Komodo National Park is composed by three main largest islands: Komodo, Padar and Rinca - the Komodo Islands-, and numerous smaller islets. Diving Komodo Islands is one top activity in Indonesia because this marine reserve hosts one of the richest marine environments of the planet: 1,000 species of fish, 260 species of reef-rebuilding coral and 70 species of sponges; mantas, sharks, sea turtles and even dugongs can be seen in a variety of marine environments: coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds, seamounts, semi-enclosed bays. Also big marine mammals, like whale sharks and passing whales can be spotted. If Komodo's underwater delights were not enough, there is also the 3 meters long lizard walking around Rinca, Kode and Komodo and looking like something coming straight from the age of the dinosaurs. For many divers Komodo offers the best diving in Indonesia and right up there with the leading dive destinations in the world. And the ultimate liveaboard explorations have revealed that Komodo Archipelago is great for be dived year-round.
KOMODO NATIONAL PARK
DIVING IN KOMODO
Komodo boast stunning sceneries both above and below water due to its unique volcanic geology. The Komodo archipelago is a dramatic hilly landscape of wild savannah and some patches of forest; blue lagoons; and white, pink and red sandy beaches that host some of the most spectacular dive sites in the world. Established in 1980, Komodo National Park was designated a Biosphere Reserve under the UNESCO Man & Biosphere Program and became a World Heritage Site in 1991 and offers stunning dive opportunities.
Komodo has a reputation for being a diving area for experienced divers. This is true, especially if you want to visit on Komodo by liveaboard. Komodo has many dive sites with strong and sometimes unpredictable currents. Water temperatures change often and are sometimes far below the usual 28°C you will find in other parts of the Indonesian archipelago. In the southern area of Komodo National Park water temperatures may be as low as 19°C. We advise a 5-mm wetsuit before diving Komodo to avoid any cold dives!
How to get to Komodo
Divers generally enter this region via the airport at Labuan Bajo, once an small fishing village in Flores Island, now a busy town on the indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara. But depending of your liveaboard itinerary should be considered the airports of Maumere or Bima in the indonesian province of West Nusa Tenggara.
Komodo Diving Season
There was the enduring tradition that Komodo should only be dived between June and September, during the dry season, when the wind blows from the south-east across the archipelago, making it difficult to operate in other areas of Indonesia and can make life on a liveaboard quite uncomfortable for the guests, as diving exposed sites in many areas of Indonesia can become very challenging.
But cause Komodo, with its incredible topography and its many islands, reefs and bays, offers multiple places to shelter from the wind, with good diving all around, all within a few hours of sailing, was very easy deal with the weather conditions.
In fact, as south-east winds blow, they stir up the shallow waters around the rugged southern coasts of both Komodo and Rinca islands, which means that the visibility in those areas actually reduces during the dry season. In addition to that, the south-easterlies bring cold water from the south, so the combination of poor visibility, frequent swells and decidedly chilly temperatures make most liveaboards abandon the southern part of Komodo and head to the north, where the conditions are just the opposite. And so, the tradition was established that from June to September each year, the northern areas of Komodo National Park are the best places for a liveaboard to operate.
Instead now, new liveaboard explorations on southern Komodo have reveled that during the wet season, from December to March, the conditions are almost the complete opposite of those in the dry season… While the north becomes colder, greener and quite choppy, the south enjoys warmer, calmer waters with an average of 25 meters plus visibility! Several of the well-known sites take are transformed from great dives into spectacular ones.
Basically, this new exploration have discovered something of great value – a new and exciting route within an old established one. The other side of a well-known destination that offers a whole new world of opportunities within the boundaries of the famous national park.
The islands of Komodo National Park are as spectacular above water as they are below, and offer tremendous photo-opportunities for photographers who also enjoy making great terrestrial images. The shapes, landscapes, bays and beaches of the islands are incredibly photogenic, particularly so when photographed with a drone.
And, when in the dry season the land is arid and brown! When the wet season come, the rain completely transforms the landscape, creating incredible, almost unique vistas and photo-opportunities!
- Source: Oceanic Liveaboard
Diving season in short
Komodo's Northern waters generally provide better visibility year round. Fish is abundant everywhere but the rocks and reefs in areas of stronger current provide the best chances of spotting the bigger fish, especially sharks and other pelagic species.
The Southern waters generally provide better visibility from December through April. Lower visibility occurs in the South during the dry season when oceanic up-welling and plankton blooms, attracts a wealth of marine life to Komodo, especially invertebrates. Highest temperatures in the south are during the rainy season.
Marine life in Komodo
Barracudas, surgeonfish, bumphead parrotfish, trevally and giant trevally, Napoleon wrasse, wobbegong shark, tunas, mackarels, manta rays, mobulas, seahorses, frogfish, leaf fish, scorpionfish, black corals forests, gorgonian fields, soft corals, gorgonian fields.
Diving Trip: Liveaboard or Resort
The liveaboards to dive Komodo on a budget choice:
LOW: LADY DENOK, TEMAN, MARI, ILIKE, RATU LAUT, SUNSHINE, JAYA.
BEST DIVE SITES
Northern Komodo Dive Sites
Batu Bolong is a rock pinnacle that lies between the islands of Tatawa and Komodo. For many divers, Batu Bolong is Komodo's signature dive site.
The reef is in superb condition and has not been targeted by fishermen due to the rock's topography and exposure to strong and in some points, down-welling currents. The top of the Batu Bolong reef is covered with colourful hard corals, whilst the walls and slopes are covered by large sponges. Always be on the lookout for some of the impressive amount of invertebrate life and thousand of reef fishes living in the coral gardens; and for the large fish like giant trevally, sharks, napoleon wrasses, dogtooth tunas along the step walls. Strong currents around Batu Bolong ensure an awesome volume of fish including schools of fusiliers and surgeons.
Castle Rock is a huge underwater formation in the middle of the sea, with several pinnacles rising from a shelf 20-24 metres deep to 4 meters below the surface. Because Castle Rock is in open water the visibility is excellent, and as you have already guessed, is prone to very strong currents. As the current is generally much stronger at the surface than in the deeper waters, Castle Rock is recommended for experienced divers in conditions of strong current.
Otherwise, fish action is guaranteed with giant trevally, spanish mackarels, and giant jacks attracted by schools of fusilier and surgeon. Not to mention the dolphins; eagle and manta rays; and white tip and black tip reefs sharks.
Crystal Rock is a fine example of how Komodo truly represents diving diversity. Sitting about 300 meters from Castle Rock, Crystal Rock is a pinnacle that becomes exposed at low tide. Like Castle Rock, the currents can be pretty strong, though shelter from the current can be found in the shade of the big rock, where a beautiful coral garden rich in fan corals hides the tiny pigmy seahorse - perfectly camouflaged to blend in with his surroundings (but not enough for the expert eyes of a local dive guide).
As the name might suggest, The Cauldron looks like the top of a boiling pot. The Cauldron is a drift dive along the channel between Gili Lawa Laut and Gili Lawa Darat offering a nice opportunity to watch the predator/prey action: as schools of smaller fish are threatened by reefs sharks and other larger pelagic species.
The Cauldron is for seasoned divers only!
Karang Makassar is snorkelling only, as diving will disturb the Manta Rays that come here for cleaning. Please do not dive here to not disturb manta rays.
The reef does not have much in the way of corals or fish life, this location is manta rays aggregation site. The best way to find mantas is to cruise along the eastern face of the reef until you see them on surface. The best time to spot Manta Rays here is during rising tide. There can be as many as 40-50 mantas together here.
Batu Tiga is an excellent "big fish" dive. Large boulders in deeper water to the west offer habitat for grouper, mantas, giant trevally and other pelagic species. Most of the coral at Batu Tiga is stunted due to the strong prevailing currents.
The main attraction of Wainilu is undoubtedly the amazing mandarin fish - surely one of the most colourful animals every to share our planet. Photographers get your equipment at the ready!
Southern Komodo Dive Sites
Pillarsteen is a rock pinnacle off the shores of Padar Island. It is an amazing reef covered with an head-spinning variety of soft corals, frequented by large schools of fusiliers found along the reef slope. It is not unusual to encounter sharks and turtles at Pillarsteen.
As well as a fascinating landscape, Pillarsteen offers an array of interesting dives that will take you through caves, chimney stacks and rocky outcrops at different depths.
The Three Sisters
In close proximity to Pillarsteen, The Three Sisters are three large submerged rocks, sitting on a sandy bottom in about 20 meters of water, rising to 3 - 5 meters from the surface. The Three Sisters is a very pristine site covered in coral growth and rich in marine life.
Langkoi Rock can be a real adrenalin rush at the right time. From July to September many sharks such as grey reefs, white-tip reef sharks, hammerhead and bronze whalers aggregate around this site.
Manta Alley is another of Komodo big attractions, and the main location to find mantas. Mantas can usually be seen feeding here between September and January. Manta Alley is also noted for very large giant trevallies, sharks, beautiful corals and a high diversity of invertebrate life in relatively shallow waters (between 5-20m of depth). The waters can also be cool and affected by currents. Due to the low temperatures experienced in the southern dive sites of Komodo (22°-24° C), it is highly recommended to wear a 3-5mm full wet suit.
From September to January high densities of plankton attract many large manta rays that can normally be seen swimming on the surface along the shores and rocks of Southern Komodo Island. The shallow waters around the shores (5-20m deep) are littered with large rocks and boulders that shelter huge grouper, potato cod, napoleon wrasse, schools of surgeon fishes and red snappers.
Komodo's Yellow Wall is great place to take in the invertebrate diversity of Indonesia, especially during night dives. The walls are packed with a mind boggling array of marine life and color - stunning soft corals, Spanish dancer nudibranchs, colourful sea urchins, bright red sea apples as well as a huge variety of tunicates. Crevices in the walls are home to sleeping fish, spiny and slipper lobsters, cleaner shrimps and decorator crabs. Nocturnal marine life at Yellow Wall includes sleeping coral trout, cat sharks, all kinds of cardinal fishes and parrot fishes in their mucus cocoon.
Crinoid Corner is a small cove just outside the island of Nusa Kode, almost directly opposite Yellow Wall. A lot of small invertebrate sea life can be found on and in the crevices of a very colourful wall.
The angle of the morning sun makes Crinoid Corner is a great place to dive early in the morning. The lack of current makes the dive nice and easy, ideal for all levels of diver.
This dive site is famous for its variety and colorful invertebrates. Cannibal Rock is awash with rich soft corals as well as sea apples and others sea cucumbers species. Among the surprises are fire urchins with Coleman shrimps. The fish life can also be good at Cannibal Rock with an array of scorpion fish, schools of red snappers and surgeon fish. Unusual fish such as the pigmy seahorse and frogfish can also be spotted.
Dive with Mantas in Komodo
Indonesia is a crossroads between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean with thousands of amazing dive sites, among these are three major areas known for their seasonal population of manta rays: Komodo, Bali and Raja Ampat. Particularly Komodo has a number of sites where you can regularly encounter manta rays and even oceanic mantas -manta birostris- all year around, even if the manta season in Komodo runs from October to November. There are 2 known dives site where is possible dive or snorkelling with this amazing animals Karang Makassar in Northern Komodo and Manta Alley in Southern Komodo. It is very import follow the guidelines for encounters with mantas, then divers and snorkelers can observe and photograph the mantas but without interfere in their regular cleaning ritual. Diving with mantas will be one of the greatest experiences you can have in Komodo.
- Diving season: Diving is possible in Komodo year-round.
- Rainy season: November to April.
- Water temperature: Water temperature: 19-28°C. In the most dive points of Komodo a 3mm shorty should be sufficient. If you feel the cold easily a 5mm shorty is advisable. Around Southern Komodo and Rinca Islands the water temperature drops drastically 24-21°C, then a 5mm long suit is advised and hood and booties are strongly recommended.
- Visibility: 5-30m.
- Depths: 5- >40m.
- Currents: Can be very strong - up to 8 knots.
- Surface conditions: Can be rough. Dive conditions vary with the tides, throughout the day.
- Experience level: Intermediate – advanced.
- Dive sites: >40.
- Length of stay: Recommended 7-11 days on liveaboard cruise.
- Airport: Labuan Bajo. International flights reach Jakarta or Bali, then domestic flight to Labuanbajo. Depending of your liveaboard itinerary considering Bima or Maumere airport via Jakarta or Bali. Eventually a stop over in Bali could be necessary 'cause the flights Bali-Labuan Bajo leave early in the morning.
- Weather: 27-32°C. Indonesia has two seasons: wet and dry. In most of Indonesia the wet season is from October to April and the dry from May to September. Nusa Tenggara’s climate is relatively dry with a light rainy season from November to April.
- Time zone: Lesser Sunda Islands GMT +8.
PARK ENTRANCE FEE AND LOCAL TAX
- National Park Entrance: 150,000 Rupiah (working days) 225,000 Rupiah (On Sundays)
- Local Tax: Additional 100,000 Rupiah per day
- Drone fee use inside Komodo National Park: 1 million Rupiah for 2 weeks
Komodo New Local Tax - How the new local tax applies?
Starting November 9th, 2018 will be effective a new tax to be paid directly at your operator of tourism (liveaboard, resort, dive center), with the final bill.
This new tax has been issued from Dinas Pariwisata (Tourism Official Office), according to this office, the new tax description is the following:
- Name of tax: Local Tax – Retribusi Daerah
- Amount: 100,000 Rupiah per day per person
- Subjects: divers will need to pay this tax every day. Tourists going to Rinca or Komodo will need to pay this tax. Snorkelers are excluded.
This means that all the divers for each diving day, will need to pay this extra 100,000 Rupiah per day.
- A diver which is going to Rinca or Komodo in the same day of diving will need to pay 100,000 Rupiah + 100,000 Rupiah (on top of the current extra fees around 150,000 to be paid in Rinca/Komodo).
- Snorkelers which are going out with the boat to snorkeling will not pay for this tax.
- Snorkelers going to Rinca or Komodo will need to pay 100,000 Rupiah on top of the current extra fees.
Drone regulation inside Komodo National Park
Every use of drones must be reported to the Balai TN Komodo and therefore must obtain a permit from them before use. The liveaboard must send an application letter mentioning the location, the name of the guest using the drone and for how long it will be used. The price for using drone inside the Park is 1 million rupiah for 2 weeks. The use of drones is forbidden in some areas such as Kalong island.
Dive Trip Highlights
A unique sanctuary of marine life
Swept by fierce currents rich in nutrients, the waters of Komodo are a unique sanctuary of marine life offering fantastic underwater experiences for divers. There is nearly a guarantee to see big pelagic species (manta rays, sharks). Komodo offers world class diving with an amazing variety of sites that include pinnacles, caves, wall diving, coral gardens, and quiet bays ideals for macro photographers looking for rare marine life.
Dragons and wildlife of Rincia, Komodo and Padar
The islands host a large amount of wild animals including buffalo, deer, wild pigs, flying lizards, tropical birds, sea eagles and of course the world-famous Komodo dragon (Varanus Komodoensis), the biggest existing lizard on the planet, reaching a staggering 3 meters in length and 200 kilos in weight and looking just like it has just walked straight from the age of the dinosaurs. It is a true sign of the remoteness of Komodo National Park that the Komodo dragon only became known to the western world in 1912. All cruises include a short trek inland to spot the dragons.
Komodo's Flying Fox
Another must is "Komodo's Flying Fox" a phenomenon unusual to add to the extraordinary beauty of the sea water that glowed golden in the evening sunshine in Komodo National Park. At Kalong Island when the sun sinks, the thousands of bats living between the mangroves growing in the island cover the golden sky of Labuanbajo, coming out of their nests and flying to East in search of food. This spectacle occurs at the sunset and you will see thousands giant bats of the fruit, emerging from the mangrove island of Kalong in Flores before flying towards the island of Rinca in the Komodo Archipelago.
SCUBA DIVING DEALS
Komodo National Park
Book your trip now and get FREE 01 transit night in Airport Hotel at your arrival in Indonesia, to be fit since your check dive! Just book one of our LIVEABOARDS or RESORTS. This offer is cumulative with all our other deals in this website.
TO ADD TO YOUR LIVEABOARD EXPERIENCE
After or before diving in Komodo add an amazing "ING" to your diving experience, try some of this awesome side trips!
Touring Trans Flores Highway
From Labuanbajo to Maumere, inland excursion discovering volcanoes, traditional villages and fascinating encounters with ethnic groups, as the Manggarai and the Ngada people, they still practice ancestral traditions, syncretism of animistic beliefs and Christianity. We will expend unforgettable time visiting Wae Rebo an old Manggaraian village, situated in pleasant, isolated mountain scenery; also Kelimutu, the three colors lake in the cone of a extincted volcano; and more...
Indulging in an astonishing Bali Villas
Coming back from Komodo, it is time for indulging yourself in a stay at one of the fabulous Balinese Villas. Do not lose the opportunity to stay in one of Bali's most magnificent Villas. Their rare, refined and stylish details will surprise you as well as our prices. And of course once in Bali, do not miss our favorite “Island of Gods Tour by Cruising Indonesia", a blissful experience not to be missed.
Cycling Bali - get off the beaten track
A journey in the time through traditional villages and exuberant jungle, to contemplate world’s most beautiful contoured rice terraces in Jatiluwih, recently acknowledged as UNESCO World Heritage site. You do not need worry about nothing, we pick up you at your hotel or villa and after a short drive toward the center of the island you will arrive in the beautiful village of Jatiluwih, there you will receive your bicycle and helmet and our guide will instruct you about the ride. A truly Bali experience!
Discovering Bali the Island of Gods
Let you captivate by the beauty of its culture, its wonderful people and astonishing landscapes. Bali is an island of scarce natural resources but rich of cultural ones. Famous by its traditional arts, theatre, dance, and elaborate religious festivals, the Balinese culture is a dynamic force that is constantly synthesising the old and the new, the traditional and the innovative. Stunning volcanic lakes, spectacular rice terraces, tropical beaches, ancient temples, water palaces, exotic melting pot of cultures and peoples; all in our favourite Bali Island of Gods Tour by Cruising Indonesia.
The arid and hilly island of Sumba is home to one of the most interesting tribal societies of Nusa Tenggara Timur, which revolves around the cult of marupu (generic term for all spiritual forces, gods, spirits and ancestors). In the inaccessible areas, the horse is used as a mean of transportation and is considered as symbol of wealth and social prestige. Today most of the islanders are officially Protestant, but the marupu cult resists and old conflicts are still re-enacted annually, with simulated battles between knights armed cohorts of blunt spears. These battles reference rooted tribal tensions from time occasionally break out between rival clans. Bahasa Indonesia is spoken everywhere, but in Sumba there are six major languages. Tourism on the island is almost nonexistent.
Cruising Indonesia | The Liveaboard & Diving Specialists
We are committed to ensuring you a perfect diving holiday. You only choose your dream diving destination and we will arrange everything you need: your dive cruise, the grounding services, the international & domestic flights, a special sojourn in a magnificent villa, an amazing tour...