Komodo Island

Komodo Island Indonesia is one of three islands comprising Komodo National Park; Rinca and Padar complete the trio. It is located in the center of the Indonesian archipelago between Flores and Sumbawa islands. There are also many smaller islands in the vicinity and part of the park, comprising roughly 1,800 square kilometers with less than half being land. Founded back in 1980, the national park became a designated area for protecting the komodo dragon, and several other unique species. The island, far east of Bali, is home to about 2000 Indonesians, many of whom who are direct descendents of the convicts living there in exile.

Local tradition had island residents feeding the komodo dragons (known by locals as "Ora") for centuries, offering up parts of unused deer or offering up goats as sacrifices. The practice had kept a peaceful balance between people and dragons--a relationship that has since become more strained since local islanders have been forbidden to feed the dragons (locals claim feeding them stops them from hunting). The dragons, which can live up to 50 years, recognize individual people, meaning often they knew the people feeding them. The Komodo Dragon has survived for so long on Komodo Island because of ancient taboos which strictly prohibit any type of harm to the reptiles. For this reason, they have mostly become extinct elsewhere but not in Indonesia.

Komodo Island is famous for diving, with several world class sites scattered around the park. Divers can see an incredible riot of bright color under the waters along with marine animals like sea cucmbers, snappers, rays, turtles and much more. Some of the most famous sites include Cannibal Rock, Gili Lawa, and GPS Point, known for sharks, tuna, and barracudas. Liveaboard diving, when divers live aboard boats, are common in the area. There are also a few dive shops and guides.

The best time weather-wise to visit and dive Komodo Island is between April and November, with April being the best diving month. Bali is the most popular launch point for visitors who can arrive at the island by land, air, or boat. Lombok is a popular stop on route where many catch a bus to Sumbawa and then move on to the island, most often to see the Komodo Dragon in action. Other things to do include Rinca Island trekking, exploring the mangroves, and snorkeling along Red Beach. Many small lodges, hotels, and some larger resorts are available for lodging.

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