Diving in Komodo
The World Heritage Site
Komodo Island and national park reserve offers the liveaboard diver just about every type of tropical diving imaginable - from warm, calm and colourful shallow reefs alive with hundreds of colourful reef fishes and crammed with invertebrates, to current-swept deep cool water sea mounts, walls and pinnacles patrolled by sharks, tuna and other big fish.
The variety of marine life that you can see when you're Komodo scuba diving rivals the world's best dive destinations. This is close to the world's epicentre for marine diversity and you'll see loads of stuff here on a liveaboard diving cruise that you just won't see anywhere else in the world.
From sunfish, mantas, dolphins and eagle rays to pygmy seahorses, ornate ghost pipefish, clown frogfish, nudibranchs and blue-ringed octopus, all are at home amongst a spectacular range of colourful sponges, sea squirts, tunicates and corals; Komodo is a macro enthusiast's heaven.
Geologically, Komodo Island and Rinca are part of Flores, separated from Sumbawa to the west by the Sape Strait. In the middle of the strait, the bottom drops to almost 300 metres. The many islands and relatively shallow seas between Flores and Komodo's west coast mean very fast currents at tidal changes, especially when the higher tidal waters of the Pacific Ocean in the north flow through into the Indian Ocean to the south. The upwellings from the deep surrounding seas bring nutrients and plankton to keep these waters rich and well-fed, which makes perfect conditions for some spectacular scuba diving.
Komodo Island is also famous for its Komodo dragon monitor lizard, the largest lizard in the world. An alert and agile predator and scavenger that can reach 2.5 metres in length and 125 kg, they are known locally as 'Ora' and now about 1,100 inhabit the island and about half that live on nearby Rinca Island.
Dive Site Descriptions
There are a lot of excellent dive sites around the park, many of which would be the jewel in the crown of lesser dive destinations but if we have to limit the highlights then we could do no better than to recommend to you:
Cannibal Rock - Unlike many Komodo diving sites, there is little heart-stopping action here but in terms of colour and activity there are few better spots. There is just so much going on around this sea mount: purple gorgonians, anemones, yellow and white spiral corals and sea apples that together create a riot of colour. In and around this vibrant sessile tableau live all sorts of sea-life making night diving here simply awesome. All the while rays, snappers, sweetlips and turtles cruise around the rock. Night or day, Cannibal Rock inspires.
Yellow Wall Of Texas - Another of Komodo Island National Park's signature dives, Yellow Wall is so called because of the proliferation of robust sea cucumbers - they are all over the place and their bright yellow hue dominates the vista. Not only does the wall itself promise much in the way of entertainment but sharks, manta rays and turtles are all frequent passers-by.
Gili Lawa - There are multiple dive sites around Gili Lawa Laut and Gili Lawa Darat. Crystal Bommie is a submerged pinnacle with great schooling action. Castle Rock is another exposed site with sharks, trevally and even dolphins regularly spotted. The Passage can be a great site for manta rays and mobula rays and also makes a stunning night dive. These are not the most regularly visited dive sites in Komodo, but when the conditions are right, they can showcase some of what makes diving here so special.
GPS Point - Often heralded as a highlight of Komodo diving, this site is one where the currents can come into play. Currents normally means fish and here you can meet with numerous tuna, barracudas, Napoleon wrasse and an array of sharks, maybe even including hammerheads. The shallows are full of macro life living among the soft corals and staghorns which you can check out when conditions are calm. This is normally a high-adrenalin dive that dominates the excited conversation when you get back on board your liveaboard.
How to Dive Komodo
Although there are a few resorts beginning to pop up around the area, the dive sites are well spaced out and the only way to truly see all of Komodo Island and the surrounding area is by liveaboard. There are plenty of liveaboards and you should find something for every budget.
Got a question?
Have a look through our Frequently asked questions
You can go liveaboard diving in Komodo all year round. The liveaboards here do not close for an off-season because every month of the year promises top quality action. Some consider April to November to be the best time to visit as the weather is best then and November to March is rainy season. April, just after rainy season, is often considered the best month.
Normally the water is cooler in the south and warmer and clearer in the north, but this can change. The absolute best time for good visibility in Komodo is from November to January. July and August, having cooler seas and being more nutrient-rich, have lower visibility but have blooming marine life.
January to March can have rough surface conditions at the northern Komodo dive sites. July and August can have rough seas in the south and Rinca. But these conditions rarely interfere with the liveaboard schedules to any great extent.
As far as seasonal patterns for big marine life go, the best time for manta sightings is December to February (though they are seen all year round), and for Mola Mola the best month is generally August.
Good for: Large animals, small animals, wall dives, underwater photography, drift diving, reef life and health and advanced divers
Not so good for: Wrecks and beginner divers
Depth: 5 - >40m
Visibility: 5 - 30m
Currents: Can be very strong
Surface conditions: Can be rough
Water temperature: 20 - 28°C
Experience level: Intermediate - advanced
Number of dive sites: >35
Distance: ~490 km east of Bali (24 hours), 20 km west of Labuan Bajo (Flores, 2 hours), 90 km east southeast of Bima (Sumbawa, 8 hours)
Access: Komodo liveaboard cruises
Recommended length of stay: 6 - 11 days
Dive Site Descriptions
For more detailed information on the diving sites:
• Komodo Island travel information
View a map of:
• Komodo - Indonesia
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