First of all just let me say that Komodo has the best diving I’ve ever done and I’ve been lucky enough to dive some pretty good spots around the world. Although Komodo isn’t as accessible as some other great diving spots it’s totally do-able and definitely worthwhile.
There are essentially two options for diving in Komodo, flying to Labuan Bajo and booking onto one of the live-aboard boats that cruise through the park or doing day trips. I’m going to give you some basic information that will be relevant to both types of diving and then break the two options down and give you as much information as I can.
Background Info and stuff you should Know
Komodo National Park is made up of twenty nine islands, the three main islands being Komodo, Padar and Rinca. It’s located in central Indonesia between East and West Nusa Tenggara and has a population of around four thousand people, most of which are involved in the tourism in the park.
Komodo was named a national park in 1980 to protect the Komodo Dragons, the biggest lizard species in the world. It eventually went on to become a Unesco world heritage sight and has been recognised as having some of the highest diversity of marine life of anywhere in the world.
Oh yeah and Komodo above water is also absolutely beautiful
The most common jumping off point for entering the park is Labuan Bajo, a small town on the island of Flores just east of the Park.
Flying to Labuan Bajo, Flores
Reasonably priced flights leave from Bali Denpasar airport leave multiple times daily. The planes tend to be small, basic and ummm, Interesting.
We found Tiket.com a great place to book flights.
The Diving itself – What you need to know
The diving in Komodo is considered challenging and many of the dive sights have strong current. With that being said, with a good base in scuba diving and a dive master who knows the tides well you shouldnt have any problems but you should have a lot of fun.
It’s not necessary to bring any of your own gear as the dive companies will provide everything you need including A reef hook which is essential for some of the dive sites.
Option 1 – Doing a Live-Aboard
This is the option we took because we found it to be the best way to see as much of the park as possible and we wanted to do as much diving as we could in a short period of time.
We dived with Current Junkies Komodo. I’m in no way affiliated with them but I want to highly recommend them if you’re considering a live aboard in Komodo. They run a small comfortable boat with a maximum number of four guests, making for an extremely personal trip. The dive master knows the dive sites and tides really well and rarely did we see any other divers. Oh and the foods awesome. With that recommendation done lets move onto the details.
Live aboard boats in Komodo vary a lot depending on the length of trip, number of guests and level of “luxury” you’re looking for. We paid $1095 dollars per person for a five day, five night trip inclusive of all food and 14 dives. Equipment rental was $100 per person for the whole trip and entrance fees to the national park cost $75 per person.
This isn’t the cheapest option but certainly not the most expensive. I encourage you to really shop around and look at how long you want to spend on the trip, how much comfort you want and the amount of other guests on the trip.
Length of trip
Anything from three nights up to seven
– The ability to visit more far off dive sites than a day boat can do.
– Your living on a boat, diving multiple times a day and having all your meals prepared and cooked for you. I felt like a pirate, a scuba diving, pampered pirate.
– Expensive, but if you already dive then you know Scuba Diving isn’t a cheap hobby
– Your away from some modern conveniences for a while like fast internet and mocha choca lattes, get over it.
Option 2 – Doing day trips from Labuan Bajo
The main drawback with doing day trips from Labuan Bajo is that it takes at least an hour and a half to reach some of the dive sights in Komodo and many of the spots in the south of the park are just too far for the boats to travel and return in one day. This means you’re going to miss out on some of the best spots in Komodo and that often times there are multiple companies diving the sight at the same time, meaning lots of divers in the water at once.
Most dive companies based in Labuan Bajo do daily trips with 2 dives for IDR 1,200,000 ($90) or 3 dives 2,000,000 ($150)
Length of trip
Length of day trips really varies due to the planned itinerary for the day. Boats leave around 8am and return between 2pm and 5pm
– Accessible for people who cant commit to a longer trip
– Budget friendly
– You get to dive in Komodo
– Able to visit less of the dive sites in Komodo
– Dive sights can be crowded
– Long journey to and from dive sites
The Komodo Dragons
The dragons themselves are amazing creatures.
Many people visit Komodo or Rinca just to see the lizards (day trips can be arranged from Labuan Bajo). We visited a small beach in the south of the region where the lizards are wild, like really wild, like swimming after our Zodiac kinda wild!
The ranger stations throughout the park are the usual spots visited when doing a lizard specific trip, apparently the lizards there are more docile and easily photographed.
Do your research
Buy the ticket
Take the ride