Lay of the Land
Most visitors don’t spend much (or any) time in the capital of Jakarta and instead head to the scenic islands that make up this large country. Its 33 provinces include Java, Sumatra and the Lesser Sunda Island to which belongs Bali.
A short 50-minute flight from Bali’s Denpsar international airport, the entirely undeveloped island of Sumba feels a world away from civilization. There are hardly any cars, no commercial establishments and few tourists on the island. Instead, local Sumbanese villages are scattered throughout the lush, jungle-like terrain and gorgeous wild beach stretches on for miles.
Who Should Go
Bali lovers will appreciate Sumba’s unspoiled, natural beauty and connection to the local people. The island’s only resort, Nihiwatu, is a paradise for travelers who appreciate luxury hotels with an immense sense of place and soul. Moreover, Sumba and its native people provide authentic interactions, so travelers seeking cultural immersion or a totally off-the-beaten-path experience will be in awe of the local religion, rituals and customs. Sumba is revered for its phenomenal surfing, including the famed “The Wave,” Nihiwatu’s exclusive break that can only be used by ten surfers at any time.
When to Go
Sumba’s dry season is March to November. Peak season (with the best surfing) lasts from June to August, when weather conditions are temperate and similar to the Mediterranean. The shoulder months of March and November are also popular thanks to warm weather (there can be light rainfall in the afternoon). While December and January are peak rainy season, Sumba experiences mostly overnight showers that clear by morning and create a lush, verdant landscape.