Díli is the capital city of Timor Leste and lies on the north coast of the country. Its crescent-shaped beach stretches between the airport and Díli’s most famous landmark, the Cristo Rei statue, perched on Cape Fatucama.
Adventurers who take the time to climb to the peak of Cape Fatucama will be treated to the most spectacular views the city has to offer. Gaze out across the ocean to Ataúro Island or marvel at the city sprawling towards rolling hills extending to the centre of the island.
Ataúro Island lies to the north of the city and has its seat alongside one of the deepest ocean channels in Asia.
Take a stroll down the waterfront and stop off at one of the many bars and restaurants to watch the sun put on a magnificent display as it falls below the horizon.
Díli has a tropical climate with a wet and dry season. As it lies to the north of the country, it doesn’t get as much rainfall as the rest of the country, and temperatures average 30°C throughout the year.
Wet Season: December – April
You can generally expect a couple of hours of rain in the mornings and in the afternoons, interspersed with sunshine through the day. The moisture in the air combined with the heat can create muggy conditions.
Dry Season: May – November
June to August is the best time to visit, with lots of sunshine, warm temperatures, and a refreshing sea breeze to temper the heat. You can expect the occasional short downpour or thunderstorm in the afternoons.
As East Timor is off most people’s radars, you will find the majority of visitors here are divers looking to enjoy rarely visited colourful tropical reefs and walls, which are absolutely bustling with life.
There are a wide range of species to be found here, from tiny macro critters such as nudibranch and shrimp to larger fish such as shark, tuna and barracuda. There is even a chance that you could find yourself diving with a dugong or whale!
There is easily accessible diving right off the shore within a 15 minute to 1.5-hour drive from Díli. The fringing reefs are spectacular and feature a vast array of active marine life.
Sitting in the Ombai Wetar Strait, right in the path of the Indonesian Throughflow, is Ataúro Island. Making up part of the coral triangle, this area has pristine reefs, incredible bio-diversity and some of the least explored dive sites in the world.
27 – 30°C – 3mm wetsuit
Diving is available all year round; however, visibility will be at its lowest during the rainy season from December to March. The best visibility is between July to October. Pelagics including a migration superhighway in the Ombai Wetar Strait between Ataúro Island and Díli from October – December. Different species of whales that you’re likely to see are blue, beaked, humpback, sperm, killer, short-finned pilot and melon-headed. Large pods of dolphins also frequent this area.
A remarkable muck diving site full of interesting critters including seahorses, spiny tiger shrimp, and a resident pair of Rhinopias.
Offering the best critter dive in the area - great for the macro enthusiast.
Here you will find a very active coral bommie nicknamed 'Piccadilly Circus' due to its abundant marine life and busy nature. Take your camera along; you won't want to miss out on the wonderful picture opportunities that this dive site affords.
This site has a deep reef on the left-hand slope and a wall plummeting down to the seafloor on the right. There is a very healthy coral reef with a large number of colourful reef fish flitting between the corals. Expect to see an anemone garden full of gorgeous clownfish and seek out the lionfish and scorpionfish that hide in the deep.
Known for its crystal clear aquamarine waters due to the low amount of runoff in the area. Jump in and explore spectacular walls, scenic reefs and sheltered bays displaying large varieties of hard and soft corals, barrel sponges and gorgonian fans. Admire the vivid assortment of reef fish and small critters that call these corals home. Tuna, mackerel, reef sharks, whale sharks, manta rays and turtles are a common sighting. Keep on the lookout for large pelagics on their migratory path through the Ombai Wetar Strait and the shy dugongs in the area.
Motorcycle and 4WD Tours are a great way to explore the stunning scenery that Timor Leste has to offer. It also gives you the opportunity to experience the interesting culture in some of the more remote areas of the country.
Trekking tours can be arranged to climb Mt Ramelau (2,963 metres) or to explore Ainaro, Mt. Matebian (Baucau) and Mt. Kablaki in the same district. A great area to explore on foot is The Nino Konis National Park in eastern Timor Leste consists of tropical lowland rainforest and offers bird-watching, trekking and prehistoric archaeological sites. You can even arrange to dive here!
There are plenty of things to see and do around Díli to absorb the country's heritage. Walk the streets covered in murals that depict Timorese pride, attend a Sunday Catholic mass, visit the Resistance Museum, stroll through Taibessi Market, watch textiles being woven at Tais Market, frequent the fish stalls at sunset, watch traditional music and dance performances, and visit a local historical exhibition. Ask your host for more information on experiences available during your visit.
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