The Molukken Islands are part of Indonesia and the archipelago of almost 1000 islands is located north of Australia. Formerly known as the Spice Islands, the Bandanese people have traded spices with Asian, Arab, Indian and European visitors since the Roman Empire. This is where cloves and nutmeg originated and still grow today along with cinnamon, mace and other spices. The mountainous tropical islands have white sandy beaches and amazing clear waters where guest enjoy swimming and snorkeling. Private boats provide scuba diving tours in the warm tropical waters. Ambon, the capital, has 33 diving locations that are a favorite with visitors. Cruise tours around the islands allow guests to see colorful coral gardens, marine life and neighboring islands.
The indigenous people are happy to share their culture, provide tours of their fishing villages, and spice plantations. Guests learn how the individual spices grow and how they are harvested and processed. Shops house arts and craft items like pottery, which is hand made using traditional methods. Enjoy a meal at one of many local restaurants, which have native and oriental cuisine with various dishes prepared from locally harvested seafood. Take a guided hike through the tropical rain forest and see beautiful orchid gardens, waterfalls and colorful parrots and cockatoos.
Visit Pinta Kota National Park where an arch forms through the cliffs of the sea wall and has a cave carved into the side. The top of the cliff provides a wonderful overall view of Ambon and the bay. Walk to the Waii waterfall past tropical fruit trees and visit the sacred eels. Guests are welcome to interact with these large docile creatures. Numerous historic landmarks include a Dutch fortress and the oldest mosque in Maluku. The Siwa Lima Museum honors the traditions and heritage of the local people with exhibits featuring arts and crafts.