Karimunjawa islands, located north of central Java in Indonesia, 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.
As Karimunjawa is a weekend getaway for locals and only get a little busier on weekends.
We visited Karimunjawa in July for 4 days as part of our trip to Java.
Karimunjawa is an archipelago of 17 islands and is also the name of the main island.
Experience the vibrant underwater life and colorful corals at Karimunjawa national park.
Our days on Karimunjawa were packed with fun and exciting activities and we share them here, in this travel guide.
Need to know How To Get To Karimunjawa? Read our complete guide here.
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What to do in Karimunjawa?
#1 Beach Hopping & Exploring Karimunjawa Islands on a Scooter
We spent 2 days exploring Karimunjawa and its sister island, Kemojan, and discovered beautiful beaches along the way.
Karimunjawa and Kemojan are linked through a very small bridge.
These are our favourite beaches we discovered while cruising Karimunjawa islands on a scooter.
Bantai Batu Tobeng beach
Bantai Batu Tobeng is the most beautiful beach in Karimunjawa with crystal clear water, white sandy beach and it’s 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 and we shared the beach with only 3 local kids who were playing their small guitars.
The beaches here are excellent for snorkeling and usually get busier for sunsets.
Karimunjawa Beaches in the South
Alano beach, Barracuda beach and Laendra Sunset beach are our favorite beaches in the south. Unfortunately, some beaches in this part of the island are littered with trash.
Must say that the highlight of our beach hopping activity in south Karimunjawa is seeing a huge dragon right on the sand which quickly disappeared back into the jungle that nestles the beach.
Alano Beach / Pantai Alano
The highlight of Pantai Alano is its vantage point above the bay offering a great view over the beach.
Alano beach is clean, has a small restaurant and the water is clear and shallow.
Barracuda Beach / Pantai Baracuda
Getting to Pantai Baracuda which is on Kemojan requires a trip through villages and forests.
We walked passed a beachfront resort and came to a long pier stretching out onto the clearest water.
A resort that seemed deserted looks over the pier and had a nice infinity pool overlooking the beach with a spectacular view. This resort is the Royal Ocean View Beach and was newly renovated.
Further out into the sea there is a good snorkeling spot with coral reef.
Laendra Sunset Beach
Laendra Sunset beach is at 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 locals).
We tried snorkeling at Sunset beach since there is a barrier reef further out from the shore but the 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.
#2 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 except schools of fish and stingrays hiding in the sand. From this spot, the captain caught a sizeable tuna.
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 on Karimunjawa.
The boat tour costs 200k IDR (14.20$) per person and includes the snorkeling equipment, food and water although we paid 250k IDR per person since our group was small.
Boat tours can be bought online, arranged through your accommodation or else you may try asking around near the harbour where all the boats dock.
#3 Enjoy a beautiful Sunset at Love Hill
Love Hill offers a spectacular view over the jungle and the sea and facing the west makes it a perfect spot for sunset.
A bar on top of the hill has a selection of smoothies, beers, coffees and food.
The bar also sells a locally made pineapple wine which we had mixed with our smoothie and turned out quite good.
Karimunjawa Beaches and Attractions on Map
Getting around Karimunjawa Islands
Karimunjawa is best explored on a scooter that is rented usually without helmets at a cost of 75k IDR (5.30$) per day.
The roads are generally good and not busy.
Fuel is in short supply on the island so when renting a scooter, either ask to have the fuel tank full or buy fuel directly from the person renting you 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 serves fresh grilled fish are all close by.
These are our recommendations for where to stay on Karimunjawa.
A budget option with central location and very close to the fish and seafood night market. Rooms are clean, with a/c and have good wifi.
Blue Coral Homestay
Located close to the harbour and a short walk from the night market, this budget option serves tasty breakfast, has a chill out area with sea view and clean rooms.
Located a short ride from the night market but very close to Bantai Batu Tobeng beach, this budget to mid-range option has beautifully designed cabins, serves delicious breakfast and has clean rooms. This option is perfect for those looking for a quiet and peaceful stay on Karimunajawa island.
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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