Dhigurah – The Maldives

After another night of no sleep we had breakfast at the Antares Guest House on Dhangethi and then packed all of our stuff ready for a speedboat ride to the neighbouring island of Dhigurah. It only took 15 minutes before we slowed and entered the blue waters of the harbour.

Once again, there was quite a bit of construction taking place around the harbour area which was being expanded to cope with the increasing tourist traffic. We all piled into a mini pick-up truck and were driven the short distances along the sandy roads of Dhigurah to the TME Retreats guest house.

Dhigurah is one of the larger islands in the Maldives at 3 km in length. Despite its length it is only 250 m wide at the widest point. It is a fishing village with a population of about 600. The northern, widest end of the island contains the village where there are two schools, a kindergarden, a hospital and a number of shops, souvenir shops, dive centres, sports fields and a volley ball court and especially for Lara, an ATM! The southern 2.5 km of the island is an ever-narrowing strip of equatorial forest with a beach on either side that eventually narrows down to a thin white sand bank. From the sea it looks like a narrow strip of jungle edged by a pristine white sandy beach – a tropical paradise.

Tropical Paradise
Tropical Paradise

Even the town area was a lush, tropical jungle as almost all of the houses, shops and restaurants had plants covering their walls or arranged in pots outside. All of our favourite houseplants from the UK such as Alocasias, Philodendrons, Snake plants and palms were everywhere, giving the entire island a lush, verdant appeal.


The loud “ku-oo ku-oo“sounds of Koel birds could be heard in the trees and fruit bats were seen soaring between the higher fronds and branches. Coconut Palms, banana trees and huge bread fruit trees with their large fruits could be seen everywhere. As on the other islands there were lizards scampering around and geckos on the walls of the guest house.

It seemed a little more ‘touristy’ than Dhangethi and despite having a smaller population actually seemed a little busier thanks to the presence of the tourists. There were plenty of guest houses and restaurants to keep them happy, and the TME Guest house that we were staying in seemed perfect. The air conditioning was working and the room was quiet so we were hoping to get some sleep!


Once checked in, we all headed to the beach which was just across the road and through the trees. Once again the trees were festooned with lights as was the road all of which looked lovely in the evenings.

On the beach were sit-on top kayaks waiting for us, so we all jumped aboard and headed out onto the clear blue seas for a little paddle. We didn’t really go anywhere, we just pootled about in the sunshine.

There were some Grouper breeding platforms a little way off the beach, so we moored up by those and played around a little and then paddled about until it was time to head back. The ‘kayaking’ portion of the Much Better Adventures trip wasn’t that exciting really. It was nice to have a paddle but it would have been better if we could have used the kayaks to actually go somewhere and then maybe have a picnic or go snorkelling once we got there. Of course, kayaking in a tropical paradise is something of a novelty even though we didn’t go anywhere!

Jungle Hike

In the afternoon a few of us went for a Jungle ‘Hike’. This was another of the activities in the Much Better Adventures itinerary but not everyone joined in. Anna was a little tired so chilled at the hotel, Umesh, Claire and Alex did their own thing so in the end it was just myself, Megan and Ash who headed off through the forest tracks with Zaff as our guide.

Jungle Track
Jungle Track

I’d been ridiculing the itinerary for calling this a hike as the island is only 3km long and has no elevation gain at all, so it was a walk at best, if not a stroll. However, in the tropical heat and through sand it did take a while and was actually really good. I had a good chat with Megan about other trips we’d been on and trips we’d like to do as well as other things we had in common. We stopped for a quick dip on the eastern end of the island and played on the swings over the water there.

We then continued on to the far end where the sand finally petered out and submerged beneath the warm turquoise waters.

End of the Island
End of the Island

We waded in up to our knees and then started the walk back, this time along the white sands of the beach that stretched the entire length of the western side of the island. The tide was high so there were a few locations where we had to wade through the waters to get around the trees that came right down to the waters edge. We paused for a while to climb a coconut tree and eventually made it back to the guest house.

Whale Sharks

The island of Dhigurah and the South Ari Atoll is known for being a location where Whale Sharks can be seen year-round. We were hoping to swim with them tomorrow so first we had an online presentation in the communal area of the guest house by someone from the Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme. As well as teaching us a little more about Whale Sharks and the work of the research programme, it increased the anticipation of actually encountering them tomorrow – we couldn’t wait!

Following this it was time for dinner at the guest house and then another stroll to the beach in the dark. The end of another busy day in the Maldives.

The following day we were up early for a quick breakfast and then to jump onto yet another boat to head out to the other side of the Atoll where Whale Sharks had been seen. It took about 45 minutes to get there and then we all had our eyes peeled for these giants of the sea. We didn’t find any so after a while got in for a snorkel anyway and saw eagle rays, white-tip reef sharks, black-tip reef sharks, a larger grey reef-shark and what was probably a nurse shark.

Eagle Ray
Eagle Ray

Unfortunately after hours of searching and with more and more boats joining the search we didn’t ever find a whale shark so returned to Dhigurah a little despondent. It can’t be helped as wildlife rarely does what you want it to and there’s a huge amount of ocean for them to hide in if they so wish.

After lunch in a restaurant I went for a snorkel off the beach from of the guest house and then we headed off for a chilled sunset cruise. We did stop for a while so that I could jump off the top of the boat and have a little swim, but no one else joined me. The crew were also fishing off the back of the boat and let me pull in the catch!

Manta Rays

The next day was another relatively early start as we were off to look for Manta Rays. The rays are permanent residents of the South Ari Atoll and can often be seen in the main lagoon. This wasn’t part of the standard Much Better Adventures trip but as we’d not found Whale Sharks the day before we decided to pay for a Manta Ray trip today. We headed out on the boat and soon had a glimpse of one. Once the boat had repositioned and cut the engines we all slipped into the water just in time to see a couple of Manta Rays slip majestically by.

They didn’t hang around for long so we were soon back on the boat and looking out for them once more. After a while we found another and this time had a much longer encounter with it as it glided below and alongside us and banked gracefully to turn and feed. After the disappointment of the whale sharks the day before this more than made up for it.

Another boat full of loads of tourists then turned up and all piled noisily into the sea. We decided therefore to leave the Manta’s to it and I think they disappeared and the hoards that were chasing them didn’t get to see them. It was nice to have seen them with just the few of us around and not to feel as though we were chasing and harassing them.


The boat dropped us off on the beach outside the guest house and we all went SUPing. As with the kayaking it was just a little play on SUPS off the beach so nothing too exciting but it was a good way to cool off and have some fun. Back on the shore there were reports of a Manta Ray that was stuck in the harbour being rescued. We headed off to see but just found a solitary small Manta that looked fine doing cartwheels and feeding happily. It certainly wasn’t stuck or in any distress. It was just having a really good feed in the calm waters of the harbour.

We then headed off to a local house for ‘lunch with the ladies’. This was a traditional lunch served by locals who were intent on feeding us. Anna and I aren’t that keen on seafood but most of it was delicious.

The rest of the day was spent chilling, wandering around the shops and past a women’s volleyball tournament and then having a swim out around the Grouper Breeding platforms from the beach. We then sat on the beach as the sun set and Zaff sang to us with his ukulele. We had dinner at the hotel and then resigned ourselves to packing ready to start the journey home.

As well as tonight we still had another night in the Maldives back on Malé. We also had a visit to the ‘Save the Beach’ project on the island of Villimalé to look forward to, but leaving Dhigurah behind on the following morning felt like the beginning of the end of our trip to the Maldives.

2 Responses

  1. Avatar forComment Author Mum x says:

    I think maybe you are very lucky to have done this trip now as in a few years I feel it maybe more commercialised and full of tourist, a shame but you can’t blame the locals or the tourist !

  1. Saturday, January 27th, 2024

    […] a final night on Dhigura we had another early start and a very quick breakfast at the guest house. We then caught the 2-hour […]

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.