Home to some of the finest and most popular dive sites of Indonesia, this is the Komodo National Park. You can choose between liveaboard cruises that run to and from Bali, or trips that concentrate only on the sites within the park.
Trips to the Komodo include GPS Point, a submerged pinnacle bedecked in soft coral where dog-tooth tuna, schools of barracuda and a variety of sharks patrol the area in search of food. Cannibal Rock must be one of the most colourful dive sites in the world where vibrant anemones, sea apples and purple gorgonian fans make beautiful photographic subjects. Pillarsteen provides a break from the colour and vast fish life of the park, by being a site where a series of caves, chimneys and rocky outcrops provide breathtaking swim-throughs.
Some of the other dive sites you will visit on a Komodo liveaboard tour are Red Beach, Yellow Wall of Texas, Tatawa Island and Gili Lawa where you nearly always find manta rays feeding in the strong currents. [More details on these dive sites: Komodo].
If you are on a liveaboard in this region you will usually make a number of island excursions, including the opportunity to go ashore on Komodo island and meet the fabled dragons of lore! Be careful not to get too close or you will be testing the efficacy of their often fatal bites!
You have a number of options when choosing a liveaboard tour. There are many cruises for between 5 and 10 nights which cover the best dive sites of the Komodo National Park. The longer the cruise, the more of the park you will dive and most divers choose a trip of around 7 nights. Most of these safaris depart and return to from Labuan Bajo and include both the northern and southern parts of the park. In the northern section you can expect to dive sites such as GPS Point, Castle Rock and Batu Bolong. In the southern section, sites like Manta Alley, End of the World and Yellow Wall. Other well known sites in the centre of the park, for example, such as Pillarsteen and Pink Beach are normally also included in these cruises.
There are short trips available for those with limited time or budget which allow you to dive in the park for a few days, e.g. 2-4 nights. Some of these boats remain in the park and can be joined any day by speedboat. Often, short trips will not allow you to visit the further sites of the park, so you may find yourself restricted to the northern and central sites that are not far from Labuan Bajo or where the liveaboard boat is stationed.
Divers should be fairly experienced since some of the sites here can experience strong currents. Dive guides will try to avoid diving certain sites experiencing current, but the sea is a changeable creature and you should be comfortable in the water in different conditions.
This is an alternative liveaboard route that takes in not only the Komodo National Park, which remains their focus, but also dive sites (and land visits) on islands further west. These include the islands of: Moyo, Sangeang and Satonda. Normally these itineraries are for 7 to 10 nights. [More details on these dive sites: Sumbawa].
There are other trips which visit the Komodo National Park, but as part of an itinerary that is unlike the more unusual routes. These may include visits to Alor, Sumbawa, Flores and the Banda Sea. See our dedicated Transit Trips for more details.
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Liveaboards in Komodo run for the entire year because every month promises terrific diving. November to March is rainy season so many consider the best months for a visit to be from April to November. January to March can see rougher surface conditions in the north, whereas July and August can bring rough seas to the southern sites. Some dive charters operate all year while others visit for only part of the year. The weather rarely interferes with tours as the south and north have different sea conditions and so there are always dive sites available.
The best visibility in Komodo (~30m) is from November to January. July and August see lower visibility and cooler water temperatures but the extra nutrients at this time bring marine life in bloom. Normally the sea temperature is warmer and clearer in the north (average 25 to 28°C) and cooler in the south (average 20 to 25°C), but sometimes this changes. Mantas are seen all year round in Komodo but the most reliable time is December to February. Mola Mola (sunfish) are most frequently encountered in August.
Liveaboard Ports of Departure for Komodo and How to Get There
Komodo liveaboard cruises normally depart from Labuan Bajo or Maumere in Flores, although they may also use Bima in Sumbawa. Komodo & Sumbawa trips may use these ports or Benoa harbour in Bali. Departures from Sumbawa or Flores will require a domestic flight from Bali or Jakarta. Most people fly into Indonesia to Jakarta (Java) or Denpasar (Bali). More information on: How to get to Indonesia.
You can view which ports the various boats use on their trips in the 'Departures & Prices' section of each boat's webpage. Whichever ports your boat uses, normally the boat operator provides a transfer to the boat from the local airport or hotels (if you overnight beforehand). We will send you full departure details during the booking process.
We recommend you take out insurance to cover diving and travel activities, including trip cancellation. See our insurance programme for a competitive quotation:
Places to Stay
If you plan on staying in Indonesia before or after your Komodo Island liveaboard diving safari, you can find a large range of accommodation options at hotelscombined.com, our affiliated hotel reservation specialists. Browse their website, use their on-line chat to ask questions, then simply use your credit card to make your booking:
All bookings carry a 'Low Price Guarantee' to ensure you get top-dollar value for money.
Useful References for Liveaboard Cruises in Komodo
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