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Travel Guide to Maumere in Flores, Indonesia


Maumere in Flores, Indonesia

Black sand Gading Beach just outside of Maumere in Flores, Indonesia

Image © Gregory Rodgers, licensed to About.com

Although not exactly much to look at, Maumere is the largest town in Flores and many travelers winding through the archipelago inevitably end up there. Maumere does not really have an abundance of sites to see, the town is more or less a great base for resupplying on your adventure across Flores.

Traditional weaving villages outside of Maumere make for interesting day trips. A nice collection of undeveloped beaches are a great place to unwind and recover from the long bus rides.

Maumere was hit hard during the 1992 earthquake and tsunami; the economy still has not fully recovered. Despite the downturn, the 50,000 residents remain friendlier than ever.

Getting Around Maumere

Maumere is small enough to cover on foot, however you will probably receive endless offers for rides from motorcycle taxis and bemo minivans.

  • Food: The harbor seafront is the place to go for side-by-side eateries serving cheap seafood. All the standard Indonesian food offerings are always on hand.
  • Money: ATMs can be found around town. The BNI Banks usually offer ATMs and the best rates for exchanging money.
  • Internet: The Comtel on Jalan Bandeng 1 offers internet access for around one dollar per hour.

Weaving Villages

Maumere is surrounded by small weaving villages, the most popular being Sikka and Lela around 16 miles south of town. Artisans in villages produce traditional ikat cloth which makes a great lightweight and cultural gift to carry home. Day trips can be arranged through guides at your accommodation. These villagers make a very meager living from the few tourists that arrive; be prepared for lots of attention!

Maumere Beaches

Finding any reason to spend a lot of time in Maumere town is difficult. Instead, get out of town to one of the peaceful beaches nearby. Some beaches are undeveloped completely while some have only one bungalow operation for eating and sleeping.

Many backpackers head 15 miles east of Maumere to Ahuwair and Waiterang, two relaxing beaches that are home to only three bungalow operations. The atmosphere is ridiculously chilled out; do not expect distractions such as internet access or reliable electricity. Diving and snorkeling are available. Sunset Cottages, the most popular of the bungalows, can arrange transportation from Maumere; contact: 085 2530 99597.

Gading Beach

A lesser-known option is Gading Beach, a pristine black sand beach, just six miles east of Maumere. Although sharp rocks make swimming and snorkeling difficult, Gading Beach is a place where you can literally live out your survival fantasies by breaking open coconuts laying around the empty beach. One new bungalow operation is the only choice for eating and sleeping. Transportation in the form of bemo or motorbike can be arranged along the harbor seafront; tell the driver to stop at Pantai Gading along Jalan Raya Don Siripe. The Gading Beach bungalows provide free early transportation to the airport, making this a great place to end your stay.

Climbing Gunung Egon

The smoldering peak seen from Waiterang Beach is Gunung Egon - an active volcano with a summit at 5,587 feet. An excellent side adventure can be made of climbing the volcano. Hire transportation or hitchhike south three miles to the small village of Blidit where the summit trail begins. Gunung Egon can be climbed in around three hours. The peak is exposed; protect yourself from the sun.

Diving in Maumere

Scuba diving in Maumere was once akin to that in Labuan Bajo - some of the best in Indonesia. The devastating 1992 earthquake in Indonesia and resulting Tsunami produced heavy damage to much of the reefs. Rather than being allowed to recover, destructive fishing techniques such as dynamite and cyanide fishing have all but ruined the once-pristine reefs. Despite the damage, Maumere Bay is still host to several world-class dive sites; whales and dolphins still make regular appearances. Sperm whales visit during the November and December monsoons.

Getting to Maumere

Maumere is located on the eastern side of Flores and is well connected by bus, boat, and air.

Air: Maumere's relatively busy airport (airport code: MOF) is just two miles from town; transportation into town should only cost around $1. Regular flights from Merpati and Pelita Air Service connect Maumere with the rest of Flores, Denpasar in Bali, and Kupang in Timor.

Bus: Maumere is approximately three hours east of Moni - home of Kelimutu - and five winding hours from Ende. Buses, often crowded with motion-sick locals, leave sporadically when there are enough passengers. Buses heading west to Moni and Ende depart from the Barat Bus Terminal (one mile west of town) while buses heading east to Larantuka leave from the Lokaria/Timur Bus Terminal (two miles east of town).

Boat: Giant Pelni ships call into Maumere once every two weeks then continue on to other major ports in Indonesia. While cheap, these aging ships are often overloaded with human, animal, and vehicle cargo; taking one is an uncomfortable adventure you will never forget!

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