Kelimutu is a volcano in central Flores Island in Indonesia. Mount Kelimutu has three craters that form calderas with a different color of the water. This unique phenomenon is a result of chemical reaction in each crater. In 2016 the colors changed six times, which is a fact that deserves closer observation.
Going from west to east, the first lake is called Tiwu Ata Mbupu (Lake of the Ancestors’ Souls, Lake of Old People). This lake is 1.5 km far from the other two crater lakes. The second lake is named Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (Lake of Young People’s Souls, Lake of Young Men and Maidens), and the third lake is called Tiwu Ata Polo (Lake of Evil Spirits, Bewitched or Enchanted Lake). The second and the third are divided by a 100-meter stone wall.
The three lakes are changing their color all the time, which gives the whole area a surreal touch that is hard to believe and explain. This marvelous phenomenon happens due to underwater fumaroles, which are cracks in the Earth’s surface that emit steam and gases containing carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, hydrogen chloride, and hydrogen sulfide.
According to the scientists, the water of the color changes due to these minerals and also volcanic activities. But, there is a myth that says that the colors are changing as a result of neglected ancestral souls. The second explanation sounds mystic.
The best time to visit the colored lakes is during sunrise. Hikers usually get up around 3:30 a.m. to be up there at sunrise and see the spectacular view. At this time of the day it is very cold, so be sure to have a sweater and warm clothes on you. Bring your own snacks and drinks because you never know if you’ll find the coffee vendors on the way. The trail is well marked, so a flashlight is needed only if you hike before sunrise. There is a fence around the lake, and crossing it is not a smart thing. Some people have lost their lives by falling into the water.
Moni is the closest town to Mount Kelimutu, so visitors normally find accommodation here. It’s a small town surrounded by rice fields, and it’s good to spend few days here. There are hot springs nearby, as well as waterfalls and hills you can trek. Enjoy this incredible experience!
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