The word Karimunjawa means ‘a stones’ throw away from Java’. This island is approximately 80 kilometres away from Jepara (Central Java) which is about 2 hours on a ferry boat to the tropical destination. If the over-crowded shores of Bali are not appealing to you and you are looking for a quiet, friendly, remote piece of paradise loaded with sunshine, delicious food and some of the most amazing natural scenery in the world; Karimunjawa is for you.
As a Florida native, I grew up surrounded by beautiful beaches. From the pretentious, posh and glamorous shores of South Beach (Miami) to the private more secluded beaches in the Panhandle. I would like to think my travel palate of tropical paradise ranges somewhere between the beach connoisseur and the beach bum. I have visited some of the best beaches on the western side of the world from the coastlines of Cancun, Mexico to the picturesque oceanfront of St. Johns in the Virgin Islands.
As I stepped off of the ferry boat to breathe in the warm salty air, I could tell this island was charming, friendly and peaceful. The green mountainous background facing a gentle zephyr makes it almost impossible to remember the day-to-day stress and worries of teacher life.
Under the Sea
I’m always up for a great water adventure and snorkeling is without a doubt on the top of my list. Indonesia is in the “Coral Triangle”, the area of the Pacific Ocean including Malaysia, the Philippines and the Salomon Islands. The greatest thing about snorkeling is ANYONE can do it; yes, I said anyone. You don’t have to be a champion swimmer, all you need is some great equipment and a sparked curiosity to see what is under the sea. This area is rich on coral reefs and represents the greatest underwater biodiversity in the world. According to snorkelingreport.com, about 30% of the coral reefs and 35% of the species of reef fish in the world are found in this Coral Triangle (with over 3,000 species in total).
Our group of teachers consisted of novice to advanced swimmers. A greatest thing about group traveling with your fellow teachers is we actually share the best stories and make everlasting bonds. We encouraged each other to jump into the Java Sea and explore under what lies beneath the pristine blue water. If you’ve never been snorkeling before, I highly recommend it. You will be amazed by the tranquility of the abyss.
Food in Paradise
I could float in the sparking blue waters of Karimunjawa all day. However, being out at sea will drum up an appetite. The local food will not disappoint even the finickiest of eaters. One word to describe the flavor of the island’s fare…. FRESH! Every bite of every piece of exotic fruits, vegetables and seafood were freshly caught and prepared to perfection. The prices of the food are unbelievably affordable, it’s truly a seafood lovers’ paradise.
The Escape to Karimunjawa was definitely one of the best travel destination adventures I’ve ever experienced. Being a teacher/traveler is a career that never gets boring. We visited 4 more neighboring islands and lived in the cozy homestays in the local neighborhoods. The experiences will forever be memorable. As an expat or a local teacher of English in Indonesia I you can’t ask for more than an Escape to Karimunjawa, as paradise will forever be just a stones’ throw away.
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Donnilah McClendon is originally from Florida, USA. Currently in her first year of teaching with EF Indonesia she is a certified school district tutor and previously served in the US Army for 14 years.
She has travelled to France, Germany, England, Iceland, Mexico, Qatar and most recently Indonesia! She plans to do as much travelling as she can while in the country and loves to write in her spare time.