Batu Cermin Cave


Useful Information

Location: Wae Sambi, Labuan Bajo.
10-15 minutes from airport by taxi. From Labuan Bajo central plaza follow Jl Batu Cermin to the end, turn left at sign "Welcome to Batu Cermin". Gated parking lot.
(-8.479371, 119.899196)
Open: All year daily.
[2021]
Fee: Adults IDR 20.000, Foreigners IDR 50,000, Locals IDR 10,000.
[2021]
Classification: SpeleologyKarst Cave
Light: bring torch
Dimension: A=75 m asl.
Guided tours: D=1h, Max=10.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Bibliography:  
Address: Batu Cermin Cave, Gang Tanah Pekuburan Lama, Labuan Bajo, Nusa Tenggara Tim. 86711, Tel: +62-812-4201-4311. Batu Cermin, Komodo. West Manggarai Regency, East Nusa Tenggara,
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.

History

1951 cave discovered by Dutch archaeologist Theodore Verhoeven.

Description

Batu Cermin (Mirror Stone Cave) is located at the city Labuan Bajo. This city has an international airport and is the main tourist destination in the eastern part of the Flores Island. There are numerous beach resorts and the main sight are the living dinosaurs on the small island Komodo. The cave Batu Cermin is located in a northeastern suburb, more or less in the city. The premises have a wall and a gate, which should be open when the cave is open. From the ticket office it's a 400 m walk to the cave entrance. Helmets and lamps are provided, and they are actually necessary as there are some low sections. If you are not able to stoop for a dozen meters you should not visit the cave.

Batu Cermin has numerous openings and as a result most of the cave is illuminated by daylight. The name seems to be a result of sunlight reflecting on speleothems or in pools of water. As always there are better and less good times to enjoy this effect, however, they do not give a certain hour of the day. Not too early and not too late would be our guess, but one source suggested between 9 and 10 in the morning. On the other hand, this is one of the few caves, which you should not visit during cloudy weather.

The cave has a well developed concrete trail and concrete staircases, so it is rather easy to visit. Quite funny are small wooden poles with the signs "in" and "out". They are unnecessary, as the tours are generally guided, and the guides even talk english. However, it is possible to make a self-guided tour, and it's actually cheaper, as a part of the fee is for the guide. The cave has many bats, there are bones of a turtle, and many fossils in the rock. The explanation that the cave was once under the sea is quite naive, however the limestone was obviously formed under the sea an uplifted by the tectonic forces of the accretion wedge. Cave formation though started after the limestone had reached the surface.

The cave has been known to the locals for a long time, but it seems it was almost completely ignored by them. There are only very little remains in the cave. It was first explored and published by the Dutch missionary and archaeologist Theodore Verhoeven in 1951. He is famous for discovering stegondon fossils and other megafauna, and he excavated the Liang Bua cave, but did not discover the 17,000-year-old Flores Man, which was found in this cave in 2003.

Most tourists visit the region without renting a car. If you are brave you can take a taxi or ojek (unlicensed motorcycle taxi). There are also numerous half and full day tours which include pick up and drop off at the hotel and include the cave tour.