Kelimutu Lake is often said as Danau Tiga Warna or Three-colored Lake. The nickname was given because of its unique feature that is having three different water colors: red, blue, and white. In addition, those colors can change themselves during any particular time. This amazing lake is one of the 9 world’s nature wonders. Kelimutu Lake is exactly located on the summit of Kelimutu Mountain, which is about 1.690 meters above sea level and administratively situated in Pemo Village, Kelimutu District, Ende Regency, Nusa Tengggara Timur.
Kelimutu comes from local language which consists of two words: “keli” means mountain and “mutu” means boiling. Kelimutu Lake started to be famous in 1915, after it was discovered by a Dutch named Van Such Telen. In 1929 Kelimutu Lake’s popularity was even increased after Y. Bouman described how wonderful and unique Kelimutu Lake was. As the result, the foreign tourists started to come and increased from time to time. Besides tourists, people who come to Kelimutu Lake are scientists from various countries who are interested to do research on this lake’s uniqueness. Besides the uniqueness of its three colors, this lake’s water color can also change, like the red lake can change into maroon/brown, or sometimes become black. The result of the research shown that the color changes which happen in this lake were caused by such factors, like volcanic activities, sunlight refraction, or any water biota. Because of its beauties and benefits for science, government established the Kelimutu Mountain and Lake as National Park since 26th of February 1992.
According to the local residents, Kelimutu Tiwu (lake) is regarded as sacred lake because it is believed as the abode of spirits who have passed away. The local people believe that the blue lake which is also called as Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai is the place for the young spirits. The white lake or Tiwu Ata Mbupu is believed as the place for spirits who passed away in old age. Meanwhile, the red lake or Tiwu Ata Polo is the place for the spirits who in their lifetime often do evils and vices. All of the lakes on the Kelimutu Mountain are estimated to have 1.051.000 m2 size with 1.292 m3 water volume. Between one lake and the others, there are some separator cliffs with slope of 70 degree and 50 – 150 meter height. The blue and red lakes are adjacent while the white lake is about 1 km away from those two.
Besides Kelimutu Lake, this area (Kelimutu Mountain) also has various kinds of flora and fauna. Around the mountain, grow some plants which are rarely found in other Flores regions such as pine, fir, redwood, and edelweiss. There are also various kinds of fauna in the Forest of Kelimutu Mountain such as deer, boar, partridge, eagle, and others.
The most suitable time for visiting this lake is in the morning because in the afternoon until evening fogs will cover up this area. Recently, this area is very favored for trekking. If you visit this lake in the morning, you will not only be able to see the beauty of this lake, but also the amazing sunrise from top of the mountain. Besides that, you can also hear the tweeters of Garugiwa Birds (Pachycephala Nudigula) which is believed as the bird of spirit. These birds always start to tweet at 07.00 in the morning. The beautiful and loud tweeters of Garugiwa Birds can completely enhance Kelimutu Lake’s beauty.
For visiting Kelimutu Lake, you must go to Pemo Village, around 65 kilometers to the east from Ende Town and can be reached by using car in two hours. If you want to stay over, you can stay in the homestays available at Moni Village which is very close to the lake. The distance from Moni Village to the lake is about 14 kilometer and can also be reached by using car. After 45 minute trip using vehicle, you must get off and walk to the lake/crater for 20 minutes through stairs and rocky path.