Off the beaten track destinations in Indonesia

Photo by CC user Michael Gunther on Wikimedia Commons

Love what you have found in Indonesia so far, but looking for some off-the-beaten-track destinations to escape the tourists? Below, we will describe some alternative spots to travel to in this very diverse country.

Samarinda, East Kalimantan

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Photo by CC user Hidayat008 on Wikimedia Commons

Located on the island of Borneo, Samarinda is the largely unknown capital of East Kalimantan. Known mostly for coal mines and the palm oil plantations that lie in the countryside just outside the city, Samarinda does have a few attractions of note.

The first of these is the massive Masjid Islamic Center Samarinda, which dominates the skyline of the city from the river.

While it is not clear whether tours are available or not, those that dress respectfully and ask a local may find it easy to tour its expansive campus outside of prayer times.

Additionally, the markets in this city are lively given the amount of tropical fruit that is available from the surrounding farmland, and there are tons of modern malls available to help you stock up on supplies before heading into the Borneo wilderness on a trek.

A place like Samarinda isn’t on the main tourist grid, which makes planning accommodations ahead of time a smart plan. Through traveloka.com, one can book a comfortable hotel like Aston Samarinda to relax after a hectic day spent traveling on Indonesian Borneo’s rough roads.

Alor Islands

Those seeking to see a part of Indonesia that has changed little even in modern times will want to check out the islands of the Alor archipelago.

While the going here is tough due to the lack of infrastructure present in other parts of the country, seasoned travelers will be rewarded with some of the best diving in the region, people that are untainted by mass tourism, and traditions that have endured the relentless march of 21st century modernism.

Papua

Traveling to the very fringes of Indonesia will take you to the province of Papua. Consisting of the western half of the island of New Guinea, this is a place where the indigenous people still hunt for their food with bows and arrows, and where a complete lack of roads means that much of your travel will be completed by plane and boat.
Their cultures retain much of their authenticity as a result of their isolation, making the expense of a journey here well worth the money you’ll shell out to get here.

Raja Ampat

Photo by CC user 124569475@N05 on Flickr

If you’d like to push your travels to the edges of Indonesia without having to venture into the jungles of Papua, Raja Ampat is a destination that will appeal greatly to you.

Representing one of the few true paradises left untainted by mass tourism in the world, this archipelago is populated by karst-like Islands that resemble mushrooms in shape, has beaches that are bleach white and cotton soft, and marine life that is among the most diverse of any tropical marine destination in the world.

Londa, Sulawesi

Situated in the southern portion of Sulawesi, the burial caves of Londa have attracted a bit more attention in recent years thanks to the investigative reporting of leading travel blogs, but as far as off-the-beaten-track destinations go, this place is one of the best for culture hunters in Indonesia.

In this place, the local people have buried their dead in crypts built into the side of a cliff for generations.

Photographers will love this place, but be sure to ask permission before photographing anyone you find here.

The beaches of Little Corn Island: a guide 

beaches_little_corn_island

Of all the things that draw people to Little Corn Island, the pictures of its deserted beaches usually top the list. As a result, it’s no wonder why the property for sale on Little Corn is selling so fast.

Adventurous expats that have no fear of discomfort are snapping up lots like crazy, wanting to be front and center on an island that has no shortage of great places to chill by the Caribbean Sea.

Below, we will discuss the various beaches that can be found around Little Corn Island…

The town beach: calm and convenient

The beach that can be found in town near the pier is the closest to the majority of accommodations that can be found on Little Corn, making it the easiest place to go for a dip on the island.

Being shielded from the prevailing winds make the air temperature here the highest on the island, which makes for some cozy water temperatures as well.

Its location also makes the waters here relatively calm, which makes the town beach an ideal place for visitors that are traveling with children.

If you want to be close by to all the convenience stores, restaurants, cafes and bars that can be found in the village, this is where you will want to go swimming during your time on Little Corn Island.

East Coast Beach: the prettiest Belle at the ball 

With pure white sand and waters that look like God kicked over a can filled with blue green neon paint,  those looking for the quintessential Caribbean experience will want to spend their time on the east coast.

Home to bungalow resorts such as Grace’s Cool Spot, there are a number of accommodations and small restaurants that can be found on this beach.

As a result, people that choose to locate themselves here will not be completely inconvenienced by the lack of services compared to the main village. If you plan on backpacking here, you’ll need a camping rucksack with a lot of features.

The South Cape: wild and wooly

Reaching the South Cape is not an easy task, as the trails that lead here are a roughly hacked path through the jungle, followed by a steep descent to a beach that is constantly bombarded by waves driven by prevailing winds.

While swimming here is not a great idea due to strong currents, the stark beauty of this place makes it well worth the effort that it will take to reach the South Cape.

Yemaya Resort Beach: they staked this place out for a very good reason

A great way to find the best beaches in the world: figure out where the most expensive resorts are, and then check out the coastline upon which their property is situated.

Yemaya Resort  is one of the spendiest hotels on the island by far, and the beach that it faces is definitely among the top two places to spend time in the sun on Little Corn Island.

With a restaurant and bar that serves some of the most inspired cuisine on Little Corn found here,  spending the day and then having dinner here afterwards is a great way to spend one of your days on this Caribbean island paradise.

Roll out a towel on the finest beaches in the Mayan Riviera

Photo by CC user Bjørn Christian Tørrissen of  http://bjornfree.com

The Mayan Riviera contains some of the world’s most spectacular beaches. Some are lined by villas that boast sleek modern design and all the hottest amenities, while others are blissfully deserted, with nothing but rustling palm leaves and crashing waves to keep you company.

Below, we will highlight our favorite getaways in this magical part of Mexico, so that you can decide which Riviera Maya beach is best for you and your clan…

1) Maroma Beach

Located north of Playa del Carmen, Maroma Beach has been hailed as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches by travel publications such as Discovery Travel & Living, and it’s not hard to see why.

With kilometres of deserted white sands, trademark powder blue Caribbean waters, and a fraction of the people that you’ll find walking the beach in Cancun or Playa del Carmen, it is a heavenly sight to behold.

With a single resort facing this beach, you’ll have access to services if you so choose, but it is just as easy to pretend that it doesn’t exist simply by heading up or down the coast.

2) Paraiso Beach

Want to mix history and a brilliant beach destination? You’ll have a chance to do just that in Tulum at Paraiso Beach, as this slice of paradise sits beneath the cliffs upon which the temple ruins of this town sit.

Apart from making for one of the better photo ops you’ll get to take in the Mayan Riviera, this chilled out place has many restaurants and services tailored to backpackers and the artsy crowd, making it an excellent destination for those hailing from either camp.

3) Xpu-Ha Beach

Another great deserted beach in the Riviera Maya, Xpu-Ha Beach is accessed by a side road leading from the shoulder of the highway leading from Playa del Carmen to Tulum.

A favorite of long-stay expats and locals, this peaceful place is where you can be free from the tourist hordes, big resorts, and loud parties.

You won’t have to pack your own picnic lunch though, as there is an establishment that serves simple Mexican fare facing the beach, with many dishes made from local catches.

4) Punta Bete

Another undeveloped tract of beach situated just north of Playa del Carmen, Punta Bete lacks any sort of major development, though given the beauty of this area, it is only a matter of time before this changes.

The only accommodation here is a rustic bungalow resort, which preserves the pristine beach atmosphere for day trippers and patrons of this establishment. Be sure to try the grilled fish at the restaurant for lunch or dinner!

5) Punta Allen

The ultimate getaway for those looking to flee any semblance of the mass tourism scene would definitely be the sleepy fishing village of Punta Allen.

Located on a sand spit peninsula that extends 60 kilometres south from Tulum, droopy palms, shallow crystalline lagoons and lost fishing gear strewn across its endless sands are what await you here.

The true treat of this destination is after dark though, as the complete lack of any other towns around allow the stars to shine to their full potential, which will be an unforgettable sight for career city dwellers.

Experiencing St Lucia on a budget

 

It is possible to experience St Lucia on a budget

Photo by CC user sergemelki on Flickr

While the islands of the Caribbean are a popular holiday destination for many Europeans and North Americans, the inflated price tag that comes with many of these places can discourage many budget travelers.

St. Lucia falls into this category, but by following a few tips and tricks, this gorgeous isle can be within the reach that wants to explore its beautiful environs. Read up on them in the paragraphs below…

Take advantage of cheaper accommodations

St. Lucia is well-known among global jet-setters as a posh getaway. As a result of this, many of the hotels that can be found here can cost many hundreds or even thousands of dollars a night.

For those traveling on a shoestring, this financial burden is simply too much to bear. Fortunately, more affordable accommodations are available in St. Lucia, as there are many local guesthouses, apartments and houses available through sharing economy websites like Airbnb.

However, if you insist on staying in a hotel, there are many sites out there that focus on marketing bargain holidays to St Lucia to the sun starved masses in Europe and North America.

They periodically feature can’t miss deals on some of the best resorts on the island, so check this site out often to keep informed on the best offers out there.

Make lunch your biggest meal of the day

Don’t be intimidated by the pricey menus that you might see while walking through Soufriere. At lunch time, some excellent deals can be had on entrees that normally cost $20 or more, as set meals are often available for the equivalent of $10 or less at midday.

What’s more, there are restaurants that cater to the local population where one can get a taste of typical St. Lucian cuisine for less than $5.

Go souvenir shopping at one of St. Lucia’s many duty free stores

One of the things that travelers of all stripes are used to dealing with are the universal requests of family and friends back home to bring them plenty of souvenirs from their journeys abroad.

One of the advantages of going on holiday in St. Lucia is that there is a duty-free zone here where goods of all kinds are tax exempt.

So if you have a friend that loves dark Caribbean rum, top shelf perfume/cologne brands, or designer handbags, you can get your hands on these normally expensive products at a significant discount in the shops found in these districts.

Travel to St. Lucia during its rainy season

While it may seem risky to travel to Caribbean islands such as St. Lucia during the rainy season, the truth of the matter is that this time of year is completely misunderstood by most people from outside the region.

While the of St. Lucia’s annual precipitation does fall between the months of May and October, much of the rain that does fall comes during the overnight hours, or during torrential downpours that only last between thirty minutes to three hours on average.

The rest of the time, the sun shines just as brightly as it does during the winter, leaving you with plenty of opportunity to work on your tan.