Aru Islands Travel Guide

The Aru Islands archipelago is made up of 95 islands in eastern Indonesia. They sit on the fringes of Maluku Province and are utterly remote so that the few visitors who venture out this far find plenty of peace and quiet.

In the mid-19th century, Sir Russel Wallace (colleague of Charles Darwin) stopped in the Aru Islands to pen his observations about the variation of animal species in the Indonesian archipelago. Wallace and Darwin initially announced their findings jointly, though history has embraced Darwin for a few of his more controversial theories.

Given the interest these of these two naturalists in the Aru Islands, it comes as no surprise that a rich ecosystem is at work. Monitor lizards, kangaroos, wallabies, crocodiles and a host of tropical birds live here.

Of the 95 islands, 21 are large enough to explore. Dozens of small islets are interspersed between these. Exploring the terrain requires hiring a guide though there is no outright infrastructure. In some cases, the leaders of more prominent villages will be prepared to connect tourists with guides and homestay arrangements. The only semblance of a hotel scene is on the island of Dobo.

Getting There & Away

South of Dobo is a small airstrip in the town of Bendjina. Twice-weekly flights connect to a larger airport at Ambon. Flights take less than an hour. From here it is possible to connect to all corners of Indonesia, and flights to Jakarta take around 5 hours to arrive. A fleet of ships connect Dobo to neighboring regions of Maluku.