Flores – Forgotten Island of Mystery
Flores – A Forgotten Island of Mystery
Have you heard of the island of Flores? Indonesia is a vast nation with over 17,000 islands. Java, Sumatra, and Bali are all well known to the world with large populations and many tourists. However, these are certainly not the only islands of interest. In the eastern part of the country, there lies an island that is best described as a “hidden gem”.
Situated along the southernmost portion of the archipelago, where the Pacific and Indian Oceans meet, is the island of Flores. A part of the Lesser Sunda islands, Flores means “flowers” in Portugese. Named so by the first Europeans to have meaningful contact with the locals in the 1600s. The island is 360 kilometres long from east to west but only 70 km from north to south. The island is mountainous, with 16 incredible looking volcanic peaks spread out along its length. This volcanic chain is due to the large subduction zone to the south that has created dozens of volcanoes from Java to Alor. The most impressive of these volcanoes is the iconic Kelimutu, please read more about it on a recent Blog Post.
Flores – A Cultural Treasure
Although Flores is a large island, the population is small. Outside of larger towns like Labuan Bajo and Maumere, the island is mainly home to small villages. With its high mountains and large, sheltered bays, Flores is a dream cruising destination. The Samata anchors in some of the best spots in Indonesia during our Flores voyages.
The culture of Flores is unique. Due to the mountains and large distances, many distinct cultures have evolved separate from one another. In fact, many coastal communities are only accessible by boat even today. This has created a vast variety of dress, music, and language differences for people who live relatively close by.
Wonderful Friendly People
Visiting a traditional village is one of the highlights of any cruise in Indonesia. The smiling faces of the children are always infectious. You will feel like the “Pied Piper” as dozens of kids will follow your every step through the village. When the timing is right, the opportunity to witness traditional dance performances is possible. The people are welcoming and friendly and photo opportunities are endless.
Flores culture is strong and interwoven between traditional customs and Roman Catholicism. The Portuguese Catholic influence is still very noticeable. Roman Catholic churches are present in most towns along the coast and interior. However, many local traditions are mixed with modern religious rites, which makes for a unique way of life. Flores is also home to the “Hobbit People“, an ancient relative of modern humans who inhabited Flores before the arrival of modern man.
On the Samata Luxury Yacht we appreciate the incredible cultures of Indonesia. We support many local villages with gifts and other items whenever we visit. We love it when our guests are able to interact with the warm people who make these villages home. If you would like to experience the island of Flores for yourself, please let us know and we can discuss an itinerary that makes the best sense for your style of adventure.