Nestled in the foothills of Mount Mbeliling rainforest, this limestone waterfall and canyon is a delightful spot to spend a few hours or take a picnic and stay the entire day. Most of the year round, Cunca Wulang is a pleasant series of fresh water pools sandwiched between high limestone cliffs. Over centuries, water has eroded some interesting formations into the cliffs, including several small, watery caves. Lower down the river, the high canyons widen out into a series of cascades that stretch for several kilometres towards the bottom of the valley.
Those so inclined can swim, climb and hike along its entire length starting from the top of the main waterfall at the head of the canyon. There are also several deep pools that are popular for canyon jumping. But if that’s not your thing, take a refreshing dip, splash under the cascades or find yourself a nice big boulder and simply lie back and relax.
Be aware that in the narrow canyon, even just a small amount of rainfall higher upstream can cause the water and flow levels to increase rapidly with potentially dangerous consequences. In March 2016, two tourists and their local guide drowned after getting caught in fast flowing water in the canyon. So before swimming or jumping, check conditions carefully and enter the water at your own risk.
To get to Cunca Wulang, head 26km eastwards from Labuan Bajo along the TransFlores Highway. At Cekonbo, turn left towards Wersawa Village. It’s only a short 4km downhill run to the reach the village then a 45min hike to reach the canyon. Most of the hike is really quite easy, skirting alongside rice fields and small plantations of bananas, vanilla, coffee, candlenut and cacao trees but once you enter the rainforest the downward trail becomes steeper and more challenging. The return trek is along the same route. An entrance fee of between Rp 30.000 – 50.000 per person is payable at Wersawa, additional if you want a guide.
Visiting Cunca Wulang after heavy rain is not recommended. The road down to Wersawa which is steep and rough at the best of times becomes hazardous and at times impassable. The pleasant canyon pools turn into raging torrent of muddy brown water and a certain death trap for anyone silly enough to try swimming or canyoning under those conditions.