A mythical, tropical paradise with dreamy beaches and flamboyant reefs, overshadowed by fierce volcanoes
Moyo Island has around 1000 inhabitants and is generally known as a peaceful, off-grid paradise. It is located in the shadow of Mt. Tambora. A once fierce volcano that shook the whole world with its explosion in 1815.
From a pure diver’s perspective; however, the volcanoes scattered throughout east Indonesia are a blessing in terms of biodiversity. Volcanic sediments are transported by oceanic currents, thus nourishing pristine coral reefs with minerals along the way. This is one primary reason why Indonesia can be considered one of only 17 megadiverse countries. Moyo Island definitely belongs to the prettier places of Indonesia and is exceptionally off-grid, even compared to the rest of Nusa Tenggara and Sumbawa’s neighbouring islands: Flores and Lombok.
If you ever travelled to Indonesia before and developed a taste for off-grid Indonesia, then this is the place for you! While diving is generally the main attraction, even the wildlife on land is genuinely spectacular. A National Park was established in 1986 to conserve the unique vegetation and the extraordinary animal species found on the island. Birds, Bats, Monkeys, Wild Pigs and even Deer are carefree inhabitants of the island. Besides divers, the island is also renowned for bird watchers, and enthusiasts can observe 86 species of birds, 2 of them being endangered. Moyo’s forests are as pristine as its beaches and form the home of a wide variety of butterflies and spectacular waterfalls.
Beneath the Surface Gregarious Reefsharks and a vibrantly, deceptive octopus
Back to diving, the entire coastline of the island has recently been declared a marine conservation area. As such, the coral reefs and the animals that call them their home are now being actively protected from fishing and pollution. A significant improvement for a region where dynamite fishing was once rampant and yet another reason that makes the journey there surely worthwhile. The popular dive sites around Moyo island are relatively close together, which is yet another advantage.
Panjang Reef is conveniently located directly in front of a small fishing village. This reef is home to one particularly notorious, incredibly venomous, mollusc. The blue ringed-octopus. Although hard to spot, one should be careful when approaching this creature, particularly you macro photographers! The blue-rings octopus is truly tiny, about the size of a ping pong ball! It carries one of the most toxic poisons of the sea.
This rainbow reef is also home to whitetip and blacktip reef sharks, bi-colour angelfish, six-banded angelfish, yellow-bellied damsels and harlequin sweetlips.
Angel Reef is on the west coast of Moyo, located south of Panjang Reef and boasts a healthy amount of hard corals in the shallower parts and a vertical wall over 40 meters deep. Once divers start to approach this impressive wall, they are likely to encounter enormous schools of long-fin bannerfish, rounded batfish and red tooth triggerfish. The colourful wall is generously covered with soft corals and some hard sheet corals. However, there are still some remnants of dynamite fishing there, with barren blast zones scattered on the wall Yellowfin tuna often scour the deep channels of this reef looking for prey, as do black-tip reef sharks.
There are many more fascinating large animals, that can be found all around the island, albeit at random and not at one particular divesite. You could visit Bali to see a Sunfish, Flores to see a whale shark, and Lombok to see hawksbill turtle, or you could be lucky and spot them all around this small island called Moyo.
Blue EmOcean The sweet spot between isolation and comfort
If reading about the dive sites teased your desire for adventure and you feel like packing your fins and masks already, you may be a little intimidated by the remoteness of Moyo Island. Indeed it is very remote, but nothing like Raja Ampat or Togean Islands. There is an international airport a few hours of Moyo and internet connection. There are numerous ways to reach the island suitable for all types of budget. Please find all your transportation options listed here.
Once you have reached our resorts, you will realise that you didn’t have to sacrifice comfort for the pristine nature and unspoiled beaches. We are one of the very few places that offer Deluxe rooms with A/C.
Beyond Scuba – Moyo as a Family
If you happen to be an experienced diver but happen to have a family that needs to be part of your adventures, you can be sure that there are numerous family-friendly activities on the island. Exploring a lonely beach with snorkelling gear, jumping into a crystal clear waterfalls are experiences that are definitely on the bucket list for many curious, kids. The water around Moyo is very calm with high visibility, as such snorkelling alongside colourful fish and forests of corals may very well be the highlight for your kids. If they happen to get a taste for the wholesome experience of usually snorkelling around, we can organise boat trips to take them to many different spots around the island.
Three waterfalls can be found on the island: Idumbaii, Mata Jitu, and Sangalo. If you have travelled to Indonesia before, you may very well be aware of the sheer beauty of Indonesian waterfalls. Unlike many rivers downstream, they tend to be completely free from pollution and offer a well-deserved, refreshing dip. There’s a certain magic to these three waterfalls, and locals have many myths and legends surrounding waterfalls. Fun fact: Mata Jitu is also called the Lady Diana Waterfall, as it was visited by the former princess.
Trekking on Moyo is another must-do, with or without family! Local guides will show and explain you the flora and fauna of the reserve, featuring curious deer, careless wild pigs, curious monkeys and intimidating monitor lizards. Numerous butterflies and bird species will also be encountered along the way. There is no infrastructure in the reserver, as such, it is very easy to get lost if you don’t have a guide here.
In 2013, while on a dive trip, we discovered the beauty of a hidden gem lying on the Flores Sea. We instantly fell in love with it. This magical place was Moyo Island. We are Valentina and Mauro, and here's our story.