Whenever I have thought of Maldives in the past, my mind conjured up images of gorgeous islands and expensive travel. Maldives’ iconic islands are world renowned and its easy to see why some resorts charge up to 3,000/a night. Thankfully, there are affordable alternatives that make visiting this beautiful country attainable for everyone.
Ocean Beach Inn
Ocean Beach Inn offers affordable rates in a beautiful setting and has the added benefit of allowing you to be immersed in the local culture. Guest have the option to have communal meals with the other guests at a small extra cost. The staff are always helpful and never fail to ask how you are doing.
Where is it and how do I get there?
Ocean Beach Inn is located on Hangnaameedhoo Island which is about 45 miles Southwest of the capitol of Male. The island is relatively small. It took us about 15 minutes to walk around the whole island one sunny afternoon. The water is absolutely stunning and there are great snorkeling spots throughout the coastline.
The two main options for reaching the Island is by ferry or speedboat. The staff set-up our transportation and had an employee waiting for us at the airport. The ferry is cheaper but the speedboat cuts down your travel time to the island significantly. The cost for the speedboat is 30 USD per person each way. Since accomodations for Ocean Beach Inn are so affordable, it’s well worth spending the extra money on a speed boat transfer. It took approximately 1 1/2 hours to reach our destination.
The staff at Ocean Beach Inn coordinate several excursions such as snorkeling, scuba diving and Dolphin sight seeing. They also can arrange for you to take part in a famous past-time of the Maldives, swimming with whale sharks.
There is free equipment such as fins, snorkels and face masks that you can borrow to explore the local aquatic life. Kayaks are also available for anyone looking to get a work-out in on the water.
If you just want to take easy while listening to the rhythmic crashing of waves, the property has several options. We alternated between beach chairs, swings and hammocks everyday to unwind after a long afternoon of swimming.
Many of the very expensive resorts are located on private islands where the only people you encounter are other travelers. Hangnaameedhoo is not only home to Ocean Beach Inn but also has a small community of locals that you will see throughout the island.
Like any other country whose local economy depends on tourism, you will find welcoming locals who are truly grateful for your visit. Maldives is a Muslim nation so some parts of the island require some modesty when choosing your outfit.
There is a designated bikini beach where you can feel comfortable to frolic in your two-piece. Although everyone is welcoming and helpful, it’s always good to be respectful of the local culture and not to offend the people who call this home.
The are only a few storefront on the island because of its size. You can find some grocery purveyors if you want your own food but eating at Ocean Beach Inn is the most viable option. For a small extra cost, you are provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu consists of mostly local cuisine. Be prepared to eat a lot of fish, primarily tuna.
Tuna is a common protein used in many of the dishes that we were served. It came in the form of tuna fried rice, tuna curry, tuna pasta and tuna chow mein. Plain white rice and roti was always available for lunch and dinner. There were also miscellaneous vegetables and fruit served with each meal. Taste can be very subjective so I will let you, the reader, be the judge. The food is set-up buffet style and is sometimes served directly on the beach. If you have food allergies or are a picky eater, make sure to let management know ahead of time.
One very important fact is that lunch is served at 13:30 (1:30pm) and dinner is served at 19:30 (7:30pm). I suspect that dinner is served at this time because of the large amount of Italian tourist who frequent here… Italians love to eat late. If you are anything like me, 6 hours between meal times can be a bit much, especially after burning so many calories swimming. Do yourself a favor and purchase some snacks to hold you over.
The rooms have every amenity to make you feel comfortable and safe. An efficient air conditioner can make all the difference when you are visiting this type of climate. I am thankful to report that the air conditioning in the rooms works fantastic. Our room was equipped with a mini fridge, small flat screen TV, work desk and a safe.
The room we stayed in was modest but spotless. It was cleaned daily and we were provided with as much bottled water as we could drink. Although the room had a safe, there was never a moment that we were worried about any of our belongings being stolen.
My two favorite things about our room were the outlets and the proximity to the beach. Outlets may seem like a small amenity to the unseasoned traveler but trust me when I tell you its very important. The outlets worked with both European and U.S plugs, foregoing the need to travel with a power adapter. In addition, there were several USB ports that made charging multiple devices a breeze.
Our room was just steps away from the beach. The coastline directly in front of Ocean Beach Inn has some of the best snorkeling of the entire island. Just a meter into the water and you are surrounded by the large array of ocean life that Maldives is famous for. A word of caution to inexperienced snorkelers, make sure you are a strong swimmer and to have someone join you because the current can get quite swift.
Ocean Beach Inn is the perfect place to experience the beauty of Maldives on a budget. The staff went above and beyond to make sure that we were comfortable at all times. The beaches were beautiful and were never crowded. We were provided with everything we needed to make this a wonderful trip. We are thankful to have discovered this option and be able to share it with all our fellow travelers.
Stay at Ocean Beach Inn and see for yourself how you can have the vacation of a lifetime without having to break the bank.