For many Western travelers, east Java is simply an area they pass through or hear about on their way to and from Bali. Things are changing though, and Banyuwangi, the city on the eastern tip of Java is earning a reputation for being a jump off point for the more intrepid traveler.
As the largest regency in Java, Banyuwangi is a wonderfully varied area which hosts activities to suit every level of adventure. Rise at dawn to release tiny baby turtles with the help of a park ranger at the remote Sukamade Beach. Hike up Ijen Crater at night to see its famous blue flames and then stay to watch the sun illuminate the largest highly acidic lake in the world. Hikers can purchase pieces of sulfur that have been hand cut and carried out of the crater by traditional miners. After the hike, be sure not to miss the many waterfalls near the base of Ijen. Blawan Falls is easy to access and still a relatively unknown gem. Go on safari in the 25,000 hectare Baluran National Park, a forest preserve with miles of savannah grasslands and wild animals.
Ocean lovers can surf world-class, completely empty lefts at G-land. Watch at dawn and dusk as wild deer pick their way across the dry reef and feed on algae. Swim at the picturesque Green Bay beach. Lounge on the rope swing bench at the end of the beach for a truly relaxing afternoon. Take a boat from Green Bay to land on a black sand beach one cove over. Hundreds of boats of every color dot the shoreline of this shallow bay. Local kids play pick up games of soccer or build their own kites from materials they find on the beach. Ask nicely enough and you just might get to join in!
written by Chelsea Yamase (@chelseakauai)