A slender, rain-starved limestone jewel with powdery white-sand beaches and epic surf, Rote floats just southwest of West Timor, but has an identity all its own. From a tourism perspective it’s all about the surf, which is gentle enough for beginners and sick enough for experts. Stunning Pantai Nemberala is home to the world-renowned T-Land break, and there are dozens of hidden white-sand beaches, aquamarine lagoons, and seldom-surfed waves on the beaches, south and north of Nemberala.
To find them you’ll roll through thatched traditional villages, over natural limestone bridges and through an undulating savannah that turns from green in the November–March ‘wet season’ to gold in the ‘dry season’ which also happens to be when the offshore winds fold swells into perfect tubes. The whole experience lends a nostalgic Endless Summer feeling, even as 21st-century Rotenese voice typical Indonesian pride in their beloved Barack Obama. And don’t overlook the tiny offshore islands where you can find gorgeous ikat, more silky white sand and life-affirming turquoise bays, and, of course, more surf.