmeg production – a commodity which was more valuable than gold at the time.
“Run was the largest producer of nutmeg out of all the islands in the area,” Glenn explains. “The Dutch controlled all the others but the English had taken control of Run.”
This was a threat to the spice trade monopoly which the Dutch had at the time. In their attempts to defend the island, the English set up fortifications which continue to stand to this day. “You see canons just lying around – the kind of artifacts which would normally be in museums,” Glenn says.
Eventually, the English gave control of Run to the Dutch in exchange for the island of Manhattan, which is present day New York.
Surrounded by this rich history, guests aboard the Aqua Mare get to explore fort ruins before arriving at the beach for a sundown cocktail party. Surely, there’d be no struggle finding icebreakers after a day like that.
Wofoh and Wayag Islands: If Norway was Tropical
Those on the 7-night itinerary through Raja Ampat will get to have a sundown party of their own too. “Just south of the equator, there’s a beach on an island called Wofoh,” Glenn says.
After an afternoon of diving, snorkeling, and water sports, guests will get to cool off on a private beach while sipping on bespoke cocktails. “At Run, the sun sets over the sea, but over here it sets behind you. You get to see the light rays trickle off the Wayag islands in the distance,” Glenn describes.
Seeing the Wayag Islands from afar is quite the experience, but when you get up close, their grandeur really sets in. The very next day, guests will sail over and open their eyes to the island’s limestone islets and lagoons.
“The island’s topography features these towering heights which look like they belong in Norway, covered with snow. Instead, it’s mostly jungle,” Glenn says. “It’s a different experience because you’re just south of the Equator. It feels like the edge of the world.”
Guests will make their way to the island’s Castaway beach in the afternoon, where they’ll get to board kayaks and go off exploring hidden lagoons.
Aqua Blu is a long-range ocean explorer yacht sailing the East Indonesia’s most prized destinations, including Komodo National Park, Spice Islands and Raja Ampat on unforgettable 7- and 12-night itineraries. Book now or contact us at [email protected] for more information.