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Banda Islands Diving Holidays

Spices, more specifically Nutmeg, Mace and Cloves were the assets which elevated the Banda islands to the most valuable real estate in the world. Spice traders from across the globe set out in search of the original Spice Islands, in the hope of returning home with a cargo of the exotic riches. Nutmeg and Mace were valuable due to their well known preservative and medicinal qualities. With the bubonic plague rife in Europe, any supposed cure had incredible demand; and indeed nutmeg was thought to be a cure for the Black Death. The secondary spice of nutmeg production, the vibrant red mace, was also believed to hold medicinal powers secretly sought by gentlemen folk of the time.
In the rare event that merchants made the journey successfully, the rewards were significant and the traders grew rich beyond their dreams. The resulting colonial residences and palaces that were erected in Banda are still standing, waiting to be explored.
By diving Banda with Spice Island Divers, there is always enough time to explore the topside culture and historical delights of the region.

Since tourist numbers are still low, you will be considered a novelty and you may find yourself the greatest entertainment in town. You may be roped into dancing sessions with locals, who enjoy dangdut parties where gyrations are to the sound of a strange but interesting blend of Arabic and house music - the closest you will find to a disco! 

Aside from local markets in Banda Neira and the outlying islands and the occasional curio stand, there is not much in the way of retail which might interest the international market. If you need to be within touching distance of an Ikea or a Tesco then perhaps Banda is not for you.Similarly, dining options are restricted to a few small restaurants serving tasty local fare, where you can expect plastic chairs and less-than-salubrious surroundings.
  • History of the Bandas 

The Banda Islands have had a long and fascinating history, including being among the most expensive real estate in the world! Spices, foreign traders, wars and earthquakes have all featured heavily in their checkered past. More on Banda's unique history 

  • The Local People 

The majority of the inhabitants of the Banda region are descended from migrants and labourers who arrived from various different parts of Indonesia and mixed with the indigenous population. However, immigration from many parts of the world are evident in the people including from Java, the Bay of Bengal, and indeed Europeans who mixed with locals during and after the time of the spice trade. The unique cultural identity of the pre-colonial Bandanese is still very much in existence. 
Language is one such example with a form of Malay dialect, distinguishable from Ambonese Malay, being spoken by the Bandanese. Ambonese Malay is the main language of the greater area however, the more local dialect with its Dutch influences and sing-song character sets it apart. Agriculture and fishing remain the 2 main sources of employment. Nutmeg, the main source of Banda's fame, is still an important crop to this day as are cloves and bananas. The sea is also an important source of employment with tuna and, increasingly, scuba divers represent a considerable source of income. Approximately 95% of the local population are Muslim and 5% are Christian.
  • Local Transport 
Getting around Ambon is probably best done on foot, but for longer journeys you can use taxis, minibuses and becaks. A taxi from the airport to the city takes about 45 minutes.
There is nowhere big enough in the Banda Islands to need public road transport. Indeed, only Banda Neira has proper roads. Most of the Banda Sea transport you will use will be boat.
  • Interested? 
Be sure to book in plenty of time to avoid limited choice! The best scuba diving vacations are booked by repeat customers who book well in advance to ensure their reservation! 

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