Pombo Island, The Charming Little Island in Maluku
Pombo Island is one of over a thousand islands in the Maluku Province, East Indonesia, about 5 kilometers from Ambon, the capital city of Maluku. Pombo is a small, uninhabited little island surrounded completely by a rocky, coral atoll, which is a circular shaped reef. This charming little island spans only about 2 hectares, yet presents amazing underwater tours with beautiful rocks, scattered tastefully with a colourful variety of ornamental marine creatures, veiled beneath crystal waters. It is also home to several species of nesting birds—a few of which are endemic to Pombo. Pombo Island is protected by law as a National Marine Park and Nature Reserve.
Pombo Island Marine Recreation Park encompasses an area of 1,000 hectares of nothing more than a stretch of sandy, white beaches and chunks of coral, sheltered by lush, green foliage. Flocks of exotic birds of all shape, size and colour perch in the trees branches, while rare fishes and molluscs roam freely about the coral-studded ocean floor. The far-out location of the island, coupled with its protected state only enhance the allure of this natural, virgin environment.
Much of the region has been put to use towards the research and development of the aquaculture science, study tours for students, research diving, education, and other activities that support the preservation and cultivation of the island. Those with a passion for the great outdoors, or who love to search out the endless slew of new and interesting wonders concealed just below the surface, will certainly find Pombo an ideal destination.
The Aston Natsepa luxurious, contemporary resort nestled between the popular Natsepa beach, Bagoaloa Bay and the mountains of Lei timur Peninsula. It features 96 oversized room and suites, each with its own private balcony overlooking the stunning ocean view. There are two types of rooms and three types of suites ranging from USD 75 – 310 per night. It is conveniently located 40 minutes from the Ambon Airport, and 30 minutes from the ferry terminal to Pombo Island as well as the Banda Islands, yet another famed dive spot.
Amaris Hotel in Ambon offers guests the comfort of 78 simple, yet clean, smart rooms, each complete with WiFi access, LCD TV, Safety Deposit Box and Laundry services. Breakfast is included in the room rates, with other food, snacks and beverages available 24 hours. Parking areas are also available, and all major credit cards accepted. Room rates start from 250,000 – 500,000 Rupiah. Address : Jalan Diponegoro No. 82-84.
Amans Hotel, is a luxury hotel with the blend of Ambonese hospitality and international standards. The hotel is just 40 minutes from Pattimura airport and near to the city’s business and shopping, banking and shopping districts. Amans is a 7-storey hotel with 130 rooms including service apartments, presidential suites, suites and deluxe rooms. All rooms are equipped with air-conditioning, private bathrooms with bathtub, IDD telephone, Satellite TV, save deposit pox, mini-bar and internet access. Other services include an on-call doctor, souvenir and drug store, business center, laundry service and 24-hour room service. There are also 3 available restaurants, a swimming pool, tennis court, fitness center, several meeting rooms and a ballroom. Rates start from USD 52 till 110 per night for single or double occupancy, and including breakfast buffet for two. Address : Jalan Pantai Mardika 53A.
Travel to Pombo Island is primarily for outbound activities, and of course, marine tourism. As the island is a protected conservation land, permanent residents are not permitted, and there are no accommodations or public housing. There are however, a few crops that are grown here, adding to the natural greenery of the already inviting surroundings.
The crystal clear sea is filled with all types of ocean-life make diving and snorkelling a definite must for visitors to Pombo Island – though the waters have enough clarity to allow you to see straight to the bottom, before ever diving under. The soft, sandy sea bed is generously carpeted in swaying seaweed and colourful corals. Large schools of fish travel in unison across the waters, glistening in the rays of the tropical sun shining through the water. The Pombo waters are also home to rare species of clams and molluscs that thrive amongst the corals.
Take a stroll around the island – it won’t take you much more than an hour to cover the single strip of deserted beach, rarely visited by man. Enjoy the sensation of the cool sea breeze through your hair, and the warm summer sun on your skin on an island that is almost your own. During the low tide, the waters recede far enough, leaving the fascinating ocean terrain, which the glassy waters once tried unsuccessfully to hide, plainly visible right on land. In fact, once the tide is down, the island nearly doubles in size. Although the island is off-limits to occupants, camping is still allowed for those who enjoy the simplicity of nature and the wild adventure of the great outdoors.
The name, “Pombo,” comes from the Portuguese word for “dove,” because of the way the island is much like a haven to various species of nesting birds, including the Ducula Bicolor, indigenous to the Maluku province.
The quickest route to Pombo Island is through the Pattimura Airport, about 36 kilometers from Ambon City. This is a domestic only airport, with flights available from Jakarta, Surabaya, Makassar, Kupang, and several other less frequented destinations. If travelling from an international destination, it would probably be best to route through Jakarta, as it is the capital city of Indonesia.
From Ambon, continue by road to Tulehu Port, in Waii, a small coastal village on the outskirts of Ambon. A speedboat can be rented to take you from Tulehu Port to Pombo island for about 400,000 – 500,000 Rupiah. Pombo is approximately 30 minutes from Tulehu.
Visitors should be advised that there is not much on this island that is not purely natural, so be sure to bring enough food and drinks for your trip as well as any other immediate essentials.