Rinca Island is one of the major draws of the UNESCO-recognized Komodo National Park. This island is yet another one where human interference is kept minimal, and where Komodo dragons prevail. Rinca island is painted by jagged hills, fringed with mangroves and carpeted with savannah, serving as home to prehistoric Komodo dragons, the world’s biggest lizards.
Rinca Island is often an overlooked destination when going on a tour in Komodo National Park as opposed to the more popular Komodo Island. Yet still, much is to be expected from a Rinca Island tour. Despite being smaller than Komodo Island and less known to the public, Rinca Island is a destination where Komodo dragons can be sighted more easily. The reason being that Rinca has a more significant Komodo dragon population at a total number of around 1,300. Therefore, visitors are more likely to encounter the incredible creatures at their natural habitat here on Rinca Island and with luck, even their dens and nests.
Those who would like to get closer to the Komodo dragons should not miss a trekking expedition when going on a tour of Rinca Island. Follow the Rinca park rangers at Loh Buaya to discover a creature that has thrived on Earth for millions of years. 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. The chance of spotting a Komodo dragon is higher in a small group, and this is a given opportunity for tourists who wish to avoid the crowds while searching for the dragons. 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 – so be warned!
Civilization is scarce on Rinca Island, and aside from 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. Bird lovers will be left entranced by the variety of bird species of different colors on Rinca Island. It is always interesting to witness many fascinating creatures thriving in the desolate environment that surrounds Rinca Island.
For those with limited time, Rinca island is a viable option for a day trip seeing that it is closer to Labuan Bajo, which serves as the gateway to Komodo National Park. Therefore, more and more tourists are opting to go for a Rinca Island tour instead as a preferred destination to spot the Komodo dragons with a much smaller number of crowds.
Besides being a popular destination to encounter the Komodo dragons, Rinca Island is also known to be an excellent destination for diving and snorkeling enthusiasts. 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. In general, diving conditions are said to be somewhat similar to the other dive sites in Komodo National Park. Yet still, 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 pelagic. Occasionally, one can encounter whales and whale sharks, in addition to 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.