The Banda Sea is located in the central region of Indonesia and was once known for its lucrative spice trade where foreigners came from all over the world to trade in that most valuable of commodities, nutmeg. The Spice islands are full of historical significance and you can visit old Dutch forts and learn all about the history of this once great trading route. Nowadays the region is attracting overseas visitors for very different reasons. The waters of Banda and Ambon promise riches beyond the wildest dreams of many 'big name' dive destinations worldwide.
Limited human impact has left the reefs in great health, and the rich waters that they lie in are home to an unbelievable array of life. There are the small and beautiful macro creatures that are more often seen around Ambon, such as the scorpionfish which carries its name. You will see big numbers of pelagic fish, most notably impressive numbers of Napoleon wrasse, dog-toothed tuna and squadrons of mobula rays at sites throughout the Banda Islands area. And the schools of fish in the Banda Sea need to be seen to be believed. If you luck is in then you can find yourself diving with schooling hammerheads - a sight not easily forgotten!
Banda Islands highlights include sites like Batu Kapal, Gunung Api and Batu Belanda. Further out into the Banda Sea you will dive in spots such as Koon Island, Nusa Laut, and the critter haven of Ambon. [More details on these dive sites: Banda Islands].
Because the Banda Sea is located centrally in Indonesia’s vast diving area, it borders many other wonderful diving regions. That means that liveaboard trips to the Banda Sea often include other areas in their itinerary. Unlike other areas like Komodo and Raja Ampat where boats tend to follow 1 or 2 established routes, no two Banda Sea liveaboard trips are ever the same!
Most of these trips run for around 10 to 12 nights' duration and will allow you to sample the wonderful diving in Banda, as well as its neighbouring regions. The iIslands are popular with experienced divers looking for new, world-class locations for their next liveaboard charter. Due to its remote location, this tends to be an area favoured by higher quality boats.
You can choose from routes such as Ambon, Banda, The Forgotten Islands & Alor; Flores & Banda Islands; Banda, Flores & Alor; Banda Sea & Triton Bay; and Banda Sea & Forgotten Islands to name just a few. See our dedicated Transit Trips section for more details.
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Liveaboard cruises in the Banda Islands and Banda Sea are usually scheduled for the calmer weather periods in March, April, and from the September to December, in order to avoid rough seas.
Water temperatures are pretty consistent at these times (26-29°C). Visibility will be at its best (15-30m) in the September-December window.
Liveaboard Ports of Departure for the Banda Sea and How to Get There
Banda Islands liveaboard cruises depart from a range of ports. Trips beginning in the Banda Islands use Ambon as the departure port. You can reach Ambon from Jakarta, Bali (often via Ujung Pandang) and Manado. Banda & Raja Ampat cruises will use Sorong to begin or end the trip. You can fly to Sorong direct from Bali, Jakarta, or via Ujung Pandang or Manado. A variety of other ports may be used, depending on the route. They include Maumere, Saumlaki, Kaimana and Kalabahi.
You can view which ports the various boats use on their trips in the 'Departures & Prices' section of each boat's web page. We will send you full departure details during the booking process. Whichever ports your boat uses, normally the boat operator provides a transfer to the boat from the local airport or hotels (if you overnight beforehand).
Most people fly into Indonesia to Jakarta (Java), Manado (Sulawesi) or Denpasar (Bali). More information on: how to get to Indonesia.
We recommend you take out insurance to cover diving and travel activities, including trip cancellation. See our insurance programme for a competitive quotation:
Places to Stay
If you plan on staying in Indonesia before or after your Banda liveaboard diving safari, you can find a large range of accommodation options at hotelscombined.com, our affiliated hotel reservation specialists. Browse their website, use their on-line chat to ask questions, then simply use your credit card to make your booking:
All bookings carry a 'Low Price Guarantee' to ensure you get top-dollar value for money.
... The website is very informative. The biggest service and help is Dive-The-World putting together all the liveaboards that meet our criteria and are available on our dates, with the costs. Also the follow-up with boats that might not be available when we first enquire but subsequently have vacancies. ...
-- Beena Sorab, India. [More customer reviews]