In all our time sailing East Indonesia, we’ve learnt that it has something to offer for everyone. The archipelago is an all-round dream destination, with adventures centered around nature, wildlife, and culture. Aboard the Aqua Blu, we take it a step further too – chef Benjamin Cross’ world-class cuisine allows guests to explore the region through its incredible scents and flavors. What better way to learn about the Spice Islands than a hotpot which blends all its renowned spices?
Aqua Blu’s 7-night itineraries see it sailing three incredible destinations across East Indonesia – Bali & Komodo National Park, Spice Islands, and Raja Ampat. And if that’s not enough, the yacht also offers exclusive cross-destination voyages, often limited to one sailing per year.
This March, we’ll set off on an epic 12-night sailing from Raja Ampat to the Spice Islands, bringing together the best of both itineraries. Immediately after, Aqua Blu will chart a course to Flores for another 12 nights, stopping along the Forgotten Islands to explore Indonesia’s hidden gems and attractions.
We believe there’s plenty to see in East Indonesia for a fortnight and beyond. Here’s a look at the archipelago’s greatest highlights.
1. Corals for days – Serendipitously located in the Coral Triangle
Dubbed “Amazon of the Seas”, the Coral Triangle is the world’s center of marine biodiversity. It only covers 1.6% of the Earth’s oceanic area but 76% of all known coral species reside in these waters. As it happens, some of the richest sections of the Coral Triangle can be found in Indonesian waters.
Teeming with life and largely unsullied by modern civilization, Indonesia’s pristine waters are on every diver’s bucket list. They are home to 6 out of 7 of the world’s marine turtle species, as well as stingless jellyfish which can only be found on three islands around the world. Imagine swimming with breathtaking marine life like manta rays, pelagic fishes, and various sharks such as hammerhead sharks, whale sharks, and even the rare silver-tipped sharks.
It’s an aquatic adventure that everyone deserves to experience in their lifetime. On Aqua Blu, there are daily opportunities for snorkeling and diving, led by our professional dive guide and crew.
2. The floor is lava – Indonesia is home to a third of the world’s volcanoes
Sandwiched between 2 of the world’s most active seismic regions – the Pacific Ring of Fire and the Alpide Belt – volcanoes are a more-than-common sight across East Indonesia. There are over 140 volcanoes dotting the archipelago, majority of which are still active.
While sailing on Aqua Blu, guests will have the opportunity to visit some of Indonesia’s most exciting volcanic attractions. In the Spice Islands, we’ll spend an afternoon hiking the active volcano of Gunung Banda Api. Decorated in forest cover, the sloping green cone is home to a wide variety of wildlife including rare tropicbirds and fruit doves.
Kelimutu – an active volcano found on the island of Flores – is another magnificent climb which guests will get to experience. At its summit, besides the rewarding bird’s-eye view of Indonesia’s coastline, travelers get to see the one-of-a-kind, color-changing crater lakes. Thanks to the dynamic chemical composition of the lakes, they always present a surprise – their color can range from white to turquoise, red to brown, and at times, even black.
3. I spy with my little eye… – One of the world’s most biodiverse forests
Yes, the Amazon is the king of biodiversity. But next in line for the throne, and just as magnificent, we have Indonesia. Proof in numbers: Indonesia comprises just a humble 1% of the Earth’s land mass but its forests houses 17% of the world’s bird species, 12% of mammal species, and 10% of plant species.
It’s where you can find the only group of islands inhabited by the Komodo Dragon, the world’s largest reptiles – reminiscent of the fire-breathing dragons from fairy tales and ancient mythology. The islands in question are part of Komodo National Park – a UNESCO protected site found between Sumbawa and Flores.
Komodo Dragons grow to an average of 2 to 3 meters in length and can run at speeds up to 20 kilometers per hour. Aboard our tenders on Aqua Blu, you’ll have a chance to sail up to the shore and see these beasts up-close, while still remaining perfectly safe.
4. Remember me? – Islands unchanged for generations
The Forgotten Islands, also known as the South Moluccas, are a long, remote chain of islands stretching over 1000 kilometers. Owing to sparse population and a lack of moorings and shelters, the islands are mostly unexplored. They’re isolated from the rest of Indonesia and by extension, the world.
As it turns out, this inaccessibility may be a blessing in disguise. The Forgotten Islands boast healthy and picturesque coral reefs. They’re also home to tribal communities, who have been able to preserve their traditions, undisturbed by the world around them.
On Aqua Blu’s 12-night sailing from the Spice Islands to Flores, guests have the unique opportunity to visit these islands and learn about the local cultures and practices. We also get to witness traditional dance performances by the Abui tribe – a rare treat that can’t be sought anywhere else in the world.
Convinced? Gift yourself and your loved ones the trip of a lifetime aboard Aqua Blu. What better way to experience all Indonesia has to offer than a 12-night itinerary across its most renowned destinations.