A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Komodo National Park covers 669 square miles (1,733 square kilometers) of islands and pristine ocean. Its attractions are twofold: Komodo dragons, the world’s largest lizard, and lush reefs. Besides the dragons, wildlife includes boar, bats, deer, wild horses, and monkeys.
Komodo tours typically focus on either the dragons or the diving, and generally start from the town of Labuan Bajo on Flores island. The dragons, which can grow up to 10 feet (3 meters) long, live almost exclusively within Komodo National Park, and tours typically focus on Rinca island, Padar island, or Komodo island. Expect to enjoy a couple of hours’ trekking with a guide, with sightings pretty much guaranteed. Most boat trips will include stops for snorkeling and on photogenic beaches, such as Pink Beach.
Komodo dive tours are typically on liveaboard boats, usually based out of Labuan Bajo. The diving in Komodo, generally considered some of Indonesia’s best, focuses on high-current sites and, typically, larger sea creatures. Signature sites include Batu Bolong and Cannibal Rock.
Things to Know Before You Go
Komodo dive sites can be challenging: Bank a few dives before booking that liveaboard.
While Komodo dragons have poisonous saliva, Indonesian guides can typically control them with a forked stick.
Facilities in Komodo National Park are very limited: Be sure to bring essentials, such as medication.
How to Get There
Most Komodo National Park tours start from the vibrant port town of Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores: Komodo Airport in Labuan Bajo has direct connections to Bali and Jakarta. Some Komodo backpacker boat tours set out directly from Bali, but most liveaboards base themselves out of Labuan Bajo for the season.
When to Get There
Komodo island has a dry climate and can be visited year-round, although seas can be choppy in January and February. Generally speaking, diving conditions are best in the north between April and December, and in the south between October and April.
Komodo National Park Wildlife
Besides marine wonders, such as manta rays, sharks, whales, dugong, dolphin, and turtles, the desolate volcanic landscapes of Komodo, Rinca, Padar, and smaller islands are home to almost 6,000 Komodo dragons. Scientists studying evolution are fascinated by the islands, which are also home to Timor deer and wild boar.