Vaavu atoll is popular for its marine life and home to various different types of sharks, dolphins, eagle rays, manta rays, and turtles. A 01 hour 30-minute speedboat ride from Male’ city, Vaavu atoll is a favourite among tourists all throughout the year. What makes Vaavu atoll even more significant is Vaavu Thinadhoo.
Have you ever been in a place so quiet and peaceful, you do not even know what your problems are anymore? Well, that’s Vaavu Thinadhoo! It is one of the least populated islands in the Maldives with a population of 214 people. However, roughly 60 of them actually live on the island. Taking this into their advantage, Vaavu Thinadhoo has built a unique tourist destination that will make you say ‘wow’; a place where you can relax and experience the true Maldivian culture and island lifestyle.
The island’s streets are lit up with warm lights, unlike in other local islands, normally having white street lights. Despite lacking a school and even a hospital, you can find luxury guest houses packed with tourists, a grocery shop, a couple of souvenir shops, two volleyball courts, an outdoor gym, cafes, and restaurants around the island. There are no high buildings on the island with the intention of maintaining the island vibe.
Guesthouse Tourism was introduced to the island by Mohamed Nazim, a local man with his Italian wife in 2007 as an attempt to deliver an exciting holiday experience on the island for close friends and family. Later, the rest of the island joined in order to further develop his vision and turn Thinadhoo into the ‘local’ resort it now is.
Nature of Thinadhoo people
You cannot take a stroll around the island without being greeted with a friendly smile followed by a ‘ciao’. The people of Thinadhoo are extremely kind and amiable that you are bound to feel at home in no time.
Where to Nest
Casa Barabaru is the first guest house built on the island. ‘Barabaru’ is a Maldivian term for ‘great’. Having started with just two rooms, this cozy guest house has been successfully expanding and running for over a decade now. Offering independent rooms with air conditioning, hot water, a mini-bar and a private veranda where you can sit back and enjoy the picturesque view of the sea or a private garden. Spacious Italian bathrooms equipped with a bidet, a shower, part open ceiling to reveal the sky. Casa Barabaru also features a restaurant serving international cuisines and a bar area on the terrace overlooking the sea. Your stay here will definitely be Barabaru.
Plumeria Hotel a recreational complex of 3 living blocks with 16 beach villas located at the beach-side, 29 super deluxe rooms and 19 super deluxe rooms with the view of the sea. These spacious well-furnished rooms come with queen size beds, attached bathrooms, air conditioning, Wifi, hot water, and even a safety locker. Besides this, the hotel also included a diving and water sports centre, restaurants, a SPA and dancing grounds.
Rai Nika comprises rooms with air conditioning, a minibar, private bathrooms, WIFI (surcharge) and a separate seating area. It also features a children’s club, a restaurant serving free continental breakfasts daily, a garden picnic area. Rai Nika also has a banyan tree; a Nika Gas (in Dhivehi) which is over 100 years old.
Maldives sunset lodge and Village offers comfortable rooms with parquet flooring, air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, a minibar, attached bathrooms, and a patio. In addition to this, the guest house also features an on-site restaurant.
Vavoy Beach View offers rooms that open to the white sandy beach with a view of the crystal blue ocean. The rooms are well furnished with a queen-size bed and a semi-open bathroom giving you a sense of the island life. All rooms include a mini-fridge, office space with a table and chair, air conditioning, tea/coffee making facilities, free Wifi, and a patio.
Hudhu Raakani Lodge is situated near the beach offering comfortable rooms with air conditioning and Wifi, a private bathroom, a restaurant specialized in international cuisine, a children’s club, an indoor tennis court, a library, and a garden.
Thinadhoo isn’t just another inhabited local island. It is a unique cultural experience that is bound to leave you wanting more.
All guest houses offer full board packages which usually last a week, with carefully organized schedules of daily activities in order to ensure you have the most of this tropical island experience.
Thinadhoo is extremely quiet and peaceful with beautiful well-maintained beaches where you could just spend your day on one of the sunbeds by the bikini beach, relaxing and enjoying the serene view of the ocean stretching for miles. Locals are not allowed onto this area as to respect your privacy.
If you are more adventurous and want to experience the wow marine life, there are various water sports activities for you to choose from: from snorkelling in the turquoise waters, to swim with the sharks. Types of sharks seen in this area include, white tip sharks, lemon sharks, nurse sharks, hammerhead sharks and the occasional whale sharks. You can also find pods of dolphins playing around as well as the Eagle Rays, Manta Rays and turtles.
Thinadhoo reef is especially for the tourists to enjoy, hence lots of effort goes into the maintenance of the reef and protecting its marine life. Dhiggaa Reef is also a popular area near the island with its fluorescent coloured corals with plenty of colourful reef fishes to be seen. Snorkelling in this area would definitely make you say ‘wow’.
You can also find various uninhabited islands and sandbanks just a few minutes away from Thinadhoo. Taking this into their advantage, Thinadhoo also offers excursion trips to these islands where you can go and enjoy a picnic on any of the uninhabited islands and truly experience being stranded on an island (well, you won’t really be stranded on the island as you will be with local tour guides who will ensure your safety, so don’t worry about that).
Full board packages also include fishing trips and diving trips to the most popular spots in the area. What you catch would be later cooked well in Maldivian style and offered to you for dinner the same night. Talk about a reward after a good catch! Dinners on boats, sunset cruises to catch the dolphins in action will definitely be a wow experience.
During the nights, you can take a walk along the beach and find planktons during the north-east Monsoon. Normally, we find blue planktons whenever there are any planktons anywhere in Maldives. However, in Thinadhoo, its green!
Taking a stroll around the island and interacting with the local people also gives you a sense of the Maldivian lifestyle
This unique cultural experience cannot be found elsewhere; an overall wow experience that will definitely make you want to come back for more.
The article was originally published in FIYA Magazine, Issue 10, Published by MVHOTELS.
Photo Credits – Hassan Faiz