Lapopu Waterfall in Sumba Island, Indonesia is one of the islands biggest draw cards for tourism. The spectacular waterfall is a must visit, especially as it’s the highest waterfall in Sumba located in Manupeu Tanah Daru National Park, West Sumba.
But, like all Sumba waterfalls, we wondered how long the trek to Lapopu Waterfalls takes. We also wondered what the track looks like and how much time it was going to take out of our Sumba schedule to get there.
Because we couldn’t find a lot of answers yet on the internet, I wanted to share our experience to help you gain a good understanding for what to expect when visiting Lapopu Waterfall on Sumba island.
Table of Contents
1. Where is Lapopu Waterfall
Lapopu Waterfall is located in the Wanokaka district in Manupeu Tanah Daru National Park in the West Sumba Regency. To get to Sumba island, it’s a one hour flight from Bali. You can fly into Tambolaka Airport or Waingapu Airport to get here. We booked a private customised tour to get around Sumba island and included this waterfall on our list of places to visit.
The entrance fee to get into Lapopu Waterfall is 150,000 IDR pp (approx $15 AUD pp), and 10,000 IDR (approx $1AUD) for parking. If you’re visiting during the holidays, the entrance fee is 225,000 IDR ($22.50 AUD) at the time of writing. Our tour sorted out payment for us. I only know these figures because another company we were going to book with told us the costs if we just booked a driver.
2. What makes Lapopu Waterfall unique?
Lapopu Waterfall is the tallest waterfall in Sumba at around 90m tall. The unique multilevel waterfall in Sumba island is absolutely incredible is definitely worth visiting.
3. The local story about Lapopu Waterfall
As all Sumba waterfalls are sacred, it’s a given rule to treat them all with respect. The locals wouldn’t do anything bad at the waterfalls, such as speak with bad language, or do anything wrong, because they believe something will happen to them.
There’s a local story about how a couple made love here at Lapopu Waterfall and not long afterwards, a landslide happened because of it.
4. Facilities at Lapopu waterfall
When you reach the Lapopu Waterfall carpark, you’ll find a toilet (understandably it’s not the cleanest), as well as someone selling coconuts here which will come in handy when you finish your hike. They aren’t warm because obviously there isn’t a fridge here at this remote waterfall.
5. Look out for monkeys
The landscape on the way to Lapopu Waterfall car park is absolutely stunning. You’ll truly feel like you are in the dense jungle here which is no surprise that you might see a few monkeys in the trees like we did. But, just be careful, because monkeys can be a bit unpredictable.
6. How long the trek takes
Lapopu Waterfall treks takes between 5-10 minutes to walk to. There are no hills on this trek but you’ll need to wear hiking boots because the ground is rocky. It’s an easy walk anyone can do, but you’ll need to check with your guide first when you get there because of the below.
Also, I made the mistake of asking my guide if I needed to change from my crocs into my hiking boots and he seemed to think I didn’t need to. You’ll need to wear hiking boots, especially because of the next point.
7. Watch out for landslides
When we visited, there was a landslide just a week before which meant we had to basically side step our way across the landslide with a steep drop. Just be careful because I was wearing my sandals and would have definitely changed if I knew.
8. A porter will come along and give you a stick
There are porters at every Sumba island waterfall, but they aren’t here to rip you off. I like to see them as my guardian angel because from what I saw, they all have this sincere look about them, like they genuinely are there to protect you from any danger.
I didn’t even realise it at first but a man came with us to take us to Lapopu Waterfalls. It’s not like he was needed as it’s only a short walk and our guide had been a thousand times so knew where he was going. But, this porter was super kind and helped carry my camera when I was trying to pass over the landslide. He also gave me stick to make sure I had something to hold onto as well.
When we finished the hike, he just went and sat back down again, not asking for a tip. I went over and gave him 10,000 IDR (about $1 AUD) to say thank you and he genuinely seemed happy which was nice.
9. The famous bridge
If you’ve watched some YouTube videos about Lapopu Waterfall, you probably would have noticed the famous bamboo bridge which connects the walk over to this waterfall in West Sumba. When we visited, the bridge had broken in a storm a week earlier. This meant we couldn’t cross to see the entire waterfall.
10. Be careful when swimming
While we could have swam across the river to the other side of the waterfall, we didn’t because the current was strong. There were a few foreign tourists who did go for a swim, but even our tour guide was a bit worried about them from ending up right down the river.
So, just be careful if you do go in, because it sure is inviting. The natural beauty of Lapopu Waterfall is incredible. The turquoise water falls down the tiered waterfall, making it truly a sight to be seen. And while it’s better to visit in the dry season, we were worried if the water would be brown from visiting in the rainy season, and it wasn’t! Put this Sumba attraction on your list to visit when you come to the island – you won’t be disappointed.