If you’re looking for a tropical paradise away from the beaten path, Karimunjawa is the place for you. This small group of islands off the coast of Indonesia is a hidden gem with crystal-clear waters, white sandy beaches, and a vibrant marine life that’s perfect for snorkeling and diving.
In our related Karimunjawa travel articles, we’ve tried to provide you with a comprehensive travel plan, including where to stay, what to do, and how to get there, so you can make the most of your trip to this idyllic destination.
Our last accommodation choice on the island was a hotel called the Breve Azurine. However, due to the cost per night of this hotel (IDR 1,410,000) we planned to stay here only for 2 nights. Following on from an enjoyable stay at Cocohuts just 15-minutes walk away, our expectations were high.
Why we chose the Breve Azurine
Located about a ½ hour walk from the town center, Breve Azurine is a picturesque mini-resort with individual deluxe bungalows, a private beach and lagoon… and prices to match.
We chose this place for a short taste of luxury at the end of our stay on the island.
Also – importantly – this was one of the very few establishments in Karimunjawa that claims to accept credit cards.
While planning our trip several weeks earlier, we had read that there was only 1 ATM machine on the island. Apparently, the ATM wasn’t too reliable, and was often out of order or out of money. The ATM is also a bit choosy about which Visa cards it accepts.
To avoid running out of money, travellers are advised to bring enough cash with them from the mainland. Almost all the guesthouses in Karimunjawa accept cash only. This means that for a visit of more than just a few days, you will need to bring with you a ridiculous amount of local cash to stay solvent.
For a week, you would need roughly 5 to 6 million IDR for 2 people staying in decent lodgings. If you planned to stay at the Breve Azurine for a week, you would need 14 to 15 million IDR!
No problem since they accept credit cards, right?
When we checked in the first thing I enquired about was payment. I was informed that their credit card machine was in Semarang for repairs: They would accept Paypal, a bank transfer … or cash.
With Paypal and bank transfers out of the question, the only way this was going to work was if I could get cash from that unpredictable ATM in town. After our experiences with ATM machines in Semarang, I was a little leery about our chances here in Karimunjawa.
Luckily, the bank was open when we paid a visit the same day. I felt a little more comfortable using the ATM machine inside the bank, with the bank staff present. To my relief, the machine accepted my Visa card, and allowed me to withdraw IDR 2,500,000.
We returned to the hotel and paid our full bill upfront in cash – and no, at their inflated prices for food and services we wouldn’t be purchasing anything else at the Breve Azurine.
Our Bungalow at Breve Azurine
On the positive side, our bungalow was everything we had hoped for. Comfortable bed with mosquito net, tasteful decor, outdoor bathroom, air conditioning, fridge & cable TV, and a private balcony with stunning views over the bay.
Everything was clean and tidy, and the service was excellent. We had a small problem with the television, and within a few hours they offered to replace it with another. Absolutely no complaints there.
Breakfast was included in our daily rate, and at these prices we were expecting something a little special.
Vegetable pancakes drizzled with sauce didn’t quite do it for us. There was a small buffet with very limited offerings, but no comparison to the far superior buffets we were offered in much more affordable hotels in Semarang and Jakarta.
I can’t get out of the pool…
Just below our bungalow we found a small communal swimming pool. The only problem was that once we had jumped in, there was no easy way to get out: No ladder or steps. Hauling ourselves bodily out over the stone border was tricky.
Unsurprisingly, we didn’t see any of the other guests using the pool. When I mentioned this to the Manageress, she didn’t seem to consider this an issue.
How about some snorkeling?
We borrowed complimentary masks and fins from the management, and went snorkeling off the beach next to the Breve Azurine. You need to navigate a fair way out through the shallows, but there are plenty of small fish and colorful coral to enjoy.
…Or some jungle trekking
One of the best features of the Breve Azurine is its location. Away from the town, it is more peaceful and secluded. It is also very close to the start of some interesting paths heading northwards into the jungle.
The path stays close to the beaches, which you can access from time to time. Unfortunately, many of these beaches are littered with rubbish and refuse.
We followed the main track through the jungle for an hour or so, until it petered out into a barely-recognizable path running further into the jungle. Time for a soak in the sea before heading back the way we came.
So is it worth it?
Would we stay at the Breve Azurine again? Possibly, for a night or two … but only if we won the lottery. Otherwise, our daily expenses in Indonesia would end up costing us more than the equivalent for a city-break in London.
If you enjoyed Breve Azurine Karimunjawa, check out our Central Java Travel Plan. You may also like: