The Moluccas are the original Spice Islands; a magical destination, beautiful, remote and unspoiled, with a long, fascinating and turbulent history. For millennia these fertile volcanic isles were the world’s only source of the ‘holy trinity’ of rare spices; cloves, nutmeg and mace, which were once worth their weight in gold.
On this 12-day voyage of discovery you will be transported back in time as we wend our way between dramatic volcanic islands interspersed with stops at pristine white-sand beaches with no other tourists in sight. See rare birds of paradise in their natural habitat, search for giant butterflies, snorkel on some of the world’s most beautiful and biodiverse coral reefs, visit historic outposts and colourful island villages, experience frenetic local marketplaces and inhale the aroma of the cloves and nutmeg and mace as you walk among the spice forests and learn about the intrigues of the international spice trade during the 17th century.
One of the most important of all visitors to the Moluccas was British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, who travelled among the islands for more than three years documenting their biodiversity. Not only did he discover many of the region’s most iconic animal species, but it was there that he famously conceived the theory of evolution by natural selection, which he published jointly with Charles Darwin in 1858. Wallace’s book about his travels The Malay Archipelago is still a popular read today, and 2019 sees the 150th anniversary of its publication and a perfect excuse to follow in Wallace’s wake.