Reasons to Visit Omadhoo Local Island, Maldives
The first thing that struck us when we arrived at Omadhoo, was how raw, wild and authentic the island is…
Omadhoo Island is ideally located in South Ari Atoll, also known as the hot spot for swimming with whale sharks, the biggest fish in the ocean. This island is at one with nature, with an abundance of tropical trees, a thriving reef and lovely lagoon to swim in.
Our journey began with a 1h30 minute speedboat journey from Male to the island, and when we arrived, the team from Kirulhiya Maldives greeted us at the jetty and accompanied us to the guest house. As we walked from the harbour, down the sandy pathways to the guest house, we observed the multitude of breadfruit trees and coconut palms, providing a perfect amount of shade from the warm sunlight.
Omadhoo is a fantastic local island to visit if you are looking for a peaceful, quiet, natural, adventurous and raw experience of The Maldives.
The island may not have “instagram spots” but it has quaint streets and stunning nature, and provides a fascinating glimpse into 'real life' in the Maldives.
Here are the best things to do in Omadhoo:
Go on a Whale Shark Excursion
You guessed it, due to the prime location of being in the middle of South Ari Atoll, whale sharks are always lurking nearby Omadhoo (you can find them all year round). It is a must-do experience to go out and swim with these fantastic creatures. Swimming alongside one of these colossal creatures is truly a once in a lifetime experience, it will leave you speechless!
Snorkelling is one of the best ways to encounter whale sharks as they often swim very close to the surface, so this is an excursion for everyone. However you must make sure not to harm the whale shark and keep a safe distance, read more about Whale Sharks here.
Enjoy the Bikini Beach
The pearly-white bikini beach on the southwestern side of the Omadhoo ends on an unprecedentedly beautiful sandbank. This is the perfect place to tan, read a book, go for a swim and then watch the sunset. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a sting ray here!
This beach is the only place on Omadhoo where bikinis are permitted, and you'll rarely see any locals on the beach itself. You will find other tourists here and there are several sun beds in the shape of a wave that you can lounge on. It takes The bikini-beach can be accessed through a picturesque forest area, with plenty of shade.
Snorkel along the house reef
Although we didn’t have time to snorkel around the house reef ourselves, we heard that the reef is beautiful. The reef surrounding the island is said to be “pure and innocent” with great live corals and amazing marine life. From the Bikini Beach, you can access the house reef but it is recommended to go a bit further out, where the coral becomes more dense and covers the entire ocean floor. With great underwater visibility, you can spot spot many sea creatures, including sharks, rays and turtles, as well as moray eels, lobsters, parrot fish, anemone and clown fish. Guest houses provide free snorkelling gear.
Explore the jungle
Omadhoo island contains a lush tropical jungle with lots of vegetation. More than half of the island is covered with tropical growth – breadfruit trees and coconut palms. You’ll find a rich abundance of banyan trees too. Omadhoo is home to birds and flying foxes and also a curious herons.
Go on excursions
Apart from the whale shark excursion, you can also see manta rays, coral gardens and turtles. One of the best things about going to a local island is that you can go on excursions for a much more affordable price than in Resorts. Since The Maldives is 99% ocean, there is is much to see under the surface of the water, it truly is a magical place! Read all about manta rays here.
Treat yourself to a romantic beach dinner
The Team at Kirulhiya Maldives organised a wonderful, exclusive, romantic beach dinner for us with traditional Maldivian food. Grilled reef fish, tuna curry, breadfruit rice and fresh mango juice. It was perfect, and a wonderful setting as the sky melted into pink hues. This is a must do experience if you want to have an unforgettable, romantic dining experience with your significant other.
Unwind and take in the local life
One of the most important things to do in Omadhoo, is to simply embrace the culture and the slow paced, peaceful atmosphere. Relax, unwind, reconnect with nature. Most of the Omadhoo residents make their livelihood from fishing, tourism, teaching, owning small shops and businesses or by working in the island council.
You can see locals fishing in the pier in the morning, women collecting coconuts in trolleys, going on brisk beach walks and exercising on the beach. The streets wear a deserted look in the afternoon and you will find locals lazing in the hammock.
Around the island you will find a handful of mini-markets and cafes, the ferry port, a hospital, a post office, a mosque, a police station, diving schools as well as a school and a football field. Do bring some cash with you as there is no ATM on this island.
The speedboat transfer from Malé to Omadhoo Island normally takes 1 hours 30 mins and costs 25 USD per person one way. For speedboat reservations, please contact your guest house for further details.
Malé - Omadhoo 16:00 (Saturday - Thursday, 6 days a week)
Omadhoo - Malé 07:00 (Saturday - Thursday, 6 days a week)
Malé - Omadhoo 09:30 (on Friday)
Omadhoo - Malé 07:00 (on Friday)
Omadhoo is perfect for the budget traveler who wants a taste of the quiet, simple, authentic Maldives without spending ridiculous amounts of money to do so.