Cilacap is also a sea port on the southern coast of the island of Java. The port is one of only a few that exist on the southern coast that can service shipping of reasonable tonnage. The nearest safe anchorage east is Pacitan. The city's harbor is protected by Nusakambangan, an island best known as the site of several high-security correctional facilities although there are also hopes that the island can be developed as a tourist hub. Nusakambangan sheltered Cilacap from the worst of the 2004 tsunami. Nevertheless, the disaster took 147 lives, devastated beaches, damaged 435 fishing boats and inflicted material losses amounting to about Rp 86 billion (around $9 million).
During World War II Cilacap was an important departure point for people fleeing the Japanese invasion, especially Dutch colonists. Many left the Dutch East Indies by boat or seaplane, the majority heading for Broome in Western Australia. The port is a hub for national or international trade. The city's Tunggul Wulung Airport, unfortunately, was closed for several years now  and showed signs of being closed for some time back in March of 2009. It no longer has scheduled flights to Jakarta. Any business people or tourists considering going to the southern portion of Java might consider coming from Yogyakarta Airport which lies NE of Cilacap.
Cilacap is the site of many industrial plants, a geothermal power plant, a cement plant (Holcim Indonesia), and one of Pertamina (Indonesia's national petroleum company) processing units in Indonesia. The site has the largest production capacity, producing the most diverse kinds of products among other Pertamina units.
The city of Cilacap offers several tourist attractions highlighting Banyumasan culture. The town has a number of beaches, two of the most popular being Teluk Penyu (close to the center of town), but these are somewhat fouled from leakage of the shipping vessels docked adjacent to this and Widara Payung. Nearby the Teluk Penyu Beach is also an ancient Dutch fortress called Benteng Pendem.This fortress was built in stage 1861-1879 by Dutch East Indies Army.
Cilacap has a population of 1,174,964. The language used in Cilacap is Javanese Language, but most people can speak Indonesian. The dialect used is Banyumasan. There are schools of all levels in Cilacap and several higher-learning institutions, but no university. There are several academies such as Akademi Maritim Nusantara (National Maritime Academy). A polytechnic, called Politeknik Cilacap, was established in 2008 and offers education in Engineering, Electronics and Informatics.