Is Rinca Island or Komodo Island better for seeing Komodo dragons?
Most people want to visit Komodo Island but we actually prefer Rinca
There are two main islands that boats trips to Komodo National Park will visit - Rinca Island and Komodo Island. Most boats will visit one or the other, rather than both. In terms of absolute numbers, the dragon population is actually slightly higher in Komodo Island (1727 at the time of this article) vs Rinca Island (1049 at the time of this article).
The islands with Komodo dragons in Komodo National Park.
Depending on the time of the year you visit, we personally find Rinca Island much easier for spotting the dragons. The dragons like feeding on the leftover food around the park rangers' cabin on Rinca Island, so you'll see them lazing around the rangers' cabin on most days - making them much easier to spot.
During mating season on Komodo Island (December!), the Komodo dragons might also wander off into the forest, and become very difficult to spot. If the boat operators hear that Komodo dragons have become hard to spot on Komodo Island, they have in the past also re-routed their boats to Rinca Island so guests hoping to see the Komodo dragons won't be disappointed.
In terms of the trekking, the landscapes on both Rinca Island and Komodo Island are fairly similar so the difficulty of the trek will be the same. You'll generally tend to spend 1 hour to 1.5 hours on Rinca/Komodo Island depending on the boat you go with and the fitness levels of the people in your group.
Even though we prefer Rinca Island to Komodo Island for the ease of seeing the Komodo dragons, it's like choosing a favourite child - you can't really go wrong with a visit to either! It will depend on the time of the year you're visiting and whether it's mating season on that island (if it is, check with the boat operators before you go as to whether the dragons have been spotted by travellers during that period of time!).
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