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Gura Ici, Makayoa Islands, Halmahera

21 August 2010 14,116 views No Comment

Hunting Soft Coral, Surprised by Ghost Stingray

Gura Ici, Makayoa Islands is another tourism potential of North Maluku. Late last month, Makayoa islands was introduced through Gura Ici Festival. There, visitors can find dozens of tiny islands surrounded by white sand, soft and hard coral, and also ghost stingrays.

Gura Ici is a small island among dozens of tiny islands in the Makaoya archipelago, South Halmahera. The island with surrounding white sand is uninhabited. It takes only 15 minutes to walk around the island.

gura ici

Across Gura Ici island, there is Burung(eng:Bird) Island. When the water receded, we can cross to the island on foot following the white sand that form the path.

As the name suggests, the island is inhabited by thousands of wild birds. Every evening the sound of birds chirping can be heard on the surrounding islands, including Gura Ici island. Bird Island residents are mostly pigeons. However, eagles and parrots are often also seen in the area.

Aside from the two islands, there are dozens of tiny island of white sand in there. Viewed from above, the group of islands is forming a beautiful little map. That said, the islands were once used as a retreat of the royal Bacan Sultanate.

From Ternate, the temporary capital of the north Maluku province, visitors have several options to reach Gura Ici. One was the regular vessel with a capacity of 200 passengers. Takes eight-hour to reach Gura Ici with that timber ships and costRp Rp. 70,000 (USD $7) per person.

There is a speedboat that can be rented. Speedboat rental rates depend on the capacity and speed. The cheapest is about USD $300 and the most expensive is USD $500. With a speedboat, the islands could Makayoa can be reached within 1-2 hours.

When you ride the regular ship, you will be brought to Lelei Port. From there, you must rise bentor (motorcycle taxi) about two kilometers to reach the lobby of the tour organizer. Meanwhile, passenger speedboat can just walk the lobby that only a few yards from the speedboat bridge.

speedboat bridge

After that, it’s up to you whether you want to rent a cottage or pitch a tent on the beach. Every cottage has 3-4 air-conditioned rooms plus one bathroom. One room cost about USD $50 per day. When renting a whole cottage, the cost is USD $150 per day.

You can direct to the shore and setting up camp there. Obviously less expensive option with a more viscous feel of adventure.

As Gura Ici Festival took place last month, the tourists are stationed on Lelei island. The managers deliberately chose the island because it’s located in the middle of dozens of islands in Makayoa. From the villa at the top of Lelei Island, we could see the whole island in Makayoa.

Throughout the festival, participants and tourists are freed from all transportation and accommodation costs. But, they must pay to access the Internet, pamper themselves at the salon, or hanging out in cafes.

North Maluku has a lot of unexplored tourism potential. As shown during the festival, tourists are marveled by the beauty that they rarely found elsewhere. The anglers get unforgettable experience, while other tourists enjoying the experience of riding the jet sky around the islands.

Since the sea water is very clear, with just naked eye we could see thousands of tiny fish dancing right below the speedboat bridge. Not surprisingly, diving and snorkeling are also favorite there. Tourism managers provide the equipments to enjoy the underwater panorama of Makayoa.

According to Frans, one diver who had dived in Lelei Island, divers sometimes passed various kind of turtles. “This is fun to enjoy underwater enchantment here. But don’t let your guard off for very large stingrays often suddenly appeared from behind the sand,” he said.

For tourists who came with their family, tour manager provides banana boat for the tour. With the ship, they could stop in Gura Ici Island to play volleyball, football, or just relax enjoying the sunset with a comfortable beach chair.

View Guraici Island, North Maluku in a larger map

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