Sukamade Beach is not a typical beach where tourists come to swim, sunbath, or snorkel. The beach welcomes another kind of visitors, the sea turtles. Located deep at Meru Betiri National Park, Sukamade beach is a favorite nesting ground for turtles. Every night, green turtles crawl their way out from the ocean to lay eggs.
Sukamade beach is the center of turtles conservation program at Meru Betiri. The beach was discovered in 1927 by Dutch colonial and serving as a turtle sanctuary ever since. Aside from green turtles. There are 3 other species nesting at Sukamade: olive ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys Olivacea), hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), and leatherback turtles.
Other neighboring beaches also serve as a nesting ground, such as Rajegwesi and Ngagelan. Despite the number of egg-poaching is decreasing. The program still continues to conserve as much as possible. Even if the conservation program now meets another kind of challenge.
In the past, up to 80 turtles could come to Sukamade every night. The number is only a handful these days. On a certain day, it can be none. The light coming from fishing boats assume to be one of the causes, as it scares the turtles away.
An interesting thing about turtles is that they lay eggs on the beach where they were born. Mother turtles who come to Sukamade beach were just hatchlings. The last time they were here. After decades, they come back to further their bloodlines at this warm sandy shore. The cycle of life is repeated.
Turtles always come at night. Eager onlookers, curious about the whole process. Guests are advised to lay low, light’s out and noises down. If lucky, turtles will begin to emerge from the ocean after a while.
Watch as this creature lay their future offspring on the sand. Take pictures but follow the rules. Such as flash is allowed only after the turtle has laid more than 20 eggs. And do not stand in front of a turtle.
Releasing Baby Turtle
Get up first thing in the morning to participate in turtle-releasing. Accompany these little creatures as they make their first journey. Park workers will guide over the starting point. Where the baby turtle should be put down on the sand. Young turtles then will start crawling toward the sea. Using the light at the horizon as a guide.
It’s sad to think that many of these turtles won’t reach adulthood. As the baby turtle survival rate is very low. But that’s how nature works. At Sukamade beach, a human has done their part. Then let nature handle the rest.
Hopefully, many females will come back around 20 years later to lay eggs. Releasing the baby turtle is probably the most emotional experience one can have at Sukamade beach.
Jungle Adventure At Meru Betiri National Park
The journey to Sukamade beach involves a bumpy ride through the jungle of Meru Betiri. It is really an off-beaten-track adventure. At a point, cars would need to cross a river, which sometimes can reach 40 cm depth on rainy days. The whole trip is a unique experience, and the animals here are also the highlight.
It’s not rare to encounter Javan eagles, hornbills, monitor lizard. And even a peacock during the journey to Sukamade beach. Deeper in the forest, Javan leopards still roams around. Sadly its cousins, Javan tiger, is believed to be extinct already.
Take a stroll at night to see some mammals – wild deer, monkeys, and notorious wild boars who often hunt for turtle eggs. Since electricity is off after midnight. Tourists can also see a great display of the milky way above the sky.
Green Bay Banyuwangi or Teluk Hijau Beach
A visit to Meru Betiri National Park is incomplete without checking out the park’s hidden paradise. An only 15-minutes boat-ride from Rajegwesi Beach. Green Bay offers one of Banyuwangi’s best scenery.
A white sandy beach with sparkly turquoise water. Swim, snorkel, or sunbathe, Green Bay offers the beach experience Sukamade beach lacks. There’s also a little waterfall nearby where beachgoers can have a nice shower afterward.
Sukamade Beach Opening Hours
Meru Betiri National Park and its beaches are accessible for 24 hours. However, the ticket office opens from 7 AM to 4:30 PM.
|Sukamade Beach Opening Hours|
|Every day||Open 24 Hours|
|Releasing the baby turtle||06:00 – 07:00|
|Ticketing counter||07:00 – 16:30|
Sukamade Beach Entrance Fee
There’s an entrance ticket to enter Meru Betiri National Park. Visitor will have to pay IDR 150k and IDR 225k during holidays. There is an additional cost to see the turtle conservation in sukamade beach. And participate to release the baby turtle. Vehicles also pay an access fee, IDR 5k for motorcycles and IDR 10k for cars.
|Sukamade Beach Entrance Fee|
|Sukamade Beach||Free Entry|
|Releasing the baby turtle||Rp30.000|
|Meru Betiri Entrance Fee||Rp150.000 weekday / Rp225.000 weekend|
|Parking Fee||Rp5.000 motorcycle / Rp10.000 car|
At Sukamade Village, there are limited guesthouse and accommodations. Tourists can build a tent as the camping ground available here. There is a small canteen provide basic Indonesian menu such as fried rice.
Bathroom and toilets are available. Other facilities include a meeting hall, laboratory, and an information center. Electricity is off at midnight and expect no phone signal here.
How To Get To Sukamade Beach
A trip to Sukamade is 90 minutes drive from Banyuwangi to Rajegwesi Village. After, there’s still 18 km from the park’s entrance to Sukamade Beach. In total it would take 3-5 hours to Sukamade.
The best transportation mode is rental cars, preferably off-road ones. The route is Banyuwangi – Jajag – Pesanggaran – Sarongan – Rajegwesi – Sukamade. There’s a public transport option but it will take even longer.
For public transport option, people can hop to Damri bus from Jajag Bus Station to Sarongan Village. Then head to Rajegwesi village using a motorcycle taxi. From there, visitors can rent park rangers’ vehicles to reach Sukamade beach.