UNESCO Global Geoparks are single, unified geographical areas where sites and landscapes of international geological significance are managed with a holistic concept of protection, education, and sustainable development. Their bottom-up approach of combining conservation with sustainable development while involving local communities is becoming increasingly popular. At present, there are 147 UNESCO Global Geoparks in 41 countries and 5 of them are in Indonesia. Here is the list of 5 geoparks in Indonesia that you must visit.
1. Batur, Bali
Batur UNESCO Global Geopark is located in northeast Bali. It covers an area of 370.5 km2, at an altitude of 920-2152 m a.s.l., the outer-caldera wall surrounds the inner-caldera wall, Mt. Batur and the lake. Most of the Natural Tourist Park of Mt. Batur dan Payang Hill, is a protected forest area included in the UNESCO Global Geopark area. Batur UNESCO Global Geopark includes two volcanic calderas and presents a complete volcanic landscape with caldera walls, cones and craters, geothermal phenomena (fumaroles, hot springs), a lake, lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and tephra. The phenomenon of double-calderas with a crescent-shaped volcanic lake (7 km long, 1.5 km wide) and located 1,031 m a.s.l. was called the finest caldera in the world. The uniqueness of the area’s geology of volcanic origin, endemic flora and fauna, and original culture motivated by the Balinese Hindu religion is a perfect combination of different heritages of the Earth.
Batur is occupied by 15 villages located in the district of Kintamani, Bangli Regency, Bali. Through the Batur UNESCO Global Geopark, the geosites become the object for conservation, education, and growth of the local economy through sustainable tourism. The UNESCO Global Geopark developed a program of “School to Geopark” (students explore and recognize nature) and “Geopark to School” (disseminating information about the natural environment of Batur and its Earth’s heritage to schools). Since 2014 students from Singapore choose Batur UNESCO Global Geopark for their annual fieldwork in volcanology science. Batur Volcano Museum, which has developed into a Batur UNESCO Global Geopark Museum, provides educational facilities to visitors. Geology and biology, in combination with cultural components, are utilized as a tool for regional development in a sustainable manner.
2. Ciletuh – Pelabuhanratu, West Java
Ciletuh – Palabuhanratu UNESCO Global Geopark is located in the western Sukabumi Regency. The Geopark is located on the border of a tectonically active zone: the subduction zone between the Eurasian plate and the Indo-Australian plate, which continue to converge at 4 mm/year. The area is characterized by a rare geological diversity that can be classified into three zones: the subduction zone uplifted rocks, the Jampang Plateau landscape, and the ancient magmatic zone shifting and forearc evolution. The area can be also described as ‘the first land of the western Java Island’. The weathering and aberration process affected several rock formations and resulted in a unique formation of animal-shaped rocks. Since the Pleistocene (2.5 million years ago to recent), volcanic activity has been shifting to the north, resulting in hot springs, geysers and geothermal resources in the northern area.
The UNESCO Global Geopark is named after the Ciletuh River and Palabuhanratu (Queen Harbor), who according to a local legend was the Queen of the Southern Sea (Indian Ocean) and acted as a guardian over the coast. The Geopark comprises of 74 villages distributed over eight sub-districts (Cisolok, Cikakak, Palabuhanratu, Simpenan, Ciemas, Ciracap, Waluran, and Surade). Tourism is one of the sources of income as visitors can enjoy the spectacular landscape of the UNESCO Global Geopark with its waterfalls, beaches, geyser, rivers, mountain, wild reserve, turtle conservation; and experience the life of the Sundanese culture. The Geopark is a dream for adventure tourists as they can indulge themselves with surfing, paragliding, and rafting, canoeing, rock climbing waterfalls, snorkeling, diving, fishing, and forest trekking.