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Diving in Flores

From the swift currents and manta rays of Komodo National Park to the crazy critters in Maumere Bay, Flores is one of the best diving destinations in Indonesia.

Diving in Flores

Quick facts

Divers usually make a beeline for Komodo National Park which can be accessed from the town of Labuan Bajo, often forgetting that there is also diving off Maumere. In the past, the diving around Maumere used to be outstanding but because of poor monitoring and many incidents of dynamite fishing, much of the reefs have been destroyed. That said, a recovery is in process and the muck diving is excellent.

Diving Komodo National Park is an exciting affair but does require a bit of diving experience as the area is known for its swift and powerful currents. Water temperature here ranges from 73-82˚F (23-28˚C) with the colder temperatures mostly in the south. The best way to dive Komodo National Park is on a liveaboard diving vessel and the best season for diving is during the dry months of April to August. That said, some liveaboard vessels run trips throughout the year here.

In Maumere, it is also advisable to hop on a liveaboard diving vessel to be able to cover more ground but there are also land-based dive operators to choose from. Diving around Maumere involves trips to islands like Babi Island, Adonara Island or Lambata Island for sloping reefs, walls and boulders. There are also current filled drop-offs and of course, good muck diving around the bay. The best time to dive here is the dry season which starts from April and extends to December. Similar to Komodo, this area requires some diving experience because of the currents and choppy surface conditions. Visibility at Maumere averages at about 50ft (15m) only while at Komodo it can be beyond 100ft (30m).

When to go

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What to see

Manta rays like to frequent Komodo National Park but you might not be able to spend much time with them as you are likely to be caught up in a quick drift. That said, there are some sites where you can use a reef hook and enjoy the display of whitetip sharks, tuna, trevally, rainbow runner and barracuda zipping around looking for a meal. Eagle rays are also often seen in the blue. Around healthy sloping reefs, there are usually many lyretail anthias, angelfish and butterflyfish. Amongst the corals there are some interesting critters to find like frogfish and nudibranch.

Off Maumere, the reefs have a good coverage of soft corals and colorful crinoids. Other than colorful reef fish, look out for ribbon eels, moray eels, squat lobsters and crabs. Gorgonian sea fans are plentiful here and you could find some with pygmy seahorses. Muck sites could reveal an Ambon scorpionfish, waspfish, flamboyant cuttlefish, colorful nudibranch, octopus and other strange critters.


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Flores is part of the East Nusa Tenggara province in Indonesia. It is a group of islands that forms an arc which starts from Java and covers an area of 14,300 square km. To the west of Flores is the famous Komodo National Park and to the north, across the Flores Sea, is the island of Sulawesi. The main town on Flores is Maumere and the total population on Flores is 1,831,000 people.

The Portuguese discovered Flores in the 16th century as they were exploring the Sunda Islands. After it was discovered, traders and missionaries arrived and sandalwood became a main export of Flores until the 19th century when Flores became part of the Dutch East Indies. After World War II and the Japanese invasion, Flores became part of Indonesia.

Flores is a volcanic island that forms part of the Ring of Fire and it has two active volcanoes which are Mount Egon and Mount Inerie. There have not been any recent eruptions but as the island lies on a path where multiple tectonic plates collide, there have been major earthquakes with the most recent in 1992.

As a tourist destination, Flores is a late bloomer compared to the rest of Indonesia. The most frequented area is the Komodo National Park for the Komodo dragons and scuba diving but there is so much more to see and do. Other unique experiences in Flores include Mount Kelimutu that has three different colored crater lakes, caves at Liang Bua where paleoanthropologist have found small skeletons of hobbit-like people, and even a pink sand beach.

Other attractions

Head out on a hiking trip to see the colored crater lakes of Mount Kelimutu or hop on a boat trip out to the Riung 17 Islands Marine Park. Also visit the Liang Bua and definitely make a trip to Komodo Island or Rinca Island to see the Komodo dragons.

Getting there

Fly to Frans Seda Airport in Maumere via Wings Abadi Airlines which departs from Bali or Kupang.


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Note - Travel to any destination may be adversely affected by conditions including (but not limited) to security, entry and exit requirements, health conditions, local laws and culture, natural disasters and climate. Regardless of your destination, check your local travel advisory board or department for travel advice about that location when planning your trip and again shortly before you leave.

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