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Kelimutu Lakes and its Mythical Periodical Color Changes

Here is what you need to know about Kelimutu Lakes that periodically change colors.

Mount Kelimutu is not very tall volcano with its highest point is only 1,639 meters above sea level. However, that makes Kelimutu be a very climbable mountain, as the trek to the top is not too extreme even the casual climber can get up to the peak rather easily.

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Lakes at Kelimutu peak. via Instagram/thismattexists

The real prize is not the peak, though. It is the three lakes up top that make this volcano remarkable. These lakes are shrouded in legends and myth as well as beautiful view to behold. Here is what you need to know about Kelimutu.

Location and how to get there

The lakes and the nearby mountain. via Instagram/

Mount Kelimutu is situated on the southern part of central Flores Island. In essence, it is about 50 kilometers away to the east of Ende. The easiest way to reach Kelimutu is indeed via overland trip from Ende. You can stay in Moni village that is situated on the foot of Kelimutu. This is the closest accommodation you can get in Kelimutu.

Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai

The color changes periodically. via Instagram/frenchiegoneexploring

The first lake that will catch your attention up top is probably the Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai. This 5,5 hectares volcanic lake has bright sky blue water and looks very pretty. The water can change color, though. It has been reported that Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai has had different colors, including milky white, in the past. There are many legends about the color change but scientists conclude that the change is caused by the volcano’s activities.

Tiwu Ata Polo

The water is black. vis Instagram/whereskelso_

This lake is the smallest among the three lakes in Kelimutu with only 4 hectares in total. Even so, Tiwu Ata Polo is the one that changes color most often. This lake is located next to Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai, only separated by a thin wall. It had changed colors 44 times from 1915 to 2011. This lake is also the mother (the zero point) of Ria Mbuli River that flow at the foot of Kelimutu.

Tiwu Ata Mbupu

The lake is located deep in the crater. via Instagram/frenchiegoneexploring

This lake is located a little bit away from the others. Tiwu Ata Mbupu also has the widest crater and deepest location. There are two tiers of crater that host this lake. The water is normally dark green in this 4,5 hectares lake.


Color explosion during sunrise. via Instagram/viens_jetemmene_

Most tourists also try to climb Mount Kelimutu to witness the spectacular sunrise at this peak. If you want to do so, you must stay in the nearby village. You typically need to climb the mountain at 04.00 in the morning in order to enjoy the sunrise. Note that there is no lighting along the trek, so bring your flashlight.

The three lakes. via Instagram/thismattexists

Kelimutu Lakes are popular for its color changes and general scenic view. The climb to the lakes are not too hard but you have to do it early to enjoy sunrise. You can also learn about the legends in Kelimutu by interacting with locals. Next

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