Kanawa is a lovely little island at the edge of world famous Komodo National Park. It's probably the best way to enjoy the national park, since it is a few minutes away by boat, offering tours, diving, food and accommodation on pristine white sand beaches.
The island is fully surrounded by an untouched coral reef where turtles, sharks, mantas and thousands of other sea creatures live.
The island used to belong to a local from the nearby fisherman village of Pulau Mesah. In 2010, the island was purchased by a group of Europeans (Italian, Dutch, Spanish) who are taking care of it, keeping it as a simple place for travelers, offering tours and diving and creating a conservation program which includes a turtle sanctuary, no-fishing zone on the reef, English and environmental education classes at local schools, and the use of green energy.
The area of the island is about 30 hectares, with two main beaches, one on purpose kept at natural status. In the centre of the island, a beautiful hill provides spectacular views all over the national park.
Flora and fauna
On the island there is the typical vegetation of the Komodo National Park, very green in the rainy season and quite dry in summer. Palm trees have been planted together with some bananas, papaya and other fruit trees. There are tame goats, deer, cats and dogs. The water is rich with coral and fish. The diving and snorkeling on the reef is considered among the best in the world.
The monsoon period is from January to March, and the best period to visit is September-November. July and August are crowded. In front of the island there are never any waves even in the rainy season, because the coral barrier protects the beach area.
There are daily flights form Bali to Labuan Bajo, which is the access port. From there a charter boat can bring you to the island (Rp 400,000 per boat). The daily shuttle boat leaves at 12:00. There is a Kanawa office in Labuan Bajo close to the MadeInItaly restaurant. If you book an accommodation there, you can take the daily shuttle boat for free.
Fees and permits
Rp 50,000 per person to get in. The fee is exchangeable at restaurant for food and drinks.
- the island is great
- spectacular sunrises
- diving directly from the island or in the national park
- tours to Komodo National Park to see the dragons
There is a lot to do in Kanawa, from wonderful relaxing on the white sand beaches, to amazing diving in the national park, trekking the hill for magnificent views, kayaking around the island or inside the mangrove forest, snorkeling on the protected reef, joining the conservation program, eating at the restaurant.
Starfish Cafe offers a mixture of fresh seafood, Indonesian delicacies, Italian pastas and international food including the Komodo burger and a mixed seafood grill platter with lobsters, squid and snapper. Beer and cocktails are also available. Happy hour is from 17:30-19:00, Sundays only.
You can reserve in advance at the Kanawa information office (close to the MadeInItaly restaurant). Their official prices are subject to a 10% tax.
At Kanawa Beach Bungalows, 14 cottages, are priced at more or less Rp 550,000/night (Rp 700,000 for two people) inclusive of breakfast, which should be considered very expensive considering the state of the bungalows and repeated sightings of bedbugs in 2015.
As of 2015, bales and camping are no longer offered.
The daily shuttle boat leaves daily at 08:00.