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Maldives on a Budget

May 2019

Hanimaadhoo is one of the inhabited islands of Haa Dhaalu Atoll in the unspoiled north of the Maldives Well connected to Male international airport by numerous daily 45 minutes flights Hanimaadhoo offers to budget travellers it's miles of white sand beaches, turquoise lagoon, luxuriant vegetation and privacy in an untouched nature, living the genuine and natural Maldives with all modern accommodation facilities. Suited for a water adventures and nature lovers, Hanimadhoo is genuine gateway where to be spoiled with an authentic Maldivian warm hospitality.

If you want to experience something different than the luxury resorts, Hanimaadhoo island is a perfect choice. If you want to have a holiday in Maldives with a small budget, you should try this. Overall, this certainly is a fine place to stay for a couple of nights if not even a bit longer, depending on the purpose you come to Maldives, and especially comfortable in combination with visits to outer islands on the same and adjacent atoll.

budget trip to Hanimaadhoo, maldives

How to Get: Transfers

The great reason you are plaanning to come here should be the fact it is easy to reach by air – just one hour-long flight from Malé airport by a regular air service that is available many times a day. While not exactly cheap, the locals (your hotel) can arrange the tickets for a reasonable price by Maldivian standards (and cheaper than directly from the airline web site).

The island is the home to Hanimaadhoo International Airport (HAQ), one of the few airports of the Maldives. 45 minutes of domestic flight form Velana International Airport (MLE) followed 15 minutes by car to your hotel or guest house. Your flight details and full names of your traveling party will be required at the time of booking or at least 3 days prior to your arrival. Upon receipt of your flight details the host will organize all transfer requirements. A hotel representative greets and meets all passengers at Malé upon arrival/departure. Baggage allowance is 20 kg and 5 kg hand luggage per person, excess baggage is chargeable and must be paid directly to the Maldivian Aero. A single luggage exceeding 20 kg will not be accepted. Flight schedule can be check here.

Dharavandhoo airport

The Island

First a few words on the island and region in general as in Maldives it is important not to focus only on the accommodation itself but know a bigger picture to plan that perfect trip matching your own interests and requirements. The island is local so you should be interested in seeing how people live here and be prepared for interaction with locals. This can be as extensive or limited as you like though but unlike on a purely resort island, there are options for seeing the local life too.

Hanimaadhoo review

The island is 288.84 km (179 mi) north of the country's capital, Malé city. There are school, mosque, health center, climate observatory, local village, police station and airport on Hanimaadhoo. The island itself is quite big (7kmХ750m) and yoor lodging is not a walkable distance from the airport with bigger luggage so there are even taxis on the island and transfers to and from the airport are by these. The beach (including the bikini beach), lagoon are super great. There are several local restaurants/cafes in a short walking distance from the guest houses. You can explore the beautiful island on foot or by bicycle. In order to make full use of the hours of sunlight the island is one (+1) hour ahead of Malé Time. Alcohol and nudity are not allowed in the island.

Hanimaadhoo is a quiet charm village with lots of tree-shade and swings. Fishing and agriculture are a source of income is what most of the 2000 islanders. It is a typical island custom that everyone finish their work by late afternoon, take their daily shower or bath near their wells, dress the children in fresh clothes and go for a stroll in the island, visiting friends and relatives, delivering small bowls of fresh homemade curry or taking some time to relax at the beachside, watching the late afternoon sun while children play around the beach.

Dharavandhoo airport

The Beach

There is a public beach on the island (just in front of Cerulean View Residence) with some local people hang around especially during cooler times of the day but swimming and sunbathing in a bikini is not allowed there so you can continue towards the bikini beach for more privacy. Bikini beach is a superb white sands, surrounded from palmtrees and mangroves, only a 5 minute walk away from the village. Every day the host arrange there sunbeds, umbrellas, small tables and a free bottles of water, where you can stay the whole day for your all alone.

As anywhere in Maldives, here and there is some garbage and litter, mostly empty plastic bottles around but I have certainly seen worse on some other islands. The staff try to keep the beach area clean and they will also provide sunbeds with beach towels. It is not that hard to pick up a few remaining pieces of litter yourself and thus make the spot you want to relax in even cleaner. The lagoon is blue and inviting for a swim. There are some rocks in some part of the sea but in general it is easy and safe to swim.

There is a house reef on lagoon's side but 'drop off' too far (400-500m) from the shore and if you are not a very good swimmer it will be better to rent a boat. There are multiple entries and exit points for direct access to spectacular snorkelling from the white sand beach. The island's eastern side is not safe for swimming because of the surf especially at low tide, and the sand is not fine here with with pieces of corals and shells.

maldivian's white sand beaches


The Haa Dhaalu atoll is a pure and simple paradise for scuba divers and snorkelers alike in the Maldives. Thу crystal clear waters surroundings Hanimaadhoo waters can boast exciting marine life including grey reef sharks, nurse sharks, manta rays and eagle rays. What’s more, there are more than 20 dive sites in the vicinity to explore. You can start a great day by diving with grey reef sharks on the house reef, exploring coral-encrusted caves and overhangs or take a morning fun dive trip by boat to a fascinating thila or wreck.

The diving center's team do amazing job in not only showing the wonders of the sport and the beauty of the sea but also protecting the coral reefs. They clean up any plastic and trash they pick from the sea and inform tourists. At this note I wish to remind all to not use regular sunscreen while swimming in these waters. They destroy the reefs and there are plenty of alternatives to choose from.


Things to Do

Heaven for all types of the adventures in the Maldives Hanimaadhoo has a million of things to do : activities, sports, excursions, in the sea, on land and even in the air (paramotor sport). Discover the pristine marine life and colorful underwater world, experience the best dive sites, or simply swim or kayak around the turquoise lagoon. In terms of activities there is a possibility to do also the usual sea related excursions, to snorkel, etc. and the owners ensure the smoothness of these operations by having a staff member come along with you for instance

The Hanimaadhoo's hotels you can loan bikes free of charge and explore the island at your own pace.

Fanhaa is the provider to call when you want to do fishing in the Maldives. The gueshouse's team offer half or full days fishing trips in the open ocean. Enjoy fishing charters around the Indian Ocean. They fish for reef fishes and big ocean fishes. With their charter partners, you are guaranteed of the most experienced, knowledge, professional and friendly crew in Hanimaadhoo, with overyears of combined experience fishing the local waters off Haa Dhaalu atoll.

The Barefoot's Hotel Spa offers Yoga, massages and has a fitness room. You'll love starting the day with Mayures Yoga. His lesson is perfect planned, a good training for brain, muscles and body balance. Last but not least when you need support in work out, he also can help with a special programme.

There are several an other inhabited islands near Hanimadhoo, where you can get by local ferry.

popping fishing in hanimaadhoo maldives


An International and Maldivian food is delicous including dessert in the evenings. Other meals can be a bit repeated too, usually fairly tasty (especially the fish and seafood). All of the guest houses offer the same dining plans and the buffet-style dinners are served at Barefoot Eco.

The food is very well cooked and served as a buffet. The breakfasts are various: freshly squeezed juice, eggs to order, cheese, sausages, Masuhni, Roshi, curry, fruits, butter, jam, honey, and, and ...

There are certain small and inviting cafes and restaurants on the island where you can get your meals for a reasonable price.

The restaurant at The Barefoot Eco Hotel has natural air condition because everything is open. There are lots of places with ocean view. The buffet is in the middle of the restaurant and offers big variety of vegetable, salads, pasta, meat, fish and desserts. A highlight is the selfmade icecream. The cooking stuff is always around explaining the dishes, serving, doing fresh pasta and cutting fruits. So no one is spoiling the buffet. As an inhabited island the resort is alcohol free and no alcohol is served at the hotel. However the Barefoot Eco does have a bar -boat located at sea close to the island and they offer speed boat transports to and from the bar boat upon request free of charge.

Reasonable breakfast with fresh orange juice is served in cafe on the second floor and private dinners on the beach can also be arranged. Nicely presented breakfast menus and eggs prepared to order.

sandbank bbq kelaa island travel

Where to Stay

If you need more luxury, facilities and amenities - The Barefoot Eco Hotel is a great choice. Designed for couples and families alike, with a big rooms that are just two steps from the private white beach.

Mostly the owners of guest houses go above and beyond in their hospitality. They will make you feel like more of a friend than a guest. The accommodation otions are new and lovely with all the mod cons and just a short walk away from the most glorious beaches.

Fanhaa Guesthouse is an unfussy, laid-back, affordable retreat which offers excellent value for money. Simple rooms onto a powdery white sand beach and glorious turquoise vista. Within seconds you can be in the crystal-clear water surrounded by shoal of reef fish, sharks and turtles and it's not a dream.

The rooms are large, with TV (for somes), fridge, pleasant air conditioning, kettle with selection of tea and coffee, hair dryer, 1 bottle of free water per day, nice clean bathroom and a small balcony.

Cerulean View Residence: Coming back inside, it is indeed more of a residence than a regular hotel. The rooms are of high quality. There are two floors, the more expensive rooms on the second floor where I stayed have balconies and sea/palm view but the first floor is certainly also adequate. There is a nice well-maintained small garden (complete with a swing in the shadow) and open area living room space available for the guest use. In-room amenities were plentiful, including a complimentary big bottle of water as well as tea and coffee making facilities. Lots of towels. Mosquito repellent. The furniture style is locally blended Maldivian and the bed was quite comfortable. Hansgrohe showers. There are several additional in-room details making this accommodation to rank at approximately 4-star level which probably makes it the highest quality non-resort accommodation option in this area.

The service is obviously highly personalised as there are only a few rooms, a big difference from a larger resort on this island. As it is brand new and just openend for business, they are still learning and getting the experience in meeting foreign guests, so come with right expectations. The owner if present speaks excellent English, with some staff there is some language barrier but they all try very hard to please so with simple requests it should not pose any problem. Professionally run operations with the right attitude. All the modern comfortable facilities are there to enjoy and the Residence staff are genuinely interested in giving you a good impression of the island.

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