Maratua Island in the Derawan Archipelago off the north coast of East Kalimantan, is a large tropical island partially encircling a massive lagoon on one end and fringed with sheer rocky walls and coral reefs along the other end. This giant upside down U-shaped island covers about 384 square kilometers of sandy white beaches and mangrove forests and 3,735 square km of territorial waters which contain the third highest level of marine biodiversity in the world after Raja Ampat and the Solomon Islands.
The Derawan Island chain includes the islands of Derawan, Sangalaki and Kakaban, and is home to one of the world’s only saltwater lakes as well as one of the largest green turtle nesting sites in Indonesia. This paradise island is situated within the fabled Coral Triangle, with all the richness and beauty within its exotic underwater landscapes that one would expect from such a location. Over 20 dive spots across the island allow visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves amidst the bountiful treasures which lay tucked neatly beneath the sapphire waters. Maratua’s garden under the sea proudly exhibits an abundance of colorful coral reefs populated with a variety of species of fish, green turtles, manta rays and other marine life.
Turtle Traffic is one of the most popular dive spots, and true to its name, is filled with Green Sea Turtles. Hundreds of turtles frequent this portion of ocean, gliding gracefully about in search of food. The island is also a nesting ground where the Green Turtles return each year to lay their eggs, hence resulting in Maratua sometimes being referred to as the “Turtle Capital of Indonesia". Big Fish Country is located between the islands of Maratua and Nabucco, where the stronger currents bring the big fish in to play. Many pelagic creatures like Manta Rays, Eagle Rays, Tuna and Mackerel roam this channel together with schools of Barracuda, White Tip Sharks, and even the occasional Hammerhead.
This dive spot has deep waters and strong currents, and is therefore reserved for advanced divers. Once you’ve had your fill exploring the world beneath the waves, complete your Maratua experience with a stroll around solid part of the island. Pay a visit to any of the 4 Bajo villages and take the opportunity to learn about the lives of these mysterious sea people. When all that is complete, sit back and relax on the beach and bask in the glow of the setting sun sinking beneath the horizon.
The closest airport to the Derawan Islands is the Juwutan International Airport in the city of Tarakan, East Kalimantan. From here take an internal flight south to Tanjung Redeb in the district of Berau. Boats will take you from here to Kakaban and other Derawan Islands.
Once in Berau you can hire a speedboat for the 2 hour ride to the Derawan islands. Speed boats generally have a seating capacity of 15 people, and can be rented to take you to several of the Derawan islands in one day.