Kelimutu Lake is one of the tourist destinations on Flores Island, the natural beauty and uniqueness has attracted the interest of tourists to visit this area. Administratively Kelimutu Lake is located in Pemo Village, Kelimutu Subdistrict ,Ende Regency,-East Nusa Tenggara province. This lake is also part of Gunung Kelimutu National Park and managed directly by the Ministry of Forestry through BKSDA (Conservation and Natural Resources).


If you are on holiday in Flores Island,make sure to visit Kelimutu Lake or “Three Color Lake” as his nickname because it has 3 lakes of different colors and has changed color 44 times from 1915-2011.Kelimutu itself comes from the word “Keli” which means Mount and “Mutu” means boiling.

Here are three different Lakes of Kelimutu names:

  • Tiwu Ata Mbupu According to the local Peoples,this lake is believed to be a gathering place for the spirits of the ancestors of the Ende Lio tribe. The lake area is around 4 ha with a depth of 67 meters and blackish in color, sometimes white.
  • Tiwu Ata Polo This lake is believed to be the place of souls of people who during their lifetime always committed crimes. This lake is green, sometimes red and has an area of about 4.5 ha with a depth of 64 meters.
  • Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai This lake is believed to be a gathering place for the souls of young people who have died.The lake is moss green and 5.5 ha wide with a depth of 127 meters.

Access and Tourist Attractions

Every Year Kelimutu Lake is always visited by tourists to enjoy the beauty of nature and the uniqueness of the three-color Lake, especially at sunrise.Each visitor is charged a rate of (Foreign IDR 150,000 / person and Domestic IDR 15,000 / person).In 2015 the tourism sector revenue from Kelimutu Lake was IDR. 2.4 billion with the number of visitors reaching 62,957 people; and to support tourism activities The government holds an annual event that is “Kelimutu Lake Festival “which is held every August. This festival begins with the traditional dance of “Lio” Tribe called Gawi Dance” and ends with the ritual of “Pati Ka” by putting the offerings on Kelimutu Lake to feed ancestral spirits. In this festival also the Local Peoples presents various types of culinary and handicrafts such as hand weaving and bamboo craft.

To reach this lake, visitors can go through the route:

  • Ende – Moni (± 2 jam ) Visitors can use a public transportation / car rental from Ende Town to Moni. On the way you will enjoy the beauty of the rice fields and the indigenous villages of the Ende Lio community.
  • Maumere – Moni (± 2,5 jam ) Visitors can use a public transportation / car rental from Maumere Town to Kampung Moni by crossing the southern coast of Flores Island.

Moni village is the starting point towards the summit of Mount Kelimutu as well as a resting place for visitors before continuing the journey to 3 colors Lake,here visitors can find lodging and restaurants and services of a local guide to Kelimutu Lake. 5 am is the right time to reach the peak area with a travel time of around 30 minutes.

From the summit, it appears Lake Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai and it’s bordered by rock cliffs next to it, Lake Tiwu Ata Polo. While across the two sides is Lake Tiwu Ata Mbupu which has a depth of about 67 meters and is blackish color.Finally the awaited moment arrives, which is before the sun rises. The sun starts crawling behind the cliffs of Lake Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai, it’s a truly extraordinary natural beauty. The orange color of the Sun is combined with the green color of Lake Kelimutu forms a beautiful natural painting. This moment feels perfect when accompanied by a glass of Flores coffee.

History and Natural Change

Kelimutu Lake was first discovered by a Dutchman named Van Such Telen in 1915 and Kelimutu Lake became known to the World after it was written in a paper and published by Y.Bouman in 1929.Meanwhile, from 1915 – 2011 this lake has changed color several times and most often is Lake Tiwu Ata Polo up to 44 times and become upstream from the “Ria Mbuli” river.

According to research by experts the color change of the three lakes above is caused by a geochemical process at the bottom of the lake which produces certain chemical substances,this was also triggered by Volcano gas changes or the impact of increasing Lake temperatures.

Folklore and Cultural Attractions

According to local people’s beliefs that the spirit or soul of the dead will come and gather on Kelimutu Lake as a final resting place.  Before inhabiting the Kelimutu crater, the spirits will face “Ratu Konde” as the “Perekonde” entrance guard. The spirits will enter into one of the Lake craters according to their age and actions while still alive.

Tips on traveling in Kelimutu Lake

  •       These three lakes are part of Gunung Kelimutu National Park, obey the regulations by not disposing of garbage in the Kelimutu Lake area and do not take anything from this region.
  • Honor this place without damaging anything.
  • The right time to visit Kelimutu Lake is the morning before sunrise.
  • Use safety equipment and tools when climbing to the top of kelimutu such as shoes, jackets, gloves and warm hats.
  • Use the services of a Local Guide so you don’t get lost while heading to the top of Kelimutu Lake.


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Written by

Gerry M




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