Kelimutu Lake, Exotic Natural Charm Full of Myths in Flores

Kelimutu Lake, Exotic Natural Charm Full of Myths in Flores

Kelimutu Lake, located on the summit of Mount Kelimutu in central Flores, Indonesia, is one of the most striking geological phenomena in the archipelago.

Famous for its three crater lakes, each displaying distinct and dynamically changing colors, Kelimutu offers more than just scenic beauty—it is steeped in local myths and cultural significance that add depth to its natural allure.

This article explores the exotic charm of Kelimutu Lake, its origins, and the myths that surround it, providing a comprehensive guide to one of Flores’ most mesmerizing attractions.

1. The Phenomenon of Kelimutu

Kelimutu is unique because it comprises three crater lakes, each varying in color from blue to green to black or red, and these colors can change dramatically over time due to adjustments in the volcanic activity below.

The lakes are close together but have different chemical compositions, which interact with minerals in the water, causing the fascinating color transformations that have captivated scientists and tourists alike.

2. The Spiritual Significance

Local communities hold Kelimutu in high regard, believing the lakes are a resting place for departed souls. The lake closest to the summit is believed to be the gathering place of the souls of young people who have died; the middle lake, those of elders; and the last, those of people who died in a negative state or with ill-intent.

These spiritual beliefs infuse a visit to Kelimutu with an aura of mysticism and reverence, making it a deeply cultural experience.

3. Myth and Legend

According to local legend, the lakes are colored by the neglected spirits of the ancestors. When the colors of the lakes change, it is said that the spirits are displeased and require offerings or rituals to restore peace. These stories and beliefs are an integral part of the community’s cultural fabric and add a rich, mythological layer to the Kelimutu experience.

4. Best Time to Visit

The ideal time to visit Kelimutu is at sunrise when the soft morning light illuminates the lakes in a dramatic play of colors and the surrounding landscape is visible in its full glory. This is also an excellent moment for photography enthusiasts to capture the vivid hues of the lakes contrasted against the mountain’s rugged terrain.

5. Hiking and Exploration

Reaching the lakes requires a hike, which is relatively easy and well-marked, making it accessible even for casual trekkers. The path to the viewpoint offers stunning vistas of the surrounding mountainous landscape of Flores, rich with lush vegetation and diverse wildlife.

Along the way, guides often share stories about the lakes, discussing both the scientific explanations for their color changes and the local legends that give Kelimutu its mystical appeal.

6. Conservation Efforts

The ecological and cultural importance of Kelimutu has led to increased conservation efforts. The site is protected as part of the Kelimutu National Park, which aims to preserve its unique biodiversity and cultural heritage. Visitors are encouraged to respect the natural environment, adhering to guidelines that help minimize their impact on the fragile ecosystem.

7. Visiting and Accommodations

Moni, a small village nearby, serves as the gateway to Kelimutu. It offers a range of accommodations, from guesthouses to more comfortable hotels. Staying in Moni allows visitors to ascend the volcano early in the morning. Local guides are available for hire, providing valuable insights and ensuring a safe journey to the lakes.


Kelimutu Lake is not just an extraordinary natural phenomenon but a cultural treasure imbued with deep spiritual significance and surrounded by age-old myths. Its ever-changing crater lakes offer a spectacular visual experience, while its cultural stories enrich visitors’ understanding of the local communities of Flores.

A trip to Padar Island is both an adventure and a pilgrimage, offering awe-inspiring sights and a profound connection to the mystical traditions of the Indonesian archipelago.