In this guide to diving in Komodo National Park we discuss the best dive sites, dive operators, live aboard diving and options to dive from Flores island. The park is accessed by most from Labuanbajo on Flores Island. Reaching Labuanbajo from Bali is easy, check out our Complete Bali Diving Guide for everything you need to know about diving from this popular island.
Komodo National Park includes three large islands; Komodo, Rinca and Padar, and also include many little islands to cover a total area of more than 1,800 km2 of ocean and land.
For more about traveling and exploring the island see our Komodo island and Flores complete guide
Highlights of Scuba Diving Komodo Island
Indonesia is probably the best country in the world for diving and Komodo National Park is definitely one of the dive highlights in this underwater paradise. The amount and variety of fish is unreal, millions of reef fish of all shapes, colors and sizes, plenty of massive pelagic fish and sharks hunting in crystal clear water on the pristine coral reefs. The highlights for most that visit the park are the massive manta rays gliding around underwater and the Komodo Dragons walking on Komodo and Rinca islands. Komodo is mainly about the big stuff, but do not underestimate the macro life in the park, we saw some amazing things; blue ringed octopus, sea horse, crocodile fish and more.
We have spent plenty of time exploring different islands around Indonesia, see what we think is All the Best Diving Around Indonesia.
Komodo National Park Dive Sites (our dive log)
Batu Bolong (rock with a hole in it)
Max Depth 30m, Avg Depth 14m, viz 25m, temp 27C
This was our favourite dive in Komodo National Park. Descending in the crystal clear water next to this rock it feels like you are in an aquarium.
Massive schools of small zebra fish and a variety of colorful fish swims close to the surface. We saw massive greater barracuda, giant trevally, schools of blue spot trevally, tuna and a variety of pelagics hunting around the rock.
Looking closer to the rock there were turtles, moray eels, stone fish and a variety of nudibranches. The rock drops down to 70m in at about 30m when looking down there were reef sharks and a variety of big wrasse, including a massive napoleon swimming around.
Max Depth 29m, Avg Depth 11.2m, viz 20m, temp 27C
Amazing Dive! Greeted by large manta ray! Sloping reef, sand patch followed by nice drift dive through a channel. Nice fish life, Giant Trevallies, sweetlips, schools of batfish, large groupers, one or two turtles
Max Depth 15m, Avg Depth 10m, viz 20m, temp 27C
One of the most dived sites in the park. Your best chance to dive with manta rays, sometimes schooling in the area! We saw two eagle rays majestically flying over the reef, for me the most graceful of all rays.
You can see them here all year round, but the best season for mantas is from December to February when you can have 20 or 30 of these giants circling you! It is a very flat, shallow site with small rocks covering the bottom. Current here can be very strong and some groups use reef hooks to remain in one position, hovering in the current while looking at the mantas. We were very unlucky, in August it was not season but many groups saw 4 or 5 mantas. We had zero current and saw only one manta for a short while.
Max Depth 28m, Avg Depth 17m, viz 20m, temp 28C
Our favorite site in the north. Large see mound, beautiful soft corals. Many black tip reef sharks. Huge dog tooth tuna.
Site with the most huge trevallies, came very close. Big Napoleon wrasse, many sweetlips, batfish, butterfly fish and blue spot trevallies.
Max Depth 19m, Avg Depth 14m, viz 8m, temp 27C
Close to Rinca Island, usually dived as an alternative to the Rinca dragon hike. Classic muck diving site, flat sandy bottom some awesome unique things to discover, a good guide helps. We saw a sea horse and my first blue ring octopus!
Max Depth 27m, Avg Depth 13.9m, viz 20m, temp 27C
Sea mound, good viz, lots of fish, big trevallies
Max Depth 19m, Avg Depth 11.2m, viz 20m, temp 28C
Awesome drift dive, beautiful hard and soft corals. Amazing reef covered in fish at 10-20m depth, Great dive, Big GT’s, huge Napoleon wrasse, snappers, breams, Bluefin trevallies, many damsel fish, sweetlips, white tip reef sharks, large cuttlefish, blue spotted stingray, leafy scorpion fish.
Max Depth 16m, Avg Depth 9m, viz 20m, temp 28C
Drift dive in the channel Gili Lawa Darat and Komodo Island. Nice chilled out drift dive in slow current. Beautiful corals. Big turtle, many sweetlips, a white and a green leafy scorpion fish, blue spotted stingrays. Many small reef fish.
Max Depth 22m, Avg Depth 13m, viz 20m, temp 28C
Nice reef, slow current. Nice macro stuff; frogfish, leafy scorpionfish, nudis, scorpionfish. Some blue spotted trevallies, blue spotted stingray, small reef fish.
Best time to dive Komodo Island
Komodo National Park experiences a wet season and a dry season. Reading about diving conditions in Komodo does not make it easier with so much contradicting information, I believe you can dive all year round.
- Our personal experience, late November was really good we had good diving every day and we were surrounded by plenty of mantas at Manta Point. In August we also had great diving, the weather was good, viz was good, I saw a blue ring octopus in the south, but we saw very few mantas, only 2 in a week of diving.
- Diving in the Wet Season
- Wet season generally runs from December until March, Jan/ Feb there is a lot of rain, not always pleasant.
- January to March can have rough surface conditions at the northern dive sites.
- Wet season is Manta Season!! You can see mantas all year, but peak season to see mantas is December to February when you can have more than 10 mantas circling you
- Visibility is best from November to January, late November we had plenty of mantas and good diving conditions.
- Diving in the Dry Season
- April to November period is considered dry season when the weather is at its best.
- May/June & September/October is rated by many as the best diving conditions.
- July and August can have rough seas in the south and Rinca.
Liveaboard diving or dive from Labuanbajo
The Komodo National Park is located within the Lesser Sunda Islands and includes Komodo, Rinca, Padar and 26 small islands. The sites in the park is fairly spread out, making this a great area to explore by live aboard. You can dive most of the sights you will dive by live aboard on day trips from Labuanbajo, this option is cheaper.
Why dive Komodo National Park from a liveaboard?
- You will be at the dive sites first, while hundreds of divers are heading to the dive sites on slow boats, you are already in the water, before other divers scare your fish away!
- (diving is often dictated by current and tides, thus sometimes being there first won’t get you in the water first) still nice to wake up on the dive site and role into the water after breakfast!
- Night dives, everything is different at night and it is amazing to be able to dive these far off sites at night
- It is awesome, what can be better than living on a boat for a couple of days, waking up and diving some of the worlds best sites after breakfast and then all day…
Komodo Liveaboard Diving
There are liveaboards at a huge variety of budgets operating around Komodo, before you book do research and read reviews on the boats. Here are some excellent Liveaboard options for diving in Komodo National Park.
For fantastic deals on liveaboard trips in Komodo National Park in 2023 Check out these boats:
Going on a dive trip? – Dive Trip Packing List+Tips
Dive qualifications needed for diving in Komodo National Park
There are many sites in Komodo National Park with varying experience required. Some sites do have strong currents and down currents do sometimes occur. Experience is essential to dive here. You can dive some beautiful spots and see incredible things with an open water qualification (18m max). Your dive operator should only take you on dives suited for your experience level. Don’t be shy to discuss issues around this and group size with them before you go on the dive.
It is important to have insurance when traveling, especially if you are doing adventure activities with risk involved. If you need evacuation or decompression treatment it can be very costly. Make sure you take out the appropriate cover. Get a online quote in seconds. Have your trip, your health and your gear covered, read the small print. World Nomads Diving Insurance
Dive Centers for Komodo National Park Scuba Diving
There are many dive operators in Labuanbajo, several well-known franchise operators also present elsewhere in South East Asia, e.g. Blue Marlin Dive Center and Scuba Junkie.
We had some great diving with local operators Komodo Dive Center and Divers Paradise Komodo at a great price.
Getting to Labuanbajo
Getting from Lombok to Labuanbajo flying in is the easiest, budget airlines fly from Bali (Denpasar) to Labuan Bajo (Komodo Airport). Flights are also available from Jakarta to Komodo.
You can take a bus-ferry combination from Lombok or Gili Trawangan. This is the cheapest way, but is quite a long trip. See our detailed guide how to get from Bali to Flores
Taking a 3 day boat trip is popular, this is really budget with the boat cruising along for 3 days. I loved this trip, but it is quite a hardcore backpackers adventure on a low budget.
Accommodation in Labuanbajo
On a budget – La Boheme Bajo
Medium budget – Golo Hilltop Hotel & Restaurant
Treat yourself – Sudamala Resort, Komodo
Non-diving activities around Labuanbajo and Komodo
Diving was our main reason for traveling here, but there are many other things to do around this beautiful area.
- See the Komodo dragons on Komodo and Rinca island
- Go for a day trip to the beautiful Padar island and tackle a steep hike to the amazing viewpoints
- Go island hopping, spend a day on Kanawa island
- Rent a scooter and drive around Flores, there are some amazing waterfalls to see
- Visit Sano Nggoang Lake
- Hike Kelimutu Volcano
- See thousands of bats migrating from Kalong Island
- See our Complete guide to visiting Flores and Komodo
South East Asia Diving Resources
The 17 000 islands of Indonesia offers some amazing sites and an unreal variety of fantastic diving. Bali is the most touristy island and Nusa Penida is a great spot to see Manta Rays all year round directly from Bali. See different options for how to get from Bali to Flores
The massive island Sulawesi is a great spot for diving with some of the best muck diving in the world in the Lembeh strait, some great diving in the lesser explored Bira and a fantastic off the beaten track island adventure in the Togian islands.
For a lesser explored island with good diving Pulau Weh near Sumatra is a good place to go.
There is great diving all over South East Asia, if you want to do your open water course or advanced check out our article on the Best Dive Schools on Koh Tao, Thailand. The Perhentian Islands in Malaysia is another fantastic spot for dive training, chilling on the beach with some great dive spots.
Swimming with the massive, gentle whale sharks is a bucket list item for many people and the Philippines is one of the best places in the world to go, for our experience see our articles on Swimming with Whale Sharks in The Philippines and a review on swimming with whale sharks in Oslob in the Philippines.
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The strong half of Stingy Nomads, a nomadic aquaman that would be happy to spend all his life in the water diving, surfing and spearfishing but often has to compromise with Alya and go hiking instead. Campbell is responsible for all our marine adventures and following them with write-ups. He loves traveling, braai (BBQ in South Africa), red wine and spending the day in a wetsuit.