Small Ship Cruises in Komodo

Even within Indonesia, Komodo cruises offer a series of truly unique experiences, from its arid climate and landscape to its near-mythical wildlife. Unlike the lush, verdant islands of Bali and Lombok, Komodo island is dry and hilly, covered in savannah-like brush, its shores surrounded by rough, fast-flowing currents and riptides, giving it a decidedly inhospitable allure, though a perfect setting for its most famous resident: the Komodo dragon. Despite its somewhat forbidding appearance, Komodo is home to a small village of hardy fisherman and, in addition to the well-known lizards, Komodo cruises feature encounters with an enormous variety of bird species, large mammals and marine life.

Top things to do and see in Komodo

Komodo is best known for its famous lizards, but it also offers a landscape that is unique among the islands of Indonesia, the opportunity to explore some of the most beautiful reefs in the world and encounters with local villagers.

Komodo National Park covers over 1700 square kilometres and includes the islands of Kom0do, Rinca and Padar, in addition to dozens of other smaller islands. The area was made a national park in 1980 and, in 1991, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. With a guide, visitors can trek through the park’s dry and rugged landscape, watching for the famed Komodo dragons, the largest lizards in the world. The park is also home to large mammals, such as Timor deer, pigs and wild buffalo, as well as over 150 species of birds, including the sulfur-crested cockatoo, jungle chickens, and the white-breasted sea eagle, while its reefs are practically bursting with marine life, from clownfish and parrotfish to the occasional sea turtle and manta ray.

The Komodo Dragons are without a doubt the highlight of any sailing trip to Komodo. The largest lizards in the world, Komodo dragons can grow to three meters and over 200 pounds and can eat half their body weight in a single meal. The dragons mainly eat large mammals, such as goats, pigs and deer. Though typically seen lounging in the sun, these beasts have been known to outrun a human. Visitors on Komodo cruises including both Komodo and Rinca will have two opportunities to spot the lizards. There are currently 1700 dragons on the island of Komodo, with another 2000 on Rinca, with very few on Padar.

Pentai Merah, or “red beach”, is so named for the pinkish hue of its sands, due to the presence of red coral particles. Located on the shores of Komodo Island, Pentai Merah is a perfect spot to relax after encounters with the island’s dragons! The beach is a gateway to many of the island’s water activities, including swimming, kayaking and paddle boarding. The island is also located in the midst of the so-called Coral Triangle, known as one of the hottest snorkelling spots in the world. Slip beneath the waves and you’ll encounter a magical world of coral and sea creatures, including seahorses, snake eels and manta rays.

Villages are present on the islands of Komodo and Rinca, and grant visitors on Indonesia luxury cruises the opportunity to interact with the only people in the world to live among dragons! Many of the homes in the fishing village of Kampung Komodo, on the island of Komodo, are built on stilts to keep out of reach of curious dragons. Visitors to the village can buy handmade crafts and enjoy an intimate look into the lives of the locals.

Top Tips for visiting Komodo

  • If you have one, bring an underwater camera to capture the underwater universe along the reefs of Komodo.
  • Komodo cruises include a fair amount of trekking, so wear good walking shoes. Given that the island is also very dry, with little shade, bring plenty of sunblock and water.
  • Though not included on all Komodo cruises, a visit to Padar Island includes trekking to the top of one of its many low peaks. Bring a camera to capture panoramic views of the surrounding islands of the East Nusa Tenggara region.
  • Note that Komodo National Park is a smoke-free zone.

Best time to cruise Komodo

There is no best time to visit Komodo as it is a year-round destination. The island is the driest area in Indonesia, thanks to warm dry winds coming in from Australia. Despite this, it is essential to plan ahead as the island still has its rainy season.

Komodo in April to November is the dry season when the weather is very arid and temperatures can reach 43 degrees Celsius (110 degrees Fahrenheit).

The rainy season on Komodo is from December to March, shorter than on other islands and with less rain per day. Komodo in January and February are the wettest months.

Note that Komodo dragon mating season is from July to August, with the eggs hatching the following April to May.

Where do Komodo cruises depart from?

Most Indonesian adventure cruises to Komodo leave either from Labuan Bajo on Flores, or Amed or Padang Bai (also known as Padangbai or Padang Bay) on Bali.

If your small boat cruise leaves from Bali, you will fly into the Ngurah Rai International Airport, also known as Denpasar International Airport, on Bali, and likely make your way to the resort town of Sanur, a popular meeting spot for Indonesia cruise operators approximately 20 minutes from the airport by Blue Bird Taxi. From Sanur, a shuttle will take you to Amed or Padang Bai, approximately two hours northeast of Sanur.

If your Komodo cruise departs from Labuan Bajo, you will still fly into Ngurah Rai International Airport and fly from Bali to Flores to begin your cruise.

Ngurah Rai International Airport is a major hub for flights within Indonesia and all of Southeast Asia. It is serviced by most major airlines.

Please contact our reservations team to book your next adventure cruise to Komodo, Indonesia.

Komodo Reviews

  • 9.1 Superb
  • 6 Verified Reviews
  • 8.4 Very good
  • Lloyd W
  • United States United States

The excursions were overall well-planned and delivered. Our kids loved the experiences.

Cruising Komodo in December on the Bulan Purnama

  • 9.6 Exceptional
  • John W
  • Australia Australia

Enjoyed seeing Komodo Dragons up close

Cruising Komodo in July on the Ombak Putih

  • 8.0 Very good
  • Matthias H
  • Switzerland Switzerland

Very nice to see the dragons but the island itself is quite dry

Cruising Komodo in September on the Navila