Flores, which was named by Portuguese explorers in the 16th century, is one of the newly emerging tourism hotspots in Indonesia. Much of the tourism is centred on the port city of Labuan Bajo on the western tip of the island. The setting is picturesque with views out towards the Komodo Islands, which is of course home to the famed Komodo Dragons and offers some of the best diving in Indonesia.
For years the beautiful coastline of Flores and the dozens of islands that surround it have attracted divers who take liveaboard tours around the region. Unfortunately the terrain of the interior has stopped all but the most adventurous of travellers from exploring the island. With the completion of the Trans-Flores highway, connecting Labuan Bajo to Maumere, that is set to change.
The cliffs and steep wooded valleys that made Flores so difficult to explore has given the region beautiful landscapes and a diverse culture in. Heading East into the interior visitors will have the chance to visit isolated spots like the village of Wae Rebo, the spiderweb rice fields of Ruteng and the three coloured lakes of Kelimutu.
Unfortunately infrastructure is lagging behind the tourism boom. Outside of Labuan Bajo and Maumere the choice of accommodation is limited and the quality is basic. This will surely change as local business owners cash in on the opportunity that tourism brings to the island.
Transport and Infrastructure
Flores is one of the least developed islands in Indonesia, but things are rapidly improving. The main airport in Labuan Bajo was renovated and now runs international routes. There are also more domestic routes with direct flights from Jakarta to Labuan Bajo operated by Garuda Indonesia.
Transport options in the interior are limited. The small public buses that run the routes between the main towns are uncomfortable and there’s no regular schedule. If you’re set on exploring the interior it’s best to arrange a private car rental, which gives you the flexibility to explore where you want on your own schedule.
Flores: Local and City Guides
To help you arrange your trip through Flores we collected a selection of our most useful resources for exploring the island. You can find a variety of city guides, hotel recommendations and itineraries in the links below. We hope you find them useful for arranging your holiday.