Addu Atoll Uncovered
From $1,499 pp
A blend of natural wonders, unique culture, rich history, and modern development make our Addu Atoll Uncovered tour the ideal choice for discovering the Maldives beyond its stunning beaches.
This trip is perfect for travelers who are seeking a unique experience and enjoy exploring off-the-beaten-path in a tropical paradise.
What is an "atoll"? An atoll is a type of circular island found in the tropics, wherein the perimeter is a coral reef surrounding a lagoon in the center.
- Snorkel tropical waters teeming with marine life (keep your eyes peeled for turtles & sharks!)
- Kayak through beautiful red mangroves, seagrass, and lakes
- Discover the Koattey protected area, a UNESCO sanctuary of biodiversity that will delight bird enthusiasts!
- Delve into the local history and culture with a guided tour of Gan
- Visit Kogannu Cemetery, the country's oldest & largest, home to many mosques & ancient tombs
- See an experimental farm's unique techniques & go to the Mathikilhi Eco Garden
The atoll you will be visiting presents a distinct character that sets it apart from other Maldivian atolls. Feel welcomed by the warmth and hospitality of the Adduans and enjoy the remoteness of the islands, knowing that the next landfall is 300 miles further south!
Addu Atoll, the heart-shaped gem of the Maldives, is nestled at the southernmost tip of the archipelago. Unlike the atolls that stretch to the north, Addu does not offer the idyllic white sand beaches the Maldives is famous for, but this captivating atoll boasts so much more. Lying just a few degrees south of the equator, the islands offer many surprises, such as lush, green, tropical forests, mangroves, and marshy taro fields. A rich ecosystem supports a diverse range of wildlife, such as seabirds, fish, crustaceans, fruit bats, and various bird species. The symbolic white terns, known locally as ‘dhondheeni’ is a type of bird that only graces the skies of Addu. In the waters surrounding these islands, snorkelers and scuba divers can enjoy vibrant coral reefs, encounter manta rays and sharks, and discover the biggest shipwreck in Maldives: the British Loyalty Wreck.
Connected by a 16-kilometer link road, the islands of Hithadhoo, Maradhoo, Maradhoo-Feydhoo, Feydhoo, and Gan form a vibrant community on the western side of the Atoll. Exploring the city's streets, you'll find a fascinating mix of traditional charm and contemporary development. On the eastern side, you'll find the quieter islands of Hulhudhoo and Meedhoo. At the southernmost tip lies Gan International Airport, making it the southernmost point in the Maldives and South Asia.
With a tropical climate, plenty of sunshine, and temperatures around 86°F (30°C) throughout the year, there is never a bad time to visit the Maldives. The Maldives has two distinct seasons:
- January - March: This is the dry season as the northeast monsoons are more common.
- Mid-May - November: This is the wet season, as southwest monsoons are more common. Wet, however, doesn't mean rain all the time, it just means we see more rain during this period than during the dry season. This may be a daily heavy shower, but it's very rare to have days and days of rain in succession or even a full 24 hours of rain. There is usually more wind during this period, but this helps keep the temperature at a nice level and you can still expect plenty of blue skies and sunshine.
The rare thunderstorm in the Maldives (especially around the southwest monsoon months) can be a welcome respite from the sun. Cloudy skies, slate grey seas, and crashing thunder make for lovely reading weather. The warm temperatures will allow you to go for a walk in the rain, a thoroughly enjoyable experience. For extra exhilaration, take a swim in the rain - the sea will be extra warm.
There can be heavy rain showers pretty much any time of year, but they tend to be short and cannot be accurately predicted seasonally (in other words – don’t worry too much about them – you will quite possibly experience some rain showers, but the majority of the weather should be great, and you will be unlucky to get several consecutive days of heavy rain). Like many places in the world today, the climate and weather pattern is changing, and historical data is less reliable as an indication of what to expect in the here and now.
Day 1 Addu Atoll [the Maldives] (arrival day)
Upon arrival at Male International Airport, you will be greeted by your Tour Leader. Transfer via domestic flight to the Gan International Airport, in the southern atoll of Addu. This means you will be crossing the Equator!
Settle in after your flight before taking your first steps on the sands of this southern gem. Take a swim in the warm waters of the Indian Ocean, or just explore the facilities of the hotel before dinner.
Accommodation: Equator Village
Day 2 Addu Nature Park
Today, we travel by vehicle to the tip of the western string of islands to visit Addu Nature Park. The park encompasses the Eydhigali Kilhi wetlands and the UNESCO-protected Koattey area, a sanctuary of biodiversity showcasing the wonders of the Maldives' natural environment. Koattey actually means "fortress" in Dhivehi and lives up to its name by serving as a haven for almost 30 bird species, including migratory birds, as well as various species of mangroves.
Eydhigali Kilhi is one of the largest wetlands in the Maldives, renowned for its abundant water bird population. Bird enthusiasts will be delighted by the presence of birds such as the eastern grey heron, the endemic Maldivian pond heron, the little egret, and the white tern, which can be observed throughout the year.
During our visit, we will join one of the Park Rangers for a guided nature tour through the park. They will share tales of the historical and strategic importance of the area, uncover hidden clues to the past in the undergrowth, and point out unique flora and fauna.
Following a picnic lunch, kayak an area known as Bedhi, famous for its beautiful red mangroves, baby stingrays, and sharks and finally snorkel in search of turtles, lobsters, clams, and sponges. It is claimed that the reef is also home to a few elusive seahorses so be sure to keep your eyes open!
Accommodation: Equator Village
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Day 3 Snorkeling & History of Gan
Following breakfast, we depart by boat for an underwater encounter. Your guide will provide a safety briefing on responsible snorkeling and act as your ‘spotter’ during the experience, pointing out marine life that may not have caught your eye. They will assist less confident or inexperienced snorkelers, ensuring your equipment is comfortable and you feel safe in the water. Discover coral reefs that are teeming with fish and marine life. Keep your eyes open for turtles and sharks.
Whilst never a guarantee, we may be lucky enough to encounter manta rays which can be sighted year-round in the atoll. Addu is the only place in the Maldives that is home to full-sized adult mantas, with wingspans stretching an incredible 5 meters. A Maldives Manta Conservation Programme (MMCP) initiative was launched in 2022 to establish a local base in Addu to lead an in-depth assessment of the current trends and health status of this regional manta population, a project in which we are one of the principal supporters.
In the late afternoon, as the heat of the day diminishes, spend time exploring Gan on foot with your tour leader to learn more about the history of the area and its connection with the British. Particular sites of interest include the old cinema and monuments of remembrance. We finish our walk by sampling traditional "hedika" – Maldivian savory and sweet small bites served with black tea at a local cafe.
Accommodation: Equator Village
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Day 4 Discover Hulhumeedhoo Island
Today, we start our day of exploration by cycling to Feydhoo, from where we take a public ferry across the atoll to Hulhumeedhoo. Although Hulhumeedhoo is geographically one island, it is divided into two administrative areas - Meedhoo and Hulhudhoo. Meedhoo is one of the oldest populated islands in the Maldives and is also home to remnants of the Second World War and even centuries-old ancient relics.
We wind our way along sandy lanes to visit Kogannu Cemetery, the oldest and largest cemetery in the country, home to many mosques and tombs of antiquity. The cemetery, which is over 900 years old, has more than 1,500 tombstones and seven small mosques, of which only four remain. Kogannu also has one of the largest and tallest coral grave markers in the country. The local islanders believe that the tombstone dates back to the 18th century.
Continuing our ride, we head to the atoll’s farmland and, in particular, to Zuvaan Dhanduveriya, described as ‘one of the most ambitious farms in the Maldives’. Experimental plants are grown via various techniques such as grafting and there are mature dragon fruit trees and crops of grapes and passionfruit.
We will complete our tour at Mathikilhi Eco Garden. This area used to be abundant in freshwater lakes, the largest of these lakes being the "Fenfila Koaru" located in the center of the wetland. The common lake sedge that has spread abundantly over the years has left the area covered with a lush green carpet. The last lake was saved by locals from being turned into a wetland to form this tranquil area of natural beauty.
Accommodation: Equator Village
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Day 5 Transfer to Male Airport (departure day)
This morning is free for you to relax at the property, reclined on a sun lounger on the beach or poolside before we transfer by domestic flight to Male International Airport or your onward destination. We should arrive to the airport by 4 PM.
This itinerary is privatizable upon request. Contact us for customization.
Prices exclude flights to/from the destination.
Prices are for double room occupancy unless indicated otherwise.
Prices are seasonal.
If there are 2+ guests in a private group booking, the rate is as per the twin/double/triple pax rate.
Deposit per person
Private Room - sleeps 1 - price per person
Nov. 1 - Dec. 16, 2023: $2,399 Dec. 17, 2023 - Jan. 6, 2024: $2,999 Jan. 7 - Apr. 30, 2024: $2,399 May 1 - July 30, 2024: $2,299 Aug. 1 - Oct. 31, 2024: $2,399
Shared Room - twin/double/triple - price per person
Nov. 1 - Dec. 16, 2023: $1,549 Dec. 17, 2023 - Jan. 6, 2024: $1,649 Jan. 7 - Apr. 30, 2024: $1,549 May 1 - July 30, 2024: $1,499 Aug. 1 - Oct. 31, 2024: $1,549
Sustainable and responsible tourism has been an integral part of our business model since 2012. We are mindful of ensuring we promote local tourism in line with Maldivian culture and traditions. Through the education of our team, our guests, and locals, we aim to protect the environment and limit wherever possible any negative impact on local life. As a team, we aim to inspire, inform, and demonstrate to our partners, our guests, and the tourism industry as a whole, that we are committed to ensuring we offer only responsible and positive travel experiences. We believe that people, communication, and education are the foundation of Sustainable Tourism. This is the reason that we have built our business on four communities:– Our Guests– Our Team– Local Islanders– NGOs and charity organizations.
We understand that success requires focus, adaptation, and long-term thinking. Change does not often happen overnight but is a gradual process, but surely in a destination such as the Maldives, it is our responsibility to make that difference.
Through learning experiences with our guides, we provide guests with awareness of corals, marine life, seagrass, mangroves, waste management, and plastic pollution. We brief all guests participating in snorkeling activities on the Green Fins Code of Conduct, this improves their knowledge of what they can do to help protect the ocean and coral reefs. We follow the Code of Conduct produced by international marine organizations when encountering manta rays, whale sharks, and turtles while snorkeling and diving.
On this tour keeping the history of Addu in mind, we stay at Equator Village Maldives in Addu, a resort with a rich history as the former British Royal Air Force Sergeant's Mess during World War II. The converted colonial buildings now offer comfortable accommodations amidst a tropical garden. Guests can enjoy amenities like en-suite rooms, a swimming pool, a small beach area, and access to a house reef, creating a unique and memorable stay experience.
Our tours include opportunities to engage with locals and learn about the local way of life. By doing so, we help preserve the local cultures, foster mutual learning and exchange, empower the local community economically, as well as provide authentic travel experiences. Through meaningful interactions, travelers gain a deeper understanding of the destination's culture, traditions, and heritage, ensuring the preservation of unique cultural practices for generations to come.
By using locally owned and operated infrastructure and sourcing services developed and managed by locals, our approach promotes economic sustainability in the Maldives. One key benefit is the creation of local jobs. Supporting locally owned businesses generates employment opportunities for residents, reducing unemployment rates and fostering economic stability within communities. This not only contributes to the overall well-being of the local population but also helps to alleviate poverty and improve living standards.
Additionally, by relying on existing local infrastructure and services, we contribute directly to the revenue streams of local businesses, enabling them to thrive and invest in further development.
Our decision to avoid having our own fleet of vehicles and vessels and instead utilize local public transport or private locally-owned transport allows us to support the local transportation sector. By utilizing their services, we contribute to the sustainability of local transport businesses, ensuring their continued operation and economic viability.
Health & Safety
Be sure you have traveler's insurance.
You can travel safely in the knowledge that you are in capable hands. All of our guide team members are certified in the care and safety of guests and hold First Emergency Response and Lifeguard certification.
What does the Physical Rating of "Easy" mean for this trip?
Our program offers an active but not strenuous experience. Participants will have the opportunity to snorkel, cycle, and kayak. These activities provide a balance of adventure and leisure, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the destination maintaining a comfortable level of physical activity.
What are the accommodations like?
On this tour, keeping the history of Addu in mind, we will stay at the Equator Village Maldives, which is built on what used to be the British Royal Air Force Sergeant’s Mess. This area of Addu was originally established as a military base for the Royal Navy in WW2 and, in 1942, the Royal Air Force made it its base on the islands.
The old colonial buildings still stand and have been converted to provide simple, yet comfortable accommodation, set within a tropical garden where native species and frangipani thrive on manicured lawns. All rooms have en-suite bathrooms, AC, ceiling fans, complimentary Wi-Fi, water, tea and coffee. There is a swimming pool, a small beach area, and access to a house reef.
What is an atoll?
An atoll is a type of circular island found in the tropics, wherein the perimeter is a coral reef surrounding a lagoon in the center.
Can we drink alcohol?
As a Muslim country, alcohol is not available on any local island. Hulhule Island Hotel located on the airport island does have a bar serving alcohol.
What's the dress code on local islands?
Care needs to be taken in relation to the dress code on local islands. Whilst it is acceptable for men to wear T-Shirts and shorts or swim shorts; females should avoid causing offense by maintaining a more conservative approach to clothes by wearing T-Shirts with sleeves that cover the shoulder, loose shorts that cover the thigh, or sundresses with a sarong around shoulders. Whilst the islands we visit are more tolerant of guests wearing traditional beachwear, females should NOT wear bikinis and swimwear unless on an uninhabited island, Picnic Island, sandbank, screened-off tourist bikini beach, dive boat, or resort island.
More recently the level of acceptance can vary from island to island and between the central atolls and those in the Deep North or Deep South. The key point to remember is to consider you are a guest in another country and dress not to cause offense.
Whilst the law restricts the wearing of bikinis on local islands, all guesthouses provide a private tourist sunbathing area on the beach or on the terrace of the guesthouse, your guide will advise when and where this is possible. It is a common practice by both locals and visitors for females to swim from local public beaches wearing a t-shirt or rash guard and shorts or leggings. When visiting the home of a local family or during the Male City tour where we may have access to mosques shoulders and legs should be covered fully by both men and women out of respect for local customs.
I'm vegan/vegetarian - will I be OK?
Properties can cater to vegan and vegetarian diets, but it is worth noting in regard to food on local islands that over 95% of products are imported, and then from Male they are transferred once or twice a week to outer islands. Fruit and vegetables, while available, can be limited and they do not form part of the traditional Maldivian diet in the way you may be used to back home with your 5 a day! Given that tuna is a key component of our diet, as vegetarians, you will find your diet quite limited in comparison to what you are used to. Even a potato curry is likely to have dried tuna added. On local islands, you can't just pop out to the supermarket, and what you may see in the convenience store one week is not seen again for months! So if there is something particularly you eat within your diet that you can't live without we would encourage you to pack some and be prepared for perhaps more repetition of meals than you would be used to back home.
Do I need to bring my own snorkel mask & fins?
While we do provide equipment on all our tours where we are snorkeling, and snorkeling equipment will also be available to rent at resorts and guesthouses, we would advise to bring along your own mask and snorkel. Not only will you be assured the mask fits your face properly and is comfortable and less likely to have leakage, it will also lower any health associated risks. We find that peace of mind goes a long way! A mask and snorkel is small and light and should take up very little space in your suitcase.
Fins, which are the cumbersome part, are available to rent or, if you have booked a snorkeling tour with us, will be included within the package. While renting or using fins we supply means you won’t have to try and find room for them in your bag and leaves you space for other essentials, it may also mean that we are unable to provide a 100% comfortable fit. If snorkeling is going to form a large part of your holiday, then the comfort of your equipment will also add to your overall enjoyment of the activity.
Due to the ocean current and wind conditions in the Maldives, the use of fins is essential in almost all snorkeling locations and especially during pelagic marine life encounters where you will be surprised at the speed a whale shark can swim! We understand that you may have snorkeled elsewhere in the world without fins, but they are a necessity in the Maldives to make the most of your experience. Should you wish to check we have correct fin sizes available for you, or would like the opportunity to purchase fins from a reputable dive store, please let us know prior to your arrival in order that we can make the appropriate arrangements.
Do I need a visa for the Maldives?
A free 30-day tourist visa will be granted to all tourists upon arrival in Maldives providing all entry requirements as detailed below are met.