Diving Squad Rating:
8.5 / 10
La Unua is the prettiest budget Komodo liveaboard, with her beautiful wooden frame and sundeck / outdoor bar area (BYOB), equipped with bean bags and sun mats.
This is also the best option for anyone wanting to truly delve into the fabled northern region of Komodo National park.
Great for: Beautiful Boat, Chill out Zones, Short Trips, Ocean Views Cabin.
Trip Lengths: 4 days
Max Group Size: 8
Operates: All Year
La Unua explores the northern region of Komodo, which is renowned for it’s insane underwater topography and colourful hard corals, which are surrounded by reef sharks, turtles, manta rays and various species of big fish.
There’s a total of 11 dives on the 4 day trip, including a night dive and also a visit to the ranger station on rinca island to see the komodo dragons. Not bad, although you do get more dives a day with Queenesia!
However, guests can also enjoy kayaking, stand up paddelboarding, a beach bbq and snorkelling with La Unua, which is more extra activities than most other cheap komodo liveaboards (including Queenasia).
In my opinion, La Unua is the prettiest budget option that is available this year. She has an extremely picturesque sundeck, where theres a bar from which you can soak in the beautiful views with a drink in hand. This is the only cheap liveaboard to offer an outside bar.
That said – do be aware of the somewhat frustrating BYOB policy; which is not made clear on the booking page. The crew does take you to a market beforehand to get your alcohol, so at least you don’t need to worry about the logistics of this.
There is also a small indoor saloon and dining area with ac and a well stocked book shelf.
You can choose from 4 cabin options; of these the suite, double and bunk bed cabin all have their own private tvs as well as ac and ensuite bathrooms! No other cheap komodo liveaboard has cabins with private tvs!
My favourite option is actually the twin cabin (which has one double and one single bed), as this cabin has large windows for stunning ocean views. Like the other cabins, it has an ensuite bathroom. The only other budget komodo liveaboard to offer an ocean view cabin is Kira Kira.
There is a camera station and also a separate rinse for underwater cameras, which will come in handy to all you avid marine photographers.
Free internet and daily housekeeping are included on this liveaboard and the highly experienced and enthusiastic crew include a naturalist guide.
Besides Kira Kira, La Unua is the only other cheap komodo liveaboard to have stand up paddleboards and kayaks. Nice.
She also runs some of the shortest trips at just 4 days long. With her 3 day trip option, Queneesia is the only option to offer shorter itineraries.
Undeniably one of the prettiest cheap komodo liveaboards, La Unua is also the only one to feature an outside bar on the exceptionally convenient location of the sundeck!
I would certainly consider La unua if my main priority was being aboard a gorgeous looking boat with a laid back and social atmosphere (the latter is of course dependant on other guests being present to!).
“Such an amazing trip! We booked the suite cabin for January 2020, and ended up having the entire boat to ourselves. It was a wonderful dive boat experience. The dive master, Jaimal, was superb. The dive masters tend to freelance with different boats, so I think the experience will vary based on who is your dive master.
He was relaxed and knowledgeable and led us on 10 amazing dives. There was always plenty of food and drinks. It is BYOB, and they bring you to a market to buy alcohol if you’d like to bring it on board. The Komodo dragons were also great, and we also enjoyed a sunset trek with amazing views.
Highly recommend! One note — if it is rainy season, the boat may not be allowed to leave the harbor if they don’t receive clearance from maritime authorities. They cannot control this. We had to postpone our departure for 24 hours because no boats were allowed to leave harbor to go to the national park that day.
Luckily our travel plans were flexible and we just pushed the departure date out 2 days. However, this may not always be the case and you will need to cancel the trip (or just stay on the boat in the harbor — which would be a like paying for expensive hotel, since you aren’t able to dive or leave the harbor).
We did not find out the boat didn’t have clearance to leave until we were already at the boat (after 10am), after an 8am hotel pickup, followed by getting rental gear from La Unua, and a stop at the market and the bank to get cash for the rental gear.
In the future, I hope the management of La Unua would disclose the process earlier, and rather than encouraging us to get on the boat and stay in the harbor (with no guarantee that the boat would get clearance to leave the harbor due to weather), it would be better to let guests know the options before the hotel pickup.
We would have preferred not to spend an entire morning of our vacation running around, only to return to the hotel because the boat didn’t have clearance to depart that day. However, once the boat received clearance and the departure was rescheduled, everything went very smoothly”.