I had spent the six months or so before we traveled to Gan becoming increasingly anxious about our destination given some of the comments on the trip adviser site. I was even more nervous about the lack of good diving reviews given that this is supposed to be one of the premier dive locations in the Maldives, which in turn is one of the premier dive locations in the world!
However, on arrival after watching the tantrums of a handful of new arrivals who for some unfathomable reason thought they were getting the whole bungalow on stilts experience for half the price, I was perfectly happy with what we found.
It is certainly basic. Mainly clean, if not modern and although completely lacking in sophistication or indeed any five star facilities it was completely charming in a 'relic of the empire' kind of way. It is recognizable as an ex RAF camp!
As with most resorts some of the staff were ignorant and disinterested but most couldn't have been more helpful.
The bedrooms were massive and although basically furnished the air conditioning was effective and the bathroom was adequate.
The gardens around the resort are its high spot. The gardeners obviously work really hard and know exactly what they are doing. The coconut thing mentioned on some of the other reviews is also true!
The dining room definitely needs to sort out its air conditioning. It was like Hells Kitchen and we ate and ran every night as spending any more than 20 minutes in there was purgatory. That said, we never had a bad meal and although it is buffet style and lacks, again, the fine detail of more expensive resorts I found the food to be perfectly OK. In fact stick with the local curries and casseroles and you won't go far wrong.
Anyone visiting the resort should definitely make time to either take one of the free push bikes available or take a stroll around Gan itself. It was charming and the people could not have been more welcoming but in a totally unpushy way. Nobody tried to sell us anything.
We visited the spa on my partner's birthday and although pretty pricey we had a great 'couples' massage which is a lot less dodgy than it sounds and was incredibly relaxing, although I did spend the first few minutes in semi hysterics when my other half changed into the paper knickers, which were somewhat brief!
The staff dressed our dining table with flowers on my partner's birthday and our bed was festooned with the most intricate flower petal design when we got back to our room, which was a nice touch.
The pool area was pleasant although reflects the rest of the resort in that a refurbishment is somewhat overdue. Having said that, it was perfectly adequate.
The one point I would make is that if you are not a diver or if you don't want to cabbage on a lounger near the pool all day this resort will probably drive you nuts. To be honest, although I thought the people who were throwing strops on arrival needed a reality check, I think that had I not spent the entire fortnight on the dive boat, and was consequently pretty tired in the evenings meaning plenty of early nights, I think I would have found the downmarket surroundings quite depressing after a while.
The diving was another matter. Somewhat expensive at £45 per dive, but totally worth it. We took our own gear but to be honest there was no need. Their kit was top class and didn't cost that much to hire.The dive centre was brilliant and could not have been more helpful when we experienced a couple of kit malfunctions. They replaced my partner's second stage mouthpiece when it split and lent me a BCD when my low pressure hose also split (we do look after our kit honest!) at no cost.
We saw the lot. White and black tip reef sharks on every dive. Turtles on every dive. Dolphins on three occasions traveling to the dive sites. Grey reef sharks a couple of times. Moray eels on most dives. Octopus on a couple of dives. Eagle rays on three dives. Best of all a five metre wide pacific mantra ray on one dive and several smaller mantas of about two metres in width on one other dive. The coral, totally untouched by bleaching was pristine and the most beautiful and diverse I have ever seen. Do not forget your filter for your camera as the colours are unbelievable.
Some of the drifts were 'breath-taking' but a good laugh at the same time. The wreck, the British Loyalty was brilliant and we got a cracking photograph of a pink leaf fish on it.
I cannot recommend the diving highly enough, given how much the whole trip cost it was a really cheap way of experiencing the sort of diving you normally have to pay an arm and a leg to experience.
The dive briefs were very detailed and safety was obviously a big factor, which was reassuring. Air fills were generous. The dive boat was great, plenty of room, easy to get in and out of the water, shaded and open areas, and pretty fast.
The house reef was just OK, considering the cost of the dives I wouldn't bother. The best stuff by far is to be seen off the boat.
All in all it was a great diving destination and I would recommend it to divers without reservation. The other divers we met there were lovely and really friendly and we ended up clubbing together and chartering a boat to ourselves for snorkeling on one day. I would say that the snorkeling was as good as the diving.
I'm not sure I would recommend the resort to anyone just looking for a beach holiday as the beach, although perfectly OK, was tiny and as I say a bit tatty in places.
I was going to return I would do it as an independent traveler and make it part of a two centre trip and get my fix of
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to Equator Village spa resort- the alluring tropical beauty of Addu Atoll. Nestled in one of the largest, most interestingly formed and historically rich atolls of Maldives, an exotic adventure begins the moment you start your journey from INIA to Gan International Airport. This is not your typical Maldivian resort; this is an equatorial escape into a land of culture and nature entwined together ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Equator Village Hotel Gan
- Equator Village Seenu Atoll
- Equator Village Maldives/Gan Island