Looking up at Mount Iya as you approach it by road, the 627m metre peak doesn’t seem overly impressive. Approach it from the other side by boat however and it’s an entirely different story. Located just 15 minutes’ drive south of Ende at the very end of a small peninsular, Iya’s sheer cliffs of black volcanic stone crusted with sulphurous fumaroles and bright yellow sulphur deposits looming above the Suva Sea is dramatic.
It’s no less dramatic standing on the summit at the edge of those same cliffs looking across to the adjacent Gunung Meja (Table Mountain), down at Ende town or across the bay to Ende Island. That is of course if you can drag your gaze away from Mount Iya’s jaw dropping active crater which spans almost 2km across and drops almost vertically from the top of the rim down to sea level, effectively making Iya a hollow mountain.
If you plan to summit Mount Iya, employing the services of an experienced local guide is almost essential. The trek itself is not too difficult but the trail up the mountain is vague and the volcanic sand ground peppered with ditches and holes overgrown with grass. In addition to some deep gullies and ravines that would be very easy to find yourself in should you wander off the correct route, picking up the start of the return trail after walking around the summit is a challenge. Guides can be recruited from Ende or Rate Village near the start of the trek quite easily and for peace of mind, the guiding fee of around Rp 100.000-150.000 is money well spent. Allow 4-5 hours in total including time to admire the view at the top.