Known as the "Jewel of Indonesia," Flores boasts lush mountains, volcanic lakes, and stunning pink beaches—with none of the crowds of nearby Bali. Hike, swim, and snorkel your way around the island on this 8-day expedition, discovering the rich culture of the local people along the way. As your trip nears its end, it's time to board a short cruise through the neighboring Komodo Archipelago, where you'll hop between remote islands and come face to face with Komodo dragons and manta rays.

Highlights

  • Hike to the jewel-colored lakes of Mount Kelimutu
  • Explore coral reefs & mangrove forests in the vast 17 Isles Marine Park
  • Learn about Ngada culture in the traditional village of Bena 
  • Board a scenic cruise through the wild Komodo Archipelago
  • Swim & snorkel in the pristine waters of Komodo National Park

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Flores, Transfer to Moni via Wolotopo Moni
Day 2 Hike to the Lakes of Mount Kelimutu, Transfer to Riung via Saga Riung
Day 3 Explore 17 Isles Marine Park, Transfer to Bajawa via Mengeruda Bajawa
Day 4 Discover Ngada Culture in Bena, Tranfer to Ruteng via Aimere Ruteng
Day 5 Transfer to Labuan Bajo via Cara & Ruteng Pu’u Labuan Bajo
Day 6 Board Your Komodo Cruise Towards Rinca & Kalong Islands  
Day 7 Cruise to Padar & Komodo Islands  
Day 8 Return to Labuan Bajo & Departure  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Flores, Transfer to Moni via Wolotopo

Views over the Flores village of Moni

Welcome to Indonesia! Upon arrival on Flores Island, you'll meet your guide and set off on a two-hour journey to the village of Moni, a small traditional village near the shores of Kelimutu Lake.  

On the way, you'll stop for lunch and have the opportunity to visit Wolotopo, a large and lively village built into a steep hillside. Here you'll encounter the local Lionese people (members of the Lio tribe) and learn about their past and present ways of living. Taking a stroll around the village, you'll get an idea of the strong traditional culture and daily activities like ikat weaving.

You'll reach Moni in the afternoon, and get checked into your unique eco-lodge accommodations. Powered by solar energy and set in a valley beside a peaceful river, the comfortable bungalows offer excellent views of Kelimutu Lake.

Day 2: Hike to the Lakes of Mount Kelimutu, Transfer to Riung via Saga

Discover the jewel-colored lakes of Mount Kelimutu

Today starts before dawn, with an early morning transfer from your lodge to the slopes of the mysterious Mount Kelimutu. Here you'll set out on foot to discover the most amazing natural phenomenon in Flores. Kelimutu consists of three uniquely colored lakes, from brilliant aquamarine to ochre red and chocolate brown. Over the years, the crater lakes have often changed colors. While the scientific reasons point to varying mineral contents, local people still strongly believe that the lakes are gathering places for ancestral spirits, with each color being related to a different Karma.

After your scenic hike, return to Moni for breakfast and some time to pack. Then meet your driver to get back on the road, stopping en route for lunch and a visit to the traditional village of Saga, home to the Ende Lionese tribe.

Continue along the southern coast of Flores and through a beautiful mountainous landscape dotted with macadamia trees. After stopping for a walk along a blue pebble beach near Nagapanda, you'll reach the quiet town of Riung, where you'll get settled into your hotel and spend the rest of the afternoon at your leisure. 

Day 3: Explore 17 Isles Marine Park, Transfer to Bajawa via Mengeruda

The crystal clear waters of 17 Isles Marine Park

The town of Riung sits on the doorstep of the spectacular 17 Isles Marine Park, a vast conservation area that protects the region's remarkable underwater ecosystems. Spend this morning exploring the park and its nearby islands, known for their beautiful coral gardens and white sand beaches. Don't miss a stop at Ontoloe Island, home to an unspoiled mangrove forest inhabited by thousands of huge, fruit-eating bats. A picnic will be provided so you can enjoy lunch in the park.

Back on dry land, you'll meet your driver and continue your journey, stopping at the Mengeruda Hot Springs for a relaxing dip before proceeding to Bajawa for dinner and an overnight stay.

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Day 4: Discover Ngada Culture in Bena, Tranfer to Ruteng via Aimere

Traditional conical thatched huts in the village of Beda

After breakfast, spend the morning exploring the rich Ngada culture found around Bajawa. After a visit to a local bamboo plantation, you'll stop for sweeping views across the 7,365 foot (2,245 m) Mount Inerie, one of the highest volcanoes in Flores. Continue to the Ngada village of Luba, then set out on a short, 15-minute walk to reach Bena, one of the most beautiful traditional villages in all of Indonesia.

Built at the foot of Mount Inerie, Bena consists of two parallel rows of traditional high thatch-roofed houses. In the village's center, you'll find ancestors' shrines alongside many megalithic formations meant to connect the Ngada people with the supernatural realm and to communicate with their ancestors—often through animal sacrifice.

After heading back to Bajawa, get back on the road and make your way west along the coast, stopping for a refreshing swim in the Sewu Sea and visiting the coastal village of Aimere to tour a local arak factory and see how this popular Indonesian alcoholic drink is made.

Turn inland from the coast and head north into the highlands and the western district of Manggarai. After stops for lunch and a view over the picturesque emerald crater lake of Ranamese, you'll arrive in Ruteng, capital of the Manggarai district and your base for the night. The largest rice-producing area of Flores, as well as an important Indonesian coffee-producing region, Ruteng sits at an altitude of 3,608 feet (1,100 m) in the heart of the island's volcanic highlands.

Settle into your accommodations for the night in an atmospheric Catholic convent, then head to a local restaurant for dinner. 

Day 5: Transfer to Labuan Bajo via Cara & Ruteng Pu’u

Lush rice fields near Cara

After breakfast, you’ll move on to the westernmost part of Flores Island. Start in the traditional village of Ruteng Pu’u, where you can see a traditional compang (a central site of traditional ceremonies and rituals). The round, stone platform is surrounded by a circle of stones and traditional houses. 

Continue to the village of Cara for spectacular views of its famous rice field. Situated on a small hill 10 miles (17 km) west of Ruteng, the spider-web structure of the fields (known as lingko to the locals) makes for a unique and eye-catching addition to the landscape. 

After a stop for lunch, you'll arrive Labuan Bajo, a fishing village on the island's westernmost tip. Visit the nearby Batu Cermin (Mirror Cave), which offers breathtaking panoramic views over the mainland and the islands nearby. If you're lucky, you might get to witness the remarkable sunlit reflections that illuminate the cave and give it its name. 

Back in Labuan Bajo, check into your hotel in the center of town, where you can relax amid spacious grounds and a private beach. 

Day 6: Board Your Komodo Cruise Towards Rinca & Kalong Islands

See Komodo dragons in their natural habitat

After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the harbor where you'll board a ship for a two-night cruise around the spectacular and wild Komodo Archipelago. After settling into your cabin, enjoy the seaside views as you navigate your way through the Savu Sea and Komodo National Park.

After a stop at Kelor Island for some snorkeling, swimming, and sunbathing, you'll get back on the boat for lunch as you sail towards Rinca Island. Here a park ranger will lead you on a trek through the island's dry forest, a unique mix of vegetation that provides habitat and shade for a remarkable array of species. You'll find deer, buffalo, wild boar, and long-tail macaques here, as well as the park's apex predator and the world's largest lizard—the mighty Komodo dragon.

Back on board, you'll make your way towards Kalong Island, where you'll drop anchor for the night and enjoy a spectacular sunset. From the vantage point of your "floating hotel," you can spot thousands of giant black bats making their nightly migration from their home in the mangroves to hunt on the island of Flores.

Day 7: Cruise to Padar & Komodo Islands

Relax on Komodo's famous Pink Beach

Set course for the island of Padar early this morning, where you'll disembark and climb to the top of the island to enjoy a stunning sunrise view. After a stop at Long Beach to explore its crystal clear waters, you'll continue cruising, while the crew prepares delicious dishes for meals and stops periodically for snorkeling and swimming opportunities.

After lunch, head towards the island of Komodo and embark on a 30-minute walking safari to Banunggulung. Under the guidance of a park ranger, you'll have the chance to see Komodo dragons in the wild, as well as rare and resplendent birdlife like sulfur-crested cockatoos, megapodes, and collared kingfishers.

Cool down after the trek with some swimming and snorkeling at Pantai Merah (the island's famous pink beach), then continue to Manta Point, where, weather permitting, you can swim and snorkel with giant, peaceful manta rays in their natural environment. 

Day 8: Return to Labuan Bajo & Departure

Bid the Komodo Archipelago farewell

Spend your last morning on the water snorkeling with sea turtles, dolphins, and colorful corals around the island of Siaba. After lunch, you'll cruise back to Labuan Bajo to disembark and transfer to the airport for your departing flight. Safe travels!

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