Maratua, one of the outermost islands of Indonesia is very exotic. The island is located in East Kalimantan directly adjacent to Malaysia (Sabah) and the Philippines. It has atolls and coral which are so beautiful and natural. Maratua is one of the 4 most famous islands in Derawan archipelago which consist of total of 31 islands. Three of other islands are Derawan Island itself, Sangalaki Island, and Kakaban. Because of its beauty, this beautiful island is touted as a paradise island. Administratively, Maratua Island is part of Sub district Maratua, Berau regency, East Kalimantan Province Indonesia which newly established in 2003.
Derawan Islands is the Coral Triangle. Maratua has potential marine tourism and already popular in the world. The island has a total land area of 384.36 km2 and a water area of 3.735,18 km2 with beautiful tropical landscape, mangrove forests, sea grass beds, and others. This beautiful island also has exotic coastline and clean white sand.
Maratua coastline is one of green turtle natural habitat in Indonesia. Under its sea live diverse sea species, various types of colorful coral reefs, fishes, green sea turtles, manta rays, and other marine life. There are about 21 dive spots around Maratua islands with shape similar to the letter “U” when you see it on a map. With all the wealth and beauty it is not surprising that Maratua is recognized as Paradise Island.
Maratua is consists of several small islands. The main island is named Maratua while the other small islands scattered in the bay. The names of these islands are Sidau Island, Ant Island, Island Andongabu, Sangalan Island, Island Bulingisan, Nisakoh Island, Island Bakungan, Nunukan Island, and Island Pabahanan.
Generally the other islands in the Derawan Islands are uninhabited. Maratua has population of 3000 people and there are 4 villages with native Bajo worked as a fisherman. The four villages are Hope Bay Village, Umbrella Village, the Village Bohesilian and Village Alolo Gulf.
Maratua is part of Derawan Islands which also a part of Coral Triangle so that it’s rich of marine biological diversity. Maratua neighboring islands are also beautiful and interesting to be explored, such as:
In this island lives the largest brackish water lake in the world, i.e. Lake Kakaban. It’s a home for various types of unique animals that have been mutated to live in brackish water.
In this island you can see the giant stingray and green turtle nesting site. You can also explore some amazing diving locations.
Around the island there are several amazing diving spots.
Snorkeling and diving are the mains activities that you can do to explore the beauty of Maratua. To support the exploration of the amazing underwater world, there are several diving operators who rent out diving and snorkeling equipment.
There are 21 dives spot that you can try here. Each dive spot has its own exoticism. If you are lucky, you can instantly find a green turtle and a giant stingray while diving at this place. You can see a variety of coral reefs. In the sea around Maratua you can pamper your eyes with colorful and beautiful coral reefs.
Please be noted that the stream in this location is quite strong and the sea is deep, so you need a special diving license or accompanied by diving instructors while diving at this place. There are two famous diving spots in Maratua which are:
In Maratua you can easily find the green turtle. Hundreds of green turtles often crossed in this area.
Big Fish Country
The stream at this location is quite strong and you can find large fish like giant stingrays, tuna, and sharks.
When you do diving activities it’s recommended that you should be accompanied by a guide or a dive master.
Not only underwater and cultural tours, you can also enjoy the beauty of the beach and sea in Maratua. If you want to stay longer, you can choose to stay in local homes or at the inns located in Maratua. One of the famous resorts in Maratua is Maratua Paradise Resort which has some classy resort facilities like air conditioned rooms, restaurant, dive gear, and boat rentals.
Other nearest lodging is available in Derawan Island namely Derawan Dive Resort with ocean views. This resort also has a similar facility and beautiful view.
For backpacker there are also local homestays. You can stay in the local people’s house. Surely the cost is cheaper and more interesting since you can mingle and know the traditional life of the local population.
How to get to Maratua
To go to this place, you have to go first to Juwutan Airport in Tarakan. Now there are several flights available to Tarakan.
From Tarakan, you can use plane to Tanjung Redeb Airport in Berau. Then you can use speed boat or ship passengers heading to Maratua for about 3 hours.
Considering that there are many tourists who want to visit Maratua, In 2015 the government will built Maratua Airport. So you can easily go straight to Maratua by plane with a shorter time than using a speed boat.