The journey from the Gili Islands to Flores on one of our boat trips is packed with spectacular landscape, secluded beaches and a beautiful underwater world that will leave you speechless. Starting your trip on the Gillis and cruising east is an adventure and unique experience. The route is the perfect way to discover the east Indonesian Archipelago and enjoy your holiday on a private boat trip. Along the way you will find a variety of places that all have there special merits and magic.
The Gili Islands: turtle capital
The departure point for this trip easily makes our list of top sites and it is certainly worth spending a few days here before you set sail for your Cruise to Flores. The Gili Islands, renown as the turtle capital of the world, are just off the north-west coast of Lombok. All three islands boast warm turquoise waters and idyllic white sand beaches, but each have their own unique character, offering something for every kind of traveller.
Gili Trawangan, the largest of the three islands, has the widest array of amenities and an unrivalled party atmosphere. On the other hand, Gili Meno, the smallest and least developed, provides a more secluded getaway for those looking to truly escape and switch off. Gili Air has a perfect mix of the two, with a more laid-back and quiet atmosphere than Trawangan, but still a decent variety of restaurants and activities to keep you entertained.
A visit to the Gili Islands would not be complete without saying hello to their most famous residents: the turtles. With a wide variety of snorkelling and diving trips on offer, it’s easy to spend some time with these beautiful creatures. It is also a great place to get your scuba diving qualification or refresh your skills ahead of your cruise. Other popular pursuits during your stay here include treating yourself with a massage, spoiling yourself in the shops or simply relaxing on the beach with a cocktail or fresh coconut. And with no motorised vehicles, as cars and motorbikes are not allowed on these islands, there is nothing to disturb the tranquil atmosspehre. The Gili Islands are an ideal spot to spend a few days before cruising further east on your Boat Trip. The best way to reach the Gilis are the daily fast boats from Bali.
Alas Islands: the ultimate private island experience
The Alas Islands are a little-known, coral fringed archipelago located between Lombok and Sumbawa. Characterised by untouched beaches and irresistibly clear waters, these forgotten jewels provide the ultimate private island experience. Our favourite spot here is a secret, deserted beach where we stop for a BBQ or romantic dinner. The calm bays filled with colourful coral and empty stretches of white sand are the ideal place for the kids to explore and the grown-ups to relax.
Moyo Island: a true unspoilt beauty
A hidden paradise that lies just off the north coast of Sumbawa. The unspoiled beauty of Moyo island’s dense forests and spectacular coral reefs instantly mesmerize all visitors. Discover the breath-taking waterfalls hidden within the lush forests of Moyo National Park. Mata Jitu is one of the most beautiful waterfalls we have ever seen. The the limestone falls provide the perfect place to cool off. Take a well-deserved break with a refreshing dip in the turquoise pools, hearing only the water splashing down around you.
Hiking to Mata Jitu, you can spot some of the local wildlife including monkeys, wild deer and monitor lizards. Moyo’s beauty is not limited to the land. The underwater world here is rich with healthy corals and a multitude of colourful reef fish. Reef sharks and other pelagics are often spotted so keep an eye on the blue. Snorkelling or diving around Moyo Island gives you a true taste of Indonesia’s spectacular marine life.
Sumbawa Cruising Highlights: Remote Islands and Volcanos
Satonda Island: time to make a wish
Slightly further east than Moyo Island, lies another must see: the charming Santonda. This small island is a flooded volcano featuring a picturesque crater lake just a few hundred metres from the beach. The island was first formed by a volcanic eruption deep on the sea floor, and thrust upwards a couple of million years ago. The story goes that the mysterious salt water lake was created when Mt Tambora, a volcano on Sumbawa, erupted, sending a massive wave over the edge of Satonda’s crater rim. Local legend also dictates that the trees lining the edge of this lake have the power to grant wishes. To make a wish you hang a rock from one of the trees, if your wish comes true it is your duty to return to the island and give thanks.
The waters of the lake are great for kayaking and there are a few enticing treks around the island, offering beautiful panoramic views of the lake and nearby islands. In the overgrown jungle that engulfs the island, you will find thousands of fruit bats, also known as flying foxes due to their large size. During the day you can see the bats hanging from the trees and at sunset you can witness them leave the jungle to find food. This is an incredible site as the sunset filled sky darkens with thousands of bats making their way to dinner.
Satonda also stores a wealth of coral reefs and marine life in the surrounding waters, providing another opportunity for snorkeling and diving. Rare species of pygmy seahorses and giant frogfish are among the many unique treasures you can find here.
Bima Inlet: hunt for the weird and wonderful Clitters
A day spent in the calm waters of the Bima Inlet in east Sumbawa provides an unparalleled opportunity for marine lovers. Explore vast coral reefs teeming with fish and hunt out weird and wonderful critters on sandy slopes during muck dives.
The gentle sloping sites here are home to some of the rarest and strangest marine life in the world. Blue Ring and Veined Octopus are seen on a regular basis as well as the infamous Wonderpus. Apart from our eight tentacled friends, there are Zebra Crabs and Coleman Shrimp to be found hiding in Fire Urchins. Thorny Seahorses, strange looking Puffers and Porcupine Fish plus a whole host of Ghost Pipe Fish are just a few of the wonders you can spot here. A place not to be missed by macro lovers!
Sangeang Volcano: unique underwater architecture and remote boat builders
Gunung Sangeang is a huge, twin peaked volcano bursting out of the ocean off the north-east coast of Sumbawa. The underwater world of Sangeang is every bit as impressive as the island itself, with black volcanic sands, ancient lava flows and hot springs. Caves and canyons hidden amongst mysterious reefs that bubble like champagne from the volcanic activity below, creating unique dive sites that are not to be missed. The deep shelving typography showcases a wide array of rare creatures, such as Pygmy Seahorses, Ambon Scorpionfish, Dragonets, Candy Crabs and a wide array of rare Nudibranchs.
Sengeang is also home to Wera, a traditional boat building village. With few modern tools, these friendly boat builders delicately craft the traditional Phinisi sail boats in same way that their ancestors have been doing for generations. The village stretches along the beach, homes wedged between large boats in various stages of construction. Children clamber over the wooden vessels, enjoying their adventure playgrounds. It is fascinating to watch the men work and learn about their lives here on one of the most active volcanos in the Lesser Sunda region.
Banta Island: Outcrop Island of Komodo
Gili Banta is an ancient, uninhabited, partially submerged volcano on the outskirts of the Komodo National Park. The imposing and impressively desolate island sits at the top of the Sape Strait, a current washed channel that separates Komodo Island and Sumbawa.
The dry, rugged terrain and towering north facing cliffs are a stark contrast to the lush tropical landscapes of our previous stops. Majestic sea eagles soar to and from their homes on vertical rock faces that plunge into the deep blue sea. The north coast consists of a large bay which lies inside what is left of the crater. Look around and marvel at the remaining volcanic rim that surrounds and shelters the bay.
Gili Banta’s breath-taking marine architecture offers some incredible diving inside a partially submerged volcano. There aren’t many places in the world where you can dive inside a volcanic cone! The dive sites vary from shallow fringing reef to muck diving to advanced dives on vast, submerged seamounts. The picturesque reefs and current swept rocky peninsulas are frequented by sharks, Dogtooth tuna, mackerel and Mantas, yet very few divers. There is also the infamous GPS Point, a high voltage coral covered underwater mountain. One of the most demanding dives in the Komodo area, but so rewarding when dived in the right conditions at the right time.
Komodo National Park: Land of the Mantas and Dragons
A highlight on every trip is sailing through the Komodo National Park, one of the most diverse and unique areas of the natural world. The land of Komodo dragons and dramatic scenery, epic currents and sparkling corals, in seas teeming with more marine life than almost anywhere else on the planet. Cruising through the park you feel as though you are on the edge of the world, a real life ‘Jurassic Park’ both above and below the surface of the sea.
Get up close and personal with the Komodo dragons as you trek through the stunning scenery of Komodo and Rinca. Explore the world famous coral reefs, current-swept seamounts and spectacular pinnacles patrolled by Sharks, Tunas and Manta Rays. With Komodo dive sites and snorkelling spots to suit all levels, everyone can enjoy the stunning underwater world of the Komodo National Park. The Komodo National Park is open all year round and each season in Komodo creates changes in the scenery and brings different marine life in from the deep, generating differing displays of nature’s treasures throughout the year.
Ready to Cruise Flores Lombok and Sumbawa yourself?
Barefoot Yachts Indonesia offers Sunda Island Land and Sea Cruises as well as Gili to Komodo Scuba Dive Liveaboards. With a diverse fleet delivering both Private Boat Charter and scheduled trips, we have the flexibility to cover a wide variety of routes whilst catering to different budgets, time scales and cruise styles. Explore the flora and fauna on a Lombok Flores Boat Trip in style and comfort on one of our traditional Phinisi Schooners.