Banda Islands, Indonesia

Shoal of reef fish around a bright red sea fan, Banda Neira
Shoal of reef fish around a bright red sea fan, Banda Neira


LOCATION The Banda Islands are in the Spice Islands in Indonesia

SCUBA DIVING Deep pinnacles here contrast with shallow channels

DAYTIME TEMPERATURES Jan: 86°F (30°C); Apr: 86°F (30°C); Jul: 82°F (28°C); Oct: 86°F (30°C)

The Banda Islands, at the center of the Spice Islands, were long fought over for their wealth of nutmeg, once worth far more than gold. This small brown nut is still the lifeblood of the islands, but running a close second are its dazzling coral reefs, which have long been protected against marauding fishermen.

When you descend through the warm, clear water, swim to the edge of the sheer wall and look down into the abyss, you won’t see far.

Blocking your view will be shoal after shoal of colorful fish darting around in ribbon-like waves, like a bizarre three-dimensional screensaver. Indian Ocean triggers occupy the top layer, pyramid butterflies sit below, and rainbow runners beneath them. Don’t miss the fan corals, lower down the wall, which dwarf divers, or the harbor, famed for its rare bottom-dwelling creatures.

Practical Information

Getting There and Around Although Banda Neira has a small airport, most divers arrive on the island via a liveaboard boat from Ambon Island.

When to Go The water is calmest and clearest between October and April.

Leave a Comment