TruePapua.com – A small lake in the shape of a heart is located near Papua’s largest lake, Lake Sentani, and belongs to Ebungfau district, Jayapura regency. With its unique form, many people call it Telaga Cinta or the Lake of Love, although local residents call it Lake Imfote.
Frequented by visitors almost daily, especially on the weekends, Telaga Cinta is accessible by land and water. The land route by motorcycle or car can start from Jayapura city through Genyem district in Jayapura regency or from Arso district in Keerom regency.
The water route can be covered by boat or speedboat from Yahim port behind Sentani Airport to Kawi port in Putaly village, before climbing a hill or going by motorcycle or car along a highway already built there.
The road to the Lake of Love by land begins from Yoka village, leading to Puay village with a winding way going uphill and downhill. On the right is the blue expanse of Lake Sentani with sago trees on its banks; on the left is the dense forest of Abepura. Only the track leading to the lake is a natural path.
Around 5 kilometers away from Telaga Cinta is another tourist spot, the Jaipuri River, the only stream that channels Lake Sentani’s water to the Tami River before emptying into the sea. Jaipuri also offers lodgings to tourists.
It took about one-and-a-half hours from the river to arrive at the Lake of Love on a hot weekend, where visitors, mostly young motorcyclists, were already lining the edges of the lake and taking pictures with their cameras or selfies with their cell phones.
The beauty of the Lake of Love overwhelmed the heat of the day. There were no huts or structures around apart from a tall cross-shaped wooden frame, erected during the commemoration of Easter. Such crosses can be found along the road of Hansambe hamlet, the last settlement before reaching the barren hill near Imfote. The lake has been there for a long time and nobody knows when it began to take shape.
The Lake of Love’s beauty is enhanced by the vastness of Lake Sentani and the height of Mount Cyclop, which serve as a water source for residents of Jayapura regency and city. Situated at a high altitude, it is visible from the air. Meanwhile, on the ground, the treeless area with strong winds and scorching sunlight forces tourists to use sun block or wear broad-brimmed hats.
Hansambe residents benefit from local tourist visits by selling young coconuts on the roadside for Rp 10,000 (74 US cents) each. The coconuts come from Putaly.
Sadly, the location is not yet properly managed. The grass around the edges of the lake is drying out after being trampled on, while used bottles are scattered everywhere. Good management, could also generate revenue to support rural welfare through levies.