Wildlife Treks, Komodo Dragons, Mesmerizing Waters
Sulawesi and Komodo
July 29 to August 12, 2025
Trek, boat, and snorkel your way through this unique and sprawling Indonesian archipelago. Spend your days in North Sulawesi hiking through lush terrain to find rare animals such as spectral tarsiers, black-crested macaques, and many alluring bird species. Then depart for Komodo Island to search for the world’s largest lizard: the formidable Komodo dragon. Your land exploration is complemented by plenty of time beneath the surface where extensive marine life thrives amid the hard and soft coral reefs. Look out for giant manta rays – they can be more than 22 feet wide and weigh 4000 pounds!
- 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.
- Watch thousands of flying foxes exit their roost.
Itinerary Updated: November 2023
|Jul 30–31||Travel to Manado, Sulawesi, Indonesia.|
|Aug 1||Arrive in Manado, Sulawesi.||Tangkoko Hill, Bitung||D|
|Aug 2-4||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|
|Aug 5||Spend last morning in Tangkoko and then transfer 1.5 hours to Manado for relaxation.||Novotel Manado, Manado||B, L, D|
|Aug 6||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|
|Aug 7||Depart early for a morning in Komodo National Park in search of the dragons the islands is famous for. Eat lunch on your boat and then snorkel with manta rays.||Komodo Resort, Sebayur Island||B, L, D|
|Aug 8||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|
|Aug 9||Spend another day on Rinca Island and snorkel on the way back to your lodge.||Komodo Resort, Sebayur Island||B, L, D|
|Aug 10||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|
|Aug 11||Drive to Labuan Bajo for your flights home.||B|
|Aug 12||Arrive home.|
Our Trip Leaders
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.
A glimpse into our journey
Arrive in Manado, Sulawesi
Welcome to Sulawesi! Your driver will meet you at the airport and transfer you to to Tangkoko Hill on the edge of Tangkoko National Park (1.5-hr drive) where you will meet the group in the evening for an orientation and introductions.
Tangkoko National Park
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 including the red-knobbed hornbill, one of the most beautiful hornbills on the planet. Other birds include five species of kingfishers, the red-bellied pitta, purple dollarbird, eclectus parrots, and more.
Tangkoko to Manado
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
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
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
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.
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
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
After breakfast, you will depart back to Labuan Bajo to the airport for your flights home.
Sulawesi and Komodo
Discover Sulawesi’s wilderness, encounter rare animals, dive into mesmerizing waters, witness majestic manta rays—an extraordinary Indonesian adventure awaits.
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Cost & Payments
Costs (in US$)
|Type||Cost Per Person|
|Trip Cost, double occupancy||$9,275|
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||Due Date||Amount Per Person|
|Deposit||Due now to reserve your space||$2,000|
|Final||February 1, 2025||Remaining Balance|
Payments are due based on the schedule above. All reservations require a deposit to confirm reservation of your space.
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.
- 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 August 1 through August 10.
- Meals from dinner on August 1 through breakfast on August 11.
- Water, juice, and soft drinks.
- Transfers from the Manado Airport to Tangkoko Hill regardless of arrival day and on August 1 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.
- 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.
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 are about 68 to 75°F (20 to 24°C), and average maximum temperatures are 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 of about 70 to 76°F (21 to 24°C) and average maximum temperatures of about 83 to 87°F (28 to 31°C). The average water temperature in July in Komodo is about 81°F (27°C).
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.
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 August 1, in time for dinner.
- Depart from Labuan Bajo, Komodo, Indonesia (LBJ) after 12:00pm on August 11.
Flights we book
- The one-way flight from Manado to Komodo is included in the trip cost.
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.
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