THE HEART OF THE ANCIENT SPICE ROUTE
The Banda Islands are a group of ten small volcanic islands in the Banda Sea about 2,000km east of Java.
The islands combine spectacular landscapes with an intriguing history – as the world’s only source of nutmeg and mace in the colonial era, the islands were particularly valuable assets – the Portuguese, Dutch and British have all left their mark here.
Crumbling fortresses, volcanoes, warm turquoise seas and some of the best diving in the world can all be found on this remote collection of tiny tropical isles.
Arrive to a warm welcome in Ambon and board the vessel at Tulehu to meet your crew for your voyage.
Depending on arrival time we then set sail to Nusa Laut. Here we can have the chance to snorkel or dive.
Overnight to Banda Naira.
Approach the Banda Islands as the sun rises, greeted by Kora-Kora war canoes as the boat enters the harbor.
Stroll through history at the Dutch Fort Belgica on Banda Naira, once the most hotly contested island in the world in the 16th and 17th century and learn about the colorful story of the Old World spice trade.
NAIRA GUNUNG API
Spend the day exploring the oldest nutmeg plantations in the world, learning about the cultivation and history of the spice. Hike the active volcano of Gunung Banda Api early in the morning. And then we will dive in Lava Flow dive site. In this remote part of Indonesia, experience local life with traditions unchanged for decades before departing Banda Harbour at night.
Savour a sunrise breakfast on board against the backdrop of 300-metre tall cliffs of Pulau Manuk, a volcanic island rising 3 kilometres from the seabed.
This is a haven for fish-hunting birds, as well as sea snakes and reef sharks flocking to enjoy the area’s underwater thermal springs. With some luck, you will get a chance to have an encounter with hammerhead sharks too. After sundown, cruise northwards to Pulau Run, a historic island traded by the British for Manhattan in 1667.
Arrive at Pulau Run, the westernmost of the Banda Islands, at sunrise. Swim, fish, snorkel, and dive in the crystal-clear waters, or go on village tours, trekking and birding.
Attempt to search for the ruins of an old British fort before arriving at a pristine beach where a cocktail party awaits.
On the north side of Nusa Laut, bike through the scenic fishing villages of Ameth and Akon. This is also home of the dugong, the Southeast Asian cousin of the American manatee and a vulnerable species.
Cruise to Maulana Island, a small but heavily forested island with fantastic reefs.
Early morning, depart for the island outpost of Saparua, sailing along the scenic north coast of Ambon.
Disembark en route at the coastal town of Hila to explore the old Dutch fortification, Fort Amsterdam. Continue onto Saparua, where a host of water activities await. Discover local pottery-making at Ouw village, visit a local market, see European relics, explore bird habitats or go diving.
Awake to the bustle of Ambon and disembark after a sumptuous breakfast for your outbound flight.