Karimunjawa – a Tropical Island Getaway near Central Java

Featured at Latitudes, September 5, 2011

Tanjung Gelam, Karimunjawa

Looking for a tropical retreat, but no time to fly to Bali or even further? The Karimunjawa Islands lie in the northern waters of Central Java Province, 120 km north of province capital Semarang. The nearest Javanese town, however, is Jepara, from which people usually depart for the islands. It takes a 6-hour ferry trip covering 83 kilometers, but it’s definitely worth it. Renowned for its picturesque beaches and rich biodiversity, it was established as a national marine park by the Indonesian government in 1999 and turned into a marine protected area two years later.

The name Karimunjawa can refer to either the cluster of islands or its biggest island, where tourists usually stay in hotels or in the cheaper option, locals’ houses. The second biggest island, separated by only a thin line of water with Karimunjawa on its south, is Kemujan. Together they are surrounded by as many as 25 smaller islets, not all open for recreational visits. The two mentioned before, along with Parang, Nyamuk, and Genting, are the only inhabited islands.

Karimunjawa has only recently attracted attention as a tourist destination. Visiting the islands, there are indeed many interesting things one can do and see. This brief introduction will outline some.

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