Kanawa is a small beautiful tropical island, fully surrounded by white sandy beaches and coral reefs. It is located at the border of Komodo National Park, just one hour flight away from Bali. Kanawa is the perfect destination for relaxing, snorkeling, diving and exploring the park.
Kanawaha Beach Bungalows resort (wwww.kanawaislandresort.com) is located on the southern part of the island. The northern part is left completely untouched to preserve the island’s flora and fauna. A hill in the middle of the island gives refuge to a variety of birds and animals, including eagles and wild goats. The surrounding coral reefs are home to stingrays, dolphins, turtles and many different types of tropical fish.
The best period to visit is from April to December as the rainy season is from January to March. The water around the island is very calm as the coral reefs protect the island from strong waves.
From Denpasar, Bali, there are daily flights westward to Labuan Bajo, a tiny coastal town. At the airport, take a taxi (Rp. 50,000) or ojek / scooter taxi (Rp. 10,000) to the Kanawa office at Labuan Bajo. The ride should just be about 5-10 minutes. There is boat service from Labuan Bajo to Kanawa Island at 12pm everyday, so make sure your flight arrives by 11am! The boat ride to Kanawa Island takes about 1 hour and costs 100,000 IDR. The boat departs at 12 noon from Labuan Bajo to Kanawa and returns at 8 am. Kanawa is just outside of the park.
See also the main Labuan Bajo article.
The Kanawa Bungalow Resort has a Starfish Café that serves Italian, continental and Indonesian dishes. Most dishes are below $8.
The food varies in quality and is certainly modest in quantity especially after a day of diving or snorkelling. Nasi/Mie goreng goes for 55,000, pasta and pizzas for 70,000, french fries for 28,000 and "garlic" bread for 18,000. A cold Bintang costs 39,000. Surprisingly fish is not present on the menu but most evenings will have a fish meal special for 70,000 with rice.
If you bring your own snacks, make sure you don't leave any unsealed food anywhere. Within five minutes the places will be infested with ants.
Walking – The scenery is beautiful. A walk around the island takes about 40 minutes – 1 hour. The beaches are white and water is crystal clear. There is also a hill in the middle of the island and from there you can have gorgeous views of sunrise and sunset.
Snorkeling – You can rent snorkel and fins (Rp. 60,000) from the Dive Centre and just walk 1-2 metres into the ocean. There are many types of tropical fish just a few metres from the shore. Snorkelling here is absolutely world class and accessible right of the beach. In the shops in Labuan Bajo you can buy cheap masks and goggles.
Diving – There is no dive centre on the island as of July 2015.
Tours – There are daily tours to Komodo Island, Rinca Island, Pink Beach, Manta Point, snorkeling spots, etc. It might be a better idea to organize a day-trip to see the dragons from here rather than Labuan Bajo as Kanawa is closer to Rinca and Komodo. A tour visiting Rinca or Komodo + some snorkelling will cost 350-450000 pp depending on the number of people. However, at least a two-day boat trip is strongly recommended, which must be arranged elsewhere.
Relaxing – There is no phone, no internet, and only limited electricity in the evening. There are also bean bags on the beach. Make sure you bring a few good books!
The island is cash-only so bring enough to pay for accommodation, food, and tours. There is no shop on the island so bring enough supplies (shampoo, sunblock, insect repellent, etc.) for your stay. There is no internet and poor cell phone service, so be prepared to be disconnected. Internet is edge connection. You should be able to receive and send e-mails from the island. There is patchy Telkomsel coverage and you might be able to make calls/send SMS, sometimes even check emails.
Kanawa Beach Bungalows is the only resort on the island. The resort has 18 bungalows. As of 2015, bales and camping are no longer offered. A bungalow with private shower & toilet is IDR 700,000 / night, which should be considered very high considering the state of the bungalows and repeated sightings of bedbugs in 2015. Rates may change depending on season and availability. Rates include a basic breakfast (2 slices of bread, an egg, a banana, and tea and coffee) but exclude 10% tax.