Rinca Island is one of the major draws of the UNESCO-recognized Komodo National Park. Rinca Island is painted by jagged hills, fringed with mangroves and carpeted with savannah, serving as a fascinating home to prehistoric Komodo dragons, the world’s biggest lizards. Rinca Island tour is a popular alternative to Komodo Island because there is a larger population of Komodo dragons here that can be sighted more easily, including dens and nests.
Komodo dragons trail
Rinca Island tour starts at the village of Loh Buaya, where park rangers prepare you for trekking the Komodo dragons trail. If you are lucky, you will find that you are the only explorer within miles of savannah. And your guide is your sole companion, wandering across the bushes in the hopes of encountering a Komodo dragon that has thrived on Earth for millions of years. This giant lizard, dressed in subtle tones of orange and blue, prefers to hunt by stealth, waiting silently for hours until prey crosses their path. Around 1’300 Komodo dragons live on Rinca Island, and you are very likely to encounter dozens of these prehistoric creatures in their natural habitat during your tour.
Rinca Island tour promises a unique experience because civilization is scarce here. Besides a small fishing village, there are no other facilities and developments. The highest summit on Rinca island is Mount Ora, and its sight will be guiding you wherever you wander. Apart from Komodo dragons, also found among Rinca’s distinctive lontar palms are water buffalos, wild boars, deer, and crab-eating macaques. For those with limited time, the Rinca Island tour is a viable option for a day trip due to the island’s proximity to Labuan Bajo, which serves as the gateway to Komodo National Park.
Located at Rinca Island’s southern tip and only accessed by boat, Nusa Kode is genuinely off the beaten track. Often called a Horseshoe Bay, here you can witness Komodo dragons, menacingly strolling the shore. Nusa Kode is ideal for those who wish to travel to a more remote and secluded area during your Rinca Island tour. Due to the absence of humans, Komodo dragons found on the shores of secluded Nusa Kode tend to be more aggressive, promising an adrenaline rush for thrill-seekers. Please do not attempt to swim in the Horseshoe Bay because Komodo dragons are known to be excellent swimmers, and they own the beach here.
Rinca island diving
Besides being a popular destination to encounter the Komodo dragons, Rinca Island is also known to be an excellent destination for diving and snorkeling. There are several notable dive sites around Rinca Island, which are regarded as some of the best in Komodo National Park, and especially for macro lovers. Wai Nilu is a tiny island close to Rinca northwest that promises one of the best muck dive sites in the Komodo archipelago. Perfect for night dives, this dive site can be explored for various unusual creatures, including the nudibranchs, camouflaged crabs, a large variety of shrimps, mandarin fish, painted frogfish, and ghost pipefish. Besides, a large amount of porcupine fish, scrawled filefish, triggerfish, and giant pufferfish make Wai Nilu their home.
In general, diving conditions around Rinca Island are somewhat similar to those of the other dive sites in Komodo National Park. Yet, there are many sheltered bays along both east and west coastlines that promise relaxed diving any time of the year. Dive sites along the southern coast, including around Nusa Kode, may be more suitable for the advanced divers. The variety of marine species is phenomenal here due to nutrient-rich waters with plankton attracting large pelagics. Occasionally, one can encounter whales and whale sharks; on top of resident reef sharks, manta rays, and green turtles. Rinca Island is also known to have one of the best soft corals in Komodo National Park.