Photo: Popular waves.


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On West Java’s southern coast about 140 kilometres south of Jakarta, the sleepy laid back village of Cimaja pulls the surfer crowd and not much else.

Sure the waves are good, and the main reason to come here is to surf, but even if you don’t ride a board, we still think the chilled low-key pace and salty breeze have enough draw to while away a couple of lazy days. That said, don’t expect to be laying about on the sand though, as the beaches are mostly rocky with only a few spots good for swimming. Instead think verdant ricefields edging deep blue seas and the enviable slow pace of village life.

The house break. Photo taken in or around Cimaja, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

The house break. Photo: Sally Arnold

Cimaja offers a number of world-class breaks many suitable for intermediate surfers and others reserved for experienced surfers only, but besides the waves the region has been recognised as a notional geopark, with some interesting natural attractions being developed as tourist sites including rock formations, waterfalls and hot springs. Well worth a visit are the natural hot springs at Cisolok, about eight kilometres west of Cimaja where you can see gushing geysers of hot water spurting from the rocky river and while away a few hours soaking in the sulphurous warm waters.

Inland from Cimaja about seven kilometres up a punishing road, an ancient site of megalithic standing stones has recently been discovered. If you are into that sort of thing, it’s mildly interesting but be warned, the road is steep and backbreaking. Follow the signs from the signposted turnoff on the main road.

On the (long and bumpy) way to some megalithic stones. Photo taken in or around Cimaja, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

On the (long and bumpy) way to some megalithic stones. Photo: Sally Arnold

Of greater interest and more accessible, just to the west of Cimaja a site known as Karang Kursi and Sumur Tujuh—“Coral Chair” and “Seven Wells”—interesting rock formations with a local mystical legend attached. Said to be the throne of Nyai Roro Kidul, the Queen of the Southern Sea who is all but worshiped along the south cost of Java. The mystery of this local folk legend continues and you can visit Room 308 at the Samudra Hotel—reserved for the mystical goddess. Local belief warns not to wear green in these parts, her favourite colour, to avoid mishap.

Five kilometres to the east of Cimaja is the large port town of Pelabuhan Ratu which is popular with domestic tourists. To the east of here, another attraction of limited interest is Goa Lalay bat cave, best viewed at sunset when thousands of bats fly out for their nighty feast, combine a visit to the bat cave with a trip to the lively and colourful fish markets in the centre of the town.

At the fish market. Photo taken in or around Cimaja, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

At the fish market. Photo: Sally Arnold

Cimaja has few accomodation choices, but enough decent options to suite a variety of budgets. Expect cold water showers at most places and slow to non-existent WiFi. You’ll have no trouble getting a room midweek in low season, but it would be wise to book ahead for weekends and busier times. Few places in Cimaja proper can be booked online—watch out you don’t end up in Pelabuhan Ratu, as online booking agents often list properties in the two areas interchangeably.

Most accommodation has a restaurant attached and many good local warungs line the main road, although you’ll only find beer in the more tourist oriented places.

You won’t starve. Photo taken in or around Cimaja, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

You won’t starve. Photo: Sally Arnold

Public transport options are limited and if you are carrying a surfboard, it may be more convenient to arrange private transport with your hotel.

One main road in Cimaja slices straight between the mountains and the sea and all accommodation in town is located on this road although many properties’ rooms are set back far enough that noise is not a concern.

Indomaret and Alphamart minimarkets have infiltrated this remote corner and all harbour ATMs.

The local puskesmas (health clinic) may be able to help with minor injuries but other medical services and police are all available in nearby Pelabuhan Ratu.


What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Cimaja.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda
 Read up on where to eat on Cimaja.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Cimaja.
 Read up on how to get to Cimaja.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Cimaja? Please read this.
 Browse the web securely while travelling with TunnelBear. Try with a 7–day free trial.

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