Gunung Iya or Mt. Iya (627m) is a spectacular volcano situated on Ende’s peninsula. Even though it is not the highest in Flores but once you’re up there and standing at the edge of those sheer cliffs that drops off to the sea, it feels as if you could touch the clouds.
To climb Mt. Iya visitors are advice to hire local guide to get to the peak. The sandy ground is peppered with ditches and holes overgrown with waist-high grass. The guide will also be able to show you a nice spot from which you have an excellent view of the smoking cliffs of Iya’s crater, and avoid getting lost that could lead you facing deep ravines and cliffs.
To climb Mt. Iya visitors are advised to hire a local guide (guiding fee is around IDR 100,000 – 150,000) to get to the peak. The sandy ground is peppered with ditches and holes overgrown with waist-high grass. The guide will also be able to show you nice spots from which you can have an excellent view of the smoking cliffs of Iya’s crater, and avoid getting lost that could lead you facing deep ravines and cliffs.
Visitors wishing to climb this mountain can start from Rate village, 4 km south of Ende, or pay an IDR 10,000-ride by Ojek (motorbike taxi) to get there. A dusty road first leads and this somewhat unpleasant experience will soon be forgotten as you climb over a sandy ledge and enter the world of Mount Iya. All the way up you can enjoy a breathtaking view of Ende town landscape, the adjacent Gunung Meja (Mount Table, and it can easily be seen why it was given that name), Savu Sea, and Ende Island.
After around 2 hours trek, you will reach the highest point of the volcano where an excellent view opens up before you. The cliffs look dramatic with their sulphurous fumaroles and bright yellow sulphur deposits. Another interesting fact is the whole mountain is actually hollow!
Mount Iya is sacred for the local people, for the myth said; it is a home for spirits and mythical creatures, guardians of the mountain. If you happen to come across one of those otherworldly creatures, do not call it or shout, just watch, for it is their mountain home and we are not supposed to disturb them.
Furthermore, visitors to the mountain should not say out loud if they are thirsty or hungry. And if they do, they should drink or eat right away. The spirits can get upset if someone says they’re thirsty and then don’t drink. The locals believe that in the period between you say it and don’t actually drink, injuries and other misfortunes may happen.
Article & Images by Meret Signer