Scuba diving in Komodo Island, Indonesia is often considered one of the best in the world, and not without reasons. Besides being highly popular for its schooling manta rays, divers would also be spoiled with its teeming marine life, healthy reefs and wide-variety of corals. There are great dive sites for macro lovers too!
For less experienced divers, scuba diving in Komodo can be quite tricky as some of the dive sites can have really strong currents, especially dive sites with bigger fish such as manta rays. It is really important to have a good level of comfort with currents, some scuba diving experience and of course a reliable dive operator with experienced instructors that can help you dive Komodo safely and choose better dive sites according to your experience and skill levels.
Komodo offers a vast variety of great dive sites, so if you are a beginner you don’t need to worry as there are plenty of great dive sites with less currents that offer mind-blowing scuba diving experience with amazing panoramas!
Komodo Diving Quick Stats
• Required Experience: Intermediate to Advanced, but certain dive sites are also suitable for Beginners
• Water Temps: 20-28°C
• Visibility: 5-30m
• Currents: Can be very strong at certain sites
The marine life in Komodo is extremely diverse and rich. Komodo is known for its big fish such as Mantas and Mola Molas. You can also find many different types of sharks such as blacktips, whitips, grey sharks and occasionally hammerheads. For sure you will also find lots of smaller fish in schools.
For macro lovers you can find all types of rare nudibranchs, pygmy sea horse, frog fish and more. You will also be amazed by the coral gardens in Komodo that can be found everyone around the park and making Komodo an excellent destination for both scuba diving and snorkeling!
Komodo Dive Sites
The island and the area around has lots of interesting dive sites to choose from. It is important to learn this information before scuba diving in Komodo as some dive sites are only suitable for more experienced divers. Here some of the most popular and favorite Komodo dive sites:
Batu Bolong is one of the most popular and favorite among divers from around the world. The name itself means ‘Hollow Rock’ and you can literally sea a small rock with a hole on the surface. Below it is a giant rock that spans 70 meter deep into the sea, rich with corals so colorful that you will be blinded by colors. You can also find turtles, huge schools of fish, tunas, trevallies, Napoleon wrasse and white tip sharks. This dive site is accessible from the shore all year long. However do be mindful as the current here can get really rough. But if you’re up for the challenge, it’s a must-do as it is often considered one of the best dive sites in Komodo – and even in the world!
As the name suggests, it is one of the best place to dive with manta rays in Komodo National Park. It is accessible by shore all year long, but bigger population of mantas are usually spotted around September to January. The corals here are also very beautiful. You can also see lots of reef sharks, schools of giant trevallies and wrasses. Just like other popular dive sites in Komodo, the current here can be strong and the water can get a bit cold too.
Another one of the most famous dive sites in Komodo National Park. It’s a sea-mount dive site with typically strong current and abundance of big fish such as giant trevallies, jacks, groupers and emperors. You can also find macro life including various nudibranchs and shrimps. Sea snakes and crabs are commonly spotted among the corals.
Another great place to dive with manta rays in Komodo if you go in the right season. This is where mantas come to get cleaned. Sometimes 5-10 mantas, but there has been up to 100 rays spotted at once at this dive site! You can also see turtles, bumphead parrotfish, marble rays, bamboo sharks, sweetlips, other types of fish and smaller critters. This dive site is not as rich in corals but the visibility is great and the current is mild to strong.
Tatawa Besar offers easy drift diving around 10-25m deep. The reefs are in excellent condition and has interesting marine life and soft corals. It’s a good alternative to Batu Bolong when the current gets too strong there. Diving is available all year long at this dive site and you can see manta rays, sweetlips, eagle rays, turtles and many more.
Tatawa Kecil offers an a very diverse dive, with a small cave with a colony of pygmy seahorses in the south and a cleaning station in the north. You can also expect to see nice hard corals, tunas, white tips, grey sharks. giant trevallies and occasionally dugongs. It’s basically a cave diving site, but it is often referred to as a drift dive spot. Diving here is available all year round but the currents can get strong and odd with vertical currents, so you need to come prepared with an experienced guide by your side!
This is not a dive site for the faint of heart. It is a deep dive with currents that can get really strong. But it’s really worth it if you want to see lots of sharks – grey sharks, whitetips, blacktips hammerheads and even sometimes bronze whales! Diving here is available all year long from the shore.
Diving at lighthouse typically starts with a slow drift along the slope before reaching the cap. The current can get strong around the cap but once there you can see blacktips and whitetips strolling around alongside Napoleon wrasses and giant trevallies. It normally ends in the coral garden where manta rays are often spotted at their cleaning stations.
Often claimed as one of the best dive sites in Komodo this area offers huge schools of barracuda, tunas and lots of sharks. However due to bombings decades ago the corals here have been quite damaged. The strong current here also makes it not an easy dive site.
Finally a dive site that offers milder current! It offers a very rich marine life – if you’re lucky you can basically all the species in Komodo at this dive site. The visibility here is 10-20m, not as impressive as the other dive sites but is still very good. The water here is shallow – with diving up to 10m only making it one of the best place for snorkeling iin Komodo.
Pilaarsteen offers amazing reefscape, beautiful corals and sponges and a great variety of marine life. The currents here are mild to moderate making it an easier and more relaxed dive. You can see nudibranchs, batfish, surgeonfish, fusiliers, giant trevallies, turtles, reef sharks, bamboo sharks and giant barracudas.
Cannibal Rock is possibly the best dive site for macro in Komodo! This dive site offers an easy dive with mild current and generally great visibility (20+m). The water temperature normally averages at 25 degrees but it can get as low as 20 degrees. This dive site is home macro subjects such as pygymy seahorses, frogfish, nudibranchs, cleaner shrimp, ghost pipefish and leaf fish. But you can also enjoy the sightings of sharks, tuna, groupers, rays and sharks. Overall the underwater panorama of this dive site is very beautiful as it is rich in colors.
Darat Passage North “The Cauldron”
The Cauldron, sometimes referred to as Shotgun, offers an amazing drift dive that can get quiet intense with a very fast current that can get up to 10 knots! You can see beautiful coral gardens, gorgonians featuring various small critters, larger fish such bumphead parrotfish, anchovies, tunas, trevallies and mantas. Overall this dive site offers vibrant seascape with a teeming marine life. You can easily dive here a few days in a row without getting bored.
Sabolon offers easy dives not so far from Labuan Bajo. It’s a good Komodo dive site to start with, where you can see schools of surgeon fish, beautiful corals and large sea fans without going too deep. You can also find smaller critters such as pygmy seahorses, orangutan crabs and crab fish.
Sebayor Kecil is located pretty close to Labuan Bajo and offers an easy dive, with great visibility and rather mild current. Here you can see giant trevallies, whitetips, snappers, emperors and other variety of fish. This dive site is suitable for divers of all levels.
Another great dive site for those who don’t want strong current, so it is also perfect for beginners. The area goes as deep as 40 meters but most people would dive around 25-meter deep. Despite the ease of the dive you can enjoy a typical Komodo marine life with many sweetlips, butterflyfish, parrotfish, batfish and other varieties of fish. You can also spot eagle rays and mantas. This dive site is also home to smaller creatures such as lobsters, shrimps, crabs and nudibranchs.
This site offers a great drift dive through canyons that run 15-30 meter deep. The current can get really strong and thus more suitable for experience divers, but beginners can opt to just enjoy the coral gardens that are teeming with marine life including small critters and the rare mandarin fish. At the caves you can find big fish such as sharks, barracudas, giant trevallies and sweet lips. When the current is not too strong it is also a good snorkeling spot.
Best Time to Dive – Scuba diving in Komodo is available all year long. However April to November is considered the best time to dive Komodo/diving season as this period offers the best weather and diving conditions.
Weather – The rainy season spans from November to March, while they dry season spans from April to November.
Water Temperature – In general the South of Komodo offers 20 -25°C water while in the north it averages at 25 to 28°C. The water is known to be slightly cooler in July and August.
Visibility – While the weather is best in April, the best visibility for scuba diving inKomodo is normally found through November-January when it can reach 30+m. In summer (July and August) the visibility is not as good, but you can enjoy great marine life sightings as the waters are more nutrient-rich.
Currents – Currents can be very strong on many dive sites in Komodo, especially the ones with big fish actions, so you need to be confident with drift diving. However, if you are a beginner there are some calmer dive sites that we can take you to.
Manta & Mola Mola Season – Mantas can be spotted all year round in Komodo but December to February is often considered the best time for manta sightings. The best time for Mola Mola sightings in Komodo is normally in August.
Scuba diving in Komodo can be done through dive centers, resorts or liveaboards. You can easily find something for every budget range. Here at Somer Dive Center, we offer affordable diving through our Komodo day trips and our budget Komodo liveaboard the Soka Raja. Surely, if you would like to do some intense Komodo diving and be right in the middle of the action, liveaboard is the way to go!
To get to the Komodo Island you need to fly into Labuan Bajo airport (LBJ). There are many airlines operating flights daily to Labuan Bajo from Jakarta (CGK) or Denpasar (DPS). From Labuan Bajo, all you need to do is contact your dive operator, either dive center, resort or liveaboard to arrange your scuba diving tour around the Komodo Island.