Flores island is one of the Lesser Sunda islands located in the eastern part of Sumbawa and Komodo National Park with an approximately area of 14,300km2. This island is the largest island on the east nusa tenggara region.
Flores island is a home of the unique culture, nature beauties and more.. It lies between Sumbawa and Timor islands is an abbreviation of Cabo da Flores which was used by Portuguese sailor in the 17th century to identify the cape on the eastern end of the islands because of its underwater gardens. Divided by mountain chains and volcanoes, the island populated by ethnic groups with their own traditions and languages.
Predominantly Catholic, the have retained several aspects of the Portuguise culture such as the Easter parade held annually at Larantuka on the eastern part of the island and the Royal Regalia of the former King of Sikka.
Mt. Kelimutu, 1.690m fifty years ago, had three lakes, one lake was blue green, one fiery green and one red. Thirty years later, the colors had changed to blue, red brown and cafe au lait. Now, Ata Bupu (Lake) is a dramatic dark-brown. Ata Polo are dark red-brown, and only Nuwa Muri remains aquamarine or turquoise as it apparently always was. No one can explain the cause of such color changes except to suppose that different minerals are dissolved in the waters of each lake.
The countryside surrounding the lake, though no longer so "natural" as in the days of early Dutch visitors - some hundred years ago - is still mountainous and dramatic enough with panoramic views all side
In Septermber 2003, the international paleoanthropologists discovered a small skeletons, that they described as a previously unknown hominid species Homo Floresiensis. These are informally named hobbits and appear to have stood about 90cm tall. The most complete individual is dated as 18000 years old.
Flores was also a habitat of the extinct Stegodon dwarf elephant until approximately 18,000 years ago. It also was the habitat of species of giant rodents. It is speculated by scientists that limited resources drove the few species that lived upon the island to gigantism and dwarfism
There are many languages spoken on the island of Flores, all of them belonging to the Austronesian family. In the centre of the island in the districts of Ngada, Nagekeo, and Ende there is what is variously called the Central Flores Dialect Chain or the Central Flores Linkage. Within this area there are slight linguistic differences in almost every village. At least six separate languages are identifiable. These are from west to east: Ngadha, Nage, Keo, Ende, Lio and Palu'e, which is spoken on the island with the same name of the north coast of Flores. Locals would probably also add So'a and Bajawa to this list, which anthropologists have labeled dialects of Ngadha.
Portuguese traders and missionaries came to Flores in the 16th century, mainly to Larantuka and Sikka. Their influence is still discernible in Sikka's language and culture. In fact, the island's name, Flores, means "flowers" in Portuguese.
Flores is almost entirely Catholic and represents one of the "religious borders" created by the Catholic expansion in the Pacific and the spread of Islam from the west across Indonesia. In other places in Indonesia, such as in the Malukus and Sulawesi, the divide is more rigid and has been the source of bloody sectarian clashes.
The most famous tourist attraction in Flores is Kelimutu; three coloured lakes in the district of Ende and close to the town of Moni. These crater lakes are in the caldera of a volcano, and fed by a volcanic gas source, resulting in highly acid water. The coloured lakes change colours on an irregular basis, depending on the oxidation state of the lake (see Pasternack, Keli Mutu Volcanic Lakes), from bright red through green and blue. The latest colours (late 2004) were said to be turquoise, brown and black.
There is good snorkelling and diving on several locations along the north coast of Flores, most notably Maumere and Riung. However, due to the destructive practice of local fishermen using bombs to fish, and locals selling shells to tourists, combined with the after effects of a devastating tsunami in 1992, the reefs have slowly been destroyed.
Labuanbajo (on the western tip of Flores) is a town often used by tourists, from where they can visit Komodo and Rinca. Labuanbajo also attracts scuba divers, as whale sharks inhabit the waters around Labuanbajo.
Tourists can visit Luba and Bena villages to see traditional houses in Flores. Larantuka, on the isle's eastern end, is known for its Holy Week festivals.
In addition to tourism, the main economic activities on Flores are agriculture, fishing and seaweed production. The primary food crops being grown on Flores are rice, maize sweet potato and cassava, while the main cash crops are coffee, coconut, candle nut and cashew. Flores is one of the newest origins for Indonesian coffee. Previously, most Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica) from Flores was blended with other origins. Now, demand is growing for this coffee because of its heavy body and sweet chocolate, floral and woody notes