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Wildlife Treks, Komodo Dragons, Mesmerizing Waters

Sulawesi and Komodo

July 6 to 19, 2024
Cost: $9,200
Leader: Charlie Ryan
Group Size: 7
Days: 14

Safari Overview

Explore unique corners of this vast and varied Indonesian archipelago by foot, boat, and fins. Travel to North Sulawesi and spend three full days trekking to find rare animals such as the tarsier, macaques, and many bird species. Then depart for Komodo Island to search for the world’s largest lizards: Komodo dragons. You will have ample opportunities to snorkel the spectacular waters around your lodge, as well as en route between locations, where you will find hard and soft corals and plenty of marine life including giant manta rays, which can be upwards of 22 feet wide and weigh 4000 pounds!

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Hike Tangkoko National Park for three full days.
  • Spend four mornings searching for Komodo dragons.
  • Snorkel at the lodge reef and other wonderful spots around Komodo.

Updated: November 2023



Print Trip
Date Description Lodge Meals
Jul 6–7 Travel to Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Jul 8 Arrive in Manado, Sulawesi. Tangkoko Hill, Bitung D
Jul 9–11 Travel to Bitung. Spend three full days exploring Tangkoko National Park by foot. Discover the endemic wildlife along the Wallace Line convergence zone. Tangkoko Hill, Bitung B, L, D
Jul 12 Spend last morning in Tangkoko and then transfer 1.5 hours to Manado for relaxation. Novotel Manado, Manado B, L, D
Jul 13 Take early morning flight to Komodo, arriving in the early afternoon. Transfer to the jetty for a one-hour boat ride to your lodge. Snorkel in the late afternoon. Komodo Resort, Sebayur Island B, L, D
Jul 14 Depart early for a morning in Komodo National Park in search of the dragons the island is famous for. Eat lunch on your boat and then snorkel with manta rays. Komodo Resort, Sebayur Island B, L, D
Jul 15 After breakfast, depart for Rinca Island in search of more Komodo dragons and other wildlife. Snorkel in the late afternoon at your lodge. Komodo Resort, Sebayur Island B, L, D
Jul 16 Spend another day on Rinca Island and snorkel on the way back to your lodge. Komodo Resort, Sebayur Island B, L, D
Jul 17 Spend the day snorkeling and exploring the island. In the afternoon, watch thousands of island flying foxes depart their roost. Komodo Resort, Sebayur Island B, L, D
Jul 18 Drive to Labuan Bajo for your flights home. B
Jul 19 Arrive home.

Our Trip Leaders

Charlie Ryan

After signing up for a volunteer program in Indonesia in 2008, Charlie was re-routed to Sabah, Borneo where he helped set up community initiative programs for the Abai village. He has resided in Sabah ever since. Charlie guides for the National Geographic Adventure groups in Borneo and helps train nature guides, providing them with first-hand knowledge and experience. He is also an avid photographer, which compliments his passion for wildlife, culture, and travel.

Detailed Itinerary

A glimpse into our journey

Travel to Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Jul 6–7

Arrive in Manado, Sulawesi

Jul 8

Welcome to Sulawesi. Your driver will meet you at the airport and transfer you to Tangkoko Hill on the edge of Tangkoko National Park (1.5-hr drive). You will meet the group in the evening for an orientation and introductions.

Tangkoko National Park

Jul 9–11

You will spend three full days exploring Tangkoko National Park by foot. Average trekking will be 3 to 4mi per day on mostly flat ground with some inclines going up the foothills of the volcano. Tangkoko is known as one of the best places for tropical wildlife in Wallacea. Named after Alfred Wallace, this convergence zone along the Wallace Line is home to plethora of endemic wildlife. Some of the highlights are the black-crested macaques, bear cuscus, spectral tarsiers, and an array of endemic birds. The red-knobbed hornbill is one of the most beautiful hornbills on the planet, and you will look for this species as well. Other birds include five species of kingfisher, the red-bellied pitta, purple dollarbird, eclectus parrots, and more.

Tangkoko to Manado

Jul 12

Spend the last morning exploring Tangkoko before you check out and transfer back to Manado (1.5hr). Spend the afternoon relaxing in Manado and eat dinner at a local restaurant.

Manado to Komodo

Jul 13

Komodo Dragon
© Charlie Ryan

Wake up early for a 6:00am flight to Komodo (with 2 stops along the way in transit). You will arrive at 1:00pm, take a short transfer to the jetty, and then take a 1-hr boat ride to arrive at the beautiful Komodo Resort. Spend the late afternoon snorkeling on the house reef or walking up the hill behind the resort for sunset. Enjoy dinner at the lodge.

Komodo National Park and snorkeling

Jul 14

Depart early for Komodo National Park to search for Komodo dragons, sulfur-crested cockatoos, and other wildlife. You will spend the entire morning there, have lunch on the boat, and then snorkel with manta rays on the way back to the lodge.

Rinca and Padar Islands

Jul 15

After breakfast, depart for Rinca Island and search for more Komodo dragons and more wildlife. You will also visit Padar Island which is known for rugged peaks and pink sand beaches. Return in the afternoon to the resort for a snorkel on the house reef.

Rinca Island

Jul 16

Spend another day at Rinca Island trekking to see Komodo dragons. You will also have snorkeling opportunities on the way back to the lodge in the afternoon.

Snorkeling and bats

Jul 17

Spend the day snorkeling on the house reef and exploring the island. In the afternoon, you will take a boat to a mangrove area where you can watch thousands of flying foxes come out of their roost in a wonderful spectacle. Return to the lodge for dinner.

Depart for home

Jul 18

After breakfast, you will depart back to Labuan Bajo to the airport for your flights home.

Arrive home

Jul 19

Sulawesi and Komodo

Discover Sulawesi’s wilderness, encounter rare animals, dive into mesmerizing waters, witness majestic manta rays—an extraordinary Indonesian adventure awaits.

1.4677114188209162, 124.84937182745668

Cost & Payments

Costs (in US$)

Type Cost Per Person
Trip Cost, double occupancy $9,200
Single Supplement $1,150

Costs are per person, double occupancy, not including airfare (except for one-way flight from Manado to Komodo), singles extra. See Included and Not Included sections for more details.

If you are a single traveler, we will try to find a roommate for you, but if we cannot pair you with a roommate, we may charge you a single supplement. Single rooms cost extra and are subject to availability.


Payment Schedule

Payment Due Date Amount Per Person
Deposit Due now to reserve your space $2,000
Final January 28, 2024 Remaining Balance

Payments are due based on the schedule above. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space.


Cancellations

Until the Final Payment due date, deposits are refundable except for a cancellation fee of $150 per person, which can be applied toward another trip if reserved within six months of the cancelled trip’s departure date. Cancellations are non-transferrable. No refunds are given after the Final Payment due date.

Included

  • Carbon offsets for the duration of this trip.
  • All leaders, transport, park entry fees, and permits for all activities unless described as optional.
  • One-way flight from Manado to Komodo.
  • Accommodations for the nights of July 8 through July 17.
  • Meals from dinner on July 8 through breakfast on July 18.
  • Water, juice, and soft drinks.
  • Transfers from the Manado Airport to Tangkoko Hill regardless of arrival day and on July 18 to the Labuan Bajo Airport.
  • Gratuities for local guides, drivers, hotels, and porters.
  • Trip Planning Materials – information about entry requirements, flights, packing, gratuities, etc.
  • Snorkeling gear.

Not Included

  • Carbon offsets for your flights to/from this trip.
  • All airfare (except flights listed as included), airport and departure taxes, and excess baggage fees. Airfare is approximately $1,500 to $2,500 from the US to Manado, Sulawesi, and back to the US from Labuan Bajo, Komodo, depending on origin.
  • Passport and visa fees.
  • COVID tests.
  • Extra hotel nights.
  • Gratuities – tipping is always discretionary. However, we suggest budgeting about $175 to $200 total per participant for your leader.
  • Emergency evacuation insurance and trip cancellation insurance.
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, telephone calls, medical costs or hospitalization, room service, alcoholic and other beverages, items not on the regular menu, etc. If you have special dietary needs, please indicate them on your Reservation Form.

Climate

The northern area of Sulawesi, where Manado is located, is tropical, so it is humid, and does not have a real dry season. The rainy season is between November and June. Between July and October rains decrease. Temperatures are stable throughout the year; average minimum temperatures about 68 to 75°F (20 to 24°C), and average maximum temperatures about 88 to 95°F (31 to 35°C). It can feel much warmer when you are active, which you will be on this trip.

In Komodo, and on the nearby islands protected in the national park of the same name (Padar, Rinca, plus other smaller islands), the climate is tropical, hot all year round, with the dry season from June to September. Temperatures are stable throughout the year; with average minimum temperatures about 70 to 76°F (21 to 24°C) and average maximum temperatures about 83 to 87°F (28 to 31°C). The average water temperature in July in Komodo is about 81°F (27°C).

Fitness Level

In Sulawesi, average trekking will be 3 to 4mi per day on flat ground with some inclines going up the foothills of the volcano. In Komodo, snorkeling is typically in calm, protected waters of the reefs. Please contact us if you have any health concerns that may make this trip challenging.

When you fill in your Reservation Form, please answer the following:

  1. Describe recent experiences you have hiking in humid, warm conditions.
  2. Are you fit enough to walk three to four miles daily?
  3. Where have you snorkeled before?
  4. What activities and exercises do you currently do that will help prepare for this trip?

Flights

Detailed logistical information is included in the Trip Planning Materials we will send you.

Flights you book

  • Arrive in Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia (MDC) by 4:00pm on July 8, in time for dinner.
  • Depart from Labuan Bajo, Komodo, Indonesia (LBJ) after 12:00pm on July 18.

Flights we book

  • The one-way flight from Manado to Komodo is included in the trip cost.

FAQ

Accommodations

Motion Sickness

Transportation

Conservation

Our company ethos has always regarded conservation as inseparable from responsible tourism. We struggle with the dilemma that traveling worldwide expends climate-changing carbon. However, we wholeheartedly believe that traveling with us will cultivate your passion for conserving our beautiful world while stimulating each destination’s local economy. We encourage you to explore the various ways in which Cheesemans’ operates within this context:

  • Cheesemans’ Trips are Carbon Neutral.
  • Offsetting your Travel to/from our Trip: We ask you to pledge to offset the carbon emissions for your travel to and from our trips. You can purchase offsets with most airlines (Delta includes them automatically), use our handy carbon calculator and donate to Sustainable Travel International, or contribute to your favorite offsetting organization.

Conditions

Read our current Terms and Conditions.