Use the quicklinks below to jump to the desired section regarding transport in and around Karimunjawa Islands.
Fishing boats take passengers to the outlying islands on a charter basis. You can expect to pay 300,000 rupiah for a five-hour journey which takes in some islands such as Pulau Geleang and Pulau Cemara and gives you the opportunity to swim with sharks.
Three ferries ply the Jepara-Karimunjawa route, with the Bahari express being the most popular with tourists due to the speed at which it operates and the comfort which it affords. Other ships such as the Muria and Kartini are slow, less comfortable and less regular. The ferry port in the Karimunjawa islands is at the southern end of the island next to the main town of Karimunjawa – a short walk to nearby accommodation. Note that schedules appear to change quite regularly and services are cancelled if there is inclement weather. In other words, a two-day visit can turn into five if the weather is bad enough.
The Bahari Express is by far the most professional of the ferries to make the journey to Karimunjawa with all classes getting coach-like seats and air-con. To make it the best choice of all, it only takes one hour, 45 minutes for the crossing at a cost of 69,000 rupiah.
Departs Jepara on Mondays at 10:30, Tuesdays at 10:30, Fridays at 14:00 and Saturdays 10:30.
Departs Karimunjawa on Mondays at 13:00, Wednesdays at 10:30, Saturdays at 08:00 and Sundays at 14:00.
This schedule essentially means that if you arrive on Monday or Tuesday, the next practical service to leave on is the following Saturday as the Wednesday service will be too soon for most.
The Muria is a mixed vehicle, cargo and passenger vessel which takes approximately six hours to make the crossing and costs 28,500 rupiah in economy class.
Departs Jepara at 09:00 on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays.
Departs Karimunjawa at 08:00 on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.
The Kartini's schedule changes regularly and was out of service at the time of writing. However, this vessel has historically made calls to Semarang as well as Jepara on alternate days. This vessel should not be relied upon.
There is no public transport around the main island of Karimunjawa meaning that if you want to visit some of the deserted beaches, you'll have to rent a motorbike for the going rate of 75,000 rupiah per day. The roads around the island are generally in good condition, but getting to some beaches requires a journey down a dirt track. From the port which is in the southern part of the island, it's 18 kilometres to the airport in the north and a further five kilometres to the northern tip of the island.