Gunung Awu is an active volcano on Sangihe island of North Sulawesi province in Indonesia. Its newest and perhaps most interesting feature is a large lava dome that grew inside the vast crater during the last major eruption in 2004. Gunung Awu can be climbed easily in one day, even including a trip down into the crater.
The regional starting point for a trip to Gunung Awu is the provincial capital Manado. Manado is linked by air to all major cities in Indonesia as well as Singapore and Davao in the Philippines. From Manado one takes a ship to Tahuna, the main town on Sangihe island. There are crowded overnight ships as well as the faster daytime Express Bahari boats. Both types of ships run three times a week and leave from Manado's main harbor. There are also flights from Manado to Naha on Sangihe island twice a week. Accommodation is available in Tahuna.
The trail to the crater rim starts near the village of Angges, a few kilometers north of Tahuna. As one should start very early in the morning, it is best to arrange transport the day before in Tahuna. A guide is advisable on the first trip as there are plenty of confusing trails around the plantations on the lower slopes.
From the village of Angges, one of the many paths through the coconut plantations lead to the trail to the crater rim. The trail gently climbs up the lower slopes, and palm plantations turn into rain forest. About one hour below the crater rim one passes a patch of level ground adequate for camping. Vegetation thins out on the upper slopes, where nice views over much of the island can be had to the south if there are not too many clouds. Upon reaching the crater rim a great view into the vast crater opens up.
Traversing the crater rim clockwise, after a few hundred meters one reaches a point from where it is possible to descend down to the crater floor. There is no real trail, but there is only one obvious point of entry as in other places the crater walls are too steep to descend without any equipment. The same route is traversed back to return to Angges.
View from the upper slopes
While everything can be done in one day, camping is possible about one hour below the crater rim. Camping may make sense for two reasons. If one plans to thoroughly explore the interior of the crater, more time may be required. If one arrives near the top late in the day, clouds are likely blocking all views and a head start the next morning, when cloud cover is usually the least, would make sense.
There is no red tape for this hike. As usual when hiking in remote places in Indonesia, you might want to inform the village head in Angges of your presence, but any guide you may hire would do this on your behalf.
When To Go
Temperatures are almost constant year round. The driest months around Manado are July through September, but the islands are mostly wet year round. It is thus important to start very early in the morning in order to reach the crater rim before the clouds roll in and block the views both across the island as well as down into the crater.
External LinksAwu page of the Global Volcanism Program of the Smithsonian Institution
Awu page at Volcano World