Vilamendhoo is a much smaller island in the Maldives comparing to Kuredu or Meeru, you can go around the island at a mid pace in around 30 minutes, so you can imagine its perimeter. The incredible thing about Vilamendhoo is the house reef, is one of the best well-preserved corals, a wide variety of corals and alive ones of different colors, white and reddish mainly. To go to the reef you just need to get in the water and snorkel, there are 10 channels through the reef to reach the coral, the best area is around Duniye spa.
The island is a total dream for animal lovers and snorkel or diving addicts, but there are plenty of things too if you are not a fan of those activities. The hotel has a swimming pool, great to relax and order some cocktails while sunbathing. The resort has two buffet restaurants were they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and one à la carte restaurant called the Asian wok, It is a restaurant above the water specialized in Tepanyaki.
Coral reef snorkelling in Vilamendhoo
Vilamendhoo is an island located on the Southeast corner of Ari atoll, the island is in the heart of some of the most amazing dive sites in the Maldives. Situated between two channels this long oval island boasts an exceptional house reef that attracts both divers and snorkellers every year. Vilamendhoo is well-managed and maintains an environmental programme that contributes to the natural appearance of the island.
Vilamendhoo is a long but thin island, the house reef goes around the island, at 900m in length is one of the largest accessible reefs in the Maldives. The reef is just a couple of metres away from the shoreline. The house reef has 10 entry points and the depth varies from 28 to 35 meters approximately. The reef has shallow caves and overhangs, due to its location and the currents the reef attracts many species and it contributes in having a wide variety of marine life in the area.
There is a diving centre in the island, called Euro Divers, that offers dives and snorkeling sessions that take you to the different entry points and also has specific routes and dive spots for experienced divers.
Snorkelling through the house reef coral, just a few meters from the shore you can see where the coral goes around the island. The coral has a green fluorescent protein, at night if going with the right equipment, a blue fluorescent light, the coral that is alive lights up, different colors underwater.
There are more than 40 dive sites around the island and they are located within 60 minutes Dhoni ride of Vilamendhoo. Euro Divers Maldives dive based on Vilamendhoo operates between 3 to 4 boats two times a day to a variety of sites, among them the very well known sites like Kuda-Rha-Thila, Broken Rock and Shark point are regularly dived.
Manta rays, sea turtles and whale sharks
Manta rays are large animals, they can reach 8 metres long in width and the smaller ones are around 5 metres. They have forward facing mouths, quite scary at first. Mantas live in temperate, subtropical and tropical waters, and they are one of the star animals in the Maldives to swim with.
Rays are fish but they are similar to sharks in that their bodies are supported with cartilage instead of bone. They have a flat shape and they eat plankton, mollusks and crustaceans.
We have also seen stingrays near the shore in Kuredu mainly but also in Vilamendhoo, those are dangerous as if bothered they have a poisonous sting. Most stingrays' tails have venom glands, which means that they inject an incredibly painful toxin when the sting is used. Nothing should happen to you when snorkelling or diving as they only use the sting on self-defense.
Sea turtles are so cute, I don't know what is it about turtles but I liked them very much, they are slow so you have plenty of time to take pictures and swim with them while snorkelling.
The whale shark is a slow-moving shark, the largest known fish. Although they are quite big, from 3 metres to 14 metres long, their diet is plankton and these animals are considered harmless to humans. It was an amazing experience to swim with a whale shark, it is the biggest animal I have swum with, it is a whale shark paparazzi shot though, since all resorts take their guests to the whale shark viewpoint. It was the most crowded excursion, although from Vilamendhoo there were only two boats, around 40 people, but there were around 6 more boats from other hotels.
Accommodation in Vilamendhoo
We stayed in a garden villa, it is the lowest category in the island but has everything you need on your daily basis, the room is spacious enough and there is a sofa, the open bathroom is pretty similar to other categories and you have two hammocks right in front. Prices for a garden villa start at 200 dollars per room per night, it depends on the season though prices might vary.
The best room of all we have seen in Vilamendhoo island is the beach villa since it is right in front of the beach and you can lie down in your hammock and enjoy the sun until is time to bathe. The hammocks in the island belong to each room, so you will have your two hammocks right in front of your villa, if you wish to explore other parts of the island and go swim somewhere else, you can but there will be no hammock for you, get your towels.
As in Kuredu island, the minimum meal plan is half board, then full board and if you want all inclusive or all inclusive gold. It truly depends on how much you eat and drink and what are your plans for your holiday in the Maldives.
Duniye Spa over the water
A holiday to the Maldives is not complete without a spa massage, and in Vilamendhoo the spa itself is the paradise, water villas right in the water overlooking the lagoon. Once entering the spa you can smell their incense sticks, the Crown and Champa spas all smell the same, I love it!
When you arrive in the spa they give you cold green tea, since I am a spa lover I am all for the details, they take you to your spa room, we shared with Veronica and had a double massage. The room is just incredible, it has a terrace over the sea and you can see the turquoise water from the stretcher.
While having the massage you can see the water through a little window in the floor while you have a relaxing in the massage. I had an oriental massage which is a mixed of stretching and finger pressure with oil, it really helped me soothe tension and relax some more in this holiday in the Maldives.
There is a shower and a full equipped bathroom in case you want to shower before and/or after the massage. Once they start the massage they ring two little metal plates to kick it off and also when it finishes so you know what to expect and a non-invasive way and it lets you keep relaxing afterwards.
Their philosophy is to work with your body respectfully using natural in-house products called Healing Earth and Pure product lines that only contain the purest natural active ingredients. I am a lover of natural products and a firm believer that with cold pressed oils with simple essence you can get all you need, there is no need for chemicals or processed products to moisten your skin and relax.
Live band, karaoke and night activities
The hotel organizes night activities that change every day, if you wish to join they are normally held in the bar, right next to the main reception. We joined the karaoke night, it was very funny and also a Live band that played commercial songs, it was very good and a nice occasion to try the house cocktails and mocktails while enjoying the entertainment.
Manta and turtle excursion: US $55 per person
Whaleshark excursion: US$ 55 per person
Garden Villa per room per night: from US$ 200 dollars