As it was weekend and we couldn’t do anything more about the visa situation, we decided to go to a waterfall about 2 hours away. We meant to do it on our road trip but ran out of time, so we decided we would go on a day trip.
It took about an hour of driving on the main road until we reached the turn off to the waterfall. The road from there on out was dreadful, so we had to go very slowly and it took close to another hour to reach the beginning of the waterfall trail.
When we arrived we were swarmed by local children shouting, “Local guide?”. They all wanted to be our guides to the waterfall! A few adults sauntered over offering the same thing, but we knew we didn’t really need a guide so we decided we would just get one to support the community. But then the adults started quoting quite steeply so that put us off. When we declined a guide and started walking, they pointed us down the wrong path, so we realised we would have to take a guide to get the right path. From 100 000 IDR the price slowly went down, until I asked the children who would take us for 25 000 IDR. A spunky kid said that he would, and so we began on the (correct) trail down the mountain.
It was very steep, and we mostly stumbled down the mountain. Our guide kept a fast pace, and his bare feet were so surefooted over the roots and rocks. At the bottom of the mountain we crossed some rice fields, and then a river, and finally made it to the waterfall!
Norman jumped in and went for a swim, but I cooled down sitting with my feet in it so I didn’t. The water vapour from the waterfall made the whole area perfectly cool! After sharing a packet of peanuts with our guide, and putting our shoes back on we began the trek back.
And what a trek it was! It was all fine and well stumbling and slipping down the mountain, but hiking back up was so difficult. It gave me a rather stark wakeup call as I quickly realised how unfit I have become. My heart was beating faster than it could handle, and my legs felt like useless appendages with zero power.
Anyway, eventually we got to the top, albeit slick with sweat. We thanked and paid our little guide, who was probably the best guide we have ever had! He didn’t talk much (because his English wasn’t great) but he of cautioned us to be careful on the steep parts, and patiently waited for us to be done at the waterfall without pressuring us at all.
Cunca Rami makes for a nice half-day excursion if you are stuck in Labuan Bajo with some time to kill. It is a pristine walk and waterfall, and the emerald pool at the bottom is refreshing and clean. And it is obviously beautiful! The walk is straining but if you have some basic fitness you will be totally fine.