KOMODO NATIONAL PARK is not just home to the largest lizard in the world. This group of 29 volcanic islands in the Indonesian archipelago is packed with adventure, both around its mountainous landscape and under the sea. These images of Komodos resting in the sun; hiking through stunning, arid landscapes; and enjoying the region’s warm, turquoise waters reveal the magic of Komodo National Park.
The beauty of Komodo National Park will take your breath away before you even set foot on its islands. This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to diverse coral reefs, fantastic trekking, and world-class diving.
Because there are 29 islands to explore, the best way to get around Komodo National Park is by yacht. We adventured on a traditional Phinisi-style boat, a two-masted sailing ship made out of wood. You can also book low-cost boat tours from the port of Labuan Bajo.
Nearly two million people live on the main island of Flores, the gateway to Komodo National Park. While tourism is the main economy, the people of Flores also rely on agriculture as another form of industry.
Over 3,000 Komodo dragons live in Komodo National Park. These reptiles carry deadly bacteria in their mouth, so their bites can kill prey over a period of days. Once the prey has fallen, dragons from up to three miles away can show up for the feast.
Residents of the island of Rinca have learned to coexist with Komodo dragons. Here, animals outnumber the residents over five times. Attacks don’t happen very often, but locals also have to worry about three deadly snake species inhabiting the island.
The sunsets in Komodo National Park seem to last forever. As the sun dips through the jagged mountains and seemingly into the Flores Sea, the sky lights up with an impressive color display. With no tourists around for miles, a peaceful feeling washes over you during the sunrises and sunsets – as if you were all alone in the world.
While there are plenty of treks and on-island activities, visitors to Komodo National Park shouldn’t forget to play in the fun Flores Sea. The warm waters and plentiful sea life create the perfect environment to swim, scuba dive, and snorkel.
While Rinca Island and Komodo Island are the most popular islands in the park, Gili Laba Darat is the most beautiful. It’s one of the 24 islands in Komodo National Park that does not have Komodo dragons. The arid landscape and mountainous terrain make them a perfect option for hikers.
During the dry season from June to September, the temperature in Komodo National Park reaches up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit without much precipitation. However, during the rainy season, torrential rains fall on the islands for months on end.
Guides are required when trekking through the five islands that have Komodo dragons. Unlike safaris where guides are armed with guns, the local guides in Komodo National Park protect themselves and their guests with wooden sticks.