Omadhoo Offers a More Local View of the Maldives
So if quiet is for what you are searching, and staying at an expensive posh yet overpriced resort lacks any appeal for you, consider spending a few days on Omadhoo. There are no resorts to be found on the island at all. In fact, the three guest houses on the islands can only host a maximum of 21 guests at once.
And that opportunity for a more intimate and secluded experience is what makes Omadhoo a fantastic place to visit if you seriously want to get away from it all. Travel here allows you to view the authentic Maldives. The locals are friendly enough and stay focused on their daily routines. Meanwhile, the teal and cyan shades of the water beckon you with the perfect temperature; plenty of activities can keep you occupied during the day if you wish; and the sand bar at the north end is a spot you will not want to leave, especially during sunset.
So what is the best way to spend your time? Most visitors will want to take the time to view the marine life that are abundant around the island. There are countless species of marine life; snorkeling will be part of your daily routine on Omadhoo. You will have an excellent chance of seeing sting rays, mantas and whale sharks. The local guesthouse offers day excursions to snorkel and explore other nearby islands—but keep in mind that these trips will only occur if other travelers agree to go.
Not that hanging out at the beach is a bad way to spend your time here. The best beach is the narrow sand bar on the western side of the island; depending on the time of day and the tide, this is the perfect place to catch some rays, snorkel or catch the sunset.
There are just a few general rules should you travel to Omadhoo. Dress respectfully, as in keeping your hips and shoulder covered unless you are at the westernmost beach. If you are a snorkeling aficionado, bring your own equipment: I was fine with what the local guesthouse provided, but a serious marine explorer may want to bring his own equipment. Pick up your trash—like many remote beaches, Omadhoo suffers from the double whammy of reliance on bottled water with ocean trash washing up on its shores. Outlets such as REI sell travel water purification systems that can help reduce your garbage footprint.
Where to stay: There is only one place to stay, not that it’s a bad choice. The Kuri Inn and its sister properties are basic, but reasonably priced, clean and are attended by a fastidious and kind staff. Remember, this is not a “resort” as defined by most visitors to the Maldives—your room will not be cleaned every day, nor will the towels be replaced unless you ask. However, water, coffee and tea are available 24/7; the meals are generous and quite tasty, especially when local fish is cooked; and you are a very short walk away from the island’s beaches. Because dining options are limited, be sure you have the full board package at the Kuri Inn. The local cafes have limited menus and hours can be inconsistent. As I always recommend, bring copious amounts of your favorite energy or protein bars to sustain you during the day. The experience here is about as “local” as you get: so cherish your time here.
Image credits: Leon Kaye
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