Cimaja is a village in the regency of Sukabumi, about 8 km west of the regency capital and well-known beach destination Pelabuhan Ratu. Cimaja is known as a surfers' destination with relatively easy access from the Indonesian capital Jakarta.
The only practical way to get to Cimaja from almost all destinations is by travelling to Pelabuhan Ratu first. From Pelabuhan Ratu bus terminal you can take an angkot (public minivan) with direction Cisolok. These angkots go along the coast and pass both Cimaja and Karang Hawu beach.
There is also a road into Cimaja from the west (from Sawarna), but this road is only useful if you travel from the southern region of Banten province.
Public transport in Cimaja is limited to angkot (public minivans) along the main road, and ojek (motorcycle taxis). It is a good option for tourists to rent a motorbike for about Rp40,000-70,000 per day from any number of warungs or the locals that will find you upon arrival. You must have the correct driving license and insurance.
There is a hot spring 15 minutes away from Cimaja. Ask some of the locals, especially the local surfers as they tend to be able to speak some English, where it is.
Surfing is the main attraction in Cimaja and there is little else to see or do. The beaches are generally filled with trash and not worth a visit unless you plan to surf. There are a number of breaks, many suitable for intermediate surfers and many others reserved for experienced surfers only.
Surfboards can be rented at Desa Resort and Daun Daun as well as several warungs on the main street. The best quality boards seem to be at Daun Daun, though the selection likely rotates between and among them.
- Learn to surf, Sunset Beach Surf School.
- Hot water bath, Cipanas hot spring water.
The Indomaret and Alpha Mart have ATMs that do not charge a fee for withdrawals, though the Indomaret ATM seems to work less frequently. Indomaret has a better selection of food and snacks.
For Indonesian staples such as Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng there are any number of small warungs that serve good food and large portions from Rp5000 - 30,000 per plate. A good option is "Kedai Soca." It is located just past the Indomaret as you travel west from Pelabuhan Ratu on the left hand side; look for a large white banner advertising their menu. If you bring them seafood from the market in Pelabuhan Ratu (in the harbor) they will cook it for you and provide rice and sambal for Rp30,000 per plate.
There are many places selling a variety of food such as sate, bakso, padang, etc. The best bet will be to ask the locals where they would recommend eating and they will be more than happy to help.
There are several western style hotels in the area that serve small, mediocre to horrible meals for inflated prices. Perhaps the only option for good western food and acceptable portion sizes, though still at inflated prices, is the unsigned "Nurda's" just before Desa Resort as you travel west from Pelabuhan Ratu down a gravel road to the left. Ombak Tujuh (also known as "O7" or "Pondok Kencana") and Desa Resort receive overwhelmingly poor reviews, especially considering the price and serving sizes. Cimaja Square has good food and service but tiny portions. BW Beach Cafe and Villas also offers local food and drinks.
The strong Muslim influence means that there are few bars and most local restaurants do not serve alcohol. Your best bet is going to a western restaurant or resort or picking up beers from the Alfamart convenience store at a significantly reduced cost.
If you find yourself wanting to have a good Saturday night, Nurda's Cimaja Point is a great place. Live music and a great atmosphere can be found here. Ask the bar staff about their spirit collection as sometimes they do not showcase it.
- 1 BW Beach Cafe and Villas (Bikers Waroeng), Jl. Raya Cisolok KM 11, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 11:00. It is within walking distance to the beaches, and offers travelers an experience of an Indonesia from the early 1980s, but with the modern conveniences of free Wi-Fi, icy cold beverages and freshly cooked meals in an eco-friendly bamboo and beachfront setting. US$15-25.
- 2 SeaVibes, Jl. Cisolok Raya No. 21, Karangpapak, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Established in the 1980s, a stylish venue right on a sandy surf beach. Lots of space and privacy. Double rooms from Rp500,000 per night.
- 3 Cimaja Square, Jl. Raya Cisolok Km. 5, ☎ . Villas and bungalows overlooking rice fields. Bungalows from about Rp200,000 per night.
- 4 Ocean Queen Resort, Jl. Banten, Cibangban, Cisolok, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Double rooms from Rp440,000 per night.
- 5 Nurda's Cimaja Point guest house, Jl. Raya Cisolok, ☎ .
The western hotels offer free Wi-Fi though some charge a fee for those not staying. BW Beach Cafe and Villas is one that offers free Wi-Fi to all.
More surf spots
- Another well-known region for surfers in West Java is the area of Pangandaran and Batu Karas, about 400 km to the east by road. It is a long journey (up to two days by bus via Bandung, or 10 to 15 hours by private car).
- If you continue to head west, you will find a a beautiful left hander outside the bay named Sawarna (about 40 km from Cimaja). This break tends to be a swell magnet, so great for a day trip if the swell is much too small for Cimaja. This break can hold any size waves and tends to break better with a more south swell which is the opposite to Cimaja.
- Another surf break that is relatively unknown to many people is "No Name". The best way will be by boat as there is no official road/track to get to this break. You could ask the locals from Daun Daun as they are either surf guides or will direct you to one who can assist you to this place. It's a left hander with a slab reef that can be worth checking out.
- Turtle's is another great surf spot that can be found 3-4 hours away located at Ujung Genteng.
- Panaitan Island is also a relatively unknown place, in Ujung Kulon National Park. It is difficult to get there, but apart from the natural attractions of the national park you may also find multiple surf breaks.