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The Banda archipelago is steeped in centuries of bloody history over control of its rare and lucrative nutmeg and mace. What remains of its past are relics from Portuguese, Dutch and English forts, a 19th-century church and its Dutch graves, and musty museums commemorating the British invasion of Dutch-dominated Banda and Indonesia’s success at eventually ridding itself of colonial rule. Looming over Banda is Gunung Api, a volcano climbable when it is resting; nutmeg, mango and coffee plantations dot the landscape. What draws tourists to Banda’s remote and difficult-to-reach scenic shores is virtually unspoiled snorkeling and diving in one ...

The Banda archipelago is steeped in centuries of bloody history over control of its rare and lucrative nutmeg and mace. What remains of its past are relics from Portuguese, Dutch and English forts, a 19th-century church and its Dutch graves, and musty museums commemorating the British invasion of Dutch-dominated Banda and Indonesia’s success at eventually ridding itself of colonial rule. Looming over Banda is Gunung Api, a volcano climbable when it is resting; nutmeg, mango and coffee plantations dot the landscape. What draws tourists to Banda’s remote and difficult-to-reach scenic shores is virtually unspoiled snorkeling and diving in one of the country’s deepest submarine gorges and warm seas with excellent visibility. Prominent are sharks, whales, giant sea turtles, dolphins and other pelagics in deeper waters and an abundance of colorful tropical fish hovering around coral reefs. Particularly alluring are sites along the subsea lava flows left behind by Gunung Api’s 1988 eruption, a shallow lagoon and vertical walls. With effort, dive adventures can continue in the Kai and Tanimbar archipelagos southeast of Banda.

Linda Hoffman
About the Expert

Linda Hoffman is a contributing editor for five Periplus guides, including Bali (two editions), Papua, Java, Nusa Tenggara, and eight editions of Insight Guides Indonesia and the Indonesia section of their Southeast Asia guidebook.

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Linda Hoffman for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Ten small volcanic islands in the Banda Sea, 1,200 miles east of Java.
  • Language: Indonesian
  • Currency: Indonesian Rupiah
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Best visited in dry season (April–October).