The Land Of The Dragon
When was the last time you went on vacation to somewhere truly magical? Someplace almost forgotten by time, and untouched by the Western world? When you discover Indonesia, you can do just that.
Escape the tourist laden areas of the Caribbean or Mediterranean, and take a turn off the beaten track in the Coral Triangle. Spanning 6 million square kilometres (2.3 million square miles), The Coral Triangle expands across six countries from the Philippines to Timor-Leste. Within its heart you will find many of the 18,000 islands that make up Indonesia.
The Coral Triangle is named for the staggering number of corals here. It contains over 76% of all known coral species in the world. More than 3,000 species of fish, including the largest – the whale shark and coelacanth, and 6 of the world’s 7 species of marine turtles, all inhabit the Coral Triangle. It is truly underwater wonderland.
Here are some highlights that you just can’t miss.
In the West Papua region
Within the West Papua region, you’ll find Raja Ampat, truly a diver’s paradise, and something you simply must do. Of course, the clear blue seas are perfect grounds for snorkelling, too. Slap on a mask, grab some fins and surf along the surface spying colourful fish, reef sharks (don’t worry they won’t bother you!), sea turtles and so much more. Recently ranked number one snorkeling destination by CNN Travel, come and see what all the fuss is about.
A truly unforgettable water life experience awaits you in Triton Bay. Famously touted as the “last best place untouched by time.” The marine life is exquisite here, as is the local culture which features many indigenous people.
The 1500 islands that surround the main islands of Waigeo, Salawati, Batanta and Misool offer plenty of quiet bays, rugged terrain and white sand beaches to escape to. Grab a cold cocktail after another *hard* day of exploration and relax watching the deep sunset with nothing but gentle waves to be heard.
In the Lesser Sunda Islands
Ancient worlds are begging you to explore them. Head over to the Lesser Sunda Islands and get up close and personal with the famed Komodo dragon that lives here. Recently branded one of UNESCO’s seven new world wonders, you’ll want to visit before everyone else gets the same idea!
Other unmissable sights include the exotic island of Sumba and the mystical island of Alor. And there is plenty of diving to be had here! Colourful reefs, untouched beaches and exotic wilderness awaits.
In The Moluccas
Situated at the intersection of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, the Moluccas is yet another veritable hotbed for snorkeling and scuba diving. Here you’ll find large pelagic schooling species, such as the barracuda and hammer head shark. These Spice Islands were originally discovered by European traders, with ample opportunities to explore the 150 active volcanoes that still inhabit the area.
Regardless of where you decide to go during your time in the Coral Triangle, may we also suggest extending your stay to enjoy time on the romantic island of Bali. Perhaps one of the more well known of the Indonesian islands, this is the perfect stepping off (or finishing) point for wherever your adventures in Indonesia take you.
The world’s best beaches to find your bliss
Whether it’s the coconut palms and sugar-white sands of the Caribbean, a breathtaking tropical bomb crater in Mexico, or the glamorous beach clubs of Saint Tropez, the beaches you can reach on a superyacht vacation are the definition of pure beach bliss.
OceanScape Yachts brings you our picks for the top 7 beaches to drop anchor.
1 SUNBATHE AMONG THE RUINS OF ANCIENT CIVILISATIONS IN TULUM, YUCATAN PENINSULA, MEXICO.
El Castillo beach is like nowhere else on earth. Sure, it has the requisite powdery sands and waving palms of any good tropical beach, but what makes this beach entirely special are the mighty pyramids of the ancient Mayan civilisation that rise up behind the beach and create one of the best beach backdrops on the planet. For a particularly mind-blowing way to start your day on charter, take the tender ashore in the warm pre-dawn and wander through the quiet pyramids at sunrise, before relaxing back on the beach as the Mexican sun starts to rise high in the sky.
2 TURN THE GLAMOUR QUOTIENT UP HIGH AT THE BEACH CLUBS OF ST TROPEZ.
Pampelonne Beach is simply the place to drop anchor on the French Riviera in the summertime. Not only is this beach a generous sweep of soft golden sand that curves gently around the stunning Bay of Saint Tropez, but it’s lined with epic beach clubs such as the mega-famous Club 55, where Brigitte Bardot once cavorted in a skimpy bikini while filming And God Created Woman-- a movie that would catapult both her and the quiet fishing village of Saint Tropez to global stardom. There’s an incredible buzz on Pampelonne beach in the months of high summer, with a flotilla of superyachts anchored just offshore and celebrities and supermodels splashing about on jet skis, but if you prefer to visit in the quieter shoulder season you’ll find it still stands as one of the prettiest beach vistas of the Riviera.
3 SWIM IN A BEAUTIFUL BOMB CRATER AT HIDDEN BEACH, MEXICO.
It’s back to Mexico for our next jaw-dropping beach experience. Just off Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific Coast are the Marieta Islands: a secluded, bewitchingly pretty archipelago once used for bomb practice by the Mexican military. An explosion many decades ago created Playa Del Amore, also known as ‘Hidden Beach’: a deep crater of sapphire water and soft white sand carved out of the landscape, like a tropical cocoon set deep into the earth’s surface. Making this experience even more dream-like is that you must swim through a tunnel to get to Hidden Beach, before the skies open up and you lie on the warm sands looking up through the hole to the sunshine streaming in and the birds soaring above.
4 EXPLORE A SHIPWRECK BENEATH TOWERING CLIFFS ON SHIPWRECK BEACH,
One of the most photographed beaches on earth, Shipwreck (Navagio) Beach is astonishing in its grandeur. A rusting smuggler’s ship sinks slowly into soft golden sands, dwarfed by the sheer limestone cliffs that curve around the beach, completely cutting it off from land access. You can only reach this awe-inspiring beach by boat, so drop anchor in the cobalt blue Mediterranean waters and take the tender ashore for a picnic you’ll never forget, or take a walk up to a nearby cliff-top and get the photo of a lifetime from above.
5 DISCOVER TRANQUIL BEACH PARADISE ON THE FORGOTTEN ISLANDS OF PUERTO RICO.
Recently rebranded as ‘the Spanish Virgin Islands’, the Passage Islands of Puerto Rico were used for many years as a military training ground, creating a timeless paradise of deserted beaches and sleepy coastal villages. Playa de Flamenco is often voted among the best beach in the world, with sand so white it almost hurts the eyes and turquoise seas which lap up on the shore. There are remnants of the past here too: a military tank rusts on the water’s edge, its deep orange patina providing a stunning contrast between the green palm trees and the endless blue of sea and sky. As you float through the Spanish Virgin Islands on your yacht charter you’ll also come across the superb Vieques Bay, where dazzling bioluminescence lights up the sea at night like all the stars in the sky, and the almost painfully-pretty Bahia Tortuga, where blue- green rockpools bubble like Jacuzzis, and sea turtles float lazily through crystal clear seas.
6 FLOAT THROUGH CRYSTALLINE SEAS ALONG THE SUGAR-WHITE BEACHES OF SARDINIA.
The task of picking one Sardinian beach that rises above all others is nigh impossible, for this enchanting Mediterranean island is simply littered with exquisite beaches—each one a candidate for the title of most beautiful beach in the world. The Costa Smerelda is a yachting playground, with yacht charters flocking to the emerald coast each year to enjoy the stunning beaches of Liscia Ruja, Romazzino, Spiaggia Pevero, Spiaggia del Principe and Capriccioli. Just offshore in the islands, you’ll find glimmering turquoise lagoons dotted with giant granite boulders on La Maddalena, while on Chia the rolling dunes and wildflower paths are the perfect place for a summery stroll by the sea.
7 SWIM IN THE SHADOW OF MIGHTY BOULDERS AND JUNGLE PALMS AT ANSE SOURCE D’ARGENT, SEYCHELLES.
When it comes to the Indian Ocean, the Maldives get a lot of attention for their perfect coral-atoll beaches, but the Seychelles have them soundly beaten when it comes to stunning beach backdrops. The Seychelles have some of the most magnificent rock formations to be found anywhere, with immense boulders that loom over perfect white sand beaches nestled on the edge of the African jungle. Of all the superb beaches of the Seychelles, Anse Source d’Argent (the ‘source of silver’) on La Digue island is the most wonderful of them all, with shallow water perfect for swimming and a landscape straight out of a dream.
There is simply no better way to explore the world’s best beaches than by luxury yacht. OceanScape Yachts has put together the definitive guide to the luxurious world of yachting vacations. And for a limited time they are giving digital copies away free of charge. Come, discover a whole new way to “sea” the world.
With so much to see and so many islands to visit the best way to experience the wildlife, crystal clear bays and rich cultural history of this region is sailing aboard your own private yacht.
Images courtesy of Coral Triangle Safaris