Sitting at 2 245m above sea level, Mount Inerie dominates the Bajawa skyline. It’s the highest volcano on Flores Island with a reputation for testing the limits of all those who brave the climb.
However, the views certainly make the grueling hike to the summit of Mount Inerie well-worth it!
But this hike is not for everyone. If you’ve climbed Mount Batur in Bali and are expecting a similar level of difficulty, you are in for a surprise as Mount Inerie is far more challenging.
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Mount Inerie hike: The ascent
The morning started at 2 am where we hopped onto a scooter and made our way to Watumeze Village, 15 km outside of Bajawa.
Equipped with wooden walking sticks, headlamps, and enough energy to fuel a small soccer team, we eagerly set off through the grassy terrain.
Shortly after leaving, our guide made a stop at a large stone where he gave an offering and said a prayer. This tradition is followed by all guides from the village whereby they ask permission from their ancestors and pray for protection whilst hiking Gunung Inerie.
Not being able to see more than a few meters in front of us was a blessing in disguise. What lay ahead was far more challenging than what I ever could have imagined!
Whilst most hiking trails follow a zig-zag path with a gradual incline, the hike to the peak of Mount Inerie is nothing like that! The path – straight up!
There is lots of volcanic rock and the ground is uneven which makes it even more challenging. At one stage I was on all fours, holding on to the side of the volcano, knowing that one wrong step could see me tumbling down.
And a hiking trail? What hiking trail!? There is no clear path and no signage, so the expertise of a local guide is needed.
A cold, foggy morning
After an hour, the fog appeared, and I could barely see in front of me. From there on out, I was just focused on getting one foot in front of the other along the loosely pebbled path.
With no views, burning calves and no clear end in sight, I laughed at myself for signing up for this hike in the first place!
Mount Inerie hike: The summit
After 2h45min of trekking, we reached the crater rim and it was time for the final push. We passed numerous viewpoints (with no view thanks to the fog), and I was left will little hope for the perfect sunrise.
Finally, we reached the peak – just over 3 hours after we left.
The moment the sun appeared, it replaced the thick blanket of darkness, taking the fog along with it. The view was picture perfect and worth every step! We were met by another small group at the summit and enjoyed the scenery with no crowds which made the experience that much better.
Mount Inerie hike: The descent
Unfortunately, this was short lived! Once you reach the summit of Mount Inerie, you are only half way through your trek. What lies ahead is another 3 hours of careful footing which will take its toll on your already exhausted legs.
The first hour down involves walking on loose sand and small rocks. Take a wrong step and you could see yourself sliding down the volcano. Take it slowly and don’t rush it.
The next hour was spent volcano surfing on the softer volcanic sand which added a bit of fun and excitement to the descend.
At 10 am we arrived back at our starting point, hungry and tired! But one look back at the massive volcano behind us immediately lifted my mood and I was super chuffed about what I’d achieved.
How to get to Mount Inerie?
Bajawa is the gateway to Mount Inerie. It’s a gorgeous, small village and it’s worth spending a few days here to explore Bajawa and its surroundings.
From there you’ll need to ride about 20 minutes to the nearby village of Watumeze where the hike starts.
Do you need a guide to hike Gunung Inerie?
Because the trail is steep, tough and dark, and once you begin the actual climb, there is no clear path and no signage. The descent is also a struggle and the guides know the best and safest routes.
However, I have read of people summiting without a guide, and if you chose to do this ensure you have the correct GPS coordinates.
How much does it cost to climb Mount Inerie?
There are no park fees to climb Mount Inerie and so your only costs will include your guide and scooter hire.
A guide will set you back around 300 000 IDR ($20) per person. Our guide, Mege, was very professional and patient with us throughout the hike and I highly recommend him. Give him a call or send him a WhatsApp message on +62 823 4080 2242 if you would like to do the trek.
This cost doesn’t include breakfast or transportation, but your guide can arrange a scooter for 75 000 IDR ($5) for the day.
I found this price rather expensive, so I gave a few other local guides a call to compare prices. It seems that they have all increased their rate to the above amount and so it’s standard in Bajawa. However, if you’re in a bigger group, you can negotiate these costs down.
Sunrise or daytime hike?
Rather opt for the sunrise trek. Trust me, you do not want to see the massive, steep incline that’s waiting for you! There’s also no shade en route so unless you enjoy walking in the scorching heat, choose to do the sunrise trek up Mount Inerie.
How long does it take to reach the summit of Mount Inerie?
The ascent takes between 2.5 hours – 4 hours, depending on your fitness levels. I reached the summit after 3h15min with one or two stops along the way. However, I did take it slowly as we were slipping all over the show!
After spending an hour at the summit, we began our descent which took 3 hours.
What to pack for your Mount Inerie Hike?
- Hiking boots or trainers: Hiking boots are preferred but normal running or trail shoes will do. I can’t emphasize enough how slippery it is with the loose volcanic sand and rock. Even with trainers, you’re bound to slip a couple of times!
- Headlamp: Chances are there will be no one else on the mountain so it will be pitch dark all along the route. If you don’t have a headlamp, make sure you organize one from your guide.
- Snacks and water: By the time you reach the summit you will be starving! Luckily, I had leftover Oreos in my bag which didn’t last very long. About 1l of water will do, even more if you are hiking Mount Inerie in the summer or during the day.
- Wear layers: Bajawa is cold compared to the rest of Flores, and at 2 am there is no exception.
- Climbing gloves: So, this may seem a bit extreme but if you happen to have hiking gloves with you, bring them along. For the ascent you will be on all fours, gripping onto rocks and stone for support and they can be very sharp.
Where To Stay Near Mount Inerie
If you’re planning on hiking Mount Inerie, it’s best to base yourself in Bajawa, Flores.
I stayed at Madja Edelweis Homestay which is in a prime location, just off the main road in Bajawa. The owner was so helpful, assisting with scooter rental and bus schedules.
We booked a double room for only 200 000 IDR ($14) with cold water (which we had done throughout Flores) but the weather in Bajawa can be rather chilly and the water, freezing so it’s best to book a room with hot water.
Here are few alternatives that would suit any budget:
- Budget: Manulalu Keka sits right at the foot of Mount Inerie. These bamboo tents are an adventures dream stay and the views are absolutely incredible. Cannot beat this price!
- Mid Range: Wolokoro Ecotourism is situated a bit further from Mount Inerie, but the wooden cabins are set in the forest with unspoiled views of towering mountain in the distance.
Should you climb Mount Inerie?
If you are active and enjoy a challenge, hell yes!
Being away from all the tourists and having this incredible mountain all to yourself is magical and makes the steep and strenuous trek worth it.
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