Flores is the most fascinating and beautiful island in Indonesia. Long hidden in the shadows of its more famous neighbour Bali, the island of Flores is finally emerging as a unique destination of its own.
Flores spells adventure, diving, eco-tours and mountain climbing interspersed with visits to prehistoric heritage sites, traditional villages and cultural events.
While on vacation you can swim in pristine lakes and waterfalls, dive at one of the 50 spectacular dive sites, go kayaking among craggy coasts and mangrove shores, explore mysterious caves and be warmly welcomed by the island’s people in their rituals, dances and daily life.
The Florenese waters reveal a rich and colourful parallel universe of marine life. The area around the Komodo National Park, which is home to over 1,000 species of fish and more than 350 reef-building corals, is a world-famous dive site. On many of the small islands around Labuan Bajo you do not even have to go scuba diving — just snorkeling brings you close to many different species of fish. Divers find themselves swimming along with huge manta rays, dolphins and dugongs, while whales can be seen passing Flores’s east coast during their migration period.
Until recently, many tourists have only been familiar with Labuan Bajo, the small port located on the western-most tip of the island, and the taking off point for a visit to the last natural habitat of the prehistoric Komodo dragons, the islands of Komodo, Rinca and Padar. Komodo National Park is home to about 3,500 people who live in four villages. Most make their living out of fishing, some people earn extra income by carving wooden Komodo dragons to sell to visitors on Komodo Island, or at the airport and in hotels of Labuan Bajo. The Komodo dragon is the world’s largest and one of the oldest living lizards. The mystery of how the dragons found their way to Komodo and why they can only be found there is still not clear.
Situated in the province of East Nusatenggara, Flores is a long island that contains some of the world’s best kept secrets. A chain of volcanoes stretches the length of this 450 kilometres long and narrow island, creating complicated V-shaped valleys and knife-edged ridges — terrain that was near impenetrable until recently and has separated the island into many distinct ethnic groups.
The island itself is surrounded by sparkling white beaches, and one beach even has pink sand. Mt. Kelimutu, near the town of Maumere, has three different coloured lakes that can change colour from time to time.
Flores is a paradise for trekking and hiking, ranging from low-impact walks to ambitious mountain climbing. Your trekking trip can be perfectly combined with cultural visits to small, charming villages with bird watching or bathing under a refreshing waterfall or even in hot springs. Presents (coffee, tea, sugar, clove cigarettes, as well as small souvenirs from your home country) are a sign of respect and politeness which will be highly appreciated. If you bring along some pictures of your family members or your hometown, you will surely have a good topic for starting a conversation with the local people.
Even though Flores is stunningly beautiful, it is above all its people who make this island so unique. Their rich cultural past and present invite visitors to step into a different world that is yet little explored.