Inspired Travel: Mt. Kelimutu's Colored Lakes

by  Amanda Black | Apr 22, 2013
Mt. Kelimutu, Indonesia
Mt. Kelimutu, Indonesia / pawopa3336/iStock

In Mt. Kelimutu National Park on Flores Island, Indonesia, you'll come across three of the coolest lakes you'll ever see – and then again, and again. Each of the three lakes are different colors...and they are constantly changing hues. Kelimutu in English means 'the boiling lakes.' The three bodies of water have their own local names, and the island residents believe they are the resting places of departed souls.

Unlike other color-changing lakes around the world (Japan, Australia), it's impossible to predict what colors or when the Kelimutu lakes will change. According to Indonesia's website, "Sometimes, the colors are blue, green, and black, and some other times they turn to white, red, and blue. The last time a traveler saw them, one was dark brown, just like a pond of chocolate. Previously, the east lake was red and the middle lake was blue."

So why do the lakes change color? Scientifically speaking, it's because of subaqueous fumaroles and scientists believe that they're the result of minor eruptions hundreds of thousands of years ago. The most fascinating part about the lakes is that they all have different colors, but they are on the peak of the same volcano! It could be explained by chemical reactions in the lakes, or as the local people say, because the people of the island have done something evil.

The best time to see the lakes is right at sunset in July or August. The lakes are often cloaked in a fog cover which generally disappears early in the morning.

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