Barefoot Eco Hotel
We’ve been to Hanimaadhoo in November, and stayed at the Barefoot eco hotel. They handled the transfer for us, and everything run smoothly. Someone was waiting for us, to take us to the domestic flights terminal, and you don’t even go to the check in counter. They take your bags, check you in and you only need to go through security 20 minutes before your flight leaves.
It’s always better to allow some room for delays, as the domestic flights had minor delays both to & from Hanimaadhoo, and they also took longer than scheduled, as there is a stopover midway. When we landed someone from the hotel was waiting in the bag drop zone, so all we had to do was wait for our bags & head to the hotel.
On the way to the hotel there is rubbish in the forest, which is not necessarily the best 1st impression, but this seems to be mostly only on this road. When walking round the island we did see women cleaning the beach & roads, so I want to believe that there will soon be no rubbish at all.
We were staying in the seaside rooms, which were big enough, with a balcony/terrace outside. AC worked fine, and you need to have it on at least for some time each day, so you can get hot water. We never had any issues neither with the AC or the water. Cleaning is done twice a day, and you are given a bottle of water a day in your room.
The beach was lovely! White sand, transparent & calm sea, nice for a walk, or just lay on the sun, and lots of swimming. The beach is definitely not crowded, we honestly felt like we were on our own most of the times. There are enough sun beds for everyone, quite spread out, so you sometimes feel that you are on your own on a private beach. You can see several different fishes on the beach, so either bring snorkelling gear, or rent it from the diving center at the hotel.
The hotel also has daily free snorkelling tours, and again you either need to have your own gear, or rent it. We brought snorkel & mask, so only rented the fins. Rental is 24h, so you can then use it on the beach as well. There are other tours as well – monitoring dolphins, mantas or turtles, visiting neighbouring islands, fishing, visits to the forest -, which are listed near the bar, so you just need to sign in.
The marine biologist is there twice a day – after lunch and before dinner, I think -, so you can also ask for her help on any of the tours. The tours we took were quite good, as the marine biologist leads the way and points out any important species.
We have done the turtle watching & snorkelling, and it was quite good, and the people we spoke with also liked their tours, so I think whether you do mantas monitoring, dolphins safari, or trips to other islands, it will all be quite pleasant and worthwhile.
They do have a diving center, and although we didn’t dive, we spoke with the staff and were quite nice, and also read posts from people who did, and had some nice experience.
The hotel lends bicycles, so you can cycle round the island, but the time at the hotel is set 1 hour ahead of the actual time in Male or the village, to make the most of the day light. There is a small map available at reception, with the shops & restaurants location, so you can find your way. Most of the times we just walked to the village, as it is close by. There are shops in the village, but not many.
We spotted probably 2 souvenir shops, and some small shops selling drinks, snacks, fruit, and also some tea & spices, which we bought to bring back home.
We also visited 2 coffee shops/restaurants – Cool Garden & Lavazza up -, where you can have curry, masala, noodles, local snacks, which they have by the counter, and you just need to pick what you want. They serve drinks, including expresso, but no alcohol, as the Maldives are a Muslim country.
More about island you can find here.
There is sometimes a language barrier, but Cool Garden had an English menu, so you just need to point what you want, or check what others are having and ask the same, which we also did.
You need to cover your shoulders & thighs when getting outside the hotel, to respect local religion.
Locals are very welcoming, and greet you when you pass, especially children, that were always very curios, asking us our names, where we were going, so we asked questions back, which they were pleased to answer.
We got some rufiyaas from the ATM at Male airport, but there is an ATM at Hanimaadhoo as well. The hotel has all prices listed in Dollars, but they accept Euros as well, and the shops & restaurants in the village accept both local currency & Dollars. Don’t get too much local currency, if you get any, as I don’t think you can then exchange it back.
This is definitely a place we will be coming back to!
Many thanks to Filipa Galante for review!