Located just away from the mainland of East Kalimantan in the district of Berau, the Derawan archipelago comprises 31 islands, most well known among these are the islands of Derawan, Maratua, Sangalaki and Kakaban. Here is Indonesia’s largest nesting site of the rare and endangered giant green turtles and hawksbill turtles, where one can daily watch turtles lay their eggs in the sand or swim to sea with the turtles.
The entire marine conservancy region covers a total area of no less than 1.27 million hectares. It is the perfect tropical paradise with warm, isolated islands, soft white sand beaches fringed with waving palm trees, pristine seas that change color from green to deep blue, and an amazing underwater life of giant turtles, dolphins, manta rays, dugongs and barracudas, stingless jellyfish and sometimes, whales. Here, you can find 460 different species of corals, ranking this area second only to the Raja Ampat Islands in West Papua. The Nature Conservancy and a team of international experts also found more than 870 species of fish here, ranging from tiny pygmy seahorses to giant manta rays.
To reach Derawan, SilkAir flies from Singapore to Balikpapan in East Kalimantan. Or you can take a flight from Jakarta, Surabaya or Denpasar to Balikpapan or Tarakan by Garuda Indonesia. Then take a connecting flight to Tanjung Redeb in Berau. From here, boats will take you to the islands.
Our Hotel Pick Near the Derawan Islands
Featuring a garden and private beach area, as well as a restaurant, Maratua Guesthouse is located in Maratua Atoll. Staff on site can arrange airport transportation.
The Derawan Islands (Indonesian: Kepulauan Derawan) are in the province of East Kalimantan in Indonesia. They consist of 31 islands, most well known among these are the islands of Derawan, Maratua, Sangalaki and Kakaban. There are also numerous submerged reefs and islets. They are located in the Sulawesi Sea, on the coastal shelf of East Kalimantan (2°17′N – 118°13′E). The islands are part of the Berau Regency.
Derawan islands is a part of Coral Triangle, which contains one of the richest marine biodiversity on earth. Located in a biodiversity hotspot, the Derawan Islands feature 872 species of reef fishes, 507 species of coral, and invertebrates, including protected species (5 giants clam species, 2 sea turtles, coconut crab, etc.). Some of the islands harbor the heavily exploited turtle eggs and yet the largest green turtle nesting site in Indonesia.
Derawan Islands have at least two ponds contain stingless jellyfish, one in Kakaban Island and the other in Maratua Island with Haji Buang Pond. Kakaban is more famous than the second which is also more difficult to access. The pond in Kakaban consists of millions of jellyfish, ranging from the small ones to the large ones, twice as big as an adult’s palm. Indonesia at least have 7 ponds with unpoisoned jellyfish, the others are 3 ponds in Raja Ampat, West Papua, one in Togean Island, Central Sulawesi and one in Rote Island, East Nusa Tenggara.
There are two inhabited islands, namely Derawan (with a village of 1,259 people) and Maratua (comprising four villages with 2,704 people). Fishing is an important income-generating activity for the community. Since the early 1990s, people have caught live groupers, Napoleon wrasse, and lobsters, to fill high demand. There are three diving resorts in the Derawan Islands, while more additional resorts or facilities are in the planning process.
Maratua Island has an area of 35.5 square kilometers and has at least 13 caves, but the prediction is that there are more than a hundred caves which are not yet explored. The caves usually have connection directly to the sea. These caves originated from reef which sea water infiltrated into, creating underground channels.
Airport and seaport
On September 11, 2015 Maratua Airport with runway 1,200 meters has been operated to boost tourism and also to secure defence strategy due to Maratua island is near the border with Malaysia and the Philippines.On February 13, 2017 an ATR 72 airplane has landed successfully in Maratua Airport, but it is not a scheduled flight, but a chartered flight. Until February 2017, there are no signs that scheduled flight will operate in Maratua Airport. There are also plans to build seaport.
Featured Photo by ^riza^