Saparua

View of Sapuaru from the Dutch Fort

Saparua is one of the   Lease Islands and is a popular getaway from nearby Ambon. Political unrest caused a dramatic drop in tourism in all of the Maluku islands, but before that, visitors found their way to Saparua pleasant beaches, coral reefs and historic Dutch fort all the time. Today, this island -the largest of the Lease Islands- is restoring its former tourist facilities and is being rediscovered as a fun destination in this part of Indonesia.

Understand

This is a mostly Christian islands with some 17 villages and about 32.000 inhabitants, making it the most populous of the Lease Islands. The most notable towns include Haria and Saparua city.

Get in

The typical way in is (unsurprisingly) by boat. Starting in the early morning, several speed boats normally leave from Tulehu on the east side of the Leihitu pensinsula of Ambon. They usually arrive at the village of Haria on Saparua. Around noon there's a daily connection by wooden boat, stopping in Haria as well. This is also your only rather secure option when getting out, but to go back you'll need to catch the wooden boat as early as 6.30am in Haria. Note that there are no guarantees for speed boat connections and you may have to wait for a while or pay up and charter one, if you're in a hurry.

From Tulehu, a slow car-passenger ferry heads to the port close to Kulur, which is in the north-west of Saparua and mostly useful if you want to get to the beach there. The villages of Itawaka and Mahu also have irregular speedboat connections to Tulehu.

Get around

There are fairly good roads on the island, and share taxi's and motorcycle taxi's are a good way to get around.

See

Do

There are some good beaches on Saparua. If you're up for a day of swimming and sunbathing and you don't mind going through some trouble to get there, try the sandy beaches near Kulur or Laino Beach (beyond Haria). The village of Paperu has a dive resort, but there are diving opportunities elsewhere as well.

If you have an extra day or so, head to the tiny and almost deserted island of Pulau Molana, just off the coast of Saparua. Apart from some newly established bungalows, there's almost no-one here and the island has some fabulous beaches.

Buy

Pottery is the main handicraft here, with the village of Ouw as the main centre.

Sleep

Go next

Much smaller but pretty and intimate is the nearby island of Nusalaut

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, December 18, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.