Combining natural beauty, a warm local heart, and a palpable and fascinating history, this remote cluster of 10 picturesque islands isn't just Maluku’s choice travel destination, it's one of the best in Indonesia. Particularly impressive undersea drop-offs are vibrantly plastered with multicoloured coral gardens offering superlative snorkelling and diving. The central islands – Pulau Neira and Pulau Banda Besar (the great nutmeg island) – curl in picturesque crescents around a pocket-sized tropical Mt Fuji (Gunung Api, 656m).
Outlying Hatta, Ai and Neilaka each have undeveloped picture-postcard beaches. And Run, a gnarled limestone island sprouting with nutmeg and cloves, is one drop-dead gorgeous historical footnote. Getting to the islands takes time but with a fast-boat service from Ambon (in the dry season anyway) and talk of a new airport, Banda is becoming more accessible and seems set to see more visitors in the near future. So get here now, before everyone else does.
These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Banda Islands.