Located on the Indonesian Island of Flores, Rangko Cave is a must for everyone travelling through Labuan Bajo.
Rangko Cave is a rocky ocean cavern near Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores, Indonesia. Filled with crystal clear water, lit up to a bright turquoise colour by sunlight through the mouth of the cave. You can swim, cliff jump, and admire the other worldly beauty of the stalagmites. I can’t even put into words how breathtaking it was to be alone (with D and our guide), floating in the cool, ultra salty water, in a cave that was too beautiful to be real.
You descend into the cave through its wide mouth, and then climb down the slippery rocks to the pool. Only at midday, when the sun is shinning through the mouth of the cave, does it glow the amazing turquoise colour. Once in the water, you can swim back into the dark, where the cave opens into a large, round cavern. Derek and Max scaled the walls to jump back into the deep swimming hole.
Getting to Rangko Cave
Tourism in Flores is still quite limited to tours to Komodo National Park. Even though Rangko Cave is GORGEOUS and is very close to Labuan Bajo, few tourists even know it exists.
Getting to Rangko Cave requires a 1-1.5 hour drive, followed by a short boat from the nearest village to the beach outside the cave. The road to the caves is HORRIBLE. We had considered renting a scooter to get there, as we did for the rest our time in Indonesia, but were immediately glad we went with a guide. I arranged a private guide to take us to Rangko caves through Le Pirate in Labuan Bajo.
NOTE: Do not pay more than 500,000IDR for a guide. Almost every driver/tour operator will oringally tell you 800,000 -1,000,000IDR but that is just way too much. We managed to find a taxi driver for 400,000, but again after making the trip, we were happy to be with someone experienced, who had a good vehicle, and was fun to hang out with (our guide was called Max, we would highly recommend him. This is his Instagram, you can contact him through DM or the phone number listed in his bio).
After the treacherous drive, we arrived in the little village. Again we were glad to have a guide as there are no signs regarding a boat to the caves, and nobody who spoke any English around. Max arranged to have a local fisherman drop us off, which cost 25 000 each. You also have to pay a park entry fee of 250,000IDR (for the both of us). All in all we were glad to have Max negotiating everything. After a short boat ride over bath warm water, we pulled up on a beach and hiked a short ways through a forest path up to the mouth of the cave.
AND IT WAS GLORIOUS. A magical mini paradise that we had all to ourselves.
After swimming in the gorgeous cave for an hour or so all alone, a few people did arrive. With everyone voices echoing off the walls, we were glad to have enjoyed the serenity earlier. We left Labuan Bajo around 10:30am, arriving at the cave around 12. As much as I always recommend going early, I wouldn’t plan to arrive much before midday because otherwise the sun won’t be shining into the cave. The electric turquoise of the water is part of the magic you won’t want to miss.
Have a look at the rest of our time in Indonesia here.