Kanawa Island: Before You Go

You cannot take the decision to go to Kanawa Island lightly, nor can you make the decision on the spur of the moment; it is something that must be planned in advance.

kanawa island before you go

This is because on Kanawa Island there is only one place to stay. It is a private island and the owner of the beach resort is the owner of the whole island.
If you don’t book your accommodation on Kanawa Island in advance then you don’t get to go.

You also have to take into consideration that there is only one boat per day from Labuan Bajo to Kanawa. Unless you make your own way there like we did (read how).

The island belongs to Fabrizio the Italian. He and his wife stay there on the island and run the place (if you can call it that).

Kanawa Island Resort has 18 eco-friendly bungalows, which are the best form of accommodation available but there are also berths (known as balés) and tents available to rent. But that’s it, once they’re full they’re full.

Also, they will not confirm your booking until one week before you are due to check in. In my opinion this is a fine example of their shoddy management and organisational skills.
You can make your reservation for Kanawa Island by email here.

Once you have decided to go to Kanawa Island and your booking has been accepted, you need to have a few things in mind BEFORE YOU GO:

Food on Kanawa Island

This is a private island belonging to just one man. This means that you have only one choice of accommodation (which you will have already booked) and only one choice for food and drink.

And here’s the problem: the restaurant on Kanawa Island is not good. The food is mediocre and over priced and the staff are a joke.

The good news is that breakfast is included in the room rate. But for other meals you need to budget approximately 250,000rp per person per day for lunch and dinner.

If you resent paying high prices for unsatisfactory meals then you need to do a little shopping before you get on the boat to Kanawa…

In Labuan Bajo there are several supermarkets where you can stock up on goodies and there is a wonderful Italian bakery on the main road there. Just remember; on Kanawa Island you don’t have a fridge and you don’t want to attract a load of ants.

During our stay on Kanawa Island we were so dissatisfied by the selection, standard and price of the food as well as the cluelessness of the staff, that one day we took the free ferry shuttle over to Labuan Bajo to do some grocery shopping. It was a fun morning out actually; we bought 15 bananas for the equivalent of 1€ and we got a fix of wifi at one of the bars. Which brings me on to my next point.

No Wifi on Kanawa Island

You need to remember that there is no internet connection at all on Kanawa Island.

This means that before you leave Labuan Bajo you have to send/download your emails, reconfirm flights, update your Facebook status to advise that you are off to paradise for a few days, post a photo on Instagram and whatever else you need an internet connection for.

No Laundry Service on Kanawa Island

When I’m backpacking, moving from place to place, I tend to need to do laundry when I first arrive at a new place if I know that I will be staying there long enough to have it done.

Remember that on Kanawa Island you can’t turn up with a bag of dirty washing expecting to find a laundry service. Make sure it is all done before you get there.

Having said that, during my stay on Kanawa Island all I wore was a bikini and a sarong.

Electricity on Kanawa Island

Electricity on Kanawa Island is supplied only between 6pm and 11pm. And each bungalow only has one plug socket. Toni and I, between the two of us had two cameras, two phones, a laptop, an ipad and many extra batteries and battery packs that all needed charging up.

When you are on an island with a lot of time on your hands, you tend to edit photos, catch up with the blog, take photos and read ebooks. So the batteries run down a lot quicker than you might expect. At 6pm in our bungalow there was always a mad rush for the one plug socket!

My advice to you is get everything charged before you set off for Kanawa Island in order to give yourself a head start. Of course, our problem was that we had been living on a boat for two days right before we reached Kanawa. And before that we’d been in a shit-hole of an accommodation in Labuan Bajo, which also only had one plug socket.

Get a Towel!

You’re likely to be spending a lot of time in the water between the amazing sea life and your 50litres of fresh water per day. At Kanawa Island Resort they do not provide towels so make sure you’ve got one before you go.


And lastly, if you are obsessed with writing your travel journal and making notes, on Kanawa Island you will write double than normal. That means you need double the amount of ink!

You have zero chance of getting hold of a pen on Kanawa when yours runs out. Yes, I’m speaking from experience; I’m the idiot that went backpacking with only one pen. In my defence, I was using new bags – my old bags are all full of pens.

I was like the local kids going around asking the tourists if they could give me a school pen!

What have I missed? Have you been to Kanawa? What do people need to know BEFORE they go there?

You can read more about Kanawa Island here.

Filed Under: asiafeaturedIndonesiaNusa Tenggaratravel essentials


About the Author: Based in Mallorca, obsessed with the world and have a lot to say about both... Step into my shoes and join me on a journey...

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