Flores Island General Informations
Flores (Portuguese for "flowers") is one of the Lesser Sunda
Islands, an island arc with an estimated area of 14,300 kmē
extending east from the Java island of Indonesia. The population
is estimated to be around 1.5 million , and the largest town is
Flores is located east of Sumbawa and Komodo and west of Lembata
and the Alor Archipelago. To the southeast is Timor. To the south,
across the Sumba strait, is Sumba and to the north, beyond the
Flores Sea, is Sulawesi.
Flores is part of the East Nusa Tenggara province. The island is
split into five regencies (local government districts); from west
to east these are: Manggarai, Ngada, Ende, Sikka and Flores Timur.
Komodo Dragon Honeymoon
Komodo Dragon island and
Flores island Map
Flores has several active and dormant volcanoes, including Egon,
Ilimuda, Leroboleng, and Lewotobi (see the full list).
Flora and fauna
The west coast of Flores is one of the few places, aside from the
island of Komodo itself, where the Komodo dragon can be found in
the wild. The Flores Giant Rat is also endemic to the Island.
In September 2003, at Liang Bua Cave in western Flores,
paleoanthropologists discovered skeletons of a previously unknown
hominid species. Homo floresiensis, affectionately termed hobbits
after the small characters in the Lord of the Rings, appear to be
miniaturized versions of Homo erectus standing about one metre
tall. They may have existed until as recently as 11,000 BC. Local
reports of elf-like people, the Ebu Gogo, or the Orang Pendek of
Sumatra, have caused speculation that Flores man may have survived
into the historical period, or even to the present. The discovery
has been published in the October 28, 2004, issue of Nature
magazine and the April 2005 issue of the National Geographic
Magazine.  However, on August 21, 2006, the National Geographic
Newsletter published an article reporting that several scientists
now believe that the remains discovered in 2004 were not of a
different species but were pygmies. 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 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.
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
The most famous tourist attraction in Flores is Kelimutu; three
coloured lakes in the district of Ende. These coloured lakes
change colours on a regular basis. 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
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.