Best Komodo Liveaboard Reviews 2020

LAST UPDATED:

April 1, 2020

Komodo boasts spectacular underwater landscapes, insane marine biodiversity and is perhaps the best place in the world to see manta rays. 

Little surprise then, that there’s dozens of different liveaboards cruising the waters in this part of Indonesia. 

Whilst this does mean there’s a lot of choice; it can complicate matters when it comes to booking the best komodo liveaboard for you. 

Different vessels offer markedly different facilities, prices, extra activities and overall vibes. 

Also, Komodo can be divided into three broad regions: north, central & south, each with their own charms. 

How much of each region you discover will depend on the route of your chosen liveaboard. You’ve now got two options:

Mid Price Komodo Liveaboard Reviews:

Top Pick!
    • Natajara is a fantastic all rounder. This liveaboard operates the most comprehensive dive trips around Komodo; which also include extra activities like massages, treks and kayaking. She has awesome facilities including an outside bar and cabins with private balconies; plus is beginner friendly. 
GREAT VALUE
  • As the second cheapest mid-price option, Tanaka offers superb value for money aboard a yacht which feels a lot more expensive than it is. She runs several great itineraries, with some including dives around additional Indonesian islands outside of Komodo National Park. There is also a family cabin option with two single beds and one double bed.
SMALL GROUPS
  • With a maximum group size of 8, Carpe Diem is the perfect option for those seeking a more intimate setting. As well as itineraries that stay within Komodo, she also offers routes that spend half the time within the national park and the other half exploring east of Komodo. The best option for those who want to explore more of Indonesia.
BEGINNERS
  • With Moanna you only need your open water cert & no logged dives. You can even pay for a private dive guide to take you to easier dive sites and train you with your advanced open water course! Moana also wins in terms of healthy cuisine, with organic and locally source meals that are free of additives. 
Coolest CABIN
  • Admitedly there’s some very nice suites on most Komodo liveaboards, but none is cooler than that of the one on La Galigo, with it’s private balcony, personal lounge, HD TV, PS4, fridge and epic ocean views. This is a truly beautiful yacht with a charming indoor lounge, gorgeous sundeck and some very nice other cabin options to. 
SHORT TRIPS
  • The cheapest mid-range option, Yoshi also offers the shortest trips at just 3 – 5 days long for a maximum of 8 guests. Despite the short time frame, the itineraries still explore the north, central and south regions; meaning guests will get to discover Komodo National Park in it’s entirety. These trips also include a lot of trekking!

QUICK ANSWER - Best Komodo Liveaboards (Mid Price):

Name:  Great for:Price:Max Guests:Long Trip:Short Trip:Read Review:
NatarajaSuperb Itineraries, Extra Activities, Small Groups, Beginners$$$9 9 days7 daysClick Here
TanakaValue, Unique Routes, Extra Activities, Short Trips$1410 days4 daysClick Here
Carpe DiemSmall Groups, Couples, Luxury Cabins, Extra Activities$$88 days7 daysClick Here
MoanaBeginners, Healthy Cuisine, Land Missions$$$106 days6 daysClick Here
La GaligoEpic Cabin, Beautiful Boat, Social Vibes $$148 days6 daysClick Here
YoshiShort Trips, Small Groups, Cheap Option$85 days3 daysClick Here

KOMODO DIVING INFO:

For a comprehensive look at what it’s like diving at Komodo, check out this Diving in Komodo Guide!

Komodo Liveaboard Routes:

There’s a considerable variety of potential routes offered by Komodo liveaboards. This is due to the three distinct regions of Komodo: north, central and south as well as the national park’s proximity to dive sites around various other Indonesian islands, which are sometimes also visited by “Komodo” liveaboards, despite being technically outside of komodo. 

Most liveaboards offer a variety of routes, which usually visit a combination of:

  • North Komodo: This area is known for having the most dramatic underwater landscapes in the entire national park; with towering pinnacles, underwater caves and rocky drop offs. There is some splendid hard coral covering said underwater landscapes and due to the strong currents, many pelagics are attracted here, including manta rays, reef sharks and various large fish. `

  • Central Komodo: This is the main region of the National Park and also the most varied. You’ll encounter small macro critters, many manta rays and countless turtles. Sometimes, dolphins and whales (seasonal), can be spotted here to. The absolute best variety of hard coral is found around the central region. Although most dives are drift dives, a few areas experience more gentle currents, making several dive sites beginner friendly.

  • South Komodo: The least visited region, south Komodo is a great place for drift diving, with everything from whale sharks to mola mola / sunfish and even the occasional dugong. Although there is some hard coral in the southern region, here the reefs are mostly comprised of soft coral and sponges.

You can find out much more information about the regions of Komodo by checking out this page all about Komodo
National Park.

Liveaboards that explore just Komodo or only a few nearby extra areas (Banta and Sangeang, which you can read about below), tend to depart and finish at Labuan Bajo, a coastal town on the western side of Flores island, in East Nusa Tenggara province. 
 

Areas outside of Komodo:

Whilst most liveaboards only explore the Komodo region; some of the routes offered by a few, also include visits to additional dive sites outside the national park. A liveaboard route can spend anywhere from 10 – 50% of the time in these other regions. More info is provided in the reviews section.

 To the West of Komodo:

  • Banta – Consisting of deserted beaches and rugged mountains, Banta island (aka Gili Banta) is found some 10km northwest of Komodo. The island itself can be trekked and offers stunning views of Komodo and Sangeang. The waters around Banta are famous for big creatures like Mobula Rays, Eagle Rays and many types of sharks, with most dives being of the drift variety. Because of Banta being close to Komodo National Park, it’s the most commonly visited extra area and only takes a day to include in a liveaboard’s itinerary.

  • Sangeang – The next most frequently visited extra area and lying 25km northwest of Banta, is Sangeang island; home to the visually stunning volcano of Mt. Sangeang; which it’s worth visiting for the epic views alone. The waters around Sangeang mainly give way to muck diving; with all manner of weird and wonderful species including wasp fish, octopus and devilfish; amid blazes of red and green coral and hydrothermal vents.

    A fair few liveaboard visit Sangeang and/or Banta, before turning back, to Komodo. In this case, these liveaboards start and finish at nearby Labuan Bajo. However, others liveaboards offer routes that visit Banta and Sangeang, before continuing on to start or finish the itinerary at either:

  • Bima – Bima is a city located on Sumbawa island, in West Nusa Tenggara Province. It’s the departure or end destination on some liveaboard routes. There’s a variety of great dives around Sumbawa island, including Moyo island and Santonda island, both of which offer great muck diving.

  • Lombok – Situated between Bima and Bali, Lombok is the starting or finishing point of some liveabords. There’s a variety of dive sites around here, including drift, muck and wall dives.

  • Bali – Bali is probably the most well known part of Indonesia right now and is legendary amongst digital nomads, fitness freaks and online entrepreneurs.

To the East of Komodo:

  • Maumere – A beautiful bay on far east Flores, Maumere offers some great macro dives. There’s also a variety of diving areas between it and Komdo, along the north side of Flores, with a variety of great drift dives. The main advantage of staring or finishing at Maumere is it allows you to explore the rest of Flores, with a variety of tribal homestay experiences and treks being close by. 

Diving Season in Komodo

It’s possible to dive at Komodo National Park all year round! That said, different parts of the year do offer different experiences: 

  • May-September: Prime diving season. This is generally the driest and hottest portion of the year for a sizeable chunk of Indonesia, including the north and central regions of Komodo and is therefore, one of the best times to dive as water conditions are very clear and calm. In the southern region however, water conditions are more choppy, with less visibility during these months. You have the best chance of spotting Mola Mola (Sunfish) on August. 

     

  • November – April: Monsoon season. This marks a period of rainy and volatile weather in the north and central region. However, at this time water visibility is actually at it’s best in the southern region. The increase in rain can reduce visibility but that doesn’t stop many divers from visiting during these months! Your liveaboard will adjust the route accordingly to take you to the best dive sites for the time of year and the weather on each particular day.

  • December – February: During these months, plankton blooms attract many manta rays from far and wide, making this the best time to witness mantas in abundance. This is also the best period for spotting whale sharks. 

For a much more detailed look at the Komodo National Park diving season, take a look at this komodo diving guide!

How to Get There:

This will depend on whether your liveaboard departs from Labuan Bajo, Bali, Bima, Lombok or Maumere. Many liveaboards offer a variety of routes and depart from several of these destinations at different times of the year. This information is easily broken down on each liveaboards individual review page. 

All these destinations have a nearby airport. Generally, some of your liveabaord’s crew will pick you up from here and transfer you to your liveaboard, which makes the whole scenario of getting there extremely straight forward. Once you’ve made a booking, further instructions will be provided so never fear. It’s a totally hassle free experience!

When booking my flights, I usually use this website. 

Diving Squad Debriefing

Bada’ bing bada’ splash. You made it. You finished the article! Presuming you’ve made it down this far you have been reading up on the information section of Komodo liveaboards – you can find a far more comprehensive page on what it’s like to dive in Komodo here!

Don’t forget to check out the actual reviews of Komodo liveaboards as well. This page links out to numerous other comprehensive pages, reviewing each of the best Komodo liveaboards. 

Now: leap forth and get your Indonesia diving adventure rolling! Have fun and stay safe, eh? 

Written by:

Alex

Alex

Scuba fanatic. Travel ecstatic. Erratic. The name's Alex.