Alor and Komodo Snorkeling Photography Trip
Spend 15 Days With Other Snorkelers Learning Photography and Enjoying Two of the Most Diverse Areas in the Famed Coral Triangle
June 3-17, 2023
What a great opportunity to join this spectacular resort based snorkeling trip and photography workshop to both Alor and the Komodo Islands, in the Coral Triangle of Indonesia. This is the epicenter of marine biodiversity in the world. We (Galen and Nicole) joined a similar group trip visiting these two areas in 2019, and it was easily one of the best snorkeling trips of our lives. The reefs were amazingly healthy, diverse and abundant with coral and fish life, and the excellent resorts and organization by our trip partner made it all easy.
This trip is led by an award-winning underwater photographer, who will help you improve your underwater photography, both in the water, and with supportive instruction out of the water. No matter what experience you have with taking pictures underwater, or what camera you have, you will learn a bunch and come away with your best pictures ever. It will be a relaxed form of instruction, with plenty of time to take it easy and enjoy the amazing snorkeling too.
Many of the pictures below were taken by us in 2019, which gives you a hint of the pictures you could come back with.
This trip is being run by our partner and friend Ben and his team. Based in the U.K., they are experts in the Coral Triangle, run amazing excursions, and have a great appreciation for the underwater world.
This small group trip (12 snorkelers + guide) is an exceptional value for a 15 day remote adventure filled with astoundingly healthy reefs, beautiful landscapes and some interesting top side attractions, like Komodo Dragons!
What Amazing Places Are You Snorkeling?
First you fly into Jakarta and spend one night in the Jakarta Airport Hotel. The next morning you start your remote island snorkel safari by flying to Alor for seven nights at Alami Alor Resort. Then, you are flying again to Komodo where you will stay for six nights at Komodo Resort. From both resorts you will access the best shallow reef sites in the area. Both offer extraordinary and varied landscapes, and rich and healthy reefs with abundant marine life.
Alor and Komodo have some of the finest snorkeling to be found anywhere. You are almost sure to see manta rays, turtles and reef sharks, and have the chance of seeing a mola mola. Rare critter life like frogfish and Mandarinfish can be spotted, along with endless fields of brightly colored corals and the schools of fish that surround them. You will explore a vast variety of underwater terrains and ecosystems, from anemone fields and fringing reefs, to coral encrusted walls that drop off into the blue deep.
What Will You Learn About Snorkeling Photography?
You could not ask for a better place to learn about underwater snorkeling photography than Alor and Komodo. Each destination is unique, both in terms of the abundance of sea life, and the beautiful underwater scenery, not to mention the beautiful islands above the water. Alor offers a large variety of subjects, giving opportunities for wide angle photography, and macro. The house reef at the resort is full of critters like nudibranchs, lionfish, cuttlefish and the stunning and rare Mandarinfish. And Komodo will thrill you with its large species of turtles, manta rays, and reef sharks.
This workshop is designed for every level of photographer, from beginner, to advanced, for any type of camera, from a tiny GoPro, to an Olympus TG series, up to a SLR in a massive housing if that is what you have.
Your teacher and snorkel guide is an award winning underwater photographer who has published many articles and images, and also has guided many snorkeling trips, so he is very familiar with the challenges of taking pictures as a snorkeler and will help you get the best out of your camera and your snorkeling technique.
The workshop will offer daily discussion about different underwater photography methods, one-on-one picture critiques and technique tutorials.
And your photography teacher is also your guide in the water, helping you find interesting subjects, and assisting you with your photography technique, duck dives, and equipment in the water.
Watch This Short Highlight Video
What Is Alor Like?
Alor is one of Indonesia’s last frontiers, and is remarkably undeveloped. Very few tourists visit the area, and you will likely be the only group on the reefs, besides an occasional local canoe fishermen or some curious kids from the local villages.
Locals have never used destructive fishing practices and as a result we can confirm the reefs remain in their virgin condition.
You will occasionally see traditional fish traps (see picture below) used that are both beautiful and seem to have a low impact on fish populations. And we were pleased to see very little trash in the water or on the shores.
Alor was previously difficult to access because of a lack of infrastructure, so this archipelago is largely unspoiled. Now several airlines offer flights from major Indonesian cities, via Kupang.
The main islands are Alor and Pantar, and between them is a strait of world class reefs.
Alor is very special in our hearts for how untouched and diverse the reefs are. While you will see lots of fish, particularly a crazy abundance of smaller reef fish, and larger fish schools of spadefish, fusiliers and jacks, what really stands out for us about Alor is how incredibly diverse the fields and walls of coral life are, and how healthy they were. Every spot we visited seemed like a different ecosystem, with very different colorful corals, sponges and anemones, and the most marine biodiversity we’ve seen.
Of course the chance to see mola mola and dolphins (we saw both), and whales (we did not), adds to the thrill.
Also of note about Alor, and probably one of the big reasons the reef is so healthy, is because there is a large tidal range, and with that strong currents in the area. This flushes a lot of water through the reefs, full of nutrients. Because of this, Alor is a place to snorkel with a very experienced guide.
Because of the currents our guide would often have us dropped off at one end of a reef, we would drift with the current, and we would be picked up at the other end of the reef by our boat. Snorkeling in Alor feels very adventurous and exciting at times.
You will have six days to snorkel from the Alami Alor Resort. Each day you will have two guided snorkel boat trips to the best reefs in the area.
There is also an excellent house reef that is full of life to explore. It is a shallow shelf, accessed from the pier, that is full of coral life, small reef sharks, nudibranchs, spadefish, mandarinfish, and lots of other reef fish.
What Is the Alami Alor Resort Like?
The Alami Alor is an intimate resort situated on a remote and quiet bay which combines luxury accommodation and delicious locally inspired food. There are six waterfront bungalows, and it will be only your group at the resort. The bedroom is air-conditioned, and there is an open air garden bathroom. There are plenty of outdoor loungers.
Guests can enjoy a full breakfast, lunch and dinner served in the dining room, family style, at the communal dining table. They serve an assortment of dishes influenced mostly by tropical Indonesian and Asian style, but also international cuisines. We found the food to be healthy and delicious, with excellent drinks available at your own cost.
Alami Alor can accommodate most special diets such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and so on.
The resort has two boats with shade covers that hold six guests plus crew. So each day your group will go out in two boats. These boats are big enough to handle a bit of weather, but small enough to drop you off and pick you up right up close to the reefs. You drop into the water from the sides of the boats, and get back on from solid stainless steel step ladders on the side of the boats (you can just see the ladder retracted in the picture below). You return to the resort for lunch between outings.
What Is Komodo Like?
Komodo is a national park of 26 islands which lie to the east of Bali. Taking a trip to this remote corner of Asia feels like stepping back in time.
The islands are volcanic in origin with striking rugged hillsides of dry savanna and green thorny vegetation surrounded by beautiful sandy beaches.
Komodo is not as undiscovered as Alor, so you will see other boats out on the water, mostly with divers. But with few snorkelers on the water, you will mostly have the reefs to your group.
Below the surface you can expect truly world class snorkeling. Being in the Coral Triangle, it offers an abundance of marine bio-diversity. You have many opportunities to see larger species in Komodo. There are manta ray cleaning stations scattered throughout the park. It isn’t uncommon to have encounters with large numbers of these majestic creatures, as well as eagle rays. Schooling pelagics, reef sharks, and Giant Trevally also make frequent appearances. And you are very likely to see many large sea turtles tucked into corals for a break, or coming to the surface for air.
Komodo like Alor has big tidal ranges, with strong currents. So you will often be led by your guide in a drift snorkel along a reef, or even around a small island, and get picked up in a different spot by the boat.
You will explore a variety of reefs, with expansive coral fields of many types, anemones, sponges, and reef fish galore. This makes the snorkeling suited to a variety of preferences.
Besides the nearly overwhelming number of small reef fish, you will also commonly see Napoleon Wrasse, and schools of jacks, fusiliers, spadefish, and trevally, and many more. Beautiful small nudibranchs are commonly sighted, as are colorful tunicates.
Each day your group will venture out by boat to explore neighboring reefs, and have lunch on board. There will also be a number of opportunities to snorkel the fantastic house reef at the resort.
Topside, there’s the chance to trek on Rinca Island and see the legendary Komodo Dragons lazing in the warm sunshine.
What Is Komodo Resort Like?
You will have six nights at Komodo Resort which is set on its own private island in a secluded area of eastern Indonesia.
Not only is it within range of some of Komodo’s finest snorkeling sites, it has a spectacular house reef, powder white sand beaches for afternoon relaxation, and accommodation finely in tune with its surroundings.
There are many reefs, islands, islets and sandy bays found within range of Komodo Resort to explore.
The 16 seafront bungalows plus 4 suite bungalows are made of teak wood, have private bathrooms, and are surrounded by the nature of a desert island.
All the rooms have air conditioning, fans, mosquito netting on the beds, hot water, and 24 hours electric power.
The open air bamboo restaurant serves international and Italian cuisine with fresh produce and fish straight from the sea.
You can enjoy daily homemade bread, pasta at dinner and pastries and cakes at breakfast.
They also accommodate dietary restrictions. Feel the breeze and enjoy the view of the ocean sipping a glass of wine.
The resort also has a new spa offering traditional Javanese massage, relaxation massage, masks, and scrubs.
There is also a small gym, if you need a workout after all the snorkeling, or you can also hike the trails around the resort island for fantastic views of the neighboring islands.
The resort has a large boat dedicated to your snorkeling group that ventures out each day to explore neighboring reefs. You will often have lunch on the boat between snorkeling sessions, and there is a bathroom and changing rooms on the boat. The top deck has comfy bean bags under a shaded canopy to relax while underway. The rear of the boat has two very sturdy boarding ladders for getting back on the boat after your snorkel. There is also a zodiac inflatable boat that is always out with the snorkel group so that if anyone gets tired they can return to the main boat at any time.
Trip Details and How to Sign Up
This is a small group trip and we expect it to fill quickly. Your spot is reserved with your deposit. Contact Ben below for deposit instructions.
June 3-17, 2023 – Trip full, request to be waitlisted below.
$6475 US per person (based on a twin/double share)
The initial deposit for this trip is $400 US per person. At six months before departure there is a $1000 US per person interim deposit. The final balance will be due three months before departure. A few payment options are available including debit and credit cards.
Individual travelers – Ben will happily find someone of the same sex for you to share a room with. If he cannot find you someone, no single supplement surcharge will apply.
- 1 night accommodation at Jakarta Airport Hotel
- Round trip domestic flights, transfers, and connections (Jakarta – Alor – Komodo – Jakarta) in Economy Class with 20 kg/44 lbs of luggage allowance
- 7 nights accommodation and full board (all meals) at Alami Alor Resort
- 6 nights accommodation and full board (all meals) at Komodo Resort
- In and out of water photography education and assistance from your tour guide photo pro from Ben’s team
- Services of snorkel guides throughout
- Entrance fees and Marine park fees
- Snorkel boat sessions specified in itinerary
- Land based tours as specified in itinerary
- International flights (booking available on request)
- Snorkeling equipment
- Travel insurance
- Soft drinks and alcoholic drinks, laundry and general sundries
- Spa services
Ben and his U.K. based team are the organizers and leaders of this trip (more about them below). Galen & Nicole from TropicalSnorkeling.com are promoting this trip, but all signups, trip organization and payments are made to and managed by Ben’s team. TropicalSnorkeling.com does receive a referral fee in exchange for promoting the trip, at no extra cost to attendees.
How to Sign Up or Learn More?
Use the contact form below to contact Ben and his team to request more information about them and express your interest in signing up. They will get back to you shortly with full details.
More About Ben and Our Partnership
Ben (pictured with Nicole) is our friend and snorkeling trips partner. He and his team are based in the U.K. and have over 20 years of experience guiding in Asia and beyond. He has been running his own business since 2010 and is primarily offering guided snorkeling trips, but he started with diving. He began offering snorkeling specific trips because he was aware that snorkelers often get the short end of the stick when thrown in with divers. He and his team love the freedom and low stress of snorkeling, and are very aware of the different needs of snorkelers versus divers, in terms of the reef depth, and calm surface conditions needed.
From our experience going on one of his snorkeling trips we found it very well organized, the guides were fantastic and very helpful, and the underwater experiences were exceptional. Snorkeling groups really get the benefit of all of Ben and his guides’ years of experience in the water, and with different resorts and liveaboards.
All of his trips are small groups of 12-18 guests, or with a similar ratio of snorkelers to guides. And for where they visit, and how packed they are with experiences, they are affordable.
His company is licensed and insured. Barring extreme circumstances they do not cancel trips, and all funds are held in a trust until the trip is completed giving you 100% financial security if they or any of their suppliers go out of business before the trip happens.