Tentena, located in Central Sulawesi between the Togian Islands and Tanah Toraja, is a lovely spot to relax and enjoy the surrounding nature. It’s a tranquil place that sees few tourists. Tentena has a lot to offer and is definitively worth a visit.
If you’re there in August, you’ll be able to assist to the Danau Poso Festival. Many villagers from around Tentena gather to celebrate local culture with dancing, traditional sports, and singing. A must-see if you’re there at the right time.
The tourist office can help you plan your day and will give you a map of the area. The best way to explore Tentena is by motorbike, if you cannot drive one, you can arrange for a driver, just ask at the tourist office or at your hotel.
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This fall is truly amazing, it has different levels that you can climb to and then enjoy a swim in one of the many natural pools. Be careful while hiking, the path is super slippery and often flooded. As Tentena is not super touristy, avoid wearing a bikini, keep your shirt on and wear at least a short.
The entrance fee is 5000rp, it’s about 14km away from Tentena, you can easily find it with the map they give you at the tourist office.
This huge lake is surrounded by super nice natural beaches, enjoy a nice swim and a sunbath on the super thin sand.
There are some bungalow in Siuru Beach if you want to stay by the lake.
The Latea cave used to be a burial place for the Pamona people (indigenous people of Poso) who made carved wood coffins. This natural cave is 30 million years old, and the last coffins date back from the 19th century. Located in the middle of the jungle, it’s an easy trek, ask the locals for the right way. You can still see the bones and some of the coffins.
Near Tentena there’s a nice viewpoint of the city and Poso lake, you can start with the motorbike and then it’s an easy trek through a nice forest once the concrete road stop. You can look for it on Google Maps or ask around to find it.
Excursions around Tentena
If you’re in Tentena, you definitively should visit Lore Lindu National Park where you can see some impressive megaliths. You can arrange a day trip from Tentena easily. You can also spend the night in one of the local homestays and go trekking to see wildlife, birds in particular.
There’s also the Morowali Nature Reserve nearby, there, you can arrange for a trek through lush vegetation and meet the local tribe living there, totally cut from the outside world. It’s far so you’ll have to spend the night there, and of course, you’ll need a guide.
How to get to Tentena, Sulawesi
There are daily direct buses from Rontepao (Tanah Toraja) and Palu.
From Ampana (Togian Islands), you’ll have to take a car (the one you share).
In all cases, get ready for a long day on really bad roads. Coming from Tanah Toraja, my bus took 26 hours to get to Tentena because a road collapsed due to the rain.
Where to stay in Tentena, Sulawesi
There are plenty of options to choose from, it’s better if you check the places before because Tentena doesn’t see a lot of tourists so sometimes (often) the rooms get dusty.
You can check out the Ue Datu Cottages, they offer basic and clean accommodations, surrounded by a beautiful garden.
Is Tentena safe?
Some areas of central Sulawesi have known violent conflicts between Christian and Muslim communities a few years back. Now things have cooled down and nothing bad has happened for a couple of years. Tourism has returned and Tentena is slowly becoming a must-stop on most tourists’ itinerary between the Togean Islands and Tanah Toraja.
What to eat in Tentena
Amongst the local treats, you should definitely try the fruit bat, usually served with a spicy sauce, and the Sugili, or giant eel, this eel lives in the lake and is a local delicacy. Locals easily deep-fry it.
You can check out Samping Rumah Cafe, the owner speaks English and the food is affordable and good.
Related articles to help you plan your trip to Sulawesi:
- Best places to visit in Sulawesi
- Everything you need to know before traveling to Indonesia
- Best essential oils to have when you travel
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