Discover the natural wonder of West Java’s green canyon and explore the majesty of this mystical river valley on a day long guided tour.
If you’re travelling West Java and find yourself in Pangandaran or Batu Karas the green canyon is a great day trip to mix up those long days of lounging on the beach and hitting the surf. Seemingly right off the pages of a National Geographic magazine this serene river valley is absolutely breathtaking, and is easily one of the most beautiful places you will ever see.
Organized through Pil, a local surf club member in Batu Karas, our tour began at the fishing docks just outside of town on what was to be a full day of exploring the local river system, green canyon, and sunset beach. If you’re starting in Batukaras an early wake up is not necessary for this tour, although it is advisable to go on a weekday rather than weekends which attract the local Indonesian tourists. From Pangandaran it’s about a 30-40 min drive to the location where green canyon tours start and you can usually organize your trip from there.
Our group of 9 travelled along the green waters of the river Tosca, the areas major source of fresh water. This first leg of the trip is wonderful as you cruise along the palm lined riverbanks watching the fisherman plan their days catch. It takes about an hour to get from the fishing docks to the green canyon if you depart from Batu Karas. As we took pictures and enjoyed our surroundings Pil told us about the local fishing methods we saw, the bamboo structures lining the riverbank. He also pointed out some of the local vegetation and explained its uses.
Already an amazing trip the beauty of the river didn’t prepare us for the green canyon and when we arrived everyone was blown away as the boat slowly meandered through its entrance. The canyon is magical; on either side its rock walled cliffs covered in vegetation and sculpted by the dripping water from the jungle above, create a setting worthy of a Lord of the Rings scene. Soon after our arrival at the canyon we came to a rock face where we disembarked from our boats and began the most amazing leg of our journey as we followed Pil and our other guides into the depth of the canyon.
Exploring the ancient waterway as we swam through its emerald green waters took us the better part of an hour, the sun occasionally peeking through the tree tops giving us a glimpse of the untouched water world below. Our group took lots of breaks as we explored the canyon until we could travel no more. On our way we stopped to jump off ancient cliffs while we swam along, every turn bringing about ooohs and aaaahhs from the group mystified by the beauty of the canyon.
Our tour finished with a stop off for lunch where we enjoyed an authentic local meal organized by Pil, the rice and chicken presented in banana leaves with fresh coconuts for desert. Finally, we took the boat to the river mouth where the fresh water meets the ocean and hung out on the beach for a short time before heading back to Batu Karas to tell our surfing friends about the amazing experience we enjoyed.
If you’re exploring West Java in Indonesia you should stop and visit the Green Canyon. A highlight for many, this unique experience is something travelers of all ages will enjoy and an experience sure to be unmatched as our group found out. So if you’re in the area and need a break from the sun and surf remember the Green Canyon is a place where you can cool off and enjoy one of Indonesia’s natural wonders.
1. Fitness: Moderate physical fitness and the ability to swim are essential to fully enjoying this experience. However, if you do not know how to swim you’re not at a loss. Life jackets are available and a large portion of the exploration through Green Canyon is shallow enough to walk.
2. Camera: an underwater camera is essential for taking photographs within the canyon. If you’re planning on capturing the experience to show your friends and family you’ll have to leave your SLR in the boat and bring along a point and shoot that isn’t afraid of water.
Tally: Costs in Indonesian Rupiah as of winter 2012
From Batu Karas: 150, 000 Rupiah per person for the day
Includes food, guide and transportation
Group sizes can vary from 5 to 10 as smaller boats that can seat a max of five need to be used to enter the canyon.