Surf Nomad: Batu Karas, Indonesia
Far from the tourist crowds of Pangandaran, Batu Karas is an active fishing village in Western Java and quite possibly one of the most chilled out hideaways in the Indonesian archipelago. Luckily for us surfers, this absolutely stunning refuge has fun, rolling waves breaking on its shores most of the year.
An afternoon swell at Batu Karas Point
Batu Karas has two main waves: one breaking at the point and the other over the reef in front of the beach. The point offers a righthand break over a sandy bottom that continues for up to 1300 feet, while the reef break offers fast walls unraveling over a lava reef. If you're in search of more serious waves, saddle up for an exciting cross-country motorbike ride through rice fields, small villages and rivers to reach them. Or, leave the waves behind and board a traditional boat to Green Canyon, where a tropical water gorge creates perfecting swimming spots under and around the area's clear waterfalls. The Pangandaran National Park is one hour away, where white sand beaches are home to wild deer and monkeys swinging overhead.
Surfer riding his last wave all the way to the beach
Directly across from the beach you'll find the Java Cove Beach Hotel, aimed at surfers and independent, adventuresome travelers. Java Cove prides itself on being a small, personal hotel that's plugged into village life. Room types range from basic to deluxe, including surfer pads, designed for those who will spend most waking moments on their boards.
One of many emerald green swimming holes around Java Cove.
Java Cove serves breakfast on the house at their European style Al Fresko restaurant. The hotel leaves Indonesian fare in the hands of the locals, encouraging guests to visit warungs, or locally owned businesses. These cafes offer fresh seafood as well as Indonesia's famous fruit juices and lassis. As the sun sets, head up to the bar at Java Cove, where you'll find beer, wine and cocktails. Drinking hard liquor in public is frowned upon here, but look at it this way - you'll be up bright and early to tackle the first sets of the day.
The view from your room as a surfer walks by.
Hotel Rates: Between $50 and $100/night.
Board Rental: $8/day
Surf Lessons: $20 for 2 hours
When to Go: It's best to visit between March and June, when conditions at both the point and the reef are ideal.
How to Get Here: Flights from New York to Jakarta can be found starting at $1,200. From there, it's a one hour fight on susiair.com to Batu Karas and a 15 minute drive to Java Cove.