Skip to main content

Snorkeling Komodo!

Snorkeling the colorful reefs of Komodo National Park!

Komodo National Park is a favorite destination for our Coral Triangle Adventures snorkeling toursKomodo National Park is located about midpoint along Indonesia’s Lesser Sunda archipelago, a chain of volcanic islands that extend eastward from Java. The 1,817 square kilometer park was established in 1980 to preserve the largest lizard in the world, the Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis), and became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1986.
X
The park consists of three main islands: Komodo, Rinca, and Padar, and numerous smaller islands and islets. Unlike many tropical islands, islands in the park generally receive little or no rainfall for nearly eight months out of the year. This is due primarily to the strong, dry winds from Australia that bring warm air and little moisture. As a result, most of the islands have a rugged appearance with exposed rock and little vegetation. Though this harsh environment does not promote the type of terrestrial biodiversity that is seen in lush, tropical rainforests, the islands have several exceptional inhabitants such as wild boar, Timor deer, water buffaloes and, of course, the Komodo dragon. Dragons can be found on all three of the large islands in the park, but the population of about 5000 animals is essentially divided almost equally between Rinca and Komodo.
X
While the national park and UNESCO status helped preserve the island’s most famous inhabitant, it was also very effective in preserving marine life around the local waters as well. As a contrast to the rugged landscape, the underwater wilderness showcases lush, vibrant reefs with a dazzling number of tropical fishes and corals. Located in the heart of the Coral Triangle, the park possesses over 500 species of hard corals and close to 1500 species of tropical fishes! Our snorkeling tour focuses on the amazing habitat diversity that can be found in the park; visiting exposed reefs where thousands of reef fish cloud the water above fields of techno-colored corals, black sand coral gardens where a good eye can find interesting cryptic critters such as sea horses and nudibranchs, and current swept passes where manta rays and sharks glide effortlessly in the cobalt-blue sea. If excitement both in the water and on land is what you seek, please join us on our snorkeling expedition to the best reefs that Komodo National Park has to offer!
X

ITINERARY

The 2023 14-day expedition with the Mermaid I begins and ends in Bali, with no internal flights (click here to see route map). Departing from Bali allows us to explore some of the reefs near Moyo (Angel reef) and Satonda, as well as have the chance to snorkel with whale sharks!

Day 1: Sanur / Hyatt Regency
Day 2: Board Mermaid I depart for Komodo National Park
Day 3: Angel Reef / Moyo
Day 4-8: Komodo National Park
Day 9-11: Gili Banta / Sangeang
Day 12: Whale sharks in Sumbawa!
Day 13: Bali / Hyatt Regency
Day 14: International departures

The 2024 13-day expedition begins and ends in Bali, Indonesia with a round trip flight to Labuan Bajo, Flores where our tour begins (click here to see route map). Departing from Labuan Bajo gives us nearly immediate access to Komodo National Park. Please note that the following is a general itinerary and that weather, tides, and other unforeseen or unavoidable circumstances may affect the schedule at any time.

Day 1: Sanur / Hyatt Regency
Day 2: Flight to Labuan Bajo / board Gaia Love
Day 3-8: Komodo National Park
Day 9-11: Gili Banta / Sangeang
Day 12: Bali / Hyatt Regency
Day 13: International departures

Area descriptions:

Angel Reef / Satonda
Angel reef is a shallow sea mount with a small coral beach that becomes exposed at the low tide. The reef that surrounds the tiny island is amazing! Lush coral coverage provides habitat for thousands of tiny reef fishes, and the ever present light current attracts larger fish like black snapper and unicorn fishes close to the steep reef-lined walls. It would not be a stretch to say that the area is home to thousands of garden eels that are sometimes so thick in the sand that it looks like the substrate is moving as a continuous organism. Satonda has a shallow fringing reef that provides good substrate for a variety of interesting marine creatures like cuttlefishes, octopuses and many species of scorpionfishes. We also have the opportunity to go for a hike to see the inland lake as well as at sunset, watch thousands of fruit bats migrate from Satonda to the main island of Sumbawa.

Komodo National Park
Komodo National Park is home to some of the most colorful and diverse shallow coral reefs in the world. Located squarely in the coral triangle the reefs in the park possess over 500 species of hard corals and nearly 1500 species of tropical reef fish. Most of our snorkeling sites revolve around the high number of habitats that include coral gardens with nearly 100% coral coverage, narrow passes where swift currents attract manta rays, sharks, and large schools of fish, seaward reefs that consistently showcase more species of angelfishes and butterflyfishes than any other place we go in the world, and lush mangrove systems with its unique group of inhabitants. Our snorkels in Horseshoe Bay, an ancient, deceased caldera at the southern tip of Rinca Island, may expose us to some cooler water but the reefs here are stunning. Orange cup corals carpet the substrate and schools of anthias and fusiliers numbering in the thousands hover above. During our stay in the park, we will also visit Komodo dragons on Rinca as well as have some wild encounters with dragons in Horseshoe Bay. Overnight: Mermaid I.

Gili Banta / Sangeang
Two destinations that lie outside of the park are Gili Banta and Sangeang. Gili Banta has beautiful examples of exposed, seaward reefs where robust hard corals of many shapes and colors stand firm against the incoming waves. Sangeang is an active volcano that last erupted in 2014. The snorkeling here is amazing as the vibrant colors of both soft and hard coral contrast beautifully against the black, volcanic sand. The added bonus is the consistency of sightings of marine life favorites such as sea horses, scorpionfishes, juvenile angelfishes, and lots and lots of nudibranchs!

DEPARTURES

June 2 – 15, 2023 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Mermaid I
Guides: Ethan Daniels, TBD
Length: 14 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$8200 USD per person, double occupancy
$10,200 USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
April 15, 2022: $4000 USD
June 15, 2022: $3500 USD / $5,700 USD

Sept 12 – 24, 2024 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Mermaid I
Guides: TBD
Length: 13 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$USD per person, double occupancy
$USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
April 15, 2022: $USD
June 15, 2022: $USD / $USD

Back-to-back combination with: Alor, Indonesia, Sept 24 – Oct 06, 2024

Tour cost includes:

  • Accommodations on day 1 through day 13 (day 14 for June 2023 departure)
  • All meals on days 2 through 12 (dinner on day 1 – breakfast on day 13(14))
  • All internal transfers including international arrival and departure transfers
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • All snorkeling and park fees
  • All gratuities

Tour cost does not include

  • Round-trip international airfare (Please contact us with recommendations for routes or referrals to any of the several travel agents we currently work with)
  • Additional hotel accommodations and meals as a result of travel outside of the program dates
  • Visa requirements including payments
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • International departure taxes
  • Extra / overweight baggage fees
  • Trip insurance (recommended; (we recommend Travel GuardWorld Nomads, or Travel Insure)
  • DAN insurance (required unless personal insurance program has worldwide emergency evacuation services)
  • Additional accommodations while on tour in the event of flight schedule changes or events of force majeure
  • Any required COVID-19 tests
  • Any required quarantine or flight changes due to a positive COVID-19 result

Cancellation policy:
91 – 150 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
90 days or less prior to departure: 100% of tour cost

Please see our Terms and Conditions for more information


Accommodations

We use the finest live-aboard boat in Indoensia to host us on our exploration of Komodo National Park, the Gaia Love. In Bali, we stay at the Puri Santrian in the quiet beach village of Sanur.

gaia love - coral triangle adventuresThe Gaia Love is a modern 40 meters steel hull vessel build from the ground up in Batam, Indonesia. It is purpose built to sail and explore the far reach regions of Indonesia and complies with class requirements of BKI (Biro Klasifikasi Indonesia). Designed with a modern contemporary look and with an emphasis on diving in comfort, she accommodates up to 20 guests in ten spacious ensuite rooms: six on the upper deck and four on the lower deck. Each room is approximately 20 square meters and has individual air-conditioning and ensuite bathrooms with hot water. Upper deck rooms will feature an additional private outdoor balcony. Gaia Love has a total of four decks (lower, main, upper and top/sundeck). The lounge, restaurant, and camera room are located on the main deck. The lounge has the entertainment center, pantry, snacks and drinks, a spacious couch and library. Adjacent to the lounge is the seating area for plated meals. At the rear is an over-sized dive deck that can accommodate up to 28 divers. There are eleven individual set up stations, each with its own deck bin, cubby, and rinse tank for cameras. The lower boat deck is the boarding area and where two 5.5 meters diving skiffs will always be ready to accommodate passengers. The sundeck is perfect for evening gatherings and relaxation under the stars. Sufficient shelter is available here as well as unshaded areas for those who wish to soak up some sun. Safety is top priority for us. Gaia Love has a well-equipped wheelhouse with up-to-date navigation equipment and advance communication systems and the boat is equipped with life rafts, life vests, EPRIBs, fire protection and firefighting systems. An additional back up RIB is stored on the top deck, easily and swiftly deployable by a one-ton crane, should it be needed. For more info about the Gaia Love click here.


 

Mermaid 1 is a vessel chartered by Coral Triangle AdventuresThe Mermaid I is a 28 meter, double engine steel motor yacht. She comfortably holds 15 guests in one master state room (king bed), one single and four deluxe cabins (king or twin beds), and two budget cabins (double/twin beds) below deck. The master, single, and deluxe cabins have ensuite bathrooms, refrigerators and, except for the budget cabins, panoramic sea view windows. All cabins have TVs, DvD access, bathrobes, toiletries, and loads of fluffy towels. There is a wide stern dive platform with two exit ladders and fresh water showers. Delicious Thai, Indonesian, and western meals are served in our “Sawasdee Restaurant” with large windows to enjoy the views. Our salon is equipped with a large flat screen TV/DvD and a full selection of marine life books. There are also two outside decks, one shaded with outside seating and the fabulous sundeck with sunshade plus cushioned sun beds. For more information about the Mermaid I click here.


The Hyatt Regency in Sanur, Bali, is a beachfront property built on nine hectares of lush tropical gardens. Relax in one of the 363 rooms, designed with contemporary Balinese and Japanese elements and comforts. Each room features a patio or balcony overlooking lush gardens or partial ocean. The property has three gorgeous swimming pools and three restaurants to choose from: Omang Omang, Pizzaria, and Piano Lounge. The hotel is conveniently located near Bali’s main tourist attractions, and the International Airport Ngurah Rai is just 16 km away. Hyatt Regency Bali is a CHSE certified and GBAC STARTMaccredited hotel.

Our room type is the Premium King or Twin. These rooms are 39 square meters and feature a sitting/lounging area and a spacious terrace with easy access to the pools, restaurants and gardens. For more information about the Hyatt Regency Bali, please click here.


DEPARTURES

June 2 – 15, 2023 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Mermaid I
Guides: Ethan Daniels, TBD
Length: 14 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$8200 USD per person, double occupancy
$10,200 USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
April 15, 2022: $4000 USD
June 15, 2022: $3500 USD / $5,700 USD

Sept 12 – 24, 2024 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Mermaid I
Guides: TBD
Length: 13 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$USD per person, double occupancy
$USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
April 15, 2022: $USD
June 15, 2022: $USD / $USD

Back-to-back combination with: Alor, Indonesia, Sept 24 – Oct 06, 2024

Tour cost includes:

  • Accommodations on day 1 through day 13 (day 14 for June 2023 departure)
  • All meals on days 2 through 12 (dinner on day 1 – breakfast on day 13(14))
  • All internal transfers including international arrival and departure transfers
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • All snorkeling and park fees
  • All gratuities

Tour cost does not include

  • Round-trip international airfare (Please contact us with recommendations for routes or referrals to any of the several travel agents we currently work with)
  • Additional hotel accommodations and meals as a result of travel outside of the program dates
  • Visa requirements including payments
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • International departure taxes
  • Extra / overweight baggage fees
  • Trip insurance (recommended; (we recommend Travel GuardWorld Nomads, or Travel Insure)
  • DAN insurance (required unless personal insurance program has worldwide emergency evacuation services)
  • Additional accommodations while on tour in the event of flight schedule changes or events of force majeure
  • Any required COVID-19 tests
  • Any required quarantine or flight changes due to a positive COVID-19 result

Cancellation policy:
91 – 150 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
90 days or less prior to departure: 100% of tour cost

Please see our Terms and Conditions for more information


What to Expect and Bring

WHAT TO EXPECT

Water temperatures vary between 68º – 86º F (20º – 30º C). The large range in water temperature reflects the influence of oceanic upwellings that affect the south side of the archipelago. While most of our snorkel sessions will take place in warm water, there are several sites around Horseshoe Bay on Rinca Island and sites around the south end of Komodo and Padar Islands where we may experience cooler water. Many of the reefs we will snorkel upon are subjected to currents associated with the large tide cycles that prevail in the area. While we often schedule our session during a time when the currents are minimal, there will be planned drift snorkels. These types of snorkels take advantage of the water movement and allow us to float over the reef without having to actively swim. This activity usually becomes an instant favorite among our guests as it is very exciting and yet very passive at the same time! In any case,  we will always have two dinghies standing by to help if needed.

Our planned hikes in Komodo National Park are on beaches or well established trails (paved and dirt/rocky). Our hikes in the park to look for dragons, whether we visit the national park on Komodo or Rinca, each require about 45 minutes of walking on well worn dirt paths. Most of the trails are flat but there are sections that lead uphill to breathtaking overlooks of the surrounding park. Both sites also have sections that are exposed directly to the sun.

Please read more about our daily schedule here.

WHAT TO BRING

The following list is a suggestion of things to bring and applies to almost all of our trips (specific items on a particular departure will be noted on the departure information).

-A good fitting mask, snorkel, and set of fins. If your equipment is brand new, please try it out in the pool. Determining the fit and function of your equipment in the pool includes doing several laps with all of your equipment on. Doing several snorkel dives is also very beneficial. It is also important to clean your new equipment, especially your mask. Cleaning procedures for your mask include light scrubbing with toothpaste or dishwasher soap to remove the light layer of silicon that is used to preserve the mask during shipping and storage. All areas of the mask, both inside and out, need to be addressed. Doing this greatly reduces the chances of having your mask fog. Not doing this, even when using mask de-fogger, usually results in a fogged mask.

-A wetsuit, rash guard, diveskin, or any type of clothing that can be used for thermal and/or protection form the sun. We suggest bringing a full 3mm wetsuit and some type of core insulation like a vest or shirt made of 1 – 2 mm neoprene (e.g., Lavacore or Sharkskin shirts or vests). These items will not only provide thermal protection but protection from the sun as well. For those who feel that a 3mm suit may be too warm, please consider a full body skin or rash guard to ensure protection from the strong sun. With regards to thermal protection, remember the saying: it is better to have and not need, than to need and not have. One that note…

-Head protection in the form of a wetsuit hood, a cap, or even a bandana. Anything that can keep the sun off of your head is extremely important. It is the most exposed part of our bodies when we are floating on the surface.

-Underwater Flashlight for our planned night snorkel. Komodo has excellent opportunities for night snorkeling and we will take full advantage.

-Biodegradable sunscreen lotion. Okay, this is a tricky suggestion. Even many biodegradable sunscreen lotions have been shown to harm and even kill tiny larvae (baby marine life ranging from fish to all types of invertebrates especially coral). It is fine to wear on land, but we highly discourage the use of sunscreen lotions in the water. Having a full wetsuit or skin will do the job of protection from the sun much better than lotions and the suits also help with thermal protection. It is truly a win-win for everyone and the marine environment.

-Casual, lightweight, tropical clothing
-Sunglasses (and a spare in case you lose your main pair)
-Comfortable footwear such as active sandals (Teva, Keen, Merrell, etc.)
-Hats. We cannot stress the importance of a hat in the tropics!
-All of our boats provide items like shampoo, soap, towels, etc. We bring this up because these items represent added weight and if they leak, less-than-fun times during the unpacking stage of the trip.

Other items that may be considered:
-Lightweight rainwear to protect from the occasional afternoon shower

DEPARTURES

June 2 – 15, 2023 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Mermaid I
Guides: Ethan Daniels, TBD
Length: 14 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$8200 USD per person, double occupancy
$10,200 USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
April 15, 2022: $4000 USD
June 15, 2022: $3500 USD / $5,700 USD

Sept 12 – 24, 2024 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Mermaid I
Guides: TBD
Length: 13 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$USD per person, double occupancy
$USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
April 15, 2022: $USD
June 15, 2022: $USD / $USD

Back-to-back combination with: Alor, Indonesia, Sept 24 – Oct 06, 2024

Tour cost includes:

  • Accommodations on day 1 through day 13 (day 14 for June 2023 departure)
  • All meals on days 2 through 12 (dinner on day 1 – breakfast on day 13(14))
  • All internal transfers including international arrival and departure transfers
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • All snorkeling and park fees
  • All gratuities

Tour cost does not include

  • Round-trip international airfare (Please contact us with recommendations for routes or referrals to any of the several travel agents we currently work with)
  • Additional hotel accommodations and meals as a result of travel outside of the program dates
  • Visa requirements including payments
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • International departure taxes
  • Extra / overweight baggage fees
  • Trip insurance (recommended; (we recommend Travel GuardWorld Nomads, or Travel Insure)
  • DAN insurance (required unless personal insurance program has worldwide emergency evacuation services)
  • Additional accommodations while on tour in the event of flight schedule changes or events of force majeure
  • Any required COVID-19 tests
  • Any required quarantine or flight changes due to a positive COVID-19 result

Cancellation policy:
91 – 150 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
90 days or less prior to departure: 100% of tour cost

Please see our Terms and Conditions for more information


Departures

Mermaid 1 is a vessel chartered by Coral Triangle AdventuresJune 2 – 15, 2023 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Mermaid I
Guides: Ethan Daniels, TBD
Length: 14 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$8200 USD per person, double occupancy
$10,200 USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
April 15, 2022: $4000 USD
June 15, 2022: $3500 USD / $5,700 USD

 

gaia love - coral triangle adventures

Gaia Love

Sept 12 – 24, 2024 ←Click to request a booking
Accommodations: Mermaid I
Guides: TBD
Length: 13 days

Prices and Payment schedule:
$USD per person, double occupancy
$USD per person, single occupancy

Reservation deposit: $500 USD
April 15, 2022: $USD
June 15, 2022: $USD / $USD

Back-to-back combination with: Alor, Indonesia, Sept 24 – Oct 06, 2024

Tour cost includes:

  • Accommodations on day 1 through day 13 (day 14 for June 2023 departure)
  • All meals on days 2 through 12 (dinner on day 1 – breakfast on day 13(14))
  • All internal transfers including international arrival and departure transfers
  • Non-alcoholic beverages
  • All snorkeling and park fees
  • All gratuities

Tour cost does not include

  • Round-trip international airfare (Please contact us with recommendations for routes or referrals to any of the several travel agents we currently work with)
  • Additional hotel accommodations and meals as a result of travel outside of the program dates
  • Visa requirements including payments
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • International departure taxes
  • Extra / overweight baggage fees
  • Trip insurance (recommended; (we recommend Travel GuardWorld Nomads, or Travel Insure)
  • DAN insurance (required unless personal insurance program has worldwide emergency evacuation services)
  • Additional accommodations while on tour in the event of flight schedule changes or events of force majeure
  • Any required COVID-19 tests
  • Any required quarantine or flight changes due to a positive COVID-19 result

Cancellation policy:
91 – 150 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost; 90 days or less prior to departure: 100% of tour cost. In any event of cancellation we will endeavor to find a replacements. In the case we find replacement guests we may be able to offer a partial refund or may transfer some or all payments to another departure.

Please see our Terms and Conditions for more information

Trip Reports


typlical reef scene in Alor Indonesia
Fish frenzy in Alor We have yet to visit a snorkeling destination where the reefs possess literally thousands of fish
Fantastic reefs abound in Komodo National Park - Coral Triangle Adventures
Komodo National Park Snorkeling Tour, 2016 Trip Report Komodo 2016 trip report. Once again Coral Triangle Adventures had the chance
A marbled stargazer perches briefly on the sand before it buries itself
Coral reef ambush predators Understandably, the title implies we are going to focus on the fearsome, awesome Komodo dragon! As
Snorkeling Trip report in Komodo national park
Komodo Snorkeling Tour Trip Report, Sept 22- Oct 3, 2015 I was a bit worried about the second of our
A juvenile ocellated dragonet crouches in a crevice in Komodo National Park
Komodo Snorkeling Tour Trip Report, Sept 12-23, 2015 Great weather, great guests, and great snorkeling! Is there anything more we
A broadclub cuttlefish (Sepia latimanus) lays her eggs in fire coral
Snorkeling with cephalopods in Komodo Mollusks are one of the most prominent taxa found in Horseshoe Bay and they range
Pink beach on Padar Island, Komodo National Park
Snorkeling the pinkest beach in Komodo There are more than a few pink beaches throughout the Indo-Pacific. The famous ‘Pink
Nembrotha Kubaryana head shot with a black background
Komodo National Park Snorkeling Tour, 2015 Trip Report Our recent snorkeling trip to Komodo National Park was outstanding…but honestly having
Coral, Fish, and Dragons! Exploring Komodo National Park is one of those experiences that is difficult, if not impossible, to
Blue-barred parrotfish, Komodo National Park
Snorkeling Komodo National Park with World Wildlife Fund for Nature 2015 I have had the pleasure of leading World Wildlife