Komodo/Flores excursion recs please

Old Jan 30th, 2019, 10:48 AM
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Komodo/Flores excursion recs please

will be traveling from Bali to Flores Island in May and am looking for first hand info regarding day trips for both snorkeling and seeing the dragons on Rinca. preferably out of Labuan Bajo.have done some research and now feel doing two trips for this instead of both in one trip suits our style. so anybody have any experience with these?
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Old Jan 30th, 2019, 12:44 PM
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I went with a private group to Komodo and snorkel at Pink Beach. Not sure why you would want two trips? It will take a while to get to those places and back by sea. I have no input on Rinca vs Komodo.. imagine both experiences are controlled for visitor safety. Pink Beach snorkle was very nice, wish we had more time but we went on a day trip, so perhaps you can find a trip where you sleep on board for a night.

Note that the time you leave back for LBJ will be influenced by tides and seas, etc.

The lodging I stayed at in LBJ was out of town, they can likely set you up if you don't want to arrange a trip from Bali.

We stayed at Bajo Komodo Eco Lodge, because at one time it was affiliated with the tour group. But now is independently owned and I thought it was fine, although it's outside of town so not so convenient for independent travelers. They might be able to put you in touch with Fitra who was the local tour guide that arranged out boat.
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Old Jan 31st, 2019, 07:54 AM
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We will be on Flores for 4 nights. Really not interested in being on a boat trip for 11+ hours. So we are looking for two 4-5 hour trips. One to see dragons and one for snorkeling. The tides and seas you speak of are one of the reasons we are looking to separate the trips. They could cause the 11 hour trip to become even longer.
Anyone with suggestions on shorter trip possibilities?
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Old Jan 31st, 2019, 10:04 AM
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The best way to reduce the time spent in a boat is to charter a private fast boat to do exactly what you want. I don't know of anyone who will advertise "half day" trips to see the dragons, or snorkeling only. Most will advertise diving for a full day, overnight, or a combo dragon/snorkel day trip. Since it will be 2 to 3 hours each way on boat, there really isn't such thing as a half day trip assuming you actually get off the boat and walk to see the dragons..you have to go with a guide and they will do a little orientation. Even if you are booked ahead there will be a wait since groups need to be spaced apart for safety. The islands are dry and hot, if you just want to take photos of big dragons, At Komodo they tend to go to the watering hole which isn't far from the dock. If you arrange a private tour you can pick less time looking for dragons and hiking, more time snorkeling, for example. The time you need to leave back for LBJ will be set by the captain.

Most boats will leave early in the morning and we had to head back around 1pm. I'm not sure how you are getting 11 hours on a boat? About half that time you should not be on the boat.

We went on a traditional wooden boat. Sailing out of LBJ at dawn was really a wonderful part of the experience even if the day was long.

The good snorkeling sites such as Pink Beach are near to Rinca and Komodo. We stopped on the way back after Komodo.

In your shoes, I would start mining tripadvisor for a travel agency or dive shop with a website that advertises a fast boat. I am probably the only person on Fodors who has been to Flores, much less Komodo, recently and posted a trip report of sorts, but I didn't have a hand in arrangements.

When I arrived at LBJ airport there was a desk selling group fast-boat tours to Komodo for the following day. Most of the trips leave early in the morning so even if you come in on the first flight you likely won't make a boat that day unless arranged in advance.

Good Luck and let us know what you find.

I don't know if Rinca is better, vs Komodo. I've read conflicting reports.

Last edited by mlgb; Jan 31st, 2019 at 10:15 AM.
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Old Jan 31st, 2019, 03:16 PM
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thank mlgb. pretty sure we will be trying to see dragons on Rinca not Komodo. shorter trip. have found some options for dive shops who look to be offering what we want for snorkeling but still working on Rinca. many recs to not book until arrival. not sure on this due to short time frame/other desired activities. what's you opinion on book before arrival versus investigate/haggle in Labuan Bajo?
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Old Jan 31st, 2019, 05:40 PM
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We. have had trip reports here about Komodo and Rinca, but mlgb's is the most recent. I did a search and came up with just one other recent report: Bali, Flores, Lomok and Java
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