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Home » Tourism Destination » Discover Riung: Flores Island’s 17 Island Marine Paradise

 

17 Island

The 17 Island Marine Park, located on the north side of Flores Island in Indonesia, is a remarkable conservation area renowned for its stunning natural beauty and biodiversity. Also known locally as “Riung,” this area is part of the Riung district in the Ngada Regency of Flores. The marine park is named “17 Islands,” but it actually comprises around 20 islands, celebrated for their pristine beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and diverse marine life.

Geographic and Ecological Significance

The 17 Island Marine Park spans approximately 10,000 hectares, offering a mix of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The islands are characterized by white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush greenery, making them an ideal destination for eco-tourism and nature enthusiasts. The coral reefs in the marine park are particularly noteworthy, hosting a rich array of marine species, including various types of fish, sea turtles, and invertebrates. These reefs are vital for maintaining the health and balance of the marine environment.

Biodiversity

The biodiversity within the 17 Island Marine Park is impressive. The coral reefs are home to an array of marine life, from colorful corals to a myriad of fish species, creating a vibrant underwater landscape. Among the most commonly seen species are clownfish, parrotfish, and the occasional reef shark. The marine park also serves as a habitat for endangered species like the green sea turtle and hawksbill turtle, which are often spotted around the islands.

Conservation Efforts

Conservation efforts in the 17 Island Marine Park focus on preserving the delicate marine and terrestrial ecosystems. The Indonesian government, along with local communities and various environmental organizations, work collaboratively to protect the area from threats such as overfishing, illegal fishing practices, and coral bleaching. Initiatives include monitoring and patrolling the waters to prevent illegal activities, promoting sustainable fishing practices, and conducting educational programs to raise awareness about marine conservation.

Tourism and Community Involvement

Riung, the coastal village associated with the marine park, serves as the gateway for visitors. Tourism in Riung and the 17 Island Marine Park is primarily centered around eco-tourism, with activities like snorkeling, diving, and island-hopping being particularly popular. The local community plays a crucial role in the conservation and tourism management of the area. Many residents are involved in eco-tourism initiatives, serving as guides, boat operators, and hospitality providers, ensuring that tourism supports the local economy while promoting sustainable practices.

Cultural and Historical Context

Flores Island, including the area around Riung, has a rich cultural heritage. The island’s name, meaning “flowers” in Portuguese, reflects its history of Portuguese colonization. Today, the cultural landscape of Flores is a mosaic of traditional customs, languages, and rituals, with influences from both local tribes and historical European presence. This cultural richness adds another layer of attraction for visitors to the 17 Island Marine Park, who can experience not only natural beauty but also the unique cultural tapestry of the region.

Future Prospects

The future of the 17 Island Marine Park hinges on the balance between conservation and tourism. Continued efforts are needed to mitigate the impact of tourism on the environment, ensuring that the natural beauty and biodiversity of the park are preserved for future generations. Enhanced conservation strategies, community involvement, and sustainable tourism practices will be key to maintaining the ecological integrity and appeal of this remarkable marine park.

Well, we perceive that the 17 Island Marine Park in Riung, Flores Island, is a gem of natural and cultural heritage. Its conservation is vital not only for the local community and Indonesia but also for global biodiversity. The collaborative efforts in preserving this unique environment offer a model for marine conservation worldwide.

How to get there?

Getting to the 17 Island Marine Park, situated near the coastal village of Riung on the north side of Flores Island, involves a combination of air, land, and sea travel. Here are the steps to reach this stunning conservation area:

Step-by-Step Guide to Riung and the 17 Island Marine Park

1. Fly to Flores Island:

To Labuan Bajo: The most common gateway to Flores Island is via Labuan Bajo, which has Komodo Airport (LBJ). Labuan Bajo is well-connected with flights from major Indonesian cities such as Bali (Denpasar), Jakarta, and Surabaya.

To Maumere: Alternatively, you can fly to Maumere’s Frans Xavier Seda Airport (MOF), located on the eastern side of Flores Island. Maumere also has connections to other major Indonesian cities.

2. Travel from Labuan Bajo or Maumere to Riung:

  • From Labuan Bajo:

By Bus or Car: From Labuan Bajo, you can take a bus or rent a car to travel to Riung. The journey by road takes approximately 7-8 hours, covering a distance of about 230 kilometers. The route offers scenic views of Flores Island’s rugged landscapes and traditional villages.

By Boat (less common): While less common, some adventurous travelers opt to charter a boat for a multi-day trip along the coast, which can include stops at various points of interest.

  • From Maumere:

By Bus or Car: From Maumere, the journey to Riung is shorter, taking around 5-6 hours by road. The distance is roughly 175 kilometers. Public buses and shared minibusses (bemos) are available, or you can hire a private car for more comfort.

3. Arriving in Riung:

Riung is a small coastal village, and accommodation options include guesthouses and small hotels. It’s advisable to book your stay in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.

4. Exploring the 17 Island Marine Park:

Boat Tours: The primary way to explore the 17 Island Marine Park is by hiring a local boat. These can be arranged through your accommodation or directly with local boat operators in Riung. Typical tours include snorkeling, island-hopping, and beach visits, often starting early in the morning to maximize the experience.

Snorkeling and Diving: Bring your own gear or rent it locally. The waters around the islands offer excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities with vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life.

Guided Tours: For a richer experience, consider hiring a local guide who can provide insights into the marine park’s ecology and the local culture.

Accommodation in Riung

Riung, while relatively remote and less developed compared to more popular tourist destinations in Indonesia, offers a variety of accommodations that cater to different budgets and preferences. Most accommodations are simple and family-run, providing a cozy and intimate experience.

1. Guesthouses and Homestays:

Bintang Wisata Riung: A popular option, this guesthouse offers basic but clean rooms with essential amenities like air conditioning and private bathrooms. The staff is friendly and can help arrange boat tours to the 17 Islands.

Pondok SVD: Another well-known guesthouse in Riung, offering comfortable rooms and a tranquil garden setting. It’s a great place for travelers looking for a peaceful stay.

Riung Guesthouse: This homestay provides a homely atmosphere with basic facilities. It’s an excellent option for budget travelers looking for an authentic local experience.

2. Mid-Range Hotels:

Nirvana Bungalow: A slightly more upscale option compared to typical guesthouses, Nirvana Bungalow offers bungalows with beautiful sea views, a restaurant, and organized tours.

Hotel Safari: This hotel provides comfortable rooms with modern amenities. It’s suitable for travelers seeking a bit more comfort and convenience.

Dining in Riung

Dining options in Riung are limited but offer delicious local and Indonesian cuisine. Most dining establishments are small, family-run eateries known as “warungs.”

1. Local Restaurants and Warungs:

– Warung Murah Meriah: A popular spot for both locals and tourists, Warung Murah Meriah serves a variety of Indonesian dishes, including fresh seafood, nasi goreng (fried rice), and mie goreng (fried noodles). The food is freshly prepared and reasonably priced.

Warung Laut Biru: Known for its seafood dishes, this restaurant offers a variety of freshly caught fish and other seafood prepared in traditional Indonesian styles. The grilled fish is particularly recommended.

Warung Mama Mia: A small eatery offering a cozy atmosphere and a range of local dishes. It’s a great place to try local specialties and enjoy a homely dining experience.

Cafe’ Del Mar: The Del Mar Cafe is the best choice when in Riung. It is actually a café restaurant where there are also some rooms. It is a very simple place but what it lacks in comfort it makes up for in authenticity and atmosphere.

2. Hotel and Guesthouse Dining:

Many of the guesthouses and hotels in Riung have their own small restaurants or dining areas where guests can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These typically offer a mix of local and Western dishes, catering to the preferences of international travelers.

Tips for Dining in Riung:

Fresh Seafood: Given Riung’s coastal location, seafood is a highlight. Always ask for the catch of the day for the freshest options.

Local Delicacies: Don’t miss trying local dishes unique to Flores, such as “jagung bose” (a traditional corn dish) and “se’i” (smoked meat, often made with pork or fish).

Timing: Restaurants in Riung may have limited hours and might close early in the evening. It’s a good idea to have dinner early and check with your accommodation for meal times.

Hydration and Snacks: Bring bottled water and some snacks, especially if you plan to spend a lot of time exploring the islands. Local stores may have limited supplies.

Overall, while Riung may not offer luxury accommodations or gourmet dining, it provides a unique and authentic travel experience with a focus on natural beauty, local culture, and warm hospitality.

Tips for Traveling:

Planning to 2 nights in Riung. There isn’t much else to do in the area, besides visiting 17 Island Marine Park for a full day.

– Travel Light: Pack light but ensure you have essentials like sunscreen, a hat, swimwear, and a good camera.

Cash: Carry sufficient cash as ATMs may be scarce in Riung, and many local businesses may not accept credit cards.

Language: While some locals may speak basic English, learning a few phrases in Indonesian can be very helpful.

Respect Local Customs: Be mindful of local customs and traditions, especially when visiting villages or interacting with the local community.

By following these steps, you can enjoy a smooth journey to Riung and experience the natural beauty and biodiversity of the 17 Island Marine Park.

 

 

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