Lautem is situated on the eastern end of Timor Island; it also includes Jaco island. It is approximately 215 km by road of the capital, Dili. It is bounded in the north and east side by the Wetar Sea, in the south by Timor Sea, in the southeast by Viqueque district and in the northeast by Baucau district.
The district also possesses one of the only two islands within the territory. The beautiful island of Jaco, which covers an area of 8 km2, is situated off the eastern point of the sub-district of Tutuala. Lospalos Township serves as the administrative and economic centre and is conveniently located in the centre of the District.
Timor land mass is a continental fragment. The foundation is largely made up of limestone and other sedimentary deposits. This differentiates it from its neighbours to the north and west in the Sunda chain, which are volcanic.
Lautem District has the same geological and geographical features as much of East Timor; the central part of the District, mountains and hills running southwest to northeast, from the south coast to the north coast. The District's highest peak is Legumaw Mountain in Luro Sub-District and it is 1,297 meters high.
Mountains and hills are surrounded along the south coast by swamps, terraces and undulating plains; in the north side tape of terraces and undulating rolling plains; on the eastside of the District, lies the Fuiloro plateau descending in altitude southwards, from 700 meters to 500 meters. The plateau slopes down to the large Lake of Ira Lalaro, which covers approximately 2200 ha.
In general, 20-30% of Lautem is corrugated land, 30-35% highland and 35% mountainous. The District has predominantly lowland and fertile soils ideal for cultivation and where traditional agriculture is practiced.