The Maluku Islands (or Moluccas) are also commonly referred to as the Spice Islands. They encompass many islands, estimated at over 1,000, of which the better known are Halamahera, Ambon, and the Banda Islands.
These mainly verdant, forested and mountainous islands sit in the magnificent Maluku Sea, home to vast and remotely scattered coral reefs in deep seas. They sit between two lines of flora and fauna designation, Asian and Australasian, and are host to a vast array of species. As well as being home to the famous spices of clove, nutmeg and mace, the cultivation of coffee, cocoa and fruit generates further income on the fertile slopes fed over the years by ash deposits from the many active volcanoes.
Diving Ambon bAY
Spice Island Divers are ideally placed to explore the excellent muck diving sites of Ambon Bay, a large, deep bay on the southern reaches of Ambon Island. What this region lacks in tropical beaches and holiday charm, it more than makes up for in uncrowded dive sites and rare, magical marine life. This spot will be particularly appealing for budding underwater photographers or those searching for critters such as frogfish, lacy scorpionfish and mimic octopus.
The resort house reef is on one of the area’s most renowned dive sites, while a range of other dive sites can be reached within a few minutes. A little farther away, wrecks and some coral reefs dives can provide balance.
LIVEABOARD DIVING IN THE BANDA SEA
Ambon Island is also the starting point for liveaboards that venture into the Banda Sea in two periods of the year when conditions allow. The remote and deep sea offers thrilling atolls and dive sites that are seldom visited, with the opportunity for big fish encounters and pristine coral reefs. Certain liveaboards tend to focus on this region between April and May, and then between September and early November each year. For more information and to check liveaboard schedules, visit our Indonesian liveaboards section.
Banda Sea liveaboards can be combined with resort based diving in Ambon Bay for a varied and enjoyable combined itinerary. Contact us to find out more.
How do I get there?
It is recommended to fly into Jakarta on Singapore Airlines (via Singapore) or Emirates (via Dubai), with a further domestic return flight from Jakarta to Ambon. Overnights on the way out and back are likely to be required due to flight schedules, as well as allowing for some slack in the itinerary to absorb any potential flight delays.
The intimate Spice Island Divers Resort offers daily diving to all local dive sites, many of which are just a few minutes from the resort. Groups are limited to a maximum of just 4 divers per guide. Smaller groups may be possible upon request locally.
In addition to daily boat diving, the house reef offers further diving opportunities, while night dives are popular due to the plethora of unusual marine life found in this area. Blackwater or ‘Bonfire’ diving is also available, but needs to be pre-arranged.
Diving and accommodation packages can be arranged starting from just 3 nights and 8 boat dives, also with unlimited house reef diving in daylight hours. Nitrox is complimentary when booking a package of diving and accommodation.
Please discuss your requirements with the Regaldive team, who will prepare a quotation suited to your needs.
EXTRAS IN RESORT
Prices listed below are an indication only, and subject to change.
- Fuel surcharge for faraway dive sites: From IDR 3,500,000 per trip (3 dives) based on 2 divers.
- Nitrox 32%: Complimentary with diving and accommodation packages
- Full equipment excluding computer: IDR 632,500 per day
- Dive computer: IDR 205,700 per day
- Fins: IDR 80,300 per day
- Mask & Snorkel: IDR 80,300 per day
- Wetsuit: IDR 157,300 per day
- BCD: IDR 143,000 per day
- Regulator: IDR 172,700 per day
- Dive light: IDR 157,300 per day
The Maluku Islands have an equatorial tropical climate, with day-time temperatures averaging 30°C (mid-80s°F) throughout the year.
Central and southern Maluku Islands experience the dry monsoon between October to March and the wet monsoon from May to August, which is the reverse of the rest of Indonesia. The dry monsoon's average maximum temperature is 30°C while the wet's average is 23°C.
Ambon is in the central and southern group.
Northern Maluku has its wet monsoon from December to March in line with the rest of Indonesia.
Each island group have their own climatic variations, and the larger islands tend to have drier coastal lowlands and their mountainous hinterlands are wetter.
Average water temperature is 27 - 30°C year round.
GMT +8 to 9 hours.
Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). Approximate rates:
£1 = 18,931 IDR
€1 = 16,750 IDR
$1 = 13,653 IDR
Cash payments only at present - Euro and US Dollars (notes prior to 2006 not accepted).
It is recommended to change a small amount of IDR before you travel, then you can draw cash from the ATMs or exchange bureau in Jakarta.
Although it is entirely voluntary, tipping is a recognised part of life in this region of the world. Some local staff may look to guests for personal recognition of particular services offered.
Flights are with Singapore airlines, via Singapore or Emirates via Dubai, into Jakarta.
A return internal flight from Jakarta to Ambon is then required. Overnights in Jakarta may be required subject to flight times.
Stopovers in Singapore or Dubai can be arranged.
Passports and Visas
Passengers travelling to Indonesia should have minimum six months valid on their passport from the date of return to the UK, plus one full page free. Hotel receptions may be required to take a photocopy of your passport for registration purposes.
British nationals travelling to Indonesia can enter the country without a visa for up to 30 days at certain airports' Immigration Check Points: Soekarno-Hatta Jakarta ( CGK ), Ngurah Rai - Bali (DPS), Kualanamu, Medan (KNO), Juanda - Surabaya (SUB), Hang Nadim - Batam (BTH).
You won’t be able to extend your stay beyond 30 days if you enter under this visa waiver scheme. Entry via Manado and certain other entry points is still subject to a visa on arrival at a cost of $35 (30 day visa) and $15 (7 day visa). Please note that visitors must purchase a visa if their ultimate destination is not one of those listed above e.g. guests going to Manado.
For further information about entry requirements, visit the website of the Indonesian Embassy in London or your nearest Indonesian embassy.
There are no compulsory vaccinations for travel to Indonesia, but we recommend protection against typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A and polio. Vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed before departure with your GP or local travel clinic. Advice on Malaria should be sought. Further information regarding vaccinations for travel to this country can be found at www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk and from your local healthcare provider.
Nabucco's Cape Paperu Resort
Amazing Trip: 77 days, 3 island groups and 133 dives!
"As this was to be my first visit to Indonesia, I was a little unsure as to what to expect. I had read about how good the diving can be, but thought that I should keep an open mind and just enjoy the adventure. As it happens I enjoyed every single dive that I made (133). There was always something different to see, from mantas and fast drift diving at Derawan Island to wall diving at Manado, muck diving at Lembeh to unspoilt coral gardens and fish life at Cape Paperu resort on Saparua Island.
The transfers and ground arrangements were excellent, though at first I thought them to be rather ambitious; 77 days; 3 island groups; 3 overnight hotels; 4 resorts; 6 ground transfers; 4 water transfers and 11 flights, something was bound to go wrong. In the end, apart from a 20 minute wait for a vehicle at Berau Airport, all transfers and ground arrangements went according to plan.
The accommodation varied from fairly basic to luxury (In my eyes); every room that I stayed in had a ceiling fan and air-conditioning, which after a day’s diving, was really appreciated. For me, making the best of what was available at each of the resorts was all part of the ‘experience’.
Not being the sort of person who expects high cuisine, I found all of the meals that I was offered more than adequate, sheets and towels were all changed on a regular basis, and the rooms were clean and tidy.
I like diving; just being in the water is a pleasure for me, and I can always find something of interest to look at. Because of the amount of time I spent at each resort it was inevitable that I would visit a dive site more than once, which in some ways was good because I knew where to spend time looking for things of interest.
I found all of the dive centre staff, and in fact all of the Indonesian people that I met and talked to, to be very helpful, cheerful, and it was a pleasure to be amongst them.
I have so many wonderful memories of my trip, but a particular highlight was one of the first drift dives that I made while staying on Derawan Island. At the dive site, after hooking on to the reef and floating off the bottom in the current, I was slowly engulfed in a huge school of Barracuda, so close I could have reached out and touched them. I was completely surrounded by them on either side, below and above me. The school was so dense that it was as though the sun had gone in and clouds had darkened the sky.
I was extremely happy with Regaldive; you answered all of my queries promptly and were most helpful in every way. I will certainly book with you again."