The International Ecotourism Society defines eco-tourism as “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people and involves interpretation and education” (TIES, 2015). Some people might think it is less fun than the usual holiday experience, but on the contrary, it offers various exciting experiences to delve into. There are many eco-tourism destinations in Indonesia, but East Java is one of the few places that offer a complete package, from accommodation to amenities to culinary specialties.
1 | Staying in Budget Homestays and Eco-Resorts of East Java
The first step to maximize your eco-tourism holiday is to book an eco-tourism accommodation, such as a homestay or an eco-resort. A homestay might not be as luxurious as a hotel, but it definitely allows you to immerse yourself in the local community and gets you closer to nature. Krowi Inn and Didu Homestay near Mount Ijen, and Istana Petani Homestay near Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park are some great lodging options. You can also choose Kaliandra Eco-Resort in Pasuruan or IstanaOmbak Eco-Resort in Pacitan if you’re looking for a luxury experience.
2 | Into the Wilderness of Baluran National Park
Baluran National Park is a perfect destination for those who are looking for a Wild Western adventure. Situated in the easternmost part of Java Island, Baluran National Park is a large area consisting of open savannahs where rare wild animals, such as banteng (Javanese water buffaloes) kancil (small Java mouse-deer), peacocks, eagles, and macaques, roam freely. You can have a memorable safari experience in this park, and if you’re lucky, you will even spot deer running beside your vehicle. Offering astonishing landscapes, Baluran National Park is often dubbed the Africa of East Java.
3 | Seeing the Eternal Blue Flame in Ijen National Park
Hike up to the summit of Mount Ijen (2,368 asl) and climb down to the crater to see the rare blue fire that burns eternally. Mount Ijen is a huge active crater in Ijen National Park and is a source of sulfur for the local miners. Your pleasant hike will be rewarded with stunning views and a cool atmosphere.
4 | Exploring the Realm of Waterfalls
East Java is home to many breathtaking waterfalls, such as Tlaga Gentong, Kapas Biru, Madakaripura, and others. Among these, Madakaripura Waterfall is known to be the most surreal one and stands out for its grandiose. Located near the village of Sapih, in the Lombang district, close to Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, Madakaripura Waterfall is hidden at the end of a valley in the foothills of the Tengger mountain range. After a 3-hour drive from Surabaya, it takes a 20-minute scenic trek, which includes crossing rivers and traversing a rocky path, to reach this 200-meter-tall majestic waterfall. Although the waterfall is the main attraction here, the serene ambiance surrounded by nature will surely sweep you off your feet.
5 | Connecting with the Locals at Ngadas Tourism Village
Meet the indigenous inhabitants of Tengger in Ngadas, a tourist village which was designated as an official tourism village in 2007 and has been recently designated as a traditional cultural village. Located approximately 6.5 km away from the stunning Mount Bromo, Ngadas is perfect for those who are seeking modest luxury amidst nature. Having around 50 homestays equipped with water heaters, Ngadas Tourism Village is a well-known place for tourists to stay the night before hiking Mount Bromo. Moreover, the highlight of this tourism village is its ancient rituals and ceremonies that are believed to bring good fortune and prosperity. Get along with the friendly locals of this quiet, peaceful village to learn from their philosophy on life.
So, these are some great options that you can explore on your future eco-tourism trip in East Java. However, don’t forget that eco-tourism also requires you to be a good and responsible traveler. Plan ahead for your trip and don’t forget to learn more about what you can do as an eco-tourist to support sustainable tourism.
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