Often overshadowed by Bali, Flores remains somewhat under the tourist radar. Yet, the Indonesian island is gradually gaining the recognition it deserves and emerging as a must-see superyacht destination.
More than just a gateway to its neighbour Komodo, Flores has a wonderful array of attractions burrowed among its alluring landscapes. Volcanic peaks give way to unique natural wonders, untouched coastlines hide secluded beaches and a rich underwater world presents unrivalled diving opportunities.
Whether you’re looking for adventure, wildlife or relaxation, Flores is sure to enchant, and an exotic escape to the island is easily incorporated into a larger sailing itinerary around the sprawling island-chain of Indonesia.
Here, YachtCharterFleet rounds up five reasons to visit Flores on a yacht charter.
1. See the sunset with fruit bats
Dubbed as ‘Bat Island’ by the locals, Palau Kalong takes its name from the thousands of fruit bats that dwell in its verdant mangrove forests. Only five hectares in size, the tiny isle is reached from Flores in under an hour’s sail and offers unforgettable vistas at sunset.
As the sky turns vivid hues of red, pink and orange, the flying foxes awake from their slumbers and energetically take flight, swooping across the ocean in search of food on the nearby islands. Such a rare sight is, of course, best taken in from the comfort of a superyacht.
The winding roots of the mangrove trees make it impossible to step ashore Palau Kalong, but the clear waters that surround the island present fantastic snorkelling and diving opportunities for yacht-goers awaiting the daily spectacle.
2. Experience traditional village life
For a taste of traditional Indonesian life, head inland via the town of Bajawa to the rural Ngada communities nestled among the lush slopes and dramatic volcanic peaks of the eastern region.
In villages such as Bena and Wogo, indigenous beliefs and the local Ngada language prevail and, untouched by the modern world, thatched-roof houses, megalithic stones and totemic structures are still central to the inhabitants’ way of life.
The women of the villages can be seen hand-crafting ikat weavings, an old Indonesian technique, and a trip to this part of Flores can be incorporated into a larger itinerary, which takes in the hot springs of Soa and one of Indonesia’s newest volcanoes, Wawo Muda.
3. Wonder at the tri-coloured crater lakes
The stunning tri-coloured crater lakes of Mount Kelimutu, located in central Flores, is one of the most sublime sights in the whole of the Indonesian island chain.
Varying in colour from each other and each regularly changing colour, the three lakes of the now extinct volcano have been known to transform from black, white and brown to the more vibrant hues of green, blue and red.
The local people of Flores have named the lakes Tiwu Ata Mbupu (Lake of Old People), Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (Lake of Young Men and Maidens) and Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched or Enchanted Lake), and legend says the rainbow effect is caused by neglected ancestral souls.
Scientists, meanwhile, have put the phenomenon down to the varying mineral content of the waters. But whatever the reason, the site is definitely one for your bucket list.
4. Snorkel at 17 Islands Marine Park
One of Indonesia’s best-kept secrets is situated off the north coast of Flores, and formed of a small cluster of protected islands and their surrounding waters.
Known as the 17 Island Marine Park, the conservation area is actually made up of 24 islands and its name was chosen to commemorate Indonesia’s Independence Day celebrated annually on August 17th.
Accessed from the fishing village of Riung, the crystal clear waters are teaming with marine life, ranging from multi-coloured tropical fish and mesmerizing coral to playful dolphins and the ‘rose of the sea’ – a rare organism that resembles the flower in colour and shape but is actually a collection of giant sea hare eggs.
The fascinating underwater world is home to many world-class dive sites and after exploring the fascinating sea life, visitors can relax in complete harmony on one of footprint-free, white sand beaches.
5. Discover spider web rice terraces
Rice terraces chiselled into the mountainside like giant staircases are iconic sights in South East Asian countries such as the Philippines and Vietnam, yet nothing will prepare visitors to the farmlands of the Manggarai tribe in western Flores.
Laid out like spider webs, the circular terraces evolved out of a need to subdivide fields in order to pass them onto descendants and the resulting effect creates an impressive landscape.
The best vantage point is from the hilltop village of Cara, located 17 kilometres west of Ruteng in Canacar, and the site still remains off-the-beaten tourist track.
For more information on visiting Flores on a luxury yacht charter, please get in touch with your preferred charter broker.
Alternatively, take a look at all luxury yachts available to charter in Indonesia.