A remote land less traveled, Rinca Island is located in East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. It is one of the three biggest islands included in Komodo National Park along with Komodo Island and Padar Island. Rinca is famous for having one of the best dive sites in the world and for their remarkable inhabitants, the Komodo Dragons.
Rinca Island has been granted its UNESCO World Heritage Status in 1991 for the protection and conservation of its biota and its exceptional landscape. The island’s mostly dry and rugged hillside perfectly contrasts its blue, coral-rich waters and sandy beaches.
The Komodo Dragons
The main star of the island and is a member of the monitor lizards family, the Komodo Dragons are the largest, growing up to 10 feet and weighing up to 70 kilograms; and most lethal species alive. The dragons’ life span is estimated up to 30 years.
The Komodo dragons are carnivorous in nature and prey on birds, invertebrates, and mammals. They are also thought to occasionally attack humans due to their aggressive behavior. Recent studies found that Komodo dragons are venomous, which were previously thought that a large volume level of bacteria on the mouth causes death after a bite.
The mating season for the Komodo Dragons is between May and August. One interesting fact about these lizards’ mating is the fierce fighting of the males — the dominant and large male dragons will intensely fight over female dragons and their territory. A female Komodo Dragon lays 20-30 eggs, which has an incubation period of 7-8 months.
The depleting population of Komodo Dragons was estimated at around 5,700 in total and around 1,300 of the total population inhabits in Rinca Island. There are only five islands in Indonesia where the presence of the lizards was recorded: Komodo Island, Flores, Gili Dasami, Gili Motang, and Rinca Island.
Photo credit: Jarrett Laabs
Other Wildlife in the Island
Komodo Dragons aren’t the only wildlife inhabiting the island. Rinca Island also provides refuge for many notable wildlife such as crab-eating macaque, water buffalo, endemic rat, orange-footed scrub fowl, noisy friarbird, wild pigs, cobra snakes, and many more.
Activities in Rinca Island
Apart from experiencing the wildlife of the island, Rinca having one of the best dive sites in the world deserves a dive check. Get ready to be amazed by the most colorful coral in Indonesia and swim with nudibranchs, frogfish, sea snake, and turtles.
An exhilarating trek is also one for the books when you visit Rinca Island. A trek on the hills of the island would give you a rewarding view of the bay from the top. Three trails are available, the shortest takes 30 minutes (a shaded walk that passes an artificial waterhole); the medium trek takes one hour (this is a trek between dragon nests across the savannah); the longest trek takes about two hours (up to the slopes — the perfect vantage point for a panoramic breathtaking view of the bay).
Getting To Rinca Island
The Komodo National Park is only accessible by boat. There are two flight options if you’re coming from Bali, either you fly to Bima or Labuan Bajo. From both islands, you also have the option to take a ferry and be guided by rangers in exploring the island, or, charter a private yacht where you can see the Komodo Dragons from the boat and have the option to see other hidden bays and stop over to other small islands in Komodo National Park.
Tips in Exploring the Island and its Wilderness
- Never feed the lizards and don’t go near them. They live in the wild and they can chase their prey faster than humans can run.
- Bring more than enough water to stay hydrated.
- Don’t forget to put sunscreen. The island is most of the time dry and hot. Keep yourself protected from the harmful UV rays when trekking.
- Stay close to your guide. They have explored the island numerous times and everyone’s safety is at utmost priority. Remember, the island is inhabited by wild animals.
- Savor each moment spent on the island. It’s not every day that we’re rewarded by the natural beauty of nature and the beauty of the lives in the wild.
- Take pictures or videos but never forget to live the moment. The memories you created during your excursion are best told thru your story.