Kelimutu is a volcano located close to the little town of Moni. It is 50km away from Ende, Indonesia. The mountain consists of 3 coloured crater lakes. The Kelimutu Crater Lakes is that one iconic location which has intrigued my interest to find out more about the island of East Nusa Tenggara, also known as Flores Island. The Crater Lakes are situated in the Kelimutu National Park. The tri-coloured crater lakes is its most distinctive feature and the most amazing natural phenomenon on Flores Island.
The crater lakes often change colours from time to time. At the time of my visit, one of the lakes was black-brown, one was turquoise and the other was bluish turquoise. This is due to adjustments in the oxidation-reduction status of the fluid of each lake, and also considering the abundance of different major elements, such as iron and manganese. However, it is also widely believed by the locals that the changing colours are caused by the neglected ancestral souls. Kelimutu is still considered one of the sacred mountains for the local tribes.
Interestingly, each of these lakes comes with a name. The 1st lake is called Tiwu Ko’o Fai Nuwa Muri (The Lake of Young Men and Maidens) and the 2nd is called Tiwu Ata Polo (The Bewitched or Enchanted Lake). These two lakes are situated next to each other and separately only by a crater wall. Their colours are usually turquoise or red. The 3rd lake is called Tiwu Ata Mbupu (The Lake of the Ancestors) which is situated at the westernmost of the 3 lakes. The colour of this lake seemed blackish to me.
Kelimutu can be enjoyed at any time of the day. There is a short hike of about 30 minutes to reach the peak. However, most visitors prefer to arrive early to watch the sunrise at Kelimutu. That of course, if what I did too. Chasing the sunrise at Kelimutu was my dream come true. Kelimutu is situated high up in the mountains and would often experience thick fog that would cover the lake. I was fortunate enough to have seen the blue hour before the fog kicked in and to see the magnificent sunrise right after the fog left. It was an amazing sight.
Where to Stay?
The closest town to Kelimutu is Moni. It is a basic little town situated close to the Transflores Highway. Here you can find many basic accommodations at a reasonable price. For a one night stay, Moni is the best choice, considering its close proximity to Kelimutu. Initially, I booked and paid for a guesthouse called Antoneri Lodge through Agoda. However upon arriving, the owners were in the process of preparing a funeral. We were then not offered our room despite our prior booking.
Then, we looked for other options around the area and we found one guesthouse called Christin Lodge. The owners were extremely friendly and they offered us a room at a reasonable price and free breakfast. It was amazing.
Moni offers amazing hikes that you can do. Passing by layers and layers of gorgeous rice fields and lush forest. Moni is quiet and a great place to ease your mind before the hike. You can opt to hike directly from Moni or you can also take a ride to the nearest parking lot of Kelimutu National Park and take a 30 minute walk up the peak.
However, there are no airports in Moni, therefore in order to get to Kelimutu, one has to either fly in to Ende which is about 50km away from Moni or fly in to Maumere which is 62km away. Ende is a 3 hour drive away to Kelimutu and in order to catch the sunrise, your best option is to stay in Moni. You can read more about getting to Flores Island in this post I wrote by clicking here.
Where there’s accommodation, there’s bound to be restaurants. Surprisingly, Moni has a few great restaurants. One of the better restaurants is called Mopi’s Place. It is situated just beside Christin’s Lodge and they offer fantastic coffee. They also serve delicious dishes here and you will not regret it. It is a great place to hangout and to chill. You can also try their homemade lemonade. It’s delicious.
Hiking up to the peak of Kelimutu is quite the breeze. Grab a ride up to the parking lot and start your ascend there. It is a simple 30 minute hike up with properly marked trails. You will pass by the gigantic crater lakes to your right. Here you can check out how enormous the lakes are. This is the closest proximity you can get to the crater lakes.
Continue further up and you will reach some concrete stair cases with handles. Follow the steps up slowly and you will reach the peak of Kelimutu. Here you are able to see a gorgeous view of the two crater lakes in your front and the third one just behind. Be careful when you ascend because there will be lots of people rushing up to the viewpoint.
Once you have reached the viewpoint, you will be amazed by its beauty. Here I leave you some shots I took while visiting. Drop me a comment or message if you have any questions about this place. I’d be glad to give you some helpful advice.