Indonesia – Komodo

From Bali we flew to Labuan Bajo, the gateway to Komodo National Park. We had signed up for 8 days/9 nights at Scuba Junkie Komodo which meant after landing, we still had to take a shuttle boat ride from Labuan Bajo to our resort. The journey was worth the effort though as we quickly found out how special Komodo is. Our dive/stay package included 7 days of 3 dives per day which kept us busy but we did schedule one free day to visit the Komodo dragons. Unfortunately, tour prices to see the dragons have skyrocketed since the only island currently open to visitors is Komodo Island (Rinca Island is closed off to tourists at the moment) which meant this was an extra cost as the resort used to provide us the opportunity to see the Komodo dragons on Rinca island for free. Luckily for us, a nice boat captain from a nearby village offered to take 7 of us to Komodo Island for free on his day off! We eagerly accepted his kind offer and were able to combine the best of the above land and below water sights that Komodo has to offer. Let’s just say it was amazing! Above land highlights included the amazing vista from Padar Island, the red sand of Long Beach and the Komodo dragons themselves. Below water, we were lucky enough to be there for manta season and had a whopping 41 manta sightings on one dive alone! Other than the mantas, we had plenty of other marine life to keep us enthralled and were stoked to have finally spotted a flamboyant cuttlefish on our last day of diving. One thing to note is that diving in Komodo can be challenging for novice divers as the current was no joke, so pay attention to those safety briefings and know what to do if you get separated from the rest of the dive group! Overall, we loved Komodo and wouldn’t hesitate for a return trip to this amazing destination.

Nitty Gritty:

Scuba Junkie Komodo: We signed up for their “dive & stay” package which included 9 nights accommodation, 7 days of diving (3 tanks a day), a private en-suite room with AC, dive equipment, all meals and transport to/from Labuan Bajo. Again, since we booked at two other Scuba Junkie resorts, we got an additional discount of 15% off our costs so the total price for all the above came out to $1,096 per person.

Danke Lodge in Labuan Bajo: Jimmy was the best! With free pick up from the harbor and drop off at the airport, a clean/comfortable room with hot water shower, cold AC, reliable WiFI and free breakfast for only 220,000 IDR ($14) a night, it was a bargain. Plus he threw in a scooter rental for only 60,000 IDR ($3.90) for 24 hours.

Fellas Pizzeria in Labuan Bajo: Owned by the nicest couple, the food here is fresh, tasty and affordable. Excellent pizzas if you are looking for a break from Indonesian cuisine.

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