- It’s a bigger island than Dharavandhoo, with around 1200 persons.
- There’s shops, several hotels, a scuba diving club and few restaurants.
- One bikini beach on the island, not great for snorkelling but cool to relax.
- There’s two resort accessible, one at 2 minutes boat, one at 20 minutes boat.
- You’ll spot dolphin and turtles every time you go on a boat tour, so don’t book a tour just for dolphins or turtles.
We stayed at the Whale Shark Inn for the whole stay and were happy with it (see below).
🚲 Getting there
Flight from Male with FlyMe of 50 minutes. Very comfy seats and flight on time.
We stayed seven nights and that was perfect. It’s better to plan more days in case of rain or to spot fishes.
Whale Shark Inn 🏠
While the room was quite small than the other one, and the facilities less nice, the organisation was great, as well as breakfast.
The hotel staff person, Haydar, helped us everyday to sort out our activities, breakfast and dinner. He booked us several tours, got in touch with the resort for us, and arrange food delivery that you can eat on the lovely backyard terrace. Don’t expect anything fancy, but simply very functional and quite central on the island, good value for money.
Enjoy Holiday Island Resort 🎉
The Holiday Island Resort is at 5 minutes boat from Maamigili. You have to arrange the transfer up-front, and then walk to the pier at the west end of the island, 20 minutes walk.
We asked the hotel staff to arrange us a visit there. We could pay 30$/person to enjoy the facilities. However, we planned to get dinner there, and they informed us that for 35$/person, we could arrive anytime in the afternoon, enjoy the facilities and get dinner. We went there around 2PM, rent some fins at the resort, and snorkel around while enjoying the massive white sand beach perfect for instagram.
We then got a 5$ fresh beer, and assisted to the shark feeding show at 7PM. Then, a big buffet of fresh world food was waiting for us (there’s even some prosciutto)! We then headed back home with calm from the pier.
While there, we saw that they were organising snorkelling tours and dives to see mantas and whale shark. We decided to take another shot with the mantas the next day and booked it with them.
Snorkelling tour 🐠
While the tour was not cheap, 60$/pers, it was including lunch and 6h of boat. The staff is basically heading to most common place to see whale sharks and mantas. Don’t feel exceptional when you are on one of those, as soon as you reach the reef, you’ll see 50 other boats full of tourists like you. Regardless, it’s a pretty cool tour. We did several stops around, saw some turtles and eagle rays but no mantas neither whale sharks.
The only good thing was since we booked the tour with the resort, they brought us back at the hotel, where we enjoyed again the facilities. They also let us take a shower for free and gave us towels (we asked the reception). So overall, no luck but still a good day.
We then passed by the dive centre of the resort, and decided to book two last dives with them, one including a PADI stream certification for the next day.
Scuba dives 🐬🦈
Back again at the resort that day, but scuba dive this time. Since we booked one dive for a certification, we were lucky to be alone on the boat. We left the harbour at 9AM, heading toward our first amazing dive with stream, Kudah Rah Thila.
After graduating, and having a ball with the stream and all the fishes, we’ve headed to our second spot to chase the whale shark. Since you need at least 60 minutes between two dives, we were just sailing around and stop for some snorkelling along the reef (same spot at the other 50 boats). But suddenly, we get the code. A friendly boat around warn us that they spotted a whale shark. We quickly put our snorkelling gear and jump in the water. We were almost the first on the spot, so we saw it perfectly, what a moment to swim with this seven meters teenager!
Soon after all the other boat arrived, and the whale shark started to disappear in the deepness. Our instructor made us sign to come quickly back on the boat, since we would scuba dive with it! We climbed back on the boat, race to the other spot, put our gear in two seconds and jumped back again in the water. We went down very fast and started swimming with it at 30m deep. That was unbelievable, we swam for like 4 minutes until it dove deeper, were no one can follow it. We then carried on our dive, and celebrated once at the top!
Again, since that was organised by the resort, you can now guess that we spent the rest of the day there to celebrate for free.
NOTE: We did a dive with Shamar Dive Center but didn’t like it since it’s more for experienced divers.
Picnic Island 🏖
Last day at the island, we decided to explore the surroundings. Our host suggested us to take a boat ride to the island in front, called picnic island. No ones leave there, but we found the ruins of a massive villa, which seemed to be owned in the past to a member of government. Anyway, worth the trip.
The island is big, but you can snorkel only on one side of it. We spotted an eagle ray, turtles and sharks. We also packed our picnic and mosquito repulsive (plenty there, make sure to take some). Later, we did a bit of exploration in the abandoned house, nothing much to see but it’s fun. Then, our friend in the boat came to pick us back, and dropped us on the only beach of of Maamigili, where we enjoyed a nap and headed back to the guest house. Pretty cool day!
Overall, we preferred Dharavandoo than Maamigili because it was smaller and the beach was nicer. However, Maamigili was still excellent, and swim with whale sharks is something you really want to do. On top of it, the proximity of the resort and the picnic island make it real nice.