After spending a few days exploring Komodo National Park, Mike and I wanted to see what the rest of Flores Island had to offer. Our goal was to visit the volcanic lakes of Kelimutu National Park in the center of Flores Island.
Our trip to the Kelimutu volcanic lakes was incredible, however, the journey to get there was difficult.
If you’re looking to visit Kelimutu National Park on Flores Island, follow the easy guide below to get the most out of your trip.
How To Get To Kelimutu National Park
The first leg of your journey will include getting to Flores Island, Indonesia. Flores Island is home to Kelimutu National Park and the incredible color-changing lakes.
There are three route options when planning your flight into Flores Island:
Labuan Bajo is the capital city of Flores Island. Flying into Labuan Bajo might be the most popular way onto the island, but keep in mind that this route will result in the longest journey.
This is the way we flew into Flores Island because we wanted to visit Komodo National Park and the surrounding archipelago first. If you don’t plan to see Komodo, I would suggest flying directly into Ende or Maumere.
From Labuan Bajo, you will book a flight from Labuan Bajo (LBJ) to Ende. The flight from LBJ to Ende will last about 40 minutes and you can find frequent flights right here on Skyscanner.
Flights into Ende will be a cheaper option, however, you WILL have a short layover in Labuan Bajo.
We flew from Bali to Labuan Bajo and then later flew to Ende on a separate ticket. This was more expensive than if we would’ve booked a flight from Bali to Ende with a quick layover in Labuan Bajo.
Flying into Maumere might be the easiest and cheapest option of them all. If you are planning your trip from Bali, like many other visitors, you can fly directly from Bali to Maumere.
Ende Or Maumere To Kelimutu National Park
Unfortunately, once you get to Ende or Maumere, your journey isn’t over.
The next leg of your journey will include a 2-3 hour drive through the hills of Flores Island; your end destination is a small village called Moni.
My biggest fear was that we wouldn’t be able to find transportation from Ende to Moni.
Luckily, this was not an issue as there were swarms of drivers waiting for travelers outside of the Ende airport. I heard it was the same scenario for those flying into Maumere.
We paid 400,000 IDR (approximately $28 USD) for the two and a half-hour drive up to Moni.
The best thing we did was find another traveling couple that was on their way to Moni as well. Splitting 400,000 IDR between four people wasn’t a bad deal at all!
Where To Stay Near Kelimutu Volcanic Lakes
Since Moni is such a remote village in the middle of Flores Island, finding good accommodation posed a difficult challenge.
Thankfully, Booking.com had amazing reviews of a place called The Geckos Homestay.
We opted to stay here for two nights while we explored the area. Geckos Homestay was everything we could’ve wanted for our stay and we highly recommend it to other travelers.
The rooms and bathrooms are very basic, but the hospitality is out of this world. I know that Geckos is far better than anything else found in the area.
Lopez, the owner of Geckos, made sure that all of our needs were met. His family was warm and welcoming, too. They all spoke fluent English, which made it easy for us to communicate with them.
Another awesome aspect of this homestay was the delicious dinner and breakfast that was offered. We were a little hesitant to sign up for the family dinner because it was vegetarian, but this meal was unbelievably delicious and authentic.
All of the guests from Geckos gathered around a table, shared stories, and enjoyed a great dinner together.
The breakfast was even better, in my opinion. Lopez and his sisters had breakfast ready for us when we returned from our trek up to Kelimutu National Park. They served us the freshest fruit and a plate of fried banana and fried sweet potato.
Transportation To Kelimutu National Park
Finding transportation up the mountain to Kelimutu National Park was a little difficult. Fortunately, Lopez and his crew at Geckos Homestay helped us find and rent a few motorbikes from the locals.
Unlike Bali and other places in SE Asia, motorbike rental in this tiny village was almost non-existent. Lopez asked his friends to lend us their bikes for the morning so that we could visit the national park on our own terms.
If motorbikes aren’t for you or you don’t feel comfortable driving one, I suggest setting up transportation with your guesthouse owner. Many locals are willing to give rides up to the national park as it is just a short 30-minute ride.
Note: Be sure to bring Indonesian Rupiah with you; there are no ATMs in Moni.
Kelimutu Volcanic Lakes For Sunrise?
It seemed that all of the other travelers wanted to visit Kelimutu National Park for sunrise. For us, sunrise at Kelimutu didn’t seem appealing.
The lakes only shine bright green and turquoise when the sun is shining overhead. When the sun is rising, it isn’t reflecting off the lake and giving that brilliant hue. We also wanted to avoid the crowds as much as possible.
We chose to visit Kelimutu National Park at around 9am. This seemed to be the perfect time because all of the sunrise-goers had left and we had the lakes all to ourselves. The colors were vibrant and the views were sweeping.
I’d recommend skipping Kelimutu National Park at sunrise and forgetting about this silly trend. There are no benefits to going this early and you’ll have to fight the crowds on the trail.
Note: The path from the trailhead to the lakes is very short. This “trek” is hardly a trek at all and can be done by people of all ages. I would recommend packing a long sleeve shirt just in case. The weather changed drastically for us at the top.
Frequently Asked Questions
Prior to our visit to Kelimutu National Park, we had so many questions that went unanswered because we couldn’t find the information on the internet.
Here are a few of the most common questions related to Kelimutu National Park:
1. Can You Swim In Kelimutu Lakes in Indonesia?
My first thought before venturing to Kelimutu was, “mountain lakes?! Can we swim in them?”
The answer is no. You cannot swim in the Kelimutu Lakes.
First off, getting down to the Kelimutu Lakes is pretty impossible. From above, I couldn’t find a logical way to descend the volcano to get closer to the lakes.
Second, you wouldn’t want to swim in these lakes. There is so much volcanic activity, which is why you’ll see the lakes change colors numerous times throughout the day.
2. When Did Kelimutu Last Erupt?
According to Volcano Discovery, Kelimutu last erupted in 1968.
Note: There are several active volcanos in Indonesia. I recommend checking out as many as you can. Start with an Ijen Crater Tour in East Java.
3. How Much Does It Cost To Get Into Kelimutu?
To enter Kelimutu, you’ll pay 150,000 IDR ($10.57 USD) per person from Monday to Saturday. On Sundays, you’ll pay 250,000 IDR ($17.62 USD) per person.
If you’re a local, you’ll pay 5,000 IDR ($0.35 USD) to enter the park.
An additional parking fee is charged at the entrance. This will cost only 1000 IDR ($0.07 USD).
The Wrap-Up: Kelimutu National Park
Visiting Kelimutu National Park and the village of Moni is one of the best experiences in all of Indonesia. Since the journey to Kelimutu is long and confusing, we’ve laid out the best route options for any traveler.
We hope this guide helps others experience the beauty of the Kelimutu volcanic lakes.
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