Rinca, also known as Rincah and Rindja, is a small island near Komodo island, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia, within the West Manggarai Regency. It is part of Komodo National Park. The island is famous for Komodo dragons, giant lizards that can measure up to 3 metres (9.8 ft) long. Rinca is also populated with many other species such as wild pigs, buffalos and many birds.
Nestled between Sumbawa and Flores, the islands of Komodo and Rinca are the main components of Unesco-recognised Komodo National Park, whose rapidly increasing popularity is helping drive the booming tourism economy of Flores.
The island’s jagged hills, carpeted with savannah and fringed with mangroves, are home to the legendary Komodo dragon. The world’s largest lizard, known locally as ora, it can reach over 3m in length. It hunts alone and feeds on animals as large as deer and buffalo, both of which are found here.
These isolated islands are surrounded by some of the most tempestuous waters in Indonesia. The convergence of warm and cold currents breeds nutritious thermal climes, rip tides and whirlpools that attract large schools of pelagics, from dolphins and sharks to manta rays and blue whales. The coral here is mostly pristine. Add it all up and you have some of the best diving in the world, which is why dozens of liveaboards ply these waters between April and September when the water is smooth and the diving at its finest.
Being less known and less visited than Komodo, it is a good place to see the Komodo dragon in its natural environment with fewer people to disturb them. Day trips can be arranged from Labuan Bajo on Flores by small boat at the park headquarters.
The island’s area is 198 square kilometres (76 sq mi).
Living conditions for local people on the island are often difficult. Education facilities, for example, are quite limited for children. Some non-government organisations help with the provision of books for children on Rinca. Local people must also take some care to avoid Komodo dragons because Komodos in the area occasionally attack and kill humans.
Rinca and Komodo bracket a north-south passage between the Indian Ocean and the Flores Sea. Due to the large bodies of water and narrow gap, the waters between Rinca and Komodo are subject to whirlpools and currents in excess of 10 knots.[
In June 2008, five scuba divers (three British, one French and one Swedish) were found on the Southern coast of Rinca after having been missing for 2 days. The group had drifted 20 miles (32 km) from where their dive boat abandoned them. They survived on oysters and other shellfish.