688033166

688033166

Kelimutu volcano. Kelimutu National Park. Flores island. Indonesia, Asia. (Photo by: Mikel Bilbao/VW PICS/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Photo by: VW Pics

VW Pics

The Crater Lakes of Mount Kelimutu Change Color All The Time

By: Anna Todd

Whereas other colored lakes often get their hues from certain species of bacteria, Mount Kelimutu's lakes are a bit more mysterious.

February 04, 2020

We've seen lakes with some pretty crazy colors before, but Flores, Indonesia may take the cake. At the summit of Mount Kelimutu summit, there are three crater lakes in three different colors — and those colors change all the time. It's a naturally occurring phenomenon tailored to travelers' dreams.

A Volcanic Mood Ring

According to Indonesia Travel, Kelimutu's westernmost lake, Tiwu ata Mbupu (Lake of Old People) is usually blue. Lake Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai (Lake of Young Men and Maidens) is typically green, and Tiwu Ata Polo (Bewitched or Enchanted Lake) is usually red. However, the lakes can and do change color at any time—even to black. As Indonesia'd reports, "A few years ago, the lakes were white, turquoise and red. In November 2009, they were black, turquoise, and a coca-cola brown. And again in July 2010, the lakes were resplendent in various shades of green."

Whereas other colored lakes often get their hues from certain species of bacteria, Kelimutu's lakes are a bit more mysterious—especially since their colors change so often. People believe that particular minerals in the water may interact with volcanic gas to create the mercurial shades, but it's hard to know for sure.

Color for the Afterlife

The names of these mysterious lakes come from local folklore. Many believe that the lakes are a resting place for departed souls, and Mae, a god of the afterlife, will send those who died to different lakes depending on their merits in life. (Hence lakes named for the old, young, and prophetic.) If you plan on visiting the volcano while living, you can simply drive up the 8 km path to take a little gander at these beauties.

The best time to visit is in July or August (during Indonesia's dry season). Travel experts recommend waking up as early as 3:30 a.m. to catch the sunrise at Mount Kelimutu. After you soak up the imagery of three colorful crater lakes swirling with sunshine, you can hike around the volcano before riding back the way you came. We're in.

This article first appeared on Curiosity.com.

Next Up

Nobody Knows Who Designed the Taj Mahal

Commissioned in 1632, The Taj Mahal is one of the newest Seven Wonders of the World, and surprisingly no one knows who actually designed it.

Find Out Where Parker is Heading Next on Parker's Trail

The quest for gold is never over when your name is Parker Schnabel.

This Little-Known Hiking Path Explores One of the Deepest Gorges in the World

A trek through China's Tiger Leaping Gorge is a journey into the country's most ethnically diverse region, where beauty and fear hang intoxicatingly in the air.

Tanzania: Beyond the Wildlife

Most people know that Tanzania is home of the Serengeti and an amazing diversity of wildlife. The country is made up of 430 species of wildlife and 17 national parks. But did you know that it’s where 51 million people call home as well?

Exorcisms, the Ark of the Covenant, and Ethiopia: The Adventures of Justin Fornal

"There are all different kinds of demons inside of people, some of them go easy, some want to negotiate, others want to fight."

What 200 Hours of Rowing Does to the Human Body

The Impossible Row team burned through over 100,000 calories each from start to finish.

Is This Mars-like Desert the World’s Best Spot to Watch the Stars?

Forget Chile’s Atacama Desert, or Hawaii’s Mauna Kea. A petrified forest in Colombia is where you want to go for the best stargazing on the planet.

Pingelap Atoll is Known as the Island of the Colorblind

There's a place where colorblindness runs so rampant that it's known as the Island of the Colorblind. Learn more about the island where its inhabitants see in almost entirely black and white.

The Island of the Dolls Has a Murky and Terrifying History

There's just something really thrilling about a place with a dark and mysterious past. Take La Isla de las Muñecas, for example. An island covered with decaying old dolls strung up in trees is pretty creepy on its own — even before you get to the dark origin story.

The Black Drink, Ethnobotany, and a Lost Civilization in Florida

The yaupon holly, North America’s only native plant that contains caffeine, creates a powerful elixir known as the Black Drink.