Coral Gardens, Tropical Reef Fish, and Komodo Dragons

This trip was chosen as one of National Geographic Traveler’s “50 Tours of a Lifetime” in 2015! Read the full article here.

Overview

Indonesia’s Komodo National Park is a glorious realm of translucent seas, glittering reefs, and lush volcano-islands. It’s one of the top snorkeling spots on the planet, with a festival of marine life, from giant trevallies, groupers, and sweetlips to schools of tiny iridescent anthias. Drift snorkels bring you above exquisite coral gardens and to seamounts patrolled by rays and hawksbill turtles. Adding to our adventure are island hikes, including one to see the world-famed Komodo dragons in the wild. In the evenings, you’ll return to our mother ship for tropical sunsets, stargazing, and the delights of shipboard life.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2
Denpasar, Bali / Flores / Tatawa Besar / Siaba Kecil

From Denpasar, fly to Flores, where we board our traditional two-masted sailing ship. On Sebayur Island, we enjoy an evening snorkel, then head to Tatawa Besar and Siaba Kecil, where drift snorkels over coral gardens and underwater canyons reveal groupers, mantas, green turtles, and rare mandarin fish.

Days 3-5
Gili Lawa Laut / Gili Darat / Makassar Reef

A snorkel through a narrow channel whisks us into a coral garden with more species of angelfish and butterflyfish than anywhere else in the world. At Makassar Reef, we snorkel among schools of mantas that congregate here to feed on plankton, and on Padar Island, we discover a pink beach colored by fragments of red corals washed ashore. We also take a sunset hike to the top of Gili Darat for golden panoramas over Komodo Island and down to long, white-sand beaches with breathtaking visible coral formations below.

Days 6-8
Komodo Dragons / Cannibal Rock

On our naturalist-led hike, we’ll look for the legendary Komodo dragons, the largest living lizards on earth, found nowhere else in the world. At Horseshoe Bay, we snorkel at Cannibal Rock, a submerged pinnacle with gold-striped fusiliers, scorpion fish, red snapper, surgeon fish, and purple gorgonian sea fans where pygmy seahorses hide.

Days 9-11
Batu Bolong / Kanawa / Bidadari

With its near-constant current, Batu Bolong is a mind-blowing rock pinnacle with large schools of fish including jacks, anthias, and white-tip reef sharks. Napoleons and eagle rays inhabit the shallow waters of Kanawa, and we relax on Bidadari, with its inviting white-sand beach and crystalline waters. Depart on Day 11 via Denpasar.

Note: Please be aware that this itinerary is designed to be flexible. Although we will visit all the places listed on the itinerary, we rarely follow the schedule as described exactly because of weather, tides, and other factors. Come prepared to be flexible!

Highlights

Highlights

Fantastic snorkeling in a remote corner of the world
Travel aboard our 98-foot phinisi (a traditional Indonesian two-masted sailing ship) with comfortable en suite cabins and excellent service
A chance to see the famous Komodo dragons on Komodo Island—up to 10 feet long and weighing 150 pounds!
Trip Leader who offers an in-depth look into this area’s unsurpassed marine biodiversity

Details

Length: 11 days
Cost From: $5995  
Arrive: Denpasar, Bali
Depart: Denpasar, Bali
Lodging: IP COST
Meals: om $5995, depending on cabin category
Activity: Snorkeling, Wildlife & Natural History, Small Boat & Yacht Cruising
Trip Level:

Snorkeling, hiking, exploring by tender