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Komodo Cruises

About Komodo, Indonesia

At just 150 square miles, the island of Komodo is home to one of the world’s most unique and prehistoric-feeling national parks, a magnificent menagerie of wildlife. Its most famous denizen is the legendary Komodo dragon, the largest monitor lizard in the world known to locals as the ora. These breathtaking creatures, first discovered by Europeans in 1910 and believed at first to breathe fire, can grow up to 10 feet long and weigh as much as 150 pounds.

A small human population also calls Komodo home. Residents here are descendants of exiled convicts and the Bugis people of Sulawesi, another Indonesian island. Graceful Timor deer, beautiful wild horses and stout little boars also roam the island. And its giant fruit bats, also known as flying foxes, have a wingspan of four feet and are a sight to behold with their jet-black capes. Offshore, Komodo boasts a rich marine world of dolphins, whales and 1,000 species of fish.

Komodo Lifestyle and Culture

Komodo belongs to its wildlife, though the people of a small fishing village have struck a harmonious chord with their fellow island residents. Descended from a mix of exiled convicts and the Bugis people of Indonesian Sulawesi, their customs and ways are rich in tribal tradition. They live off livestock, agriculture and the bounty of the sea and make a simple living by breeding goats, which the parks then purchase to feed the Komodo dragons.

Komodo Sights and Landmarks

One of the most arid islands in the vast Indonesian archipelago, Komodo stands out as one of the most fascinating destinations in the Timor Sea. Here, a steep hillside folds down onto a pink-sand beach, one of only seven in the world. The pleasing hue is created by a mix of white and red sand. But the island’s star attraction, and king of Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the Komodo dragon, for which you’ll keep your eyes open during a park visit. In addition to its most famous resident, Komodo harbors a rich mix of Asian and Austronesian wildlife, largely explained by the island’s proximity to the Wallace Line, the maritime border between Asia and Australia. Wild pigs forage, macaques cavort in the canopy, and cockatoos, sea eagles and 150 other species of birds take flight.

Humans also make their mark on the island. The fishing village of Kampung Komodo welcomes visitors, most of whom arrive on foot. The friendly inhabitants live in stilted huts and their yards bustle with goats and chickens. Stopping by provides once-in-a-lifetime insight into an ancient way of life.