This post was last updated on July 3rd, 2020 at 09:50 am
Maumere may be the largest city on Flores, but not much is known about it. For most tourists, it is only the start or endpoint of their journey across the island.
It’s a shame that most tourists choose not to explore this city.
We stayed longer and came into contact with locals who showed us the best of Maumere. We snorkeled in clear blue water, cleaned up plastic with kids, and ate fresh fish from the barbecue on a deserted island.
But there is more to it than that. There is an active volcano that you can climb and there are traditional villages where you can take a look. Another option is to relax on one of the beaches around the city.
Are you going to Maumere soon, then read on. It is a relatively undiscovered part of Flores with surprisingly beautiful places. We will tell you more about this in this article.
Island Hopping Around Maumere
Island hopping around Maumere is completely different from the crowded tours that you find in Labuan Bajo. If you step on the boat to Maumere, chances are that you’ll have this paradise all to yourself. White sand and clear blue water are waiting for you. You can read how we experienced it below.
A Unique Experience on Pulau Kojadoi
After about an hour of sailing, we arrived at Kojadoi Island or Pulau Kojadoi. Strictly speaking, there are two islands, a large and a small one. They are connected by a bridge.
This is not a typical place that comes to mind when you consider the word ‘island hopping’. You’ll quickly imagine white beaches with palm trees. Pojadoi Island is quite the opposite, rather a kind of village with traditional inhabitants.
What did we come here for? We visited Pulau Kojadoi with a mission: to make the local people – and especially the children – on Kojadoi aware of the major plastic problem in Indonesia.
The kids took a bag, ran after us, and started cleaning up the mess with enthusiasm. Between the rocks, along the road, in the bushes; they came to every nook and cranny they could reach. The group leaders rewarded them with donuts. Then they sang about how important it is to consciously handle waste, combined with cheerful and exuberant dancing.
We thought it was super cool to experience something like this. It is something different than just snorkeling and visiting beautiful islands. Islands that are often full of… indeed, plastic.
The Idyllic Pulau Babi
After this cool experience, we continue to Pulau Babi, which literally means “pig island”. We don’t know the exact reason why they call it like that. We determined that it’s not the shape of the island that resembles a pig. It rather resembles an elephant, but let’s put this aside.
The water has the exact color you hope for when you think of a tropical island: turquoise and crystal clear. Together with the white sand, it provides beautiful views.
A few locals who came with us collected some wood and lit a fire. It turned out not to be difficult because there was a strong wind that helped quite a bit. When the flames had fallen a bit and the fire settled, we put fresh, buttery fish on top of it. Together with rice, vegetables, spicy sambal, and fried banana, this was a delicious lunch.
Good to know is that a tsunami in 1992 caused serious damage in the Maumere region. Babi Island was hit hard and many residents were killed. For security reasons, the government banned living on the island, although today a handful of fishermen live in simple wooden huts.
We didn’t feel like snorkeling at the beach on Pulau Babi was very special. There was hardly any coral and we haven’t seen much fish. For better places to snorkel or dive, you should take a look around Pangabatang Island, which we discuss next.
The Sunset on Beautiful Pulau Pangabatang
We ended the afternoon on Pangabatang Island, a long white strip of sand surrounded by beautiful clear blue water. The nice thing is that there are trees on the island, so you can cool down in the shade.
Remarkably, there are also all kinds of cute kids around. They may seem shy at first, but a few moments later they will happily have a snack with you. It soon became clear that one of the goats had an above-average interest in our corn on the cob, so we decided to give some of it to him. Half of the corn was eaten at a very rapid pace.
After this funny event, the locals told us about the great snorkeling spots around the island. However, none of our group went for a swim, since the sun was already setting and we were content just relaxing.
Do you also want to make this trip?
If besides visiting beautiful islands and snorkeling, you also want to take responsibility and set a good example by cleaning up plastic waste with children, then this trip is for you.
The tour is organized by the Megu Moong Community and you can contact Elis by phone at +6285337678160.
Diving in Maumere
Komodo may be known as the best diving spot of Flores, but Maumere also has a beautiful underwater world.
We’ve heard stories that people think it’s even more beautiful than in Komodo National Park. One thing’s for sure: it is much quieter. It is not without reason that Maumere was an absolute top destination in the field of diving before the 1992 tsunami. Unfortunately, the same tsunami destroyed a lot of coral, although it is slowly recovering. The recovering coral makes the underwater world look stunning again.
There is also a Japanese shipwreck that went down during the Second World War. Most tours will make a stop here.
The Traditional Village of Watublapi
Flores is known for countless weaving villages where locals live off ikat weaving. This is no different around Maumere. Watublapi is one of those traditional weaving villages and well worth a visit. That is if you are interested in traditions and culture.
Betel-nut-chewing females – with their famous red teeth – are weaving sarongs in front of their houses and will greet you with a smile. You will be amazed by how much work it takes to make such a sarong. You can also buy one if you are looking for a nice souvenir.
If you want to visit another weaving village, go to Lepo Lorun.
Climb Mount Egon
In about 2.5 hours you can walk to the crater rim, where you have an impressive view with steam coming out of the crater, among other things. You will also hear the volcano bubbling. You can possibly continue towards the absolute top which is slightly higher, although this last hurdle is a dangerous section to pass.
Note that you often walk to the crater in the bright sun, over a steep and rocky road. This makes it a fairly tough trip. A guide is not absolutely necessary, as the path is clear. You can use Maps.me to get there and then start the hike yourself. Take water and snacks with you.
If you prefer to have a local with you, we can recommend Yani. You can reach him by phone at +6281236562309.
Relax in the Blidit Hot Springs
Need some relaxation after your adventure on Mount Egon? Then head towards the Blidit Hot Springs, which are located near the village of the same name. A short walk through the forest leads you to three different hot springs, each with their own temperature. Choose the pool you like best and then relax.
And the great thing is: chances are you have all three of the baths all to yourself.
More Fun Things to Do
In the village of Nita, near Maumere, a Dutch missionary founded the Bikon Blewut museum. In the museum, you can view all his archaeological finds, such as fossils of flora and fauna, prehistoric cultural instruments, and skulls of the descendants of the Homo Floresiensis.
Another nice sight is the Sikka Church, built in 1983 and designed by the same architect who designed the Jakarta Cathedral. The church is built entirely in European style, but inside the walls are beautifully decorated with carpets woven by the locals.
If you are looking for souvenirs, you can take a look at the local Geliting market. This is the oldest market in the municipality of Sikka and here you can find excellent souvenirs. Local fishermen sell their freshly caught fish here.
Where to Stay in Maumere?
The center of Maumere is far from exciting and very noisy due to the heavy traffic. That is why we advise you to book your accommodation elsewhere.
We stayed at Pantai Paris Homestay, where they have both dorm and private rooms. It is a nice accommodation that is run by the Dutchman Herman and his Indonesian wife. In the morning she will prepare a delicious breakfast for you, including fresh chocolate sauce made from the cocoa beans that grow in their garden. The advantage in terms of location is that you are close to Maumere airport.
If you’re going to Pantai Paris Homestay, be sure to pop into the nearby Antonio Coco Beach Cafe on a Saturday or Sunday. There is very good live music here and you can also eat cheaply. Tasty grilled fish can be found on the other side of the homestay, at Cafe Rindu Lokaria.
Travel on to Koka Beach or Moni