THE HIGHLIGHTS OF TIMOR-LESTE
Atauro Island offers world class diving and snorkelling on its fantastic reefs. Recent research shows Atauro Island has the highest diversity of reef fish and coral species of anywhere on earth. It is also perfect for beach relaxing, swimming and hiking. It has a very friendly, hospitable and welcoming vibe.
JACO, VALU & TUTUALA
Jaco Island lies across from Valu, a lovely beach area backed by forested limestone escarpments, at the far eastern tip of Timor-Leste. Sacred Jaco Island is a tropical paradise. Its transparent waters teem with underwater life and offer fantastic diving, snorkelling and swimming.
The drive down to Valusere from Tutuala is very steep in places and requires a 4WD vehicle. At the top of the Tutuala escarpment from the local pousada the views out to sea and across the forested ranges of the national park are stunning.
MAUBARA & LIQUICA
Maubara and Liquica are two coastal towns located an easy drive west of Dili. Timor-Leste’s colonial past is very apparent with many Portuguese buildings and a Dutch fort. Maubara is known for its skilled basket weavers. There are small resorts and other accommodation along this coast and the beaches offer good swimming and diving.
MT RAMELAU & HATO BUILICO
A highlight for many of a holiday in Timor-Leste is a guided hike from the village of Hato Builico, located high in the Tatamailau range (2000m), to the summit of Mt Ramelau to watch the sun rise.
In all directions the views are stunning. Other guided hikes also can be organised in the surrounding valleys and to nearby traditional villages from the guest houses. A good 4WD vehicle or motorbikes are needed to access Hato Builico due to the steep mountainous terrain.
Maubisse is perched on a ridge at a height of around 1400m in rugged mountains and is surrounded by spectacular scenery. It’s an old hill town and makes a delightful break from the heat and humidity of the coast.
Guided walks can be arranged to traditional Mambae villages and it is a good place to learn more about coffee growing. Guest houses available include the fine old Maubisse pousada offering expansive views.
The Marobo geothermal hot springs are located near Bobonaro in beautiful mountain country. Lying back in the hot water pools having a soak looking out over the valley is a very blissful experience.
LOI HUNU, MUNDO PERDIDO & MT MATEBIAN
Inland from Baucau, Loi Hunu lies in lush countryside. The drive there is quite beautiful with impressive views of Mt Matebian and other ranges along the way. At Loi Hunu it is very relaxing and there is refreshing swimming in the nearby river.
It is also a great location for organising a guided hike of Mundo Perdido, a mountain range with dense rainforest and rich bird life.
The guesthouse owners are also happy to arrange hikes to limestone caves and other locations of importance during the Timorese resistance, plus cooking lessons in the nearby village. Climbing Mt Matebian (2315m) can be organised from Baguia and other villages on its flanks.