Located on the north-west of Lombok, Gili Islands are magic for snorkeling and scuba diving with a reputation for being the ‘Turtle Capital of the World’
The Gilis are one of Indonesia’s top areas for snorkeling and scuba diving. Due to a conservation program, water around the islands are full of green sea turtles, and you can see some during a single dive or even just snorkeling off the shore (ask the locals for good spots).
With year round water temperatures about 28 degrees Celsius, Gili Islands set up a paradise for beginners and experienced divers alike. The current is generally very gentle and the visibility good around 20 meters making Gili a good place to go deep into the blue.
There are about 25 dive sites around the islands of Trawangan, Meno and Air, with a variety of topography (canyons, walls, slopes and ridges) and a huge amount of marine life. This includes Black-tip and White-tip Reefs Shark, False Clown Anemone fish, Moorish Idol, Trumpetfish, Tiger tail Seahorse, Octopus and Pacific Lion fish among others.
The area also has a reputation for the wide variety of rays and morays, not to mention schools of Bumphead Parrot Fish every full moon, the occasional whale shark and even the rare Mola Mola if you are lucky.
Although soft and hard corals are abundant around the Gilis, there are areas where its absence is noticeable. The white beaches of the islands occasionally recreate a cemetery of this marine invertebrate. The reason of this massive disappearance is mainly the practice of dynamite fishing in past years enhanced by the affluence of tourism and the climate change.
Scuba diving in the depths of the Gilis was a terrific nature experience! I’ve recently got my PADI Open Water at Gili Scuba, a school I recommend due to its professionalism and respect for the environment.
On the other side, I knew that the Gilis have recently turned into a touristic spot in Indonesia and I wasn’t looking for an isolated paradise when I decided to go there. However, I was a bit disappointed in general as I expected them to be more idyllic and quiet.