If you want to fall off the map and into paradise, Poya Lisa is the place for you. No internet, no phone signal, no television; just a hut on the beach, freshly caught fish for dinner, beautiful reefs and you.
The island is named after the first customer, Lisa, (Poya means ‘island’) and has retained a sweet and simple atmosphere. At a push the island can hold maybe twenty or thirty people, and it’s hard to imagine they reach capacity all that often. Days here are filled with swimming, snorkelling, eating, and generally relaxing in whatever form you so desire. Free snorkelling boats are offered daily to a few locations, and you can also rent out a boat to other spots. An absolute must-see is the Jellyfish Lake, home to hundreds of stingless jellyfish with whom you can swim. For those guests that stay longer than ten days, all boat rides and other extras are free of charge thereafter.
Part of the Togean Islands, an archipelago made up of 56 islands and islets, Poya Lisa is unique, not just for its perfect tranquility, but also due to the family that owns it. Whilst there are other islands in the archipelago suitably paradisiacal, you might be hard-pushed to find sweeter owners: nothing is too much trouble, and their continual smiles are infectious.
Meals are served family-style thrice daily with other guests (if there are any) and afternoon snacks are brought to your beach hut. If you fancy being sociable, card and dice games often take place after dinner, though you’re also entirely welcome to slink off and go for a midnight swim in the phosphorescent waters, or lay under the thousands of stars.
The easiest way to reach Poya Lisa is to fly to Luwak, rent a car to Ampana and take a boat from there. You can also fly into Gorontalo, take an overnight ferry to Wakai and a boat from there. Yes, both sound a little long-winded, but this is the price you pay for tropical seclusion. The Togeans would be flooded with tourists in seconds if there was an easier route.
It would be hard to say when the best time to visit would be because whilst there is technically a wet season, the monsoon generally confines itself to early mornings and the sky clears before breakfast. On the other hand, if you want blue skies guaranteed every day, the optimal time would be in the dry season from April to October.