- Elevation: 1,015 m (3,330 ft)
- Prominence: 1,015 m
- Ribu category: Kurang Tinggi
- Province: Nusa Tenggara Timur
- Google Earth: kml
- Other names: Known as ‘Maru’ by villagers and Dol Karambahi on the Bakosurtanal map.
Pulau Pura is a small volcano cone island which is sparsely populated and lies between the larger islands of Pantar and Alor.
I climbed Gunung Pura in June 2009 on the way across Nusa Tenggara from Lombok to Alor.
I started from La Petite Kepa (www.la-petite-kepa.com), which is a great place to dive or just relax and run by a French couple. It is based on Pulau Kepa, a small island just off of Alor Kecil on the west coast of Alor and about 30 mins bus ride from Kalabahi. The owners organised a boat to take me from there to Pura island at 6am and the trip took about 30 minutes to the small village on the northwest coast (Desa Pura Utara). My arrival was greeted by much interest from the locals as tourists rarely venture here, and I was quickly able to find a guide to take me up the mountain, which locals call ‘Maru’, for around Rp50,000.
The ascent is not too tricky with a reasonable path all the way up to the crater rim, although it is fairly steep once you get past the small village (elevation 150m) about 15 or 20 minutes from the main coast. It took me about 2 hours with frequent stops to catch my breath. The guide and I were accompanied by his three children, who gleefully bounded up the mountain with little effort whilst I puffed and panted along behind them. The trail is fairly open for the first third and provides great views of Alor, Pantar (including the beautiful pyramid-like top of nearby Gunung Tuntuli and, higher up, of Sirung in the distance) and surrounding islands. Once you get nearer the top the views become obscured by the forest, but thankfully this gives some shade from the sun. Once at the top we walked around the rim (elevation 735m at the col) for about half an hour and then descended into the crater itself, which took about another 30 minutes. The crater is heavily forested on the descent but is more open in the middle, with a few small farms and scattered huts (elevation 640m). Ascending to the true highest point of the rim – which lies on the far side – may be possible but is undertaken rarely if at all. On the way back we stopped at the guide’s village where I was given food and tuak and spoke in broken Indonesian with the locals who were very friendly.
The ascent can be done fairly easily in half a day starting from La Petite Kepa. You will need some basic Indonesian as no English is spoken on the island other than the ubiquitous “Hello Mister”. The view from the rim is mostly obscured due to the forest, nevertheless it is a worthwhile trip and a delight to meet such friendly, generous and happy people.
Bagging information by Matthew Riley (October 2011), updated by Dan Quinn (September 2019)
UPDATE on elevation: The Bakosurtanal map for the area suggests the highest peak is called Dol Karambahi and only 986 metres high (and therefore not a Ribu). Gunung Maru is listed as the crater base at 624m rather than a higher peak on the forested rim. The Bako map shows several trails including one over Dol Karambahi but these trails are quickly overgrown if not used frequently. Other sources suggest the highest peak is over 1,000m (including once source which probably overestimates a fair bit with 1,036m). A trip to the top with a GPS may make things clearer! For now, as I state in the comments below, I would actually guess it misses out on Ribu status by a handful of metres but don’t wish to change it to a Spesial without some recent information such as a GPS reading or new satellite data.
- Getting there: A 50 minute boat ride from Alor Kecil, which is 30 minutes by ojek from Kalabahi.
- Accommodation: La Petite Kepa, Pulau Kepa, is the closest, but they refuse to accept advance bookings unless you are a diver. Better to stay in one of the basic hotels in Kalabahi.
- Permits: Not required.
- Water sources: Take sufficient supplies with you as there are no water sources on the trail until you get down to the crater floor. However, you might be able to get your guide to climb a tree and bring down some kelapa muda (young coconut juice) on the lower slopes.
- Travel insurance: We recommend World Nomads insurance, which is designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities including mountain hiking.
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