Discover Spice Island beach resort on Banda Neira before or after traveling to Bali with its luxurious hotels. If you are interested to visit a destination off the beaten track steeped in history and want to know where the spice nutmeg is originating from, and enjoy diving and snorkeling Banda Islands in the Malukus Indonesia is the perfect destination for you.
These islands were the focus of the world during the height of the spice trade and are completely forgotten today and a perfect destination for amazing, exciting and unique holidays.
We finally arrived at the port of Banda Island by speedboat, Abba, the owner of Cilu Bintang Estate gathered all of us, his guests, together at one end, gave the order to load our luggage onto a three-wheel motorcycle pick-up and lead us on foot through the small town to his hotel.
We heard the local music playing from afar. ‘This is for your welcome, this is how we greet our guests’. He proudly explained. The front yard was filled with an orchestra, long wooden tables and chairs and staff serving us cinnamon tea and snacks of fried banana and cassava.
The two-story building is square, with terraces on all four sides. The front one including the garden for the welcome ceremony and the daily barbeque and buffet dinner lit by a few electrical lamps and plenty of candles in beautiful sea shells. Guests sit at long tables on benches, mingle and chat about their discoveries during the day snorkeling or visiting the many abandoned and decaying fords and old nutmeg groves.
The food is excellent. There is always fresh grilled fish, several vegetable dishes, sauces made with local almonds and some chicken or fish dishes. Breakfast is served on the back porch again on long tables. Choose eggs your favorite way or a pancake/crepe filled with kenari, local almonds, and banana served with nutmeg jam and of course coffee and tea.
Everywhere there are bowls filled with dried nutmeg nuts, mace flowers, and dried cinnamon bark. Carved nutmeg fruits decorate the beds, closets, and cupboards, and old patterns from the colonial area adorn the floor tiles.
The rooms are big, yet cozy with comfortable beds and bedding, air-conditioning, and hot water heater in the shower. You feel like a privileged guest in a family home. The lobby doubles as a museum with plenty of Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie or VOC memorabilia like ceramic plates, weapons, silver objects and more. You can also buy jewelry made from locally sourced pearls and coral.
Abba is always hovering over everything; making sure all guests get what they are asking for and then some. His wife is the creator of the delicious evening menu, breakfast and also packed lunches served during the day trips to go snorkeling, diving and exploring history.
Staying here is the ultimate experience if you are looking for a unique holiday where anybody joins any group and friendships are made on a fishing boat and snorkeling and a delicious candlelight dinner discussing your day's adventures. It is an off the beaten track holiday with plenty of like-minded souls.
My adventure in Banda continues on these pages:
Snorkeling and diving; what you can do besides exploring the clear blue water; about nutmeg the spice; learn about the general and brutal history and how to reach these forlorn islands. Before coming here you will have to pass through Ambon and stay overnight in a hotel.
Banda Neira islands are lost in the big blue ocean and lost to history that the people, nature, and facilities are not yet touched by huge crowds. Of course, there are tourist facilities like this spice island beach resort described above, also home stays and small restaurants, these islands are pristine and unique.
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