Maldives on a Budget
Great place for an authentic beach experience, Omadhoo is an inhabited island in the Maldives. An ideal site for swimming and house reef snorkelling, Omadhoo is perfect for the budget traveler who wants a taste of the Maldives without spending ridiculous amounts of money to do so.
Located in Ari (Alif Dhaal) Atoll, the beautiful island is blessed with white sandy beaches and abundant marine life. If you looking to get away from the confines of the resort island and would also like a real Maldivian fishing village life experience, Omadhoo itself is an amazing island that is suit for the cheap holiday. A true island paradise, you can feel the real local life here. Slow pace, peaceful atmosphere, friendly locals, beautiful surreal blue colors of the ocean, more and more
How to Get: Transfers
The speedboat transfer from Male' to Omadhoo Island normally takes 1.5 hours and costs 25USD per person one way. For speedboat reservations, please contact your guest housel 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)
Ferry Dhoni (Public Transportation)
Travel time is 4.5 hours. Price is $7 (106.00 Maldives Rufiyaa) two way
Malé - Omadhoo: 09:00 Saturday, Monday and Wednesday
Omadhoo - Malé: 10:00 Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday
There is no ATM on Omadhoo, so please stock cash in Malé. You can coordinate the traffic schedule and the transfer type in advance with the staff of your guest house (recommended), or check here.
Oriented from west to east, Omadhoo is extremely quiet and you will find yourself with the beach and ocean to yourself most of the time. The village takes up 2/3 of the island that is measured 1000m in long and 300m in wide. The village is not particularly picturesque to post in Instagram, although it is a quaint and fascinating glimpse into 'real life' in the Maldives, which big resorts cannot offer.
With about 1000 inhabitants, the locals are very friendly, smily and welcomly. Life in Omadhoo is simple and has changed very little over the past few hundred years. Sometimes shy, women are dressed in black from top to toe staying mostly inside the houses. Men slowly riding around on the small island by bikes/motorbikes or reparing their boats. Evenings are filled with dinner preparations, usually fresh fish, curries and rice and with entertainment: chess, traditional drumming and talking politics until the small hours. As you probably allready know alcohol is prohibited here - so no sundowners here!
The most of Omadhoo residents making their livelihood from fishing, teaching, owning small shops and businesses or by working in the island council. With a mystic atmosphere, this is pretty much what you experiece of the local island life except for the muezzin calling for prayer 5 times a day at the local mosque. Exploring the island you will find a ferry port, hospital, post, a handful of minimarkets and cafes, as well as a school and a football field here.
The eastern and western half of the island is covered with tropical vegetation such as breadfruit and coconut trees. The island's western part could be described as real 'jungle' due to a rich abundance of huge banyan trees and tropical palms. Omadhoo is home to to birds and flying foxes and also a curious herons.
Omadhoo's white sand beaches is one of those picture perfect stretches of soft sands that have made the Maldives famous across the world. The island's western tip is crowned with a terrific sand spit taht is especially impressive at low tide. It is realy gorgeous! Facing directly west, this beach offers a perfect sunset. There is a stretch of sand which is submersed by just a foot of water, so you can walk out into the sea which is an amazing experience. West beach is the only place on Omadhoo where bikinis are permitted, and you'll rarely see any locals on the beach itself. There are few tourists on the clean beach, and there are several sun beds in the shape of a wave. It takes 10 minutes to walk to the bikini-beach, and the road passes through a picturesque forest area, plenty of shade and not hot.
The east beach is popular with locals, but half as pretty and full of litter - the ocean currents obviously wash a lot up here waste all over the beach. Other beaches are not much to report - there are some tiny sandy patches between vegetation.
With two entrances, the house reef surrounding the island is pure and innocent with great live corals and amazing marine life, perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving. West beach is the best place for house reef snorkeling. Coral here is patchy, there is lots of sand patches. But sadly most of the corals are dead (bleached) and the colors have disappered into a graveyard-looking white. Go a bit further out, and the coral becomes more dense, until it covers the entire ocean floor. The underwater visibility is incredible and expect to spot many sea creatures, including reef sharks, rays and turtles, as well as moray eels, lobsters, parrot fish, anemone and clown fish. The area where the island drops off into open water - and the most biodiverse section. It is stunning to look out into the deep blue ocean as you float above the reef. Stunning. You will see so many colourful fish here it is amazing. It is not that hard to swim, but to get the best you really need to be a confident swimmer and it is important to note where the current is taking you! Guest houses provide free snorkeling gear.
The Maldives is a true diving heaven, and with feeding manta rays, graceful whale sharks and schooling hammerheads, the Ari Atoll is a pelagic dream. Great kandus dives, beautiful thilas, lots of different fish: tunas, barracudas, sharks, turtles – all you can spot.
There is Omadhoo Dive Center Padi on the island. For certified divers they offer morning, afternoon and night fun dive boat trips every day. For first timers the dive center offers an introdives with the professional instructors or a base PADI Open Water Diver course.
The world class dive sites around the island of Omadhoo are untouched and innocent, and the OD diving team is exploring the area to make you a first visitor into the unbelievable underwater world. Omadhoo Thila, Madivaru (Manta Point), Maamigili Kandu are sites must dive! CLICK FOR THE MAP
Things to Do
There are three magnificent desert islands near by the Omadhoo island. Omadhoo Inn guest house offers exclusive access to a nearby desert picnic island, where guests can enjoy adventure in Robinson Crusoe style! These is Omadhoo Inn’s signature experience, and the entire island can be booked if requested. With sun loungers, snorkelling equipment, barbecue facilities and an onsite bathroom, this island has everything you might need to enjoy a a fabulous day with snorkeling, beach volley or just relaxing under the Maldivian sun.away from the world! As a final touch treat yourself with tasty just-caught - fish barbecue. Costs $100 stay overnight
For those who want to explore reefs further afield, the all-time favorite excursions on offer are the best snorkeling spots, each one with its own special characteristics underwater world! This one hour trip out to a nearby snorkeler`s paradise will allow you to experience the wonders of the underwater world. This trips are tailored to suit everyone, morning or afternoon, beginner or experienced snorkeler! Some of these excursions also offer the chance to see manta rays, year round residents of South Ari Atoll. Also expect to spot turtles, sharks and abundant fish life. Manta point is highly recommended both as a diver & snorkeler. Try night snorkeling! Excursions might feel a bit pricy at first but you will feel pretty reasonable after doing it. Costs $27-31. Manta point snorkeling 125 USD.
With ancient and traditional roots, fishing is in the blood of the Maldivians. The island's guest houses offer you multiple ways of Maldivian fishing: reef fish full day and sunset fishing on a live bate, trolling fishing for a big catch (blue marlin, sailfish) and Yellowfin tuna fishing on a big fishing boat. At your request, the catch can be cooked by the chef - on one of the uninhabited islands, or on the patio of your guesthouse. Sunset fishing 31 USD.
Omadhoo is located in South Ari Atoll, one of the best places in the world for spotting whale sharks all year round. A 45 minutes speed boat ride to the South of the atoll to meet these gentle giants. Swimming alongside one of these colossal creatures is truly a once in a lifetime experience! Challenge a 4 – 6 meter long whale shark beauty while snorkeling, make amazing selfie and save the greatest memories! In fact, 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! Costs 130 USD.
A 1 hour amazing trip by a speed boat searching for joyful Dolphin pods. Try your luck and come with us to see the most amazing animals in the sea – the bottle-nose, the Spinner or even, perhaps, The Pilot Whales!
To add romance to your holiday memories, a special grilled dinner may be set in the privacy on the beach or desert island. The chef will masterpiece a fresh just–caught fish to a culinary delight. The sound of the upcoming waves will bet the background melody while enjoying the delicious Maldivian dishes. Costs $59 Full day. Romantic BBQ on the beach 27 USD.
Despite the abundance of resorts in Ari atoll, only a few of them are open to the exursions - these are the Centara Grand Resort, Maafushivaru Maldives and Lily Beach. You can also order dinner at the underwater restaurant at Conrad Maldives.
There are some water sports options on the island, including sup, kayaking, windsurfing, kiteboardind and jet skii. On the land you can enjoy yoga, football and volleyball with a locals.
An International and European food is delicous including dessert in the evenings. Other meals can be a bit repeated too, usually fairly tasty (especially the fish) but not a top quality restaurant by any means. All of the hotels are of the same build and quality and the buffet-style dinners are served at the Kuri Inn.
Breakfast is good: sausages, sweet egg pancakes, home-made waffles (not sweet), fruits (different every day) - bananas, papaya, pineapples, juice, tea, coffee (with powdered milk). On the tables there is butter, chocolate paste, honey, several types of ketchup, jam, water. Coffee, tea are free at the courtyard.
For dinner, mostly fish, seafood, cereal, pasta, 2 types of salad, dessert and fruit. At Kuri Inn you can order special dinner that's very tasty, hearty, multi-course, tuna steak. Chef Munis at Nemo Inn used to work at Lily beach resort before, which means you can get fine dining here. Every dish he cooked for us was amazing. You can also ask for him which is not on the menu. Discover some traditional Maldivian fare (might be spicy though).
There are couple cafes outside hotels on Omadhoo island.
Where to Stay
Today (2019), there are 9 guest houses on Omadhoo island that's provide luxury service at an affordable price. The rooms are super clean, no frills, a nicely decorated, with hot water and a silent AC and really comfortable beds. WiFi is fine. Can't complain really. It is a perfect accomodation for travelers who recognize that they are going to spend most of your time on the beach and ocean rather than cooped up in your room. With good English is spoken, the staffs are really friendly and fairly helpful with anything that you may need on the island including fishing, snorkeling, and other excursions. The guests are more than just passing travellers, at Omadhoo's hotels you are part of the family, and a owners take every opportunity to exceed your expectations. Overall we really rate this place. It is hard to find a good, cheap place to stay in the Maldives as the high-end sector is dominant, but you'll happy with this one.
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