These Secret Islands Are A Tropical Paradise Known As The Maldives Of Indonesia

If you're in search of a tropical adventure, but don't want to share it with hoards of tourists then head to Indonesia's Widi Islands. Named Pulau Widi in Indonesian, this chain of around 100 tiny islands that are surrounded by epic reef systems is nicknamed the "Maldives of Indonesia." Yet unlike the Maldives, there are no beach bungalows or resorts, just beaches, water, and wildlife.

The Widi Islands are located within the "coral triangle," a biodiverse area shared by Indonesia as well as Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste. Here there are a minimum of 500 reef-building corals, which is more than in any other area on the planet.

The fate of the Widi Islands is uncertain due to plans to auction off shares of the area that have been the subject of debate. This sale would fund luxury travel resorts – much like the Maldives – but for now, it is unspoiled. Its isolation and relative lack of human interference are what make it the perfect place for marine lovers to get close to nature.

Getting to and staying near the Widi Islands

Like all of the best off-the-beaten-track locations, it takes more than one mode of transport to get here. The first leg is to get an internal flight into Ternate in North Maluku. From there, you can get a boat or plane to the port town of Labuha on Bacan Island. Then you can take a boat to the Widi Islands. As there is very little in the form of accommodations on the largely uninhabited Widi Islands, you can stay at one of the hotels in Labuha. However, it is sometimes possible to stay at a homestay on Daga Island in a fisher's hut.

Another option is to stay at one of the three dive resorts located on two islands just off the coast of Bacan Island. On Kusu Island are the Nabucco Spice Island Resort and Kusu Island Resort, both of which have five stars on Google Reviews. On the nearby island of Sali Kecil is the Sali Bay Resort which forms part of North Maluku. It is also popular with travelers, earning 4.8 stars on Google. As these resorts are geared toward diving and snorkeling, they are mainly suitable for guests who enjoy these activities.

Things to do on the Widi Islands

The best thing to do on the Widi Islands is to explore the reefs by diving or snorkeling. While underwater, you have the opportunity to see 2,000 types of reef fish and six of the seven types of sea turtles are present here. Whale sharks, tuna, fin whales, blue whales, and dugongs also inhabit the waters around this archipelago. There are also plenty of opportunities for swimming and sunning yourself on the sands that surround several of the islands.

To get beautiful views of the islands then go beach-hopping by boat and you may even pass a sea turtle or dolphin along the way. Don't forget to keep an eye on the skies though, as Indonesia's tropical islands are home to a wealth of bird life which flies between them. If you visit the fishing hub of Daga Island, then you can sample some of the local saltfish or even try catching one yourself! Wherever you go on these underrated yet breathtaking Indonesian islands, you're bound to tick some unique marine life off your wildlife bucket list.