Dharavandhoo Island is located in Baa Atoll 110 km north of Male. I spend 3 days there. On one of those days it had been raining almost all day long. But first things first.
The island itself is divided into two parts: a domestic airport and a village. The village occupies almost the half of the island. The village is not large, but well-managed. There are litter bins on the streets. It’s rare for local islands.
On arrival I went to explore the beach. It is just a 5-minute walk from the guest house. To be exact: you leave the guest house and find yourself on the beach. You just need to walk to the area where wearing bikinis is allowed.
The private beach area is marked by small signs, but it is not enclosed. There are quite a few sun loungers, swings, and several hammocks. You may occupy “other houses'” sun loungers (each of them has a mark that it is owned by a guest house).
This part of the island is cleaned every day, but in the rainy season the current is directed to the coast, that’s why litter is a common thing.
In the near future (by the beginning of the season) the bikini beach area is planned to be extended, and that is really good news.
Water entry is not very convenient. There are a lot of dead corals, but you can find a sandy place where you can lie and have a rest.
House coral reef stretches over the whole beach line, but it is not as interesting as the one on Rasdhoo or Mathiveri, it is more like the one on Ukulhas. You need to swim 40-50 meters to reach its edge. The water is crystal-clear. The visibility is 30-40 meters! On the map you can see the most interesting parts of the reef.
So it makes sense to go on snorkeling trips. For example, you can visit Tourtle Garden (near Soneva Fushi resort). There you can see 5-7 turtles at a time.
Infrastructure of Dharavandhoo
Dharavandhoo is the capital of Baa Atoll, so it’s considerably developed. There are 3 cafes on the island (I drank only coffee there, so I can’t say how much dishes cost in those cafes). There are also 5 gift shops (a lot of resorts are located nearby). But still I’d never seen that they worked when I was staying on the island.
Apart from that there are groceries and hardware stores, where you can buy a lot of little things.
There is also a hospital.
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And a domestic airport can also be found there. You can get there on foot. Where else in the world can you do the same? 2 airline companies perform flights to Dharavandhoo – Maldivian and FlyMe. The total number of flights a day is 8-9. It is convenient that you can have a flight at practically any time, however it is rather expensive.
When I was getting back, I had to travel by plane because a speedboat was full, and honestly I was not eager to travel 11 hours by ferry.
Besides, sea transport can be cancelled because of weather conditions. I was lucky that there were seats on the plane available to book, because the Muslim celebrations were coming to an end and many people were getting back to Male. In such moments when you don’t know how to leave a place, you realize that you are on a small island somewhere amid the vast ocean.
Things-to-do in Dharavandhoo
Tourists visit this place just to see this area of outstanding natural beauty. But why? From May till November in this lagoon you can see 100-200 manta rays! I managed to see 70 manta rays. Unforgettable feelings!
It’s vital to remember that you must not touch them. They are very friendly and if they wish, they will touch you themselves.
The best time to visit this preserved area is full moon days. It is during this time when tides are high and there is more feed for manta rays.
The excursion lasts 40-50 min (you are not permitted to stay longer by authorities). But it is worth it. You’ll have an unforgettable experience!
Sometimes you can spot whale sharks, but it is an exception rather than a rule.
Soneva Fushi resort is located near Dharavandhoo. This place is inhabited by turtles. It is possible to see 5-7 turtles there. I’d definitely visit it!
DAY RESORTS VISITING
There are many resorts in Baa Atoll, which are open to visit. Among them are:
— Kihaad Maldives;
— Amila Fushi resort;
— Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu;
— Finolhu Baa Atoll;
— Royal Island resort.
Prices differ, but the average one is $30-100 per person. Make it clear at your guest house.
The waters in Baa Atoll are crystal-clear. The visibility is 30-40 meters, and it is even in low season!
There are a number of diving points both for professional divers and amateurs. There are 2 diving centers on the island: Dharavandhoo Divers and Aveila Guest House Dive Center. The first one is run by Italians who have been engaged in diving in Maldives for more than 12 years. For the last 4 years they have worked on Dharavandhoo.
They include fishing, visiting a picnic island (near Hanifaru Bay) with BBQ, a romantic dinner on the beach and other.
Transfer to Dharavandhoo
Male-Eydhafushi Saturday, Monday, Thursday at 11:00 and 13:00. The cost is $50 one way per person.
Eydhafushi-Dharavandhoo. Private speedboat, the cost is $50 per boat (the price is provided by Dharavandhoo Stay guest house).
Dharavandhoo-Eydhafushi.Private speedboat, the cost is $50 per boat (the price is provided by Dharavandhoo Stay guest house).
Eydhafushi-Male. Saturday, Monday, Thursday at 7:30 and 8:00.
5 times a day – by Maldivian airlines, 3-4 times a day – by FlyMe. The cost is $99 one way per person (the price is provided by Dharavandhoo Stay guest house) (Maldivian). FlyMe is more expensive. The travelling time is 30 minutes. Fast and convenient.