Poya Lisa Island is an idyllic little island included in the area that makes up the Togean National Park in Central Sulawesi. Privately-owned and literally off-the-map, Poya Lisa is the perfect extreme getaway for complete relaxation and ultimate detachment from the hustle and bustle that is everyday city-life. Although relatively small and rarely mentioned, the natural beauty of the island and genuine warmth of the local people are sure to capture your heart and leave you with unforgettable memories of your trip to this miniature paradise.
This charming island covers just 5 acres of pure, white stretches of sand, glistening in the sun, surrounded by a crystal-clear, turquoise sea, rich in brilliant coral reefs. This tiny, yet gorgeous island has two beaches, lined with small benches to watch the sunset. Even at “peak season,” Poya Lisa will never be very crowded, so if seclusion and tranquillity are what you desire, you can’t get much better than this.
The island is owned by Mr. Ismael, a registered nurse on Bomba Island, the closest island to Poya Lisa. Mr. Ismael built the island resort 15 years ago, and it is personally managed by him and his family. According to legend, Poya Lisa gets its name from a man called Poya, the first person who planted coconut trees on the island.
Aside from its obviously beautiful and practically untouched surroundings, Poya Lisa is best known for its amazing hospitality, which is what sets it far apart from the rest. Mr. Ismael and his family go out of their way to make you feel welcome and at home, and this added charm and friendliness effortlessly complements the enchanting atmosphere, creating the perfect ambience to make your trip a heart-warming and unforgettable one.
Poya Lisa Resort is a wonderful resort with excellent value, and is the only one on the island. It consists of 9 cozy bungalows placed neatly in a row on the sandy white beach facing Bomba Island. The cottages are fairly basic, yet clean, spacious and well kept. Each comes with a bed, table, chairs, mirror, light, mosquito net, water, and a delightful private terrace. Some of the bungalows have a private shower, while others have a shared one. Shared showers are kept very clean with lots of fresh water. The common dining area overlooks the water, and is an excellent place to meet and have a chat with other travellers and the local family. The resort serves 4 meals a day, each of them tasty, fresh, and plenteous!
Breakfasts are usually an assortment of pastries, while lunches and dinners are mostly seafood, rice, noodles and vegetables, always cooked up in a different way. A small homemade snack is served between lunch and dinner, and water, tea and coffee are available at all times of the day. Beer and Arak, which is local rice wine, are also available upon request. The atmosphere of the resort is extremely laid back, and the family that runs it is more than willing to help with any other needs or requests you may have.
Poya Lisa Resort, Representative Office: Jl. Tanjung Api No. 5, Kompleks SMKN I, Ampana.
The key appeal of Poya Lisa is its perfectly secluded atmosphere, far from the smog and pollution of big cities, and even away from other civilization. Aside from the occasional tourist who chanced upon this hidden paradise and those that work there, the island is uninhabited. Indulge in the natural beauty of Poya Lisa’s unspoiled terrain and pristine marine scenery, and let it relax your body, soothe your eyes and refresh your mind and soul. Take a dip into the glassy blue sea, and relish the mixed sensations of the hot sun and cool water. Do not your snorkel and goggles for a peek under the glassy surface at the vibrantly coloured corals, abuzz with all manner of interesting and incredible creatures. The resort also provides boat rides (within a close enough distance,) absolutely free! These wooden-boat adventures can be used to find snorkelling spots, or stay aboard the vessel and try your hand at fishing. Poya Lisa itself does not have many dive spots, and therefore does not have adequate diving rental equipment, but boats are available to take you to the dive spots around the nearby islands.
Several other islands are also located within the proximity, each with its own special allure and specific attraction to make it worth a visit. Boat rides can be provided upon request to these more distant destinations at a very cheap price, especially when compared to other resorts in the vicinity. Longer trips always come with the added personal touch of a packed lunch – courtesy of Poya Lisa Resort.
Bomba Island is just 10 minutes away, and is the closest island to Poya Lisa. Charter a small boat to trace the dense mangrove swamps on the way to Bomba. In Bomba village, you can observe their traditional way of life and witness first-hand how sugar is made from the palm trees. Take a trek about 30 minutes from the village to explore the giant bat caves.
Kadidiri Island is a world famous diving spot, and the post popular destination in the Togean Islands. It is about 2 hours travel time in a small boat from Poya Lisa. Kadidiri is covered in lush rain-forests and bordered by ancient coral formations. These exquisite barrier and atoll reefs support over a thousand species of sea creatures, many of which are endangered and protected. These reefs can be explored while snorkelling or diving, but are also perfectly visible from within your boat, through the perfectly clear waters.
Una-Una is a volcanic island, formed as a direct result of Mount Colo’s eruptions. One interesting by-product of the island’s volcanic nature is that unlike the pure, white sands of the other islands in the surrounding area Una-Una’s beaches are a striking black. Una-Una boasts numerous spectacular dive spots, no less stunning than those in Kadidiri, but due to deeper waters and harsh currents, they are only suitable for advanced divers.
Getting anywhere in the Togeans is a challenging task, and should not be attempted unless you have time to spare. There are several ways to get to there, each taking at least a few days. You can fly to the Manado International Airport in North Sulawesi. Silk Air has a regular International flight from Singapore to Manado. There are also domestic flights from Jakarta and Bali on Garuda Indonesia, and Citilink. Sriwijaya Air also operates flights from Jakarta to Luwuk, the closest town to the Togean Islands.
From Manado, Jakarta or Makassar, catch one of the twice-weekly flights to Luwuk, followed by an 8-hour bus ride to Ampana, Central Sulawesi. Ampana is the usual port to the Togean Islands. From Ampana, public boats depart to Poya Lisa every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 9:00 a.m. The ride takes 2 ½ hours.
Alternatively, one may go via Gorontalo City, which can be reached from Manado by bus, chartered car, or plane. From Gorontalo, ferries depart once a week on an arduous 12-hour voyage to Wakai. The Gorontalo-Wakai ferry departs every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 20:00. After that, hire another small boat 2 hours to Poya Lisa.
There is no mobile phone signal on Poya Lisa Island. Whether that be a blessing or curse, you decide, but it is something to keep in mind if you must stay in contact for some reason or another.
Travelling with friends can be more fun and can also ease the cost for shared expenses, such as renting boats.
There is no source of fresh water on the island. The resort makes daily trips to Bomba for the water needed for daily needs. While it is more than enough, guests should make an effort to use the water wisely.
Don’t forget your sunblock, hat, sunglasses and mosquito repellant.
Maintain cleanliness and do your part to preserve this beautiful environment.