Rinca Island (pronounced like Reen-cha) is one of the many incredible islands that make up Komodo National Park.
If you’re planning a trip to Flores Island and Komodo National Park, be sure to stop by Rinca Island for an up-close and personal experience with Komodo dragons, one of the most unimaginable creatures to walk the earth.
How To Get To Rinca Island
In order to get to Rinca Island, you’ll need to fly into the small capital of Flores Island, Labuan Bajo. There are several ways to reach Labuan Bajo, the easiest way is by air.
Direct flights into Labuan Bajo occur daily from several different locations. Below you’ll see a list of the most common airports that offer direct flights to Labuan Bajo:
- Lombok (WingsAir)
- Bali (AirAsia, NAM Air, WingsAir, Garuda Indonesia)
- Jakarta (Batik Air, Garuda Indonesia)
- Surabaya (WingsAir)
- Makassar (TransNusa)
- Kupang (WingsAir, TransNusa)
We flew directly from Bali to Labuan Bajo using WingsAir and paid approximately $100 roundtrip. To get the best bang for your buck on flights, check out our post: 7 Skyscanner Tricks for Booking the Cheapest Flights.
Private Boat Tour or Group Boat Tour?
Now that you’ve made it to Flores Island, you’ll need to plan your route to Rinca Island. Mike and I didn’t plan any of our Komodo National Park tours before arriving on the island; we figured it would be easy to find a tour company when we arrived and choose the best deal.
Unfortunately, this was the most difficult part of our trip to Rinca Island.
We took a taxi to the pier and talked to several different companies about touring Padar and Rinca Island. We were very unsatisfied with the answers we received and the shakedowns from local tour companies. There was a lot of deceit and manipulation happening at these small tour company offices so we walked away feeling defeated.
Soon after, we were greeted by a friendly local named Hubert.
Since we appeared to be lost, Hubert asked if he could help us find anything or give direction. We explained that we wanted to see Rinca Island and Padar Island within the two days we had in Labuan Bajo and asked if this was possible based on ocean conditions.
Hubert was so informative, easy-going, and extremely helpful. In fact, he told us that his uncle owned several boats in the area and asked if we wanted to charter one to visit Rinca Island that same day.
The price he offered us was HALF of the cost that these other tour companies were suggesting.
The best part? We had the boat all to ourselves.
We didn’t have to fight crowds during hikes and we could set our own schedule. He even set up a sunrise tour of Padar Island (again, at a fraction of the cost of these other slimy tour companies).
So, if you’re trying to figure out whether you should charter a private boat to take you around Komodo National Park or take a group tour, it’s far cheaper and more enjoyable to book with Hubert and his family.
To contact Hubert about a custom trip to the islands of Komodo National Park, visit his Facebook page and send him a message: Hubert Flores.
Note: Hubert and his uncle also took us snorkeling on a private island that same day. We were the only ones on the island; something that is quite rare in Komodo National Park.
Rinca Island or Komodo Island?
Before we arrived on Flores Island, we had our minds made up that Komodo Island would be the most epic place to visit; surely it was at the top of our bucket list. Seeing Komodo dragons is a once in a lifetime opportunity. We decided that Komodo Island was our first choice.
Little did we know, you are much more likely to see Komodo dragons on Rinca Island as opposed to Komodo Island. When we heard this, we opted to skip Komodo Island because the boat ride is twice as long as it is Rinca Island.
We were able to visit Rinca Island by leaving Labuan Bajo at approximately 10am. In order to visit Komodo Island, you must leave much earlier due to extreme weather conditions at sea.
If you’re deciding between Rinca Island and Komodo Island to see the magical Komodo dragons, I highly recommend Rinca Island.
Rinca Island Entrance Fee
Since Rinca Island is one of the many islands that make up Komodo National Park, you must pay several fees to enter. The entrance fee for Rinca Island includes:
- Ranger fees
- Hiking fees
- Tax fee
- Boat parking fee
Mike and I paid 610,000 rupiahs to the National Park Service of Indonesia to get onto Rinca Island. This is approximately $43 USD or $21.50 each. Keep in mind, prices fluctuate if you visit on a weekend or holiday.
Rinca Island Hike & Komodo Dragons
The burning question most people ask regarding Rinca Island is: “will I actually get to see Komodo dragons?”
Although I’ve only been to this island once, I can say that seeing Komodo dragons on Rinca Island is VERY common. The Komodo dragons typically hangout near the ranger station, so you’ll likely see them within five minutes of arrival.
When we were on Rinca Island, we saw so many Komodo dragons that it was difficult to count them all.
Because we went during the day, the dragons were lethargic and lazy. They do this to conserve energy and escape the heat of the intense Indonesian sun. Our ranger helped us get the best pictures of these magnificent creatures while keeping us at a safe distance.
Note: Having a ranger or guide with you during your time on Rinca Island is mandatory.
After our amazing encounter with Komodo dragons, our guide offered to take us on a hike through the island.
During our hike, we were able to ask him questions about the Komodo dragons. He was so knowledgeable about them and offered very insightful information. He also showed us a video he had taken a few days before of a Komodo dragon swallowing a macaque monkey without chewing.. one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen!
If you’re deciding whether to do the Rinca Island hike, I would recommend it. It’s short, easy, and can be done by people of all fitness levels. The views at the top are insanely gorgeous and you’ll be able to see one of the Rinca Island villages in the distance.
Can You Stay On The Island?
While Rinca Island is inhabited by a few locals, tourists are not allowed to stay on the island.
Instead, you will stay in the capital city, Labuan Bajo. Labuan Bajo is a small port town that offers plenty of different styles of accommodation.
When we stayed in Labuan Bajo, we stayed in a beautiful and affordable hotel: La Cecile Hotel & Cafe.
This hotel was located on the cliffs above the ocean and offered the most brilliant view. We enjoyed the delicious food and drinks at the restaurant on-site and the pool overlooking the bay below. Our trip was in February and we paid about $43 USD per night to stay at this hotel.
If you’re looking for something a bit fancier, AYANA recently opened its Komodo resort. For those unfamiliar with AYANA, these are five-star resorts with five-star amenities. Book your stay with AYANA, here.
Disclaimer: These are affiliate links through Booking.com. That means if you book a stay with one of these hotels using our link, we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. We do not promote or recommend products or services we don’t believe in or use ourselves.
Check Out Our Rinca And Padar Island Youtube Video
The Wrap-Up: Rinca Island
Rinca Island is the best island in Komodo National Park to see Komodo dragons in their natural habitat. I highly recommend adding this stop to your itinerary when visiting Flores Island in Indonesia.
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