The Komodo National Park is one of the world’s best diving spots and rightly so. The topography, variety of fish and unique scenery makes it a highlight for every scuba diver. If you are a scuba diver and interested in visiting the Komodo National Park on a liveaboard – this post is for you!
This post will give you all the information on scuba diving in Komodo and what you can expect on a 3D/2N cruise on a liveaboard.
(Updated June 2023)
Best Time To Go to Komodo
You can dive all year round in the Komodo National Park. The dry season ranges from April to December and the rainy season from January To March.
Where To Start Your Komodo Liveaboard Trip
The main city in Flores and the closest to the Komodo National Park is Labuan Bajo. There are direct flights from Bali which take about 1 hour. There are a range of airlines that you can choose and the price for a return ticket is roughly 1.000.000 IDR (50 USD).
Choosing The Right Liveaboard
Charter or Group Tour
One of the first things to get clear on is whether you want to join a regular tour or to charter your own boat. Both options can be great and it pretty much comes down to your budget and availability.
Choosing to charter a boat with a group of friends can be the best option. It gives you ultimate freedom over the itinerary, starting and end date and a more private experience.
Budget or High-End Komodo Liveaboard
The options for liveaboards range from simple budget boats to high-end, luxurious sailing ships.
For a budget liveaboard, with shared sleeping arrangements, you can expect prices to start at US$2100 for the whole boat for 3D/2N. Divide this by the maximum amount of people and you might end up at 110 – 140 US$ per person, per day.
For a luxurious cruise with private cabins that lasts up to 10 days, expect to pay 500 US$ per day.
If you are active in the scuba diving community you can also contact diving shops directly and see if they offer liveaboard trips. This might save you some bucks $$$ as it’s easier to negotiate on rates and get a better deal.
I recommend Wunderpus Liveaboard – a wonderful company that caters to travelers who want to go offbeat, away from the tourists. This couldn’t have been more us!
They’re offering two types of boats, one for budget-conscious travelers and a luxurious one for up to 8 people. We opted for the budget-friendly Mimic Liveaboard. It can host up to 6 people, got lots of chill-out areas and was perfect for us.
What’s Included on a Liveaboard Trip:
- All of the diving and snorkeling equipment
- Full-board including snacks, water, coffee & tea (wine and beer could be purchased)
- Bedding, towels, shampoo
What’s Not Included in a Liveaboard Trip:
- Local tourism Tax (100.000 IDR per diver, per day)
- Komodo National Park Fee (175.000 IDR per person, per day)
- Komodo National Park Trekking Fee for either Rinca, Komodo or Padar
- Fee of 1,000.000 Million IDR or 70 USD per day if you want to use a drone
My Komodo Diving Itinerary 3D/2N
This is to give you an idea of what is possible to experience in 3 days and 2 nights when you dive in Komodo on a liveaboard.
Check the flights available. Oftentimes you must arrive one day beforehand, as most trips start early morning. Check if the diving company offers to pick you up from the airport!
The company we went with offered to chat about the itinerary that day, as well as that we try on our gear and make sure we are set for the upcoming days.
A great option to stay in Labuan Bajo is the Green Hill Boutique Hotel. The place got a restaurant on site, offering fantastic views of the bay and they got their own roastery in house. A double room costs 45 USD.
Day 1: Leaving Labuan Bajo to North Komodo
Pick up at 7.30 am from the harbor in Labuan Bajo. We included North Komodo’s dive sites into the itinerary as we heard its the best. And, not to spoil anything but it is!
In total you will dive 3 times on day 1.
The dive sites we visited were:
Sebayur Kecil I Tatawa Besar I Mawan
Those ones were designed to ease you into the dives, less challenging current and yet a great taste of what Komodo has to offer.
Day 2: North Komodo + Drive to Padar Island
Starting the day early, we had our first dive at 7.30 am. We visited the fantastic site of Castle Rock – an absolute must for diving !
Back on board, a delicious pancake breakfast awaited us. There is always time to relax in between dives, but short enough intervals to still manage to fit all the dives in.
The second dive started at around 9 am at The Cauldron, a challenging site that needs to be visited when the current isn’t too strong. A large part of the dive is a drift dive. We saw Napoleon Brasse, blacktip reef sharks, turtles and other big pelagic fish.
One back on the boat, you can expect a substantial lunch – so needed after 2 dives.
In the afternoon we arrived at our third dive spot called Crystal Rock. An amazing dive site that is more of a Pinnacle dive, with fantastic topography and a variety of fish.
From there, we drove towards Padar Island for our last dive of the day – a night dive. Wohoo!
Reminder: If you are planning to do a night dive, you need to either have the Advanced Open Water Certification or complete an Adventure Dive Certification prior. Our company offered to include the test and book review into the itinerary at the amazing price of 25 USD.
Once all of us successfully passed the test we were good to go to jump into the water, just after sunset.
We finished the day with more food, completed our log books and headed to bed early.
In total we did 4 dives on Day 2.
The dive sites we visited were:
Castle Rock I The Cauldron I Crystal Rock I Shipwreck near Padar
Day 3: Morning Hike to Padar Island + Return To Labuan Bajo
A slightly too early 4 am wake-up call and the roaring of the boat engine, started one of my personal highlights of the last week.
Visiting Padar Island as part of your Komodo Diving Trip
Officially the Padar Island office opens at 6 am – too late to catch the sunrise! Our boat captain accompanied us to the island and after a few phone calls and waiting, a ranger appeared.
New regulations have been put in place that requires visitors to have a ranger or guide to accompany them up to the top. One ranger is allowed to take groups of up to 4 people.
There are some 800 stairs leading up to two visitor platforms. The path is made out clearly and can be done without any specific shoewear.
After the last visitor platform, you can still continue up the hill via a dirt path. This I think proved to be the nicest spot for photos and to see the islands at their fullest.
PS: If you arrive as early as we did – prepare yourself to run up those stairs. We tried to get to the top as fast as we could, making it in 15 minutes.
Absolutely out of breath, we still caught the sunrise, the pink color reflected in the bays – one of the most magical moments
*Padar Trekking Fee: 15.000 IDR pp + 150.000 IDR per group of 5 people for a ranger
After breakfast, we were heading towards Central Komodo again. We spent a couple of hours at this beautiful patch of the park, crystal clear water, sharks appeared out of nowhere, and turtles passed by.
The last two dive sites were Batu Bolong and Manta Point. Both are famous for Manta sightings and sea turtles.
Around 3 pm we headed back towards Labuan Bajo, our hearts full of memories.
In total we did 2 dives on Day 3
The dive sites we visited were:
Batu Bolong I Manta Point
Roundup – What To Bring To Your Komodo Liveaboard Trip
- Reef-save sunscreen such as the one from Raw Elements
- Earplugs & sleeping mask – mine is from Typo
- Camera! Mine is the Canon 6D
- An underwater camera such as GoPro
- Drone such as the DJ Mavic Mini
A liveaboard trip in my opinion is the best way to explore Komodo National Park. We might have not seen the Komodo Dragons, but the underwater world is just as unique in the world. As a scuba diver, it’s a highlight and something I can only recommend!
I hope this shows you that a trip to explore the Komodo National Park is possible on any budget!
Reminder for your trip: Make sure to wait 24 hours after your last dive before you hop on a plane.
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article may contain affiliate links. If you purchase using these links, I earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend services and tools I know and trust myself.
For more adventure trips in Indonesia, head to my Volcano Hike Post.