About Flores

Flores, Portuguese for “flower“, is relatively unknown. Therefore tourism is still in its beginnings, which creates a certain charm and attracts visitors who enjoy individual travelling in mostly untouched nature and discovering things off the beaten track.

Located some 400 km east of Bali, Flores belongs to the Lesser Sunda Islands. At 15,000 km2, Flores has three times the size of the Islands of Gods, but is home to only a third of the population (appr. 1 million). In the nineteen seventies the tiny fishing village of Labuan Bajo on the Western tip of Flores began to gain its global popularity as the starting point for boat trips to the islands of Komodo and Rinca, home to the legendary Komodo Dragons.

Recently bigger hotels like Bintang Flores and Jayakarta have opened up in Labuan Bajo, trying to attract visitors with their standard tourism facilities.

The island world of the Komodo National Park is fascinating, and on the Flores mainland you will enjoy the savannah-like scenery with its impressive volcanic cones surrounded by rich rainforests. The people of Flores belong to different religions (91% are Catholic Christians) yet live peacefully together, proud of their island and the different cultural imprints.

Leaving by boat from the picturesque harbour, visitors go on daytrips to the National Park, on dive excursions or visit one of the numerous tiny islands nearby with white-sand beaches and turquoise water. Labuan Bajo has also become the perfect starting point for trekking tours into the wild romantic hinterland with its original villages, volcanoes and waterfalls. On Flores people have definitely closed in on nature and tradition. Understanding and patience are required as infrastructure in numerous places across the island is still underdeveloped. Whoever comes along with a love for adventure will be rewarded with unforgettable impressions, experiences and encounters with the local population.

History

Flores has 5 major linguistic and cultural groupings: Manggarai, Ngada, Lio, Sikka and Lamaholot;

Wave after wave of human settlement have left Flores with cultural and racial strains brought by early settlers who were Veddoids, Hindu traders from India, Melanesians, the Portuguese explorers and later the Dutch. Adding to the mix were local influxes of Bugis, Makareese, Javanese, and Sumbawanese.

Early Christian missionaries from Portugal, Holland and Germany have played an important role in the ‘’modernization’’ of the people of Flores, as evidenced by the majority Christian composition of the island today.

Climate

Similar to Bali, Flores also has two seasons. The dry season begins in April and usually ends in late November. The wet season runs from December to March. The climate on surrounding islands and Flores’ coastline tends to be arid, with a low average annual rainfall. West Flores is influenced by monsoonal winds. The southeast monsoon wind dries up the landscape during the dry season often resulting in severe droughts, particularly on coastal areas and islands. Water supply often becomes a serious problem and rice cannot be grown as widespread and frequently as in paradisiacal Bali. Therefore the average population is poorer and has to struggle more for their/the daily living. Light rain forest and savannah are the characteristic vegetation in those regions. Besides rice and corn, Flores’ agriculture is also famous for its coffee and sugarcane.

The weather in the wet season is very different. The northwesterly monsoon winds blow from November through March and bring with them large amounts of water and partly heavy rainfall, resulting in landslides and in some place in bad road conditions. During this time the whole landscape turns into an almost artificially looking array of green with growth and plants everywhere.

Worth visiting and exploring

Flores is a paradise for nature lovers and guests who can handle a little less of the western comfort and who enjoy individual traveling and experiences. In Labuan Bajo we cooperate with a local travel agent who will organize excursions further inland to scenic waterfalls, traditional villages or spectacular volcanoes. Of course trips to the Komodo National Park, daily diving or dive safaris as well as excursions for snorkeling and sunbathing to the nearby islands can be arranged.

Good to know

Flores still does not provide the tourism infrastructure of Bali. Even though West Flores has improved during the last two or three years, the local communities still have to get used to the demand of western visitors. Therefore we would like to ask for your patience and understanding. And be assured, Flores is worth the effort and waiting to be discovered.

Testimonials:

If I were asked to name the chief benefit of the house, I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects ...
(Gaston Bachelard)

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