GORONTALO

GORONTALO PROVINCE

Gorontalo Province is occupied by mountainous areas that stretches form the north to the south of the province. Located on the Minahasa Peninsula in northern Sulawesi west of North Sulawesi Province,, it covers 11,257.07 square kilometers. Its population rose from 1,040,164 in 2010 to 1,134,498 in 2014. Its population density is 92.9 people per square kilometer. The province is divided into five districts and one city. These are Boalemo, Bone Bolango, Gorontalo, Pohuwato, and North Gorontalo, and Gorontalo City, which is also the province’s capital city.

The mountains and forests are the homes of unique animals and trees. Anoa, tarsiers, maleo birds, the strange-looking babirusa (deer pig) are among the rare species that can be found here. Maleo are known for nesting in sandy areas and volcanic soils utilizing heat from the sun or geothermal energy to incubate its eggs. Tarsiers are the world’s smallest primate, only 10 centimeters length.

You can find Ebony, lingua, nantu, meranti and rattan trees in Gorontalo’s forest. Off of Gorontalo’s southern coast, which is known as “Teluk Tomini”, are a number of small islands which spreads around the sea. Those islands are still unsettled and have beautiful white sand beaches. Teluk Tomini (Tomini Bay) is a heaven for divers, , , because the geographic position of “Teluk Tomini” itself, which is crossed by the equator line, has naturally presented various kinds of sea creature inside.

In the past, five kingdoms — Gorontalo, Limboto, Suwawa, Boalemo and Atinggola — emerged and formed an alliance called Pohalaa. In late 19th century, Dutch colonized this area. The Japanese held fir a while and the Dutch regained in again briefly after World War II. Gorontalo became a part of Indonesia in 1950. It was part of North Sulawesi province until 2000 when it became 32nd province of Indonesia.

The local people on Gorontalo are primarily of Malay descent. People of Ternate and Tidore as well as Bugis and Makassar are also abundant here. Milu siram, a soup made of corn, fish, salt, grated coconut, chili and lime, is a popular dish. It can be found almost anywhere, most notably in the stalls around the market at night. Dutch influence can be found in Gorontalo’s cakes and pastries found at its bakeries. Tourism Office: Dinas Perhubungan dan Pariwisata Prov. Gorontalo, Jl. Jendral Sudirman No. 57, Kota Gorontalo, Phone/ Fax. (62-435) 827615; Website: gorontaloprov.go.id

Gorontalo Town

Gorontalo (10 hours from Manado) is town with 140,00 people, some well-preserved colonial buildings and street full of motorized becaks. Most businesses and hotels are concentrated in the center of town. The two ports are about four kilometers each from the center. Nearby are some reasonable beaches and hot springs.

The capital and largest city in Gorontalo Province, Gorontalo city us nestled in the calm waters of the northern shoreline of the Tomini Bay, on the southern fringe of Sulawesi's protective northern arm. The weather is balmy and landscape is punctuated by rows of mountains. Life here is quiet and simple. Tourists are virtually unknown.

Being the main gateway to the diving mecca of the Togean Islands and only a 1 hour flight from Manado, Gorontalo is easily reached and often passed through. There are many small islands around the north and the south of the province, 67 of which have been identified and named. In 1525, with Portuguese assistance, three small rock fortresses were built overlooking the waters of Lake Limboto. Still in place today, the Fort Otonaha complex has commanding views.

Gorontalo-based guerrilla, freedom fighter and national hero Nani Wartabone , who fought against the Dutch and Japanese in World War II is honored with a monument in town. Since the city escaped Allied bombings during the war, a number of Dutch-colonial era buildings are still intact. Although many are in poor condition, Gorontalo City still has that distinctive colonial appearance.

Accommodation in Gorontalo

Hotel Melati Visitors will find the Hotel Melati comfortable enough and with more English spoken than in most other hotels in Gorontalo., Address: Jl. Gajah Mada No. 33, Tel. (+62) 435 822934., E-mail: avelberg@hotmail.com.

Hotel Yulia Newly renovated Hotel Yulia has air-conditioning, cable TV and hot water. Rates are a good value. Address:, Jl. Ahmad Yani No. 26, Indonesia, Tel. 0435 — 828395, 828397, fax: 0435 - 823063

Quality Hotel Gorontalo Next door is a much more luxurious option, Quality Hotel Gorontalo, where some staff speak English. It is located just 45 minutes from the Djalaludin Airport and within walking distance to all city’s shops, malls, restaurant, night life district, public facilities, banking center and government center. There is also a great view of Gorontalo from this hotel. Address: Jl. A. Yani No. 25, Kota Gorontalo 96115, Indonesia, Tel. (0435) 822222, fax: 821111

The Oasis Hotel Although nestled in the heart of Gorontalo City, Gorontalo Oasis Hotel is a world away. At its center is a grove of giant sago palms surrounding a pool of natural spring water. Light breezes from the mountains rustle the bamboo. Fragrant flowers perfume the night air. Rooms come with a single queen or two twin beds, air conditioning, hot water shower, international cable television, mini bar, and underwater photo print. The fastest Internet connection in Gorontalo is available throughout the Oasis. Miguel's Diving also has its office here. Address: Jl. Agus Salim No 29, Gorontalo City

Getting to Gorontalo

Until fairly recently the only way to get to Gorontalo was to travel overland but that is no longer the case. . Regular flights now connect Gorontalo with the outside world. Daily flights to Gorontalo are available from Jakarta via Makassar on Lion Air and Sriwijaya Airlines. Recently Garuda Indonesia has daily flights to Gorontalo from Jakarta, Denpasar (Bali), Surabaya and Makassar. Jalaludin Airport is the primary airport of Gorontalo City and is located about 20 minutes from downtown Gorontalo. From Manado, Wings Air now has daily flights to Gorontalo, leaving every evening.

If you prefer to travel overland, that option is still available. Private transport can be arranged in Manado with a driving time of about 9 hours in a car with a hired driver. Alternatively, you could go by bus, and there are several bus lines available. The bus trip from Manado to Gorontalo takes about 10 hours. Fajar Indah is a recommended company. Roads are mostly in good condition, with a few dirt and gravel sections.

By sea there are passenger ships such as the KM Tilongkabila and a ferry directly from the Gorontalo port.

Sights in Gorontalo Town

Nani Wartabone monument is a historical monument of the national Gorontalo hero, Nani Wartabone. He played an important role in the Gorontalo struggle for independence. This monument is located in the center of Taruna Remaja Gorontalo Park.

Mesjid Hunto (Sultan Amai). Hunto Mosque is one of the oldest mosque in Gorontalo. It is over 300 years old. In the mosque, there is a bell and beduk (an Islamic traditional drum) that are the same age as the mosque.

Sacred Cemetery of Ju Panggola (sub district of Dembe I, eight kilometers from the center of Gorontalo) was built in the 14th century. People that live around it consider the cemetery a sacred place with a unique characteristic, related to Islam. Some Muslims come here to meditate.

Rumah Adat Gorontalo (Bantayo Poboide) is a traditional house located in the center of the sub-district of Limboto, Gorontalo. “Bantayo” means building and “Poboide” means place for meeting. Bantayo Poboide is regarded as a symbol of Gorontalo culture and serves as cultural and community center. Bantayo Poboide has many rooms and each room has a different function, and every ornament in the building has symbolic meaning.

Near Gorontalo Town

Otanaha Fortress (eight kilometers from Gorontalo) was used in the past by the Sultans of Gorontalo for protection and defense. One of the factors that makes this castle unique one of the materials used in its construction: white of the Maleo bird eggs mixed with sand to make plaster. The castle stands in the top of the highland and offers great views of the mountains, sea and countryside. There are two more castles nearby: Otahiya and Ulupahu castles. Visitors must climb 345 stairs to reach the three castles.

Natural Hot Spring Water Bath of Lombongo (20 kilometers from Gorontalo) is located in Lombongo village, Suwawa. There is natural hot spring water bath, cold spring water bath, playground, and a stage for art performances. The hot water spring contains sulfur that is said to cure skin diseases.

Limboto Lake (10 kilometers from Gorontalo) begins in a village named Iluta. Pentadio Resort is located on the edge of the lake. It has hot and cold pools, steam baths and water cycling. Some hot springs located nearby. Keagungan Tower was was built in 2001 and has five floors. You can reach the top by lift to enjoy the Limboto Lake scenery, as well as views of Gorontalo. A modern and comfortable auditorium is available on the first floor, for meetings and show purpose.

Beaches and Diving Near Gorontalo

Leato Beach (in North Leato, about 12 kilometers from Gorontalo) is known for its white sand/ You can seen wooden boat repaired in traditional way. Divers and snorkelers can check out beautiful coral-reefs and a sunken ship. Boalemo Beach has a white sand seashore with calm and clear water,. Bitilia Sea Garden — 15 minutes drive from Boalemo Indah Beach — has good diving

The islands of Pepaya, Mas and Raja are located in the Sumalata Waters in North Gorontalo and have been named a nature reserve since Dutch colonial time in 1936. There are only 7 turtles species in the world and 4 of them are found among these islands as the world's best turtle habitat. These are Penyu Hijau (Chelonia midas), Penyu Sisik (Eretmochelys imbricata), Penyu Tempayan (Caretta caretta) and Penyu Belimbing (Dermochelys coriacea). Unfortunately, since 2011 the habitat has been threatened by human activities such as illegal poaching and fish bombings, reducing the food source for the turtles.

Scuba diving has grown considerably during the past several years in Gorontalo with the prime dive season being between November to April. Miguel's Diving has its office at the Gorontalo Oasis Hotel. With its new custom-built speedboats, seven dive sites are within only a ten-minute boat ride from town. With over 20 dive sites from which to choose, certified divers can enjoy dramatic coral walls, multiple pinnacles, caverns, shallow coral gardens and two wrecks to explore. One important feature of diving in this area is the continental wall of Sulawesi, which comes within a few meters of the coastline, bringing deep blue water right to shore.

Having some of the most dense and diverse hard coral growth in the Indo-Pacific region, Gorontalo also has a growing list of new, undescribed or endemic species. The huge, surreal Salvador Dali sponge can only be found in Gorontalo. The provincial government has just published a top quality book of underwater photos taken there by three of Asia's best marine photojournalists. Information on the book, Gorontalo: Hidden Paradise, is available through the Miguel's Diving web site.

Togean Islands

The Togean Islands are one of Indonesia's premier diving spots. The only problem is they are very hard to get to. Situated in the vicinity of equator, this enchanting archipelago boasts stunning reefs, small isolated white sandy beaches, traditional Bajo fishing village and untouched rainforest

The Togean Islands were formed by volcanic activity, and are covered in dense rainforests, bordered by ancient coral reef formations. The islands are an extremely remote paradise, consisting of 56 nearly-uninhabited islands that have managed to preserve a natural elegance, not yet spoiled by man. Anyone willing to make the effort will be more than rewarded with everything you would expect from such a hard-to-reach destination: ultimate seclusion and superb diving and snorkelling.

Situated in the Coral Triangle that stretches from the Philippines and East Malaysia through the Indonesian archipelago to Timor Leste and on to the Solomon Islands, the Togeans are the only islands in Indonesia where all major reef types can be found in one place: atolls, barrier, and fringing reefs.

The reefs are in excellent condition and support over a thousand species of sea creatures, many of which are endangered and protected. Parrot fish, banner fish, moonfish, starfish, blue banded sea-snakes, and spotted stingrays are just a few of species you may encounter in the ankle-deep waters, barely a few meters from the coast. For more advanced divers, eager to head further out to sea, sightings of sea turtles, black-tail barracudas and blue marlins are fairly common. If you’re patient (or lucky) enough, the scalloped hammerhead shark may even pay a visit. In certain seasons, the waters around the island become a gathering point for thousands of barracuda. Another popular dive site is the wreck of an American B24 bomber from World War II. The plane is for the most part intact, and is home to nudibranchs, lion fish, and huge schools of jackfish.

The Togean Islands are a Marine National Park that contains the largest coral reef in Indonesia, and is a breeding ground for the green turtle, hawksbill turtle and dugong. As the Togean Islands are part of the National Marine Park, no fishing is allowed at any of the resorts or diving areas. Fishing charters can be arranged to take you out of the “no take” zone, though preferably on a catch and release basis. Spear fishing is not permitted anywhere in the Marine Park.

Getting to the Togean Islands

The Togean Islands can be reached from Gorontalo city by twice-a-week public boat. If you come from Rantepao (Tana Toraja) in South Sulawesi, Togean can be reached via Mangkutana, Pendolo, Tentena and Poso to Ampana in about a 14 hour drive by car. It can be reached from Palu by a seven hour drive by car to Ampana. You can also go via Poso (375 kilometers) by bus or chartered vehicle to Ampana. There is a daily from Ampana on the Sulawesi mainland to Wakai and Malenge in the Tongean Islands. The trip takes for about four hours and departs at 10:00pm

Kadidiri is where many divers stay. Getting there 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. Many start the journey by flying the Manado International Airport in North Sulawesi. Silk Air has regular International flights from Singapore to Manado. There are also domestic flights from Jakarta and Bali on Lion Air, Garuda, Batavia Air, and Merpati.

The place you need to get to next is Luwuk, From Manado, catch one of the twice-weekly flights to Luwuk. In the early 2010s Sriwijaya Air began daily flights from Jakarta to Luwuk via Makassar. From Luwuk it is aneight -hour bus ride to Ampana, Central Sulawesi. Ampana is the usual port to the Togean Islands. Boats depart four times a week at 10:00am.

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 1two-hour voyage to Wakai. Once in Wakai, you must take a speedboat to Kadidiri. Chartered speedboats are also availablefrom Marisa in North Sulawesi and Bunta in Central Sulawesi.

Islands in the Togean Archipelago

Batudaka is the largest and most easily accessible of the Togean Islands. Here you can visit the local villages, explore the natural forests, go swimming, snorkelling, or take a trek through Batudaka’sbat caves.

Kadidiri, in the Togean Islands, is a world famous diving spot, and is one of the top destinations in the Togean area. Kadidiri is a paradise for divers for its stunning underwater landscapes, rich coral reefs and exquisite marine life, unsuccessfully hidden beneath a layer of unbelievably glassy waters. Kadidiri is covered in lush rain-forests and bordered by ancient coral formations. 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.

Bomba Island dense mangrove swamps. In Bomba village, you can observe the traditional way of life of the local fishermen 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: Main Diving Island in the Tongean Islands

Kadidiri Island is a familiar destination to divers although it is as yet still little known outside the diving community. Located at the tip of the Gulf of Tomini in Central Sulawesi, Kadidiri is one of the islands in the Togean National Park. With white sand beaches and astonishingly glassy water, Kadidiri’s exotic beauty and charm draws divers from all over the world. The best time to visit is in the dry season between April and November, during which, visibility can reach up to 40 meters.

Kadidiri’s unique ecology is not limited to beneath the surface of the water. Beyond the beaches, creatures of land and air roam freely. The thick forests are habitat to monkeys, pig deer, Sulawesi hornbill and parrots, just to name a few. If you dare to venture into the forests by night, you may even spot the giant, tree-climbing Coconut Crab. Coconut Crabs are the largest living land arthropods in the world, and have a leg span that can reach up to 3 feet. In 2008, a new species of bird was discovered on the island.

There are three places to stay on Kadidiri, all sharing the same slice of beach, and are the only accommodations on the island. They are also the only sources of fresh water and electricity, which only runs from 8:00am till 9:00pm. There isn’t much of a night life, as most things die down once the electricity does. Evenings in Kadidiri may be spent around a bon-fire on the beach, or just lying on the sand, appreciating the star-lit evening sky. There are no ATMs on Kadidiri; but bungalows do accept credit cards and cash payments in Rupiah, Dollars or Euro. All three of Kadidiri’s bungalows have meals included in their daily rates, and also rent out diving and snorkelling equipment.There are no shops on the island, but basic needs, snacks and drinks are sold by the bungalows.For additional purchases, it is possible to catch a ride back to Wakai with boats from any of the resorts. Either that, or be sure to do any necessary shopping before leaving for Kadidiri. Another point to bear in mind, is that there is no internet connection on the island, and almost no phone signal.

Accommodation on Kadidiri in the Tongean Islands

Kadidiri Paradise offers neat, wooden bungalows of varying sizes and quality, all of which are meticulously maintained.Every room is furnished with a double or twin bed, fan, balcony and inside bathroom. Paradise Diving School is the first diving school on the island, and is fully equipped with boats, gear, and PADI certified diving instructors to attend to your every need. Kadidiri Paradise, Kadidiri Island, Togean Islands, Tel. +62 852 42289909, E mail: info@kadidiriparadise.com, Website: kadidiriparadise.com

Black Marlin Dive Resort is situated between the other two resorts, and offers 17 stylish, wooden cottages just a few steps from the beach. All rooms are equipped with double spring beds, mosquito nets, ceiling fans, clean running water and a panoramic sea view. Available facilities are pool table, ocean café and restaurant, bar, safety box, and dive boats. Prices range from 16-35 Euros per person per night. Black Marlin Dive Resort. Kadidiri Island, Togean Islands, Tel. +62 85657202004 / +62 8123806904, E mail: info@blackmarlindiving.com / blackmarlindive@gmail.com, Website: blackmarlindiving.com

Pondok Lestari is located further down the beach, to the right of the other two. Pondok Lestari is the cheapest on the island, and ideal for budget travellers. It offers simple, bamboo cottages; available for singles or doubles, and shared toilets and showers. They do not have their own dive center, but they do provide free snorkelling trips.

Una Island

Pulau Una-Una (close to Kadidiri island) is an extremely remote island adjacent to the Togean National Park in the Gulf of Tomini. It was formed by the relatively short, broad Colo Volcano, whose summit rises just 500 meters above sea level, with a two-kilometer-wide caldera. Una Una is a lush and scenic island with striking black sand beaches that contrast with the pure, white sands of the other islands in Tomini Gulf.

Three eruptions have been recorded on Mount Colo, with two of them causing damage. In 1983, after over 80 years of dormancy, a powerful eruption burst from Mount Colo. Thick, yellow clouds rose five kilometers into the air, with volcanic ash reaching as far as East Kalimantan. Pyroclastic flows swept across the island, destroying everything in its path. Many settlements were completely devastated and hot clouds destroyed all plant species on the island. Only a narrow strip of vegetation and villages along the island’s east coast remained undamaged. Six months prior to the eruption, the volcano began to show activity, giving the island’s residents the opportunity to be gradually evacuated to the surrounding islands. There were no casualties, and Mount Colo has not erupted since.

Una-Una remained uninhabited for some time, but after a few years, people gradually began returning to rebuild their lives. Initially, they only came to start agricultural production, but over time they once again began building homes. Although Colo volcano is still active and could erupt at any time, this did not dampen the desire of Una Una’s previous inhabitants to return home.

Several changes have taken place on the island since the eruption. As a sort of blessing in disguise,the volcanic ash and lava which covered Una Una has created an island of extremely fertile soil. Additionally, its deer population has increased drastically to an estimated tens of times higher than before. The phenomenon may have possibly been caused by the demise of many deer predators. Island residents now raise elk for every day needs such as food and clothing.

There are a variety of activities you can do on this beautiful island including fishing, sailing, swimming, and of course diving. Pulau Una Una contains a rich underwater biodiversity of fish, shrimp, crabs and sea cucumbers. The main dive spots at Una Una Island are Apollo Reef and the Pinnacle. Apollo reaches a depth of about 45meters, and is inhabited by many octopi and large fish, while The Pinnacle drop-off is occupied by groups of dolphins and even the occasional hammerhead shark. The waters of Una Una are exquisitely beautiful, but due to strong undercurrents and deep waters, are not suitable for beginners. If you love to climb, you can take the trek up Mount Colo. Steep ravines are often hidden by the thick vegetation, so a guide is advisable.

Pulau Una Una has no accommodation of its own, or facilities of any kind, so it can only be visited on a day trip. There are, however, three cottages on Kadidiri, which is one of the closest islands to Una Una, and the primary destination in the Togeans. Una Una is 30 kilometers from the nearest island. Most people get there from Kadidiri. Theoretically from any of the the Togeans, you can hire a speedboat to Una Una, or you could be adventurous and try to catch a ride with one of the local fishermen.

Pulau Poya Lisa: Small Island in the Togean Archipelago

Poya Lisa Island is an idyllic little island in the Togean National Park. Privately-owned and literally off-the-map, Poya Lisa is the perfect extreme getaway for complete relaxation and ultimate detachment for complete escape the hustle and bustle of everyday city-life. The island covers just five acres but boasts pure, white stretches of sand, a crystal-clear, turquoise sea, and brilliant coral reefs. There are two beaches, lined with small benches to watch the sunset. Even at “peak season,” Poya Lisa is never very crowded.

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 in the late 1990s 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. Mr. Ismael and his family go out of their way to make you feel welcome and at home.

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.

Poya Lisa Resort consists of nine 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, Tel. 62 464 22304 62 852 4100 3685, E mail: Poyalisaisland@gmail.com, Website: http://poyalisa.blogspot.com/

From Ampana, public boats depart to Poya Lisa every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 9:00am The ride takes 2 ½ hours. 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. Traveling 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.

Bajo’s Tribe Villages

The Bajo villages of Tilamuta, Torosiaje, Popayato can be found in the Togean-Islands-Gorontalo area. The Bajo here that still live in on boats called “Bangau”, and move around from one island to another islands and spend much time on Toro Pantai Island, where they cultivate pearls and sea grass.

The Bajo people, or Sea Gypsies as they have often been called, are a landless ethnic group that is sustained completely and exclusively by the ocean. But not only do they survive solely on marine resources—they actually live in the ocean as well. Entire villages are built on stilts and connected by wooden bridges over large expanses of coral reefs and rocks in the middle of the open sea. The Bajo tribes maintain an intimate knowledge of the maritime coastal ecosystems, as well as the seasons, winds, currents, tides, lunar cycle, stars and navigation. These mysterious sea people are also distinguished by their exceptional free-diving abilities, and through years of practice have acquired physical adaptations that enable them to see better and dive longer underwater.

In the past, the Bajo lived almost completely segregated from the “land-people,” preserving their very distinct way of life for generations. But these once sea-wandering nomads, who have lived for centuries at sea, are now adapting to and interacting more with the land-based ethnic groups and being encouraged to settle on land. Apart from living locations, many other aspects of the Bajo culture have been abandoned, and with more and more Bajo descendants now speaking Bahasa Indonesia, the ancient Bajo language is slowly dying out.

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Indonesia Tourism website ( indonesia.travel ), Indonesia government websites, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Japan News, Yomiuri Shimbun, Compton's Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Updated in August 2020

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