Nilandhoo: A prospective local tourism destination in North Huvadhoo

Lavishing in natural beauty and unparalleled fertility, Nilandhoo, is emerging as a prospective tourism destination in the atoll. A ‘centralized’ local tourism industry may be a tough hurdle for northern and southern atolls to climb over, however, a single business in the small island of Nilandhoo is proving it is possible.

Nadeem Ahmed, from Thigo Dreams, spoke to MBR and shared an overview of the island and about his business.  According to Nadheem, the island previously had two businesses dedicated for local tourism, however, one of them succumbed due to the blowbacks from the pandemic.

Nadeem, an avid sea-lover and a ocean sports fanatic entertains about few guests monthly, who visit the southern atoll’s small island for a perfect getaway.

Nilandhoo and Thigo Dreams

Huvadhoo Atoll, roughly 400 km south of capital Male’ City, has three domestic airports; a one-hour plan ride from the capital. Nilandhoo is located in north-east edge of the atoll, and has a population of roughly 1,100 people, with just half of them currently residing in the island.

Nilandhoo is famous for agricultural activities since the land is considered one of the most fertile lands in the atoll. Agriculture and fishing are the two main source of income for the islanders as they indulge in tranquil island life.

Thigo Dreams, an establishment in the island, began local tourism business in 2018 with half a dozen guests arriving monthly. Prior to pandemic, the guest arrivals were static throughout the year. However, the road to recovery is difficult, yet not impossible, as the numbers have picked up since the pandemic-caused hiatus.

Excursions, snorkeling at turtle library and the South Trip are few of the many activities offered by Thigo Dreams to its guests.

One island, one couple

‘Spend a day in an uninhabited island’ excursion is popular amongst honeymooners. This excursion is designed for couples to spend a day in an uninhabited island. Couples can choose one of the islands about 15 minutes from Nilandhoo and arrange a stay there.

The excursion also ignites the adventurous flame, as the guests are free to explore the uninhabited islands and have some “vitamin-sea” therapy.

A total seclusion surrounded by white sandy beaches, thick green foliage, sounds of waves crashing and the sight of clear skies in the night with zero noise or light pollution. A dream post-nuptial stay in many ways. One island, one couple.

Snorkeling at the Turtle Library

The gorgeous waters of Maldives with its abundant marine beauty have been one of the top reasons why the country has been the Leading Destination two years in a row. Those reasons can be witnessed in Nilandhoo as well.

Guests staying at Thigo Dream can ‘browse’ through some turtle species; not on a device nor on a printed booklet. The house reef of Nilandhoo is blessed with a turtle point. This is a rare scenic hotspot in the Maldives as turtles are not spotted everywhere in the island nation. Guests who want to swim with the turtles can simply go for a snorkeling session with Nadeem.

Nadeem assured that guests can spot about couple dozen turtles during one snorkeling session at the point on a good day. Coming across turtles during a snorkeling session is exhilarating, and would make anyone fall in love with the ocean.

A trip to the South

Huvadhoo Atoll is considered one of the largest atolls in the world. More than that, it is the atoll with the most number of islands in the entire world with 255. While inhabited islands are few, the atoll is blessed with abundant tiny islands with beautiful beaches and turquoise waters.

Thigo Dreams offers a day trip 20-30 km south of Nilandhoo, to a lagoon consisting of two inhabited islands, Gemanafushi and Kanduhulhudhoo, and several uninhabited islands between these two islands. A trip through the lagoon would feel like rowing through a lake. The guests are also offered to explore the islands and indulge themselves in the tropics.

A trip through this picturesque location is as rare a sight as it comes,  while guests find themselves snapping drone photos or videos of the natural ‘lagoon-lake’ with varying sizes of islands. For those guests who grew up in ‘un-tropical’ countries, this sight will leave them mesmerized; as they bear witness to the sights of crystal clear waters bordering dry lands of green, which are common in Huvadhoo Atoll and parts of the Maldives.

Ocean Retreat

Turtles are not the only marine species to be spotted in Huvadhoo Atoll. Nadeem also take his guests to witness the scenes of playful dolphins spotted in North Huvadhoo. Though rare during the excursions, the sight is enjoyable for the guests.

Boaddoo, an uninhabited island 15 minutes from Nilandhoo is home for rare species – whale sharks. Spotted near the house reef of Boaddoo, Nadeem takes his guests on diving sessions to swim with whale sharks. Scuba diving is a major activity offered by Thigo Dreams as there are many undocumented diving hotspots in north Huvadhoo with rare sights.

They want to come back, again and again

While the arrival figures to the island has yet to hit significant threshold, Nadeem noted there are guests who have visited Nilandhoo on multiple occasions. Some are repeated guests who fell in love with the island and the getaways.

According to guests who have visited more than once, the natural beauty and their indulgences during the visit cannot be achieved anywhere else in the world.

The tranquil island life offered by Nilandhoo can be hard to let go. From witnessing the scenic underwater views, to pampering with traditional activities, sea sports and island getaways, the guests can fully experience the sunny side of life.

Note: All photos and videos are owned by Nadeem Ahmed, and Thigo Dreams.

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