Beautiful white sandy beaches and still undiscovered by the big crowds.
Located north of Java, Karimunjawa is the largest island in a group of multiple island, many of which uninhabited. Still small in size Karimunjawa can be discovered in a few days. Rent a scooter and visit white sandy beaches, rice paddies, mangrove forests and viewpoints. Hop on a boat and set sail to many bounty islands, discover the amazing underwater world and eat fish caught right in front of you.
At night sit down with a cold beer or cocktail and watch the sunset. Enjoy a meal in one of the restaurants or go to local market for the catch of the day.
Rent a Scooter on Karimunjawa
For just 75.000 rupiah (about 5.50 US$ or €4.50, at time of writing) you can rent a scooter and discover the island.
Visit the many beaches. The best beach on the island is Sunset Beach, also known as Tanjung Gelam. This beach is part of 3 beaches, all located next to each other.
Picture perfect white sandy beaches, palm trees and the most beautiful blue water.
There are a few shacks on the beach that sell coconuts and other drinks.
A great viewpoint is Love Hill. Not far from the centre of town, this is also a great spot for sunset.
You can see some of the other islands in the area and have an amazing view over the ocean.
Stop at the rice paddies in the north of the island.
Keep driving till you get to Annora Beach, where there is another Love Hill. The beach here was less spectacular compared to Sunset Beach, but I enjoyed a nice lunch here and walked to Love Hill.
While driving around Karimunjawa you get to see the local life on the island. People are friendly and children will always say hello. You might come across some of the local wildlife too.
Boat Tour on Karimunjawa
Island hopping around Karimunjawa is something that cannot be missed. For just 200,000 rupiah (about 15 US$ or €12, at time of writing) you will visit the many islands in the area, go snorkelling, enjoy lunch and finish the day at Sunset Beach.
Sunset on Karimunjawa
There are many places from where you can see the sunset. Every night the sunset was amazing.
Love Hill, the one close to town, is an amazing spot to see the sun go down.
Sunset Beach is one the most popular places and it got very crowded with many boats that pull in at the end of the day after the boat trip. In spite of the crowd, the sunset was beautiful.
Café Amore in town has a great location for the sunset. Enjoy a meal or a drink with your sunset.
Where to Eat
Once you are done exploring the island, it is time for food. Indulge in the many flavors of Indonesian food, enjoy the catch of the day or dig into a burger or pizza.
Fish Market, Town Square
An abundance of flavors available, but the main thing they sell here is freshly caught fish.
Eat & Meet
Satisfy your Western food craving at this cute restaurant tucked away east of the town square. A bit on the pricey side for Indonesian standards, but it will hit the spot in just the right way.
This is also a guest house, but has a great little kitchen. The menu has local food, but also some great sandwiches (mozzarella, pesto anyone?) and great apple pie. Or why not try the Dutch poffertjes (mini pancakes)?
Where to Stay
Many guest houses are located in town, with a few more outside of town and towards Sunset Beach.
The Happinezz is a great social guest house with a lovely restaurant. Doubles rooms, free wi-fi and hammocks.
Samsara, choose between a double or the dorm.
The Coconut House, another popular choice, just across the street from Eat & Meet
Come & Go
First you have to make your way to Jepara, on the north coast of Java, to the east of Semarang.
From Jepara you can choose between the slow boat (4-5 hours) or the fast boat (2 hours). Boats do not run on Sunday and times tend to change, so make sure you check the schedule before making your way there.
Slow boat tickets can only be bought on the day, fast boat tickets are recommended to buy before.
You can find more information on the boat schedule and tickets here www.karimunjawaboatticket.com
You can also organise a pick up from your guest house or hostel in Yogyakarta to Jepara. It is an overnight transfer, so it saves you a night’s accommodation and travel time. Click here to find out more.
Good to Know
There is one ATM on the island. Only works for Mastercard, not for VISA. Bring enough cash.
There is now 24 hours electricity, but it stopped a few times during the night. No problem at all, but something to keep in mind.
They do not supply helmets when you hire a scooter. Ask for a helmet and make sure you have adequate insurance.
I highly recommend visiting Karimunjawa. I visited in December, over Christmas. Rainy season and during the holidays. The weather was amazing and the island was quiet, I had most beaches all to myself. Discover this amazing place yourself, before the crowds find it.