A Cup of Coffee From The Top Of Kelimutu

A Cup of Coffee From The Top Of Kelimutu

written by Yulianus Irwan

Kelimutu is a volcanic montain located in Moni village, Flores, Indonesia. It is well-known because of its crater lakes that have 3 different colors. They are: Light green, dark green, and black.

Since it was one of the National Nature Conservation Area In 26th of February 1992, Kelimutu became one of the reasons of why tourists both locals and foreigners travel to Flores.

Kelimutu can be reached from Moni village which is located in the Trans Flores. You can fly to Maumere which takes 3 and half hour drive or the nearest by flying to Ende, the capital of Moni. It only takes 1 and half hour drive. From Moni, you need to drive to the parking area where you start the trekking. It takes you about 45 minutes drive and then 30 minutes trek to the top.

Most of the people who visit Kelimutu like to go for sunrise. The travelers have to wake up at 4 am and drive to the base to trek to the top which is 1.600 m above sea level. During the trek, you will have to pass about 300 stairs that have properly constructed for the travelers. 10 minutes before reaching the top, the track is steeper and they have fences where you are not allowed to walk beyond as it is closer to the crater.

Once you are on the top, the locals have been waiting with their snacks and drinks to sell. These people are spread from Moni area who sell coffee, ginger tea, noodles, sarongs, and many more that will get back your energy. They are also willingly to tell the story of Kelimutu from their local story inherited by their older generations.

Maria, who I met there told me that Kelimutu before it was well-known, was quiet mystical place, no one could come here alone, it is very frightening. There should be a set of ceremony with scarification of chicken when the color changing because it is a sign of the activity of the volcano. She also said that every August 14th the locals have to make big ceremony to thank to the spirits of Kelimutu that protecting them from any problems.

Locals also believe that spirits come to Kelimutu when they die. Before entering the lakes, the spirits would first meet Konde Ratu, the guard of the gate. The spirits will be placed based on the age and the character when they are alive. Red lake or Tiwu (lake) Ata Polo is where the all the bad spirits are gathered, they are for the people who have bad behavior when they are alive. blue lake or Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai for the young spirits, and black lake or Tiwu Ata Mbupu for adult spirits.

There were a lot of things that Maria shared with me while waiting for the sunrise. The waiting was not boring at all moreover having a cup of coffee made the moment was just glorious.

About 30 minutes wait, heading to the south the light appeared through the clouds and mountains exudes its beauty. The upper it goes, the see the lake. Everyone stands with its cameras. They make sure nothing is missed. We were all amazed and entertained by this extraordinary show.

John and his wife, who traveled with me could not hide their happiness. What a lucky day. This is the perfect end of the tour, they added. Everyone turned out to be happier at the time and wanting more photos and selfies.

The view of Kelimutu lakes in the morning (source: Clarice Zhang).

Grace, a traveler from Jakarta who I met on the top of Kelimutu shared her experience; Kelimutu is a fantastic place I have ever seen. “I have been to some craters before like Bromo and Rinjani, Lombok but then I had to trek for many hours to reach the top, but Kelimutu is the easiest trek for anybody even older. This is recommendable tourist destination, she added.

The show did not fully end, on our way down the lakes have brightly appeared with their stunning views. We also spent time to enjoy seeing the lakes and walk to the other view point where we could see the lakes much closer of course not beyond the fence.

Besides listening to the explanations from locals, travelers also could gain information provided on the stones placed during the track added with some interesting decorations messaging travelers to preserve the park.

The photo was taken in December 29th 2018 after the color changed 2 days before. Long time ago locals crossed through the wall  with horse. Now the wall is getting smaller (source: Judit Veres).


As we walked down to the base, we found herds of long tail monkey as one of the inhabitants of the park. We were also amazed by lots of bird singing that made us feeling that it is not just the destination but the journey was memorable.

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