Kelimutu was the main reason we came to inland Flores. It is an active volcano with an astonishing feature of three colorful lakes. The lakes change their colors depending on the volcano’s mood – from light blue, through dark green or red to deep black. That’s why the picture you see when you reach the top is always a surprise. As befits an active volcano, the view gets occasionally obstructed by the sulfur fumaroles.
The most convenient base to see Kelimutu is the nearby Moni village. A bit distant (two hours by car, to be precise) Ende is the nearest airport, but it’s located too far to be an accommodation option. From Moni, it will take about 20 minutes by car to get to the park entrance. The motorcycle rides are also easy to find in Moni. Getting there on foot is possible, but keep in mind that it’s best to reach the top for sunrise, so you would have to start walking in the middle of the night (the distance from Moni to Kelimutu is about 12 kilometers). Thus for trekking enthusiasts, it’s more reasonable to arrange a one-way lift in the morning and finish the trip with hiking (plus it will be a downhill hiking, which you’ll appreciate in a hot climate of Flores).
The ideal timing is dawn (on the very morning the sky is the clearest. It might get cloudy after that). You’ll have to leave Moni around 4 when it’s still dark. The car (or a motorcycle) will wait at the parking lot near the entrance to the park (there’s an entrance fee to be paid, but it wasn’t a big sum at the time of our visit). From there you’ll have to walk, so don’t forget a torch. And a jacket, as it’s windy at the top (albeit it will be hot after the sunrise). The trek to the top takes about 30 minutes and requires some moderate climbing. Go to the very top first for the sunrise and rest at the lower viewpoint later, on your way back.
We left Moni at 4 am and finished the trekking on Kelimutu at 9 am. But if you’re in a hurry it’s easy to limit the stay in the park to 1,5 hours (20 minutes from the parking lot to the top, the same for the way back, 50 minutes for enjoying the sunrise and taking the photos). But if you don’t have to rush then it’s a perfect place for spending an active half a day in the beautiful surroundings. Keep in mind that Kelimutu is home to a big population of monkeys, so stick close to your bag, especially if you carry any food.
To learn more about the places in Flores we liked the most, go to What to see and do in Flores.
And if you want to know how to see all these places in six days, see our detailed itinerary here: How to plan a trip to Flores, Indonesia.
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