Ainaro municipality, in the southern part of the country, has spectacular scenery from the central mountains to the wild south coast and provides wonderful opportunities for exploring and hiking. This area includes Timor-Leste’s highest peak – Mt Ramelau (2960m) which is sacred to the Timorese and known at Tatamailau (grandfather). The towns of Maubisse and Hato Builico have very spectacular hill settings and the larger town of Ainaro is located at much lower elevation in a lush river valley midway to the Timor Sea.

This is definitely scenery where you want to keep your camera close at hand. The panoramic views from the Maubisse pousada on its promontory are especially impressive, as are the views from Mt Ramelau at dawn after a guided climb from Hato Builico. Looking out over the mountain ranges of Timor-Leste bathed in the early morning light is an unforgettable and very rewarding experience.

A lot of coffee is grown in the Ainaro area and vegetables are cultivated in between rocky screes on what often seems like impossibly steep slopes. Ponies are still commonly used for carrying produce and other goods between the isolated villages and markets. They and other livestock are seen grazing on the mountain sides.

The majority of the local people speak Mambae and their villages with characteristic thatched circular, conical roofed houses are scattered across the municipality.

Popular Locations: Mt Ramelau & Hato Builico, Maubisse

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