Lease Islands Travel Guide

These laid back islands with not a lot going on were all once coral reefs before they emerged from the sea and transformed into the Lease Islands.

The islands, to the east of Ambon, are made up of three main inhabited islands named Nusa Laut, Haruku and the largest and most populated Sarapua. Sarapua is the busiest of the islands yet it is often hard to spot motorized vehicles.

In fact, twice a week on market days you will see buses whizzing up and down the roads to various villages and boats coming in from neighboring islands, but by the afternoon it is all quiet again and the only disturbance of the peace will come from a local cow.

Many tourists come to the islands for diving trips as the surrounding seas are full of unusual fish and healthy corals that are always changing. Despite dynamite fishing there are still plenty of unspoiled corals to admire, at least for the time being.

Pottery is made on the island in the traditional way, without the use of a potter’s wheel. Everything is made especially by hand in a village on Sarapua, and the only way you can reach the village is by foot up a large number of stairs.

In the period of August to January the islands become alive with harvest time and the smells of cloves, sago palm and nutmeg fill the air. The festivals go way back to Dutch colonial times and there is also interesting architecture from this period on all of the islands.

Haruku and Nusa Laut have no restaurants and there is only one guest house to stay in, with locals offering their houses to anyone who wishes to lodge for the night. They are quiet and pretty but very limited and make for great day trips.

Getting There & Away

From Jakarta International Airport you can fly to Ambon, which takes around 3 hours. From here you can transfer to the port of Ambon, where you can get a ferry that takes no longer than 2 hours to Sarapua Island, which is the best place to stay for exploring the archipelago.