Barely specks on the map, the Spice Islands are a collection of volcanic isles situated in the Banda Sea. They may be small, but they hold some of the greatest historic significance in Indonesia. Also known as the Banda Islands or the Malukus, the Spice Islands are known as the original source of nutmeg and mace during Dutch, English and Portuguese colonisation in the 17th century.
Cruises in this region can include Raja Ampat, Halmahera, West Papua and the Forgotten Islands.
This small chain of volcanic islands lies scattered in the Banda Sea, to the south of the larger isles of Ambon and Seram, both of which have fertile mountainous terrain cloaked in tropical rainforest home to a wealth of wildlife.
For many years, the Spice Islands (also known as the Banda Islands) were renowned for their significance in the spice trade. Today, they are known not only for their history but also for their breath-taking landscapes. With a mixture of history and natural beauty, abandoned forts, nutmeg groves and local markets, this region has plenty to see on land.
Elsewhere in this remote region, North Maluku ripe for exploration with the rugged forested island of Morotai, a far-flung paradise islands in the Halmahera Sea holding similar historic significance in the spice trade and playing a part in World War II under occupation by Japan and then the US before Indonesia’s independence.
Rising up from deep waters in steep mounts, the Spice Islands are surrounded by marine-rich waters and remain one of the best spots in Indonesia for both large pelagic fish and macro life. Crystal clear waters are one of this region’s greatest draws.
Currents bring a boundless supply of nutrients up from the depths and at the right time of year, keen divers can find schooling hammerheads in deep oceanic trenches and the densest population of sea snakes in the world, not to mention countless vividly coloured corals.
Halmahera sits in the Indonesian throughflow, between the Pacific and the Indian ocean, thus offering a wide range of sea life particular to this region. Divers are well catered for here with a medley of undiscovered sites, while surfers can find solace in some truly sensational waves.
SEASONS & GETTING HERE
The Spice Islands and Halmahera are best visited when the winds change during the transitional season, from September to November and from February to April. A tropical climate means rain is not unexpected, but typically in short spells followed by hot, sunny days.
The Spice Islands are accessed through Ambon airport with direct daily flights from Jakarta. Upon arrival at Ambon airport, your yacht’s crew will collect you for a short 25-minute drive to the harbour.
For one-way itineraries, you may start or finish your trip in other destinations, such as Raja Ampat (Sorong airport), Halmahera (Ternate airport) and West Papua (Kaimana and Nabire airports).