Kelimutu National Park is a stunning natural attraction located on the island of Flores in Indonesia. It is home to three crater lakes, each of which is known for its unique and changing colors. A stop at Kelimutu was part of our Flores itinerary, one of the islands we visited during our three-month stay in Indonesia.
Kelimutu National Park Flores
The Kelimutu lakes are located on top of the 5,544 feet high (1,690 meters) Kelimutu volcano, surrounded by lush forests and beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.
These three Kelimutu crater lakes are called Tiwu Ata Mbupu (Lake of Old People), Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (Lake of Young Men and Maidens), and Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched or Enchanted Lake).
Tiwu Nuwa Muri Ko’o Fai is the main lake reached from the hike, and its turquoise color is astonishing. Tiwu Ata Polo stands right behind it and is also clearly visible from a side of the viewing platform. Tiwu Ata Mbupu is the third lake, isolated from the other two by the hiking trail.
What makes each Kelimutu lake unique is that the colors of each lake change depending on the volcanic activity underneath, and the changes are independent from one lake to the other.
Hiking Kelimutu National Park
One of the most popular activities at Kelimutu National Park is hiking to the three lakes.
The Kelimutuhike to the lakes is fairly easy, with a well-marked trail and a number of rest stops along the way. The views from the top are breathtaking, and you’ll have the opportunity to see Mount Kelimutu lakes up close and take some amazing photos.
In addition to the lakes, Kelimutu National Park is home to several other interesting attractions, including several waterfalls and hot springs. You can take a hike through the park and explore the region’s natural beauty or relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.
Some of the park’s areas are deemed dangerous and restricted, so it’s best to stay on marked trails.
Sunrise Kelimutu Hike
If you can, plan to do a sunrise hike. Watching the sun’s rays rise above the clouds in the early morning is incredible. The changing lights as you are standing by a Kelimutu lake is like a show in itself.
What is interesting is watching the clouds of volcanic gases dancing over the surface of the Kelimutu crater lake. As the day warms up, the smell of sulfur increases; depending on the wind direction, the smell can be extremely strong. Sulfur dioxide can be lethal, so do not stay close when you start smelling the recognizable smell.
Given its popularity, the sunrise hike can however be crowded. So don’t expect solitude when you reach the top; come early to grab a good viewing spot.
How to Get to Kelimutu National Park
The park is about 8 miles (12 km) from the town of Moni and about 31 miles (50 km) from Ende.
You can travel individually or join Kelimutu tour as a day trip from Labuan bajo to Kelimutu National Park. Another option is to include Kelimutu as part of your self-drive itinerary Kelimutu trip from Maumere to Labuan bajo, or the way around.
There is no accommodation in the park, so it’s best to stay at one of the hotels near Kelimutu National Park.
Kelimutu Crater Lakes Ecolodge
The Kelimutu ecolodge is located among rice fields and is perfect for enjoying the tranquility of village life. The lodge is also ideal if you plan a Mount Kelimutu hike at sunrise.
Kelimutu Travel Tips
- Go early to enjoy the sunrise. Even if it’s crowded, it’s worth it.
- Spend the night nearby to avoid getting way too early
- Dress in layers and plan for warm clothes as it can be cold in the early hours
Overall, a visit to Flores Kelimutu National Park is a great way to experience the natural beauty of the Island, along with visiting traditional villages like Wae Rebo and Bena, or admiring the Komodo Dragons. Whether you’re interested in hiking, photography, or just soaking up the stunning views of the surrounding landscape, you’ll find plenty to see and do during your stay.
Have you been to Flores Island? What was your experience or preferred thing to do in Indonesia? Share with us your adventures!
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