Komodo National Park in Indonesiafamous for its namesake dragons, is a mecca for scuba divers as well. That’s because Komodo is home to dozens of manta rays which are easy to spot when they visit the cleaning and feeding stations. On most liveaboard trips, you’ll also be treated to other pelagic sightings, including whitetip and grey reef sharks, eagle rays, and dogtooth tuna. Plus, there are plenty of reefs to explore in search of macro critters and tropical fish.

While diving in Komodo, you’ll find a great variety of underwater environments. In many areas, sandy bottoms, sand dunes, and rocky corals formed by years of volcanic activity define the seascape. At other locations, you might see beds of soft corals and current-heavy pinnacles. Wall dives and bays can form hideaways for small marine species and beginner divers alike.

The stunning Komodo National Park is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its dramatic natural beauty and as it’s the only place in the world home to wild populations of the Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard. Many liveaboard itineraries allow divers to set foot on the islands to explore the dragons’ habitat. While Komodo Dragons can swim, the best opportunity to see them in all of their jurassic splendor is on Rinca island. This is a common stop on liveaboard itineraries, and speaking with a dive travel agent can help you identify liveaboards that offer this excursion.

beginners diving in komodo

When to Visit Komodo

The best time to dive in Komodo is from April to August. Because this is high season, finding a liveaboard in Komodo outside of these months can be challenging. Many of the boats make their way to Raja Ampat for the rest of the year.

In addition, the seas are calm, and rain is minimal during the high season. However, underwater conditions and marine life sightings remain relatively constant year-round.

Keep in mind that some dive sites in Komodo are subject to unpredictable currents, while others are protected from hazardous conditions. Because of this, liveaboards in Komodo generally request divers have at least an intermediate level. They also sometimes require a minimum number of logged dives.

Best Luxury Liveaboard: Tiger Blue

Seemingly straight out of the Pirates of the Caribbean, the luxurious Tiger Blue is a traditional, Phinisi-style yacht complete with masts and sails. The purpose-built diving liveaboard has everything you need for a luxury diving vacation.

The Tiger Blue is a 112-foot (34-meter) purpose-built, boutique liveaboard made from timber. The 5 deluxe cabins host only 12-14 passengers, and the cabin on the main deck, in particular, is stunning. It features a king-sized bed, an ensuite bathroom, and spectacular ocean views on either side of the boat, thanks to its full-sized windows.

The crew of 8 offers 5-star guided dives, and the onboard executive Chef serves up delectable Asian and Western cuisine to refuel.

As part of the luxury experience, Tiger Blue offers free dive equipment rental for divers, making it easy to travel without worrying about the baggage weight allowance or if your gear has had time to dry before you return. 

the tiger blue liveaboard in komodo

You can indulge in waterskiing, wakeboarding, or snorkeling between dives. And to minimize their environmental impact, they offer complimentary eco-friendly toiletries and coconut-based sun cream.

With nearly 10 years of experience and dive pros that know how to schedule the best dives in Indonesia for optimal marine life viewing, the Tiger Blue offers up to 4 dives a day and itineraries that last between 4 and 9 nights. All the routes are highly customizable, and the expedition leader aboard the Tiger Blue will work with scuba divers to create the ultimate sea safari.

From Komodo to Raja Ampat, Tiger Blue offers Indonesia’s premier liveaboard experience.

Best Mid-Range Liveaboard: Mermaid I

Winner of the “Liveaboard of the Year” award in 2012, the Mermaid I perfects the delicate balance between price and comfortable accommodations.

World-class diving is just the beginning of your adventure aboard the Mermaid I. Each itinerary this vessel runs is designed to take into account Indonesia’s seasonal monsoon changes, giving you the best dives possible. One of our favorite itineraries in the whole of Indonesia is the Mermaid’s “Bali – Komodo – Bali” run which allows you to discover the magic of Komodo without the inconvenience of getting there. 3 to 4 dives are completed each day in small groups. As an extra perk, fresh towels will be available to you in your room and on the sundeck every day.

Photography in Komodo is a serious sport, which is why the Mermaid I offers six camera rinse tanks on their purpose-built dive deck. If you want to escape the sun, you can catch a movie in the air-conditioned saloon or edit your photos while you catch up with friends, thanks to the free wifi. 

the mermaid i liveaboard in komodo

Even while you aren’t diving, you’ll feel at home on the Mermaid I. There are 8 air-conditioned cabins that accommodate 16 divers. Most of these feature large windows with magnificent ocean views.

A fabulous sundeck boasts cushioned sun beds so you can relax after your dives. And the scrumptious Sawasdee Restaurant cooks up their delicious Thai, Indonesian, and Western fare. 

For the price, the Mermaid I offers the best in liveaboard comfort, giving you the opportunity to explore the wild waters of Komodo in style.

Best Budget Liveaboard: Duyung Baru

Proving that there’s a wide range of dive boats sailing Indonesian waters for you to choose from, the Duyung Baru is one of the world’s most budget-friendly liveaboards. This yacht allows divers to explore Indonesia in an intimate and family-style setting.

The couple who runs the boat, Vovo and his wife Yani, have completed more than 8,000 dives in Indonesia, so you can be sure that you’ll see the best dive sites thanks to their extensive local knowledge. The Duyung Baru also has an almost perfect track record for visiting dive sites when there are no other divers present. You’ll enjoy up to 4 guided dives a day alongside 5 other divers.

the duyung baru liveaboard in komodo

In between dives, you can work on your tan or read a book on the lounge chairs in the sundeck. Or, if you still have energy and can’t get enough of the reefs, you can get some snorkeling in or join a land excursion to see the dragons. 

In addition to great diving, you’ll feel happy and full with Yani’s freshly-baked breads, croissants, and cakes. The 3 cabins are well-equipped for the trip, and free internet will keep you connected if you want to be.

At a price point of between USD $2,000 and $3,000, you can’t beat the service found on the Duyung Baru.

beginners diving in Komodo

How to Get to Komodo

While there are scuba diving resorts with access to Komodo, the only major city nearby is Labuan Bajo in Flores. This base of operations is hours from Komodo Island and further still from the region’s best dive sites. Therefore, the best way to explore Komodo is by liveaboard.

Dive safaris headed for Komodo usually depart from Labuan Bajo, a short flight from Bali’s international airport.

The typical length of liveaboard trips is 5 to 7 nights, although some operators offer longer, 10-night itineraries.

The three liveaboards you’ve read about were hand-picked by our Scuba Travel Experts, but there are plenty more in Komodo. To see the full list of liveaboards available to suit all tastes, availability, and price ranges, click the button below.

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