Kelimutu Crater Lakes is known as the three colored lakes of Indonesia. It is located on Flores Island, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. The changing color of the lake is unpredictable throughout the year.
East Nusa Tenggara is not just known for its Komodo dragons in Komodo Island. Deep within Flores Island, lies Mount Kelimutu National Park. Situated in Moni Village, Ende Regency, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. Among the six national parks between Bali and Nusa Tenggara Islands, Mount Kelimutu National Park is the smallest one.
There are three lakes on the volcano, sharing the same name, yet having their colors and a local name, which are believed to be the tomb of the departed souls.
Kelimutu is named after the local dialect Keli, which means mountain, and the word Mutu, meaning boiling. So, Kelimutu means the boiling lake.
The Kelimutu Crater Lakes are situated 1,639 meters above sea level, on top of the Kelimutu Volcano.
Mount Kelimutu National Park was established to protect the endangered floras and faunas that live in the area, such as the Begonia Kelimutuensis, Alstonia Scholaris, Pink-headed imperial pigeon (Ducula Rosacea), Floresian Kancilan (Pachycephala Mudiga), and Blue and white kingfisher (Halcyon Fulgida).
5 Amazing Facts About Kelimutu Crater Lakes
1. Unpredictable Color Change
Kelimutu Crater Lakes are unpredictable as to when and what color they will turn into. Throughout the years, the lakes have changed from red, turquoise, and white, to black and walnut, to gorgeous shades of green.
The changing colors can happen at any time. Scientifically, the 3 colors on those lakes are due to chemical reactions triggered by volcanic activity caused by the minerals inside the lakes.
2. Myths About Kelimutu
Local community believes Mount Kelimutu is sacred and donates fertility to nearby nature. The local people consider this area to be sacred and rich in legends. Mount Kelimutu is the resting place for those people who died with special powers.
The two massive rocks at the side of the road to Kelimutu National Park, known as Konderatu, Konde means Queen, and Ratu means King. Locals believe Konderatu is the entrance of the ordinary mortals. The Konderatu then decide where the spirits go according to their age and characters when they were alive.
3. Different Locations of Twin Lakes and Third Lake
The local people name the three lakes on Kelimutu Volcano according to the myths it carries. The twin lakes, one called Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai, means a place where the souls of those who die at a young age or are unmarried. This is the largest and deepest lake of the three lakes.
Located next to it is Tiwu Ata Polo is a place where the souls of those who did evil or practiced sorcery during their lifetime. Meanwhile, Tiwu Ata Mbupu, located on the westernmost of all the three lakes, 1.5 km from the twin lakes is a place for the elderly souls.
4. Swim Restriction
You might be wondering, can you swim in the Kelimutu lakes? Unfortunately, the answer is no, you can’t swim there. Some volcano activities are still going on, and it is full of dangerous geologic chemicals. Thus it is not safe for you to swim in there.
5. Traditional Ritual to Honor the Ancestral Spirit
The Pati Ka Du’a Bapu Ata Mata ceremony or known as the Pati Ka ritual is held by the Lio Tribe. The Pati Ka ritual is the giving of offerings to ancestors at Lake Kelimutu. This is because the Lio people believe that Lake Kelimutu is the final resting place for departed souls. The place where all souls return after the journey of life ends.
This ceremony is carried out by serving special food after harvest (Pati Ka) to the ancestral spirits who are said to inhabit 3 lakes: Tiwu Ata Mbupu, Tiwu Nua Muri Koo Fai and Tiwu Ata Polo as a form of communication and maintaining relationships with ancestors, the universe, and with the God. Local people believe that the soul or spirit will come to Kelimutu Lakes after they die and stay in the craters forever.
All the procession participants headed for the procession route about 700 meters to the top of Kelimutu on foot and accompanied by Lio Ende traditional music. All participants are required to wear traditional Lio Ende clothes. Men wear a special sarong that is woven for men (Luka) and wear a headband and is made of batik (Lesu), as well as ikat (Semba) or shawl. Meanwhile, women wear woven sarongs (Lawo) and traditional clothes (Lambu).
The traditional elders (Mosalaki Pu’u) lead the implementation of the peak of the Pati Ka Ritual from a special place. The ritual begins with feeding the ancestors in the form of offerings consisting of pork, brown rice, betel nut and moke (local alcoholic drink).
The Mosalaki Pu’u place offerings on a stone that becomes an altar or offering altar. The ritual is accompanied by the recitation of prayers by a Mosalaki representative and ends with the Gawi Sodha dance by the Mosalaki Pu’u while surrounding the location of the offering altar. After the procession is complete, the ceremony is continued with traditional dances and songs from the art studio in the Lio Ende community.
How To Go To Kelimutu Crater Lakes?
There are multiple ways to get there, but we’ll explain the easiest way for you.
Plan Your Trip
The best time of the year to visit Kelimutu Crater Lakes is during the dry season, April to October. The weather is nice, with little to no rain, such perfect weather to enjoy the Kelimutu Lakes view.
Book Your Flight
To go to Kelimutu Crater Lake from your current location is more accessible by flight. First of all, go to Jakarta, Bali, Surabaya, or Kupang airport. You can take a flight to Ende with transit from those bigger airports or stop at Labuan Bajo airport. It takes 50 mins of flight from Labuan Bajo to Ende.
Get a Car From Ende Airport to Moni Village
Your journey from Ende Airport to reach Kelimutu Crater Lake will continue by taking a transportation to Moni Village, the gateway of Kelimutu National Park. It’s pretty easy to find transportation from there.
Daily, there are lines of drivers waiting in front of the airport’s arrival gate, offering a ride to Moni Village. You can share the car with the other passengers and share the cost, or feel free to have it by yourself. The trip will take 90 mins to reach Moni Village. It will cost you approximately IDR 400,000/car to go to Moni Village from Ende airport.
Book a Homestay
At Moni Village, you will need to book a homestay to have some rest before going to Kelimutu Charter Lake on the next day. Most of the visitors go there for the sunrise view. But you can skip that part and come after dawn instead to avoid the crowds and enjoy the Kelimutu with fewer people.
With that being said, for the best time to see its best view, come to Kelimutu Crater Lakes around 07 AM – 09 AM WITA. The Kelimutu Crater Lakes are looking at their best shortly after dawn when the sunlight hits their surfaces, and the clouds haven’t filled the sky yet. Their colors will look vibrant at this time. What a breathtaking sight to see!
Arrange a Transportation to Go to Kelimutu
To go to the Kelimutu Crater Lakes, you can take a taxi-bike or “Ojek” in local language from Moni Village. You can also arrange a car or motorbike rental with the homestay owner, they will also assist you with that. The ticket booth of Kelimutu National Park is open from 05 AM until 05 PM WITA.
The ticket for a daily pass will cost IDR 150,000/person for foreigners on Monday to Saturday, on Sunday it costs IDR 250,000/person. While for Indonesians, it will cost IDR 5,000/person to enter Kelimutu National Park. You can enter the Kelimutu Crater Lake multiple times throughout the day as long as you keep your ticket with you.
Kelimutu Crater Lakes have mysterious vibes due to the water changing colors and the myth going on locally. There are other facts you need to know about Kelimutu Crater Lakes before going there.
Ready to Visit Kelimutu Crater Lakes and Other Tourist Destinations?
Kelimutu Crater Lakes sure is a fascinating place to visit.
These mesmerizing lakes lie on the top of Mount Kelimutu in Flores Island, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. The three-color lakes have attracted people from all over the world to witness its beauty. The lake’s natural magnetism is strong and becoming more pronounced as you approach.