What To Do in Karimunjawa | Indonesia
Karimunjawa islands tick all the boxes for a perfect beach destination; crystal clear water, white sandy beaches, abundant marine life, colourful corals and on top of that on weekdays the islands and beaches are deserted (Karimunjawa is a weekend getaway for locals so it gets a little more busier on weekends). We visited Karimunjawa in July for 4 days as part of our trip to Java and our days were packed with fun and exciting activities.
What to do in Karimunjawa?
Beach Hopping & Exploring Karimunjawa Islands on a Scooter
We spent 2 days exploring Karimunjawa and its sister island Kemojan (which are linked by a small bridge) and discovering beautiful beaches on the way. These are some of the highlights.
Bantai Batu Tobeng beach
Bantai Batu Tobeng is the nicest beach on Karimunjawa with crystal clear water, white sandy beach and its free from development except for a hut. Next to this beach there are 2 other beaches linked together through a passage. We came to Bantai Batu Tobeng early morning when it was deserted except for 3 kids playing their guitars. The beaches here are good for snorkeling and are busier for sunset.
Beaches to the south of Karimunjawa
The beaches in the south of Karimunjawa are not the cleanest nor the nicest but on Sunrise View Beach we saw a Komodo dragon right on the sand which quickly disappeared back into the jungle that nestles this beach.
Alano Beach / Pantai Alano
The highlight of Pantai Alano is its vantage point above the bay offering a great view over the beach. This beach is clean, has a small restaurant and its water is clear and shallow.
Barracuda Beach / Pantai Baracuda
Getting to Pantai Baracuda which is on Kemojan requires a trip through villages and forest. We walked passed a beachfront resort and came to a long pier stretching out onto the clearest water. A resort which was deserted looks over the pier and had a nice infinity pool overlooking the beach with spectacular view. Further out into the sea there is a good snorkeling spot with coral reef.
Laendra Sunset Beach
Laendra Sunset beach is the furthest point to the north of Kemojan. The beach is a good spot for sunset where the sun sinks into the ocean right in front of this pretty bay. On the beach is a small restaurant and some instagrammable spots (which are popular with Indonesians). We tried some snorkeling as there is a barrier reef further out from the shore but sea was a bit rough. This part of the island is very much cut off and some parts are pitch black at night.
Some beaches on Karimunjawa charge an entry fee which should cover the cleaning of the beach but interestingly these beaches were the most littered.
Karimunjawa Snorkeling and Island Hopping Tour
The snorkeling and island hopping tour is the highlight of any visit to the Karimunjawa archipelago. A pleasant boat ride got us to the first snorkeling spot with loads of colorful corals and different schools of small fish while the captain was busy catching fish for lunch.
Next we headed to a small picturesque island, Cemora Besar, where we ate the freshly caught fish grilled to perfection by the captain with a selection of sauces, rice and fruit.
Then to another snorkeling spot which was even better than the first with huge corals in all shapes and forms, lots of fish where at times we couldn’t see anything else, stingrays hiding in the sand and the captain also caught a sizable tuna from here.
The boat then anchored close to an even smaller deserted island and a walk through shallow water brought us on Cemora Kecil. On our journey back to the harbour we admired the beautiful sunset over the soothing sound of the waves splashing against the boat. The best ending to an amazing day.
The boat tour costs 200k IDR (14.20$) per person and includes the snorkeling equipment, food and water although we paid 250k IDR per person since our group was small. Boat tours can be bought on line, arranged through your accommodation or else you may try asking around near the harbour where all the boats dock.
Enjoy a beautiful Sunset at Love Hill
Love Hill offers a spectacular view over the jungle and the sea and facing the west makes it a perfect spot for sunset. A bar on top of the hill has a selection of smoothies, beers, coffees and food. The bar also sells a locally made pineapple wine which we had mixed with our smoothie and actually turned out quite good.
Click on the button to the right to view the map larger and the list of attractions.
Getting around Karimunjawa Islands
Karimunjawa is best explored on a scooter which are rented without helmets at a cost of 75k IDR (5.30$) per day. The roads are generally good and not busy. Since fuel is in short supply either ask to have the fuel tank full or buy from the person renting the bike. A bottle of fuel cost 10k IDR.
Accommodation on Karimunjawa
Most of the accommodation options in Karimunjawa are in the town centre and a couple of minutes away from the harbour. Restaurants, bars and the night market which is focused on fresh grilled fish are all close by.
Restaurant in Karimunjawa
Eat and Meet
If craving for some western food, Eat & Meet does delicious oven baked pizza and lasagna. Although the food is pricier than that at the night market, this place will meet expectations and delivers a well prepared Italian pizza and pasta.
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