Madakaripura Waterfall: The Full Guide for 2024!

In East Java, very close to the ultra-popular Mount Bromo and tucked away in thick jungle and dramatic cliffs is a rather secret natural wonder – Air Terjun Madakaripura!

Unlike its brother on the other side of the mountain – Tumpak Sewu, the Indonesian Niagara Falls, Madakaripura Waterfall is an impressive 200-meter drop of a single column of water. The second highest in Indonesia!

The waterfall is often bunched together with Mount Bromo but you don’t need to book anything tours to get there either. So here’s how to visit Madakaripura Waterfall without a tour!

Madakaripura Waterfall is part of my 14-day Java Backpacking Itinerary.

Madakaripura Waterfall at a Glance

The Indonesian name of this natural attraction is Air Terjun Madakaripura, where “air” = water (yeah, I know, it’s funny) and “terjun” = fall / jump down.

Madakaripura waterfall is the highest one on Java and the second highest in all of Indonesia (after Sigura-Gura Waterfall, North Sumatra)! At 200 meters in height, it will certainly take your breath away!

It’s also a unique waterfall, as it’s tucked away in a niche, surrounded by three sides with vertical cliffs, creating a hole for the water to fall literally on top of you. I haven’t seen anything remotely similar and I’ve had my fair share of waterfalls!

Totally worth a visit!

Just around the corner from Madakaripura Waterfall and the high cliffs on all sides
Madakaripura is behind the cliff on the left, surrounded on three sides by vertical walls.

How to Get to Madakaripura Waterfall

Given its relative remoteness, no public transportation goes to Madakaripura. This can be problematic for the casual backpacker.

The easiest way to reach Madakaripura without an organized tour is to rent a scooter in Probolinggo and go by yourself (or with a buddy at the back).

If you can’t or don’t want to drive, maybe you should consider a tour after all: this one combines a sunrise at Bromo with a visit to Madakaripura at an affordable price.

I went to Madakaripura by scooter from Probolinggo, then continued to Cemoro Lawang where I spent the night and the next morning visited Bromo for sunrise.

I will share my experience and some tips on how you can visit Madakaripura too, whereas here I cover Mount Bromo in detail.

How to get from Probolinggo to Madakaripura Waterfall

Probolinggo is the gateway to Madakaripura and Bromo. To get to this small city, take a train from Surabaya, Malang, or Yogyakarta. Buses are even more convenient as they stop right next to Terminal Banyuangga, the starting point of this guide.

Pro tip: If you arrive in Probolinggo in the afternoon, you’re better off spending the night in the city and going to Madakaripura (and Bromo) the next day.

Probolinggo has a beautiful alun-alun (public square/park) and the central area is nice for a walk and some street food or desserts.

My advice for a place to stay is the Colorbox Hostel.

Get to Terminal Bayuangga

If you arrive in Probolinggo by train, or if you’ve spent a night in the city center, then you need to make your way to Terminal Bayuangga.

To get there, go to the main street – Jalan Raya Pantura – and take a bemo (small colorful minivan) westwards. Pretty much all go to the Terminal but ask. These cost 5000 IDR / 0.34$.

Alternatively, take a Grab bike (if alone) or car (if 2 or more) to the Terminal. It shouldn’t cost more than 15000 IDR / 1$ per person.

If you arrive in Probolinggo by bus, you’ll already be at the terminal.

From Probolinggo to Madakaripura

Option 1: Hitchhike to the waterfall. It’s not that far, Indonesian people are friendly and hitchhiking is easy on Java. Many locals go to the waterfall too, so chances are, someone will soon pick you up and take you all the way to the waterfall.

Option 2: Rent a scooter. It isn’t hard to drive one, especially on roads with less traffic like this one. It makes sense to combine Madakaripura with Bromo if you rent a scooter. You can leave your big luggage with the scooter rental at the bus station and go up the slope with a small bag.

That’s what I did. A scooter costs between 100.000 and 150.000 IDR (6.7-10$) to rent for a day.

From Terminal Bayuangga to the entrance to Madakaripura, it’s 26 km or around 45 mins by motorcycle. Drive straight until Leombang, then turn right towards the waterfall. Input exactly this address in Google Maps for the entrance to the waterfall.

Just before the entrance, there’s a car park. If you come by scooter, just keep on going. This parking is for those with a car. They park their cars there and rent a scooter taxi (10.000 to 20.000 IDR, don’t pay more than that!) for the 4km to the entrance.

When you reach this location, park your scooter (5.000 to 8.000 IDR, not more!) and you’ll be facing the entrance.

Price and Total Costs

As of 2024, the entrance fee to Madakaripura Waterfall is 45.000 IDR (3$) for foreigners and 22.000 IDR (1.5$) for locals.

Unless you hitchhiked, you will also have to pay for parking (5000 to 8000 IDR / 0.35-0.55$).

Come prepared with these items or you’ll have to rent them:

  • raincoat (10.000-15.000 IDR (0.67-1$))
  • smartphone waterproof protector (5.000 IDR / 0.35 $)
  • flip-flops (10.000 IDR / 0.67$)

You can rent these either before or after the entrance. Trust me, you need all 3 – you WILL get wet – more on that later.

You will also have to pay for a locker for your luggage and dry spare clothes (10.000 IDR / 0.67$).

The trail to Madakaripura
The trail to Madakaripura Waterfall

What to bring

This is a wet waterfall. Yeah, I know, I know, of course water is wet (or is it?), but here I mean that Madakaripura isn’t one of those waterfalls that you observe from a distance. No, no, no.

At Madakaripura, you go under the waterfall!

You will be wet!

That’s why you need to bring (or rent, see above)

  • Raincoat OR swimwear.
  • Flip-flops or aquaboots (or neither if your feet soles are sturdy);
  • Something to put your smartphone in, preferably a transparent ziplock bag;
  • Spare clothes.
  • Towel

What to expect at Madakaripura Waterfall

After the entrance, there’s a pleasant 2km (~30 mins) walk to the waterfall. In the beginning, it’s a well-maintained path, but towards the end, it becomes wet and slippery and in the very end it’s basically a small river.

There are a few sections where water will pour directly over you as you walk knee-deep in water.

Then, behind the last corner is a small pile of rocks that you climb over to get directly under the main waterfall. It’s a very impressive place and pictures don’t do it enough justice.

The combination of the spraying water, the thundering downpour, and the cold breeze create an exhilarating experience.

Simon in front of Madakaripura Waterfall
Here I learned it’s hard to take a good picture of moving water

Do you need a tour guide?

No, you don’t need a local guide to take you to Madakaripura Waterfall.

There will be locals at the entrance trying to convince you that you need their services to guide you to the waterfall.

Getting to the waterfall is straightforward. You don’t need the guides’ help. Moreover, their English is mediocre at best and they don’t provide any significant information to make paying for them worthwhile.

Just say “bouten pak” (soft, throaty k, almost silent; it’s Javanese for “no thanks, sir”) and move on.

Parting words

Madakaripura Waterfall is an often overlooked natural attraction on Java. I argue it’s because it’s rather difficult to get to. But if you’re going to Mount Bromo anyway, then you should certainly add it to your itinerary.

Now go and get wet!

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