Komodo National Park is a breathtaking holiday destination renowned for its stunning landscapes and vibrant marine life. Located in the Indonesian archipelago, this natural wonderland is a paradise for private yacht charters, diving expeditions, or family holidays. The region captivates visitors from all around the world with its remarkable blend of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The Komodo National Park, located between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores, spans over 219,322 hectares and comprises 29 islands in total. The park is a conservation priority area famous for its extraordinary biodiversity and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.
Composed of three major islands – Rinca, Komodo, and Padar – as well as many smaller volcanic islands, such as Kanawa and Kelong, Komodo National Park is a true gem within the Wallacea region. Situated at the meeting point of two continental plates, the area features diverse flora and fauna, shaped by its unique location and climate. From open grass-woodland savannas to tropical forests, the flora shows remarkable adaptation to dry conditions. Depending on your cruise itinerary, Komodo yacht charters may include visiting some of the following 7 islands.
Kanawa Island in Komodo National Park
Before you can embark on our journey through Komodo National Park, the first step is to get to Labuan Bajo, the capital of the West Manggarai Regency. Most visitors start their tours and cruises from there. The harbor town is located at the western end of Flores and is your gateway to Komodo National Park. Over the last few years, Labuan Bajo has become a major tourist hub with good restaurants and excellent places to stay. The closest airport, Komodo Airport, is located only 2 km away from the city center.
Flying to Komodo Airport is the fastest and most convenient way to get to Komodo National Park. In 2015, the terminal of Komodo Airport (LBJ) was modernized and can now welcome up to 1.5 million passengers per year. In addition, there are plans to further expand the airport and its capacity. Up to now, it is a domestic airport that offers regular connections to Denpasar, Jakarta – Soekarno Hatta, Kupang, and other destinations in Indonesia. A flight from Bali takes around 1 hour and 15 minutes. If you plan to fly to Komodo Airport from Jakarta, the estimated flight duration is 2 hours and 25 minutes.
For the more adventurous souls, there is an alternative to flying. You can get to Komodo National Park by boat. Going there by boat is only recommended for people who have plenty of time and travel without young children. There are two options you can choose from.
The geography of Komodo Island is a spectacle in itself. Its rugged hillsides feature sparkling colors, from the lush greens of tropical forests to the earthy tones of the rocky cliffs. The island covers an area of approximately 520 square kilometers (200 square miles) and does not have a permanent human population. Beyond its natural beauty, Komodo Island holds great historical and scientific significance. It is home to the famous Komodo dragons, the largest living species of lizard on our planet. These magnificent animals, existing nowhere else in the world, have fascinated scientists and adventurers for decades. With their ancient appearance and powerful presence, encountering Komodo dragons in their natural habitat is a truly breathtaking experience.
The island’s diverse landscapes range from savannah-like grasslands to dense forests, creating an environment that supports a large variety of flora and fauna. As you hike through the island’s trails, keep your senses attuned to the calls of exotic birds. You might even catch glimpses of deer, wild boars, and other animals that inhabit this island.
However, the main attraction of Komodo Island is the legendary Komodo dragon. These huge reptiles, with their massive size and prehistoric appearance, attract visitors from all over the world. Accompanied by local and knowledgeable guides, you have the opportunity to witness the giant lizards up close and observe them in their natural habitat. It is an extraordinary encounter! We highly recommend getting a guide to explore the island and meet its unique inhabitants!
Kanawa Island is situated northwest of the island of Flores, approximately 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) from Labuan Bajo, the harbor town on the western tip of Flores. Labuan Bajo serves as the main gateway to the island, and visitors can easily reach Kanawa Island by taking a short boat ride from the harbor. The island is part of the volcanic chain that characterizes the region, offering a unique blend of natural wonders both above and below the water’s surface.
Historically, Kanawa Island has long been cherished by local communities for its abundance of marine resources. Fishing has been a traditional livelihood and a way of life for generations. This ensures a deep connection between the people and the surrounding sea. Today, visitors of the island have the opportunity to witness the harmonious coexistence of nature and sustainable practices, as efforts are made to preserve the island’s ecological integrity while still providing a memorable holiday experience.
Diving enthusiasts will be delighted by the vibrant underwater world. The coral reefs surrounding Kanawa Island are abundant with life, offering a diverse lineup of marine species, such as stingrays, starfish, and sometimes even blacktip reef sharks. Immerse yourself in the crystal-clear waters, and be prepared to be welcomed by curious tropical fish swimming through the coral formations. Snorkelers and children can explore the shallower areas, observing the magical underwater ecosystem up close.
Kelor Island is located in the Flores Sea, to the northeast of Labuan Bajo, and approximately 10 kilometers (6.3 miles) away from the larger Komodo Island. The island is relatively small, only covering an area of about 1.3 hectares (13,000 square meters). It is characterized by its hilly terrain and lush vegetation. The island’s prominent hill provides visitors with a panoramic view of the surrounding waters and neighboring islands. In addition, Kelor Island is home to a unique phenomenon known as “mirror stone.” These mirror-like stones can be found on the shorelines and are formed from crystalline limestone. When the stones are submerged in water, they reflect the sunlight, creating a stunning mirror effect.
One of the must-visit spots on Kelor Island is its iconic viewpoint. As you hike to the top, you will be greeted by a breathtaking view. The hike is short and not really challenging, making it a perfect land activity for your cruise adventure in Komodo National Park. Moreover, Kelor Island provides beautiful opportunities for water activities such as kayaking or paddleboarding. You can paddle along the shoreline, exploring hidden coves and secluded beaches that offer a sense of solitude and adventure.
Padar Island is one of the largest islands in Komodo National Park and a main tourist attraction. It is characterized by its rugged and dramatic landscape, featuring steep hills and jagged cliffs. The island is famous for its iconic panoramic view, where three bays with different colored beaches come together. The contrasting colors of the beaches result from the erosion of volcanic rocks over time.
Geographically speaking, Padar Island is known for its distinctive shape, with its three bays carved into the rugged cliffs and lush greenery. As you venture on a hike to the island’s viewpoint, you will find yourself immersed in a world of unparalleled beauty. The trek to the summit is moderate and built with wooden steps. As you reach the top, you will be greatly rewarded with a stunning panorama that showcases the island’s landscapes and mesmerizing shades of blue. Cruising Komodo National Park on a yacht charter, Padar Island and its viewpoint is a perfect activity for all the family. In addition to its famous viewpoint, Padar Island is a great spot for birdwatching. Birdwatchers can spot birds such as the orange-footed scrub fowl and the yellow-crested cockatoo.
Padar viewpoint is one of the most popular spots in Komodo National Park
Rinca Island spans an area of approximately 198 square kilometers, making it the second-largest island within the Komodo National Park, after Komodo Island. The island features a rocky terrain characterized by rolling hills, dry grasslands, and some spots of dense vegetation. Its diverse topography provides a habitat for a variety of wildlife species. The network of trekking and nature trails allows visitors to explore its landscapes and observe wildlife up close. Guided tours led by experienced park rangers offer an exciting adventure while cruising Komodo. The tours will provide you with insights into the island’s unique flora, and fauna.
Rinca Island is the second island where you can meet the Komodo dragons. Accompanied by experienced guides, you will venture out on a journey to observe these ancient animals. As you hike carefully along the designated trails, keep your eyes open for the dragons taking a sunbath or quietly observing their surroundings. Witnessing their sheer size and beauty is a moment that will leave an indelible mark on your holiday memory. Additionally, don’t forget to explore the island’s other attractions, such as hidden beaches and viewpoints that offer views of the surrounding islands. The island is also known for its diverse range of orchid species. The tropical climate and topography create favorable conditions for the flowers to thrive.
Beautifull wildlife sanctuary on Rinca Island
Kalong means “big bats” or “flying foxes” in Indonesian. The island, which gets its name from its unique inhabitants, is completely covered in mangroves and can only be marveled at from a boat or yacht. Located only 8 km (5 miles) away from Labuan Bajo, it is easily accessible via boat tours or as a stop on your yacht charter. During the day, the flying foxes protect themselves from the sun but when the sun sets, you will be able to watch a memorable spectacle.
As the sun begins to set, the island comes alive with anticipation. Prepare a good spot on the boat and be mesmerized as the kalongs awaken from their sleep. With their wings spanning up to 1.2 meters (4 ft), they gracefully take flight, creating a captivating play against the backdrop of the darkening sky. Most species of flying foxes feed on fruit and flowers. The pollen and nectar of coconut and durian are among their favorite foods. If you have time and are not in a rush, you can witness them coming back early in the morning seeking shelter and rest.
The Flying Foxes of Kalong Island
Last on our list of top 7 islands to visit in Komodo National Park is Sebayur Island. The island features a diverse topography with sandy beaches, rocky shores, and gentle slopes. Its shoreline is fringed by vibrant coral reefs, making it a popular destination for diving and snorkeling. Sebayur Island is renowned for its rich and diverse marine life. The surrounding waters are home to numerous coral species, providing habitats for an array of colorful fish, sea turtles, rays, and other fascinating underwater life.
Sebayur Island is known for its world-class diving and snorkeling sites. The crystal-clear water offers excellent visibility and a beautiful insight into the underwater wonders of Komodo National Park. Popular dive sites near Sebayur Island include “Tatawa Besar” and “Tatawa Kecil”. Divers can spot schools of fish, vibrant coral formations, and even larger species such as reef sharks and manta rays. Moreover, the island’s sandy beaches serve as nesting grounds for sea turtles, particularly green turtles and hawksbill turtles. From March to October, these endangered animals come ashore to lay their eggs in the warm sand. Witnessing the hatching of baby turtles and their journey to the sea can be a truly memorable experience for you and your family.
Komodo National Park is a wonderful holiday destination and its islands offer many possibilities to create lasting memories. From world-class scuba diving, over stunning views to the legendary Komodo dragons, this region of Indonesia is perfect for a diving expedition, a private honeymoon charter, or a family sailing holiday. Exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site on a yacht is truly remarkable and a unique holiday experience that is unparalleled.