Best known for a rich marine life, swift drift diving and of course the famous Komodo dragon, Komodo is located in the heart of the Indonesian Archipelago. A pivotal part of Komodo is the Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site that also encompasses the islands of Padar and Rinca as well as 26 smaller ones. If you are planning a trip to Komodo, here is a definitive guide for staying at a dive resort in the area.
The best time to go
If you are a diving enthusiast, you can rent a dive resort in Komodo at any time of the year. This is because diving in the crystal-clear waters of Komodo is possible year-round. However, the Nusa Tenggara region experiences a dry season between the months of May and September which is considered to be liveaboard season.
During the wet season, the weather tends to be too adverse with rough seas which can be challenging for liveaboards. However, this doesn’t mean that one can’t still dive. You just need to choose a resort-based option. Waters around the Komodo have an ever-present strong current which ensures great visibility when diving or snorkeling.
Where to go diving
The northern half of Komodo National Park is primarily where you will find resort-based diving due to proximity. Water in the north is very clear and typically warm, its visibility averages 25 meters although it can reach 40 meters. The average water temperatures are around 27 to 28 C.
Due to strong currents, the northern part of the Komodo National Park, the diving sites around there are mainly suitable for experienced divers. While the strong currents attract big water animals including sharks, mantas and giant trevally, the volcanic topography offers alluring underwater landscapes.
The central bit of Komodo National Park provides the most varied diving. Here, you will often come across adjacent dive sites which have completely different marine life and topography. The visibility in this area averages around 15 meters but can range from 7 to 23 meters.
While it is possible to dive any time of the year, some dive sites are better between the months of April and November. You are guaranteed to see reef sharks and turtles as well as mantas at a couple of the popular dive sites in central Komodo
Water in the southern part of the Komodo National Park is cooler averaging 23 to 24 C. While visibility averages around 12 meters but it varies with upwellings between 7 and 20 meters. October to April is the best season to go diving in south of Komodo because it is when the water gets warmer and clearer.
Due to the upwellings, there is a limitless supply of plankton which comes with a wide array of marine life including mantas.
Liveaboards in Komodo
A liveaboard is the best way to experience the full range of diving in Komodo. There are plenty of options for liveaboards ranging from luxury to budget and everything else in between. Most liveaboards feature land-based day trips depending on the itinerary. For instance, it can be a surface interval visit to one of the region’s famous pink beaches or a trip to Rinca Island to see the Komodo Dragons live in their natural habitat.
A plethora of tour operators in Labuan Bajo run Komodo dragon and hiking tours, snorkeling trips and pink beach days. If you are travelling with non-diving friends or family members, you can still curate a great mix of diving, snorkeling and other activities to keep everyone entertained and ensure that they enjoy their time in Komodo.
While there are Komodo dragons on Komodo Island, Rinca Island has a better setup since it has more hiking trails and tends to be less busy. All trips into Komodo National Park have a park fee which goes toward ranger wages and facility upkeep. A hike up Padar Island will provide you with picturesque views along the way until the summit.