A Kelimutu getaway that lifts a community

RMC Detusoko

Kelimutu is more than its famed crater lakes; immerse yourself in the rich heritage of the Ende-Lio highlands, and its role in the founding of modern Indonesia.


Travelling with Decotourism supports sustainable livelihoods for young Lio highlanders who choose farming at home over careers in cities. Retaining well-educated, productive youth in the village promotes economic growth, cultural resilience and indigenous stewardship in the Ende-Lio highlands.

By including in your itinerary visits to cultural heritage sites such as Wologai, and activities such as the Nuwa Nai performance, you help keep alive the sacred spaces where Lio highlanders share their cultural memories.

Proceeds from Decotourism also help RMC invest in its members through higher education and career opportunities, in fields previously beyond locals’ reach, such as hospitality, artisanal food production, and enterprise. 

RMC members are selected through an interview process and assigned to suitable business units. It retains 10 per cent of the rates paid for these jobs, to cover operational costs.

Meet Nando of RMC Detusoko

Getting there

Detusoko is an hour’s drive away from Ende, the second largest city on Flores island.

Hasan Aroeboesman airport in Ende is 31km away, and has incoming flights from Denpasar (Bali), Labuan Bajo (West Flores), Kupang (West Timor) and Tambolaka (West Sumba). If you are coming from or going to Jakarta, transit via Denpasar or Labuan Bajo.

Notable sites en route from Maumere include Wologai village, Koka beach, St Ignatius Loyola Church (Gereja Tua Sikka), Bikon Blewut Museum of Sikkanese archaeology, and the Maumere Fish Market.

RMC can also arrange for homestays in Detusoko and transportation for Decotourism guests.

Alternatively, you can contact [email protected] to make enquiries and travel arrangements in English.

About the host

For this trip, we stayed with Nando’s neighbour and relative Yasinta “Mama Ida” Ere, and our meals were prepared by Nando’s wife Nayn. 

Mama Ida and her husband Marselinus “Bapa Linus” Pati live with their school-aged daughter and son, and may be hosting small study groups for their children’s classmates in the evening. They have a dog called Der Hund (German for “the dog”). 

Mama Ida and Bapa Linus leave early in the morning for the farm. They do not speak English (nor German), but gifts of sirih-pinang (Bahasa Indonesia for areca nut and betel peppers) and small souvenirs from your hometown would be a great icebreaker.

The room in Mama Ida’s house has a comfortable four-poster queen bed. Space for storing your things might be tight, so try to travel light and keep your things organised in your backpack/suitcase. Lio sarongs can be borrowed for your visits to sacred sites or the hot springs, or last-minute wedding invitations. The bathroom is shared with the rest of the family.

Nando and Nayn live in the Suku Rini clan house with their young daughter and Nando’s mother. The clan house may also accommodate university students from Ende City  who are doing their rural area internships as part of their course requirements.

A washing machine for laundry is available in the clan house. You will need to bring your own detergent and manually fill the loader with water in between washes and rinses.

Traveller's Notes

“Come as a guest, leave as family” is Decotourism’s motto.  At homestays and during visits, be mindful that you are being invited into the personal spaces of the people making your trip happen. An invitation into a Lio house, as illustrated by the Wologai guest entrance ritual, is a sacred milestone for your Lio hosts and should be treated as such.

Decotourism trips start in Ende and finish in Maumere, or vice versa. Confirm the start and end points of your itinerary before book your incoming and outgoing flights.

As of 2019, only low-cost carriers fly to Ende and Maumere, which means your ticket only comes with seven to 10kg of baggage allowance. Excess baggage fees cost around IDR25,000 to 35,000 (US$2 to 3) per kg.

Many Lio houses, traditional and otherwise, have a pair of deer antlers hanging from the ceiling symbolising the “heart of the house.” Do not touch without the host’s permission.

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