Sumbawa is like two islands in one, featuring strong differences in geography and language between the East and the West. The people of Sumbawa have been living off the wealth of the sea and the riches of the volcanic soil for centuries and it has started to welcome international tourism only recently. The island is still lacking in terms of infrastructure, but the Indonesian government is investing in the development of West Sumbawa, introducing a large green regional development and a sustainable legislative framework.
For great muck, wall and drift diving opportunities, this area is ideal as its pristine, rugged coastline and rich marine biodiversity offers the perfect conditions. Explore Sumbawa Besar, the area’s main city, to discover a busy traditional town with colourful markets, or head towards the north to the well-known Moyo island. Most of Moyo is a natural reserve with dense forests of teak, tamarind and banyan trees and rich biodiversity. Famous among birdwatchers for the diverse bird population, wildlife lovers will also appreciate spotting numerous species of bats, macaques, barking deers and wild pigs among other endemic animals. Excursions to the caves and the waterfalls will not disappoint, along with diving and freediving, as the coral reef is very well preserved.
More to the east, on the Atlas Strait, the town of Poto Tano is the departure point to discover the Eight Islands, a handful of inhabited small islands famous for their waters teeming with marine biodiversity. The region around Poto Tano and the Atlas Strait is likely to become the next eco-tourism destination in Indonesia, so we suggest getting a glimpse of this pristine environment before the crowds come. It is best explored on a day snorkeling trip or by taking a hike through the larger, forested islands.