Where once European colonialists grew fabulously wealthy from spices, today the Banda Islands, home of Cilu Bentang Estate, are a sleepy backwater, spread over six islands. Located one-hundred-and-eighty kilometres southeast of the Indonesian provincial capital, Ambon, the islanders, who now survive on fishing, and nutmeg, warmly welcome visitors.
Famous for their natural beauty and unspoiled marine environment, the Banda Islands are realizing a gentle upsurge in guests, who come to enjoy peaceful surroundings and a relaxed atmosphere, rich in culture, history, and nature.
With over three-hundred varieties of hard coral and five-hundred species of fish, these remote islands are a paradise for divers ̶ the Banda Islands are recognized as one of the world's top five dive locations ̶ and sport fishermen, whose adventures frequently include tales of large wahoo, sailfish, and tuna. Often exceptionally large marlin are fought to the boat and released.
Arriving on Banda Neira, time slows as a warm, friendly atmosphere envelopes days filled with interesting activities, visiting the surrounding islands rich in history and ancient nutmeg plantations, climbing the nearby volcano Gunung Api, strolling white palm lined beaches, or diving the vibrant unspoiled reefs. Traditional cultural events, such as exotic gamelan music, kora-kora races, and cakalele dances, are frequent and colourful.
"In a world of mundane sameness, Banda is an exception.
Easy to fall in love with, and difficult to leave behind,
the wealth of vivid memories you bring back,
will enrich your life forever." Albert Simms, journalist