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The Inside Scoop of What a Socotra Island Tour Looks Like

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Socotra is one of the most spectacular islands we have ever been to, and if you read our Socotra Travel Guide, then you'll understand why it is crucial to have a tour while visiting. Our Socotra island tour was an incredible experience, and one that we really want to share with everyone in detail.


While our other article focused on the logistics of how to get to Socotra, and tips for traveling there, this one is a step-by-step guide of what to expect during your Socotra island tour.


We're here to outline our day-by-day itinerary, what's included in the tours, and to answer any questions you may have by taking a tour on the island of Socotra. So let's dive right in!

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Socotra Island Tour Companies

There are over a dozen tour companies in Socotra, so how exactly do you choose the right one for your Socotra island tour?


We did a lot of research, and came across Socotra Specialty Tours, who we are now working with and sending groups to! (If you book with us on offthebeatentrips.com we throw in a few extra goodies for the same price!).


The thing is- all companies go to the same places, and a lot of them share the same guides and drivers. But we were SO happy we chose the company we did, and here were a few reasons why:

  • They took care of everything! Some companies make you get your flights on your own, but Socotra Specialty Tours took care of our flights and visas, making the booking process as easy as can be.
  • It's Socotra & American run. The company has co-owners who work together in perfect harmony. The itinerary and connections of everything are from a Socotra local, while the logistics of booking are through Taylor, who is from the US. Having an American co-run the company makes everything go much smoother, and allows for incredible communication during the entire process for booking, to experiencing the tour day by day.
  • They care about the environment. Taylor is on a mission to fix the trash problem on the island, and even provides guests with their own personal water bottle each tour to limit the excessive use of plastic. She also is looking to make the company completely plastic free, and work with locals to promote sustainable tourism on the island.

We loved our tour company so much, and they quickly went from strangers to feeling like family.


Socotra Specialty Tours, Socotra island tour
Socotra Specialty Tours, Socotra island tour
Socotra Island Tour

Socotra Specialty Tours were an incredible group to explore the island with.


How to Organize Your Trip to Socotra

When planning a trip to Socotra, Yemen it's not as simple as just booking a flight. It's not something you can book through a third party or search engine.


Booking a Flight to Socotra, Yemen

There are very limited flights to Socotra, and the only recommended one is a government-run flight that leaves two times a week from Abu Dhabi (on Tuesdays and Fridays). In order to book a flight you have to go straight through the airline, or through a tour company.


Since we were exploring Socotra on a tour, our tour company Socotra Specialty Tours took care of the flights for us, making it the most seamless process possible. The flight ticket is built into the price of the tour, so you don't have to worry about doing it on your own. Email us, and we'll get you started right away, or answer any questions you may have.

 

Another plus is that the ticket price does not change, so even if you want a last-minute trip, you won't have to pay anymore than the other people on your tour.

flight to Socotra

Getting the Visa for Socotra, Yemen

Once your flight is purchased, you'll have to get your visa. This costs $150, and is another thing that is built into the price of the tour.


Visas for Socotra are very tricky on your own, as someone physically on the island needs to do the paperwork for you. This is where booking through a tour company is even more necessary. 


The visa paperwork for us was done completely by Socotra Specialty Tours, so it was another thing that we didn't have to worry about at all. The visas are processed within 30 days of the trip, and are emailed to you to present upon arrival.


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Our Socotra Island Tour

Now that you have your flights and visa, you are ready for your incredible Socotra island tour! So now we're also going to share how the entire trip goes, from the moment you arrive to Abu Dhabi, to the moment you leave the island.

Don't have time to read the whole article and want to save it for later? Just pin it!

Socotra island tour pin
Socotra island tour pin
Socotra island tour pin

The Flight from Abu Dhabi to Socotra

Since there are only two flights a week, it is recommended to show up to the airport 3 hours before departure. Flights leave at 11 am, and are run through Air Arabia.


Check in is in person, whether or not you have luggage, and before going to check in for your flight you'll have to check in at another counter on the right of the check-in desk.


This is where they'll check your passport info, and give you a sticker to put on your passport before being able to go check in.


Luggage Allowance for Socotra Flights

Passengers are allowed 1 20-kg piece of checked luggage, 1 10-kg carry-on (with dimensions under 55 x 40 x 20 cm), and one personal item. Excess baggage charges are 15 AED per KG, and are paid at the same counter you get your passport checked.


The Flight from Abu Dhabi to Socotra

The flight from Abu Dhabi is 1 hour and 45 minutes, landing in Socotra a little before noon (as there is a one hour time difference). A meal is served, and the flight is pretty standard.

flight to Socotra from Abu Dhabi

Arriving in Socotra

As soon as you land everyone will walk off the plane into the airport, where everyone lines up to go through customs. The inside area is pretty small, so you may have to wait outside. We suggest being prepared with light clothes, as well as a hat to cover your head.

Socotra island airport
Socotra island airport

Women go through customs in a separate room on the right side, and men stay in the main area (there were many more men than women when we went).


After putting your hand luggage through security you'll have the luggage right in front of you, and someone from the tour company waiting for you with your name. Everything went super smooth, and took about an hour.

Socotra island airport luggage belt

There is only one flight and luggage belt when arriving to Socotra.

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Starting the Socotra Island Tour

Now it's time for a breakdown of our incredible Socotra Island Tour! It's important to note that all tour operators are in contact, and organize themselves to be spread out around the island for the best experience. Because of this, the days of the tour may look a little different, but all of the same places will be included. Now let's dive right into the fun stuff!


Day 1 of the Socotra Island Tour

Today is an introduction to the culture of the island! You'll go straight from the airport to Hadiboh, which is the capital of the island.


Local Lunch in Hadiboh

You'll start off having lunch at a local's home. This was an incredible cultural experience, and allowed us to have an understanding of the daily lives of the people from Socotra. Men and women actually separate and eat in different rooms, and everyone gathers around on the floor to eat a family-style meal of fresh fish, bread, rice, and a few other local specialties.

lunch in Hadiboh, Socotra on the Socotra Island Tour
lunch in Hadiboh, Socotra on the Socotra Island Tour

After lunch the girls actually took me into their room to choose an outfit for me to wear, and even did my makeup! This isn't really part of the tour, but it was a special moment of connecting with the local women for me.

dressed up in Socotra local clothes

Stop at Gare Lagoon

This was our first stop on our Socotra island tour, and is the biggest lake on the island.


lagoon in Socotra, Socotra island tour
lagoon in Socotra, Socotra island tour


After the lagoon we did a quick stop in one of the local shops, where we were able to pick up some snacks.

shop in Socotra Yemen
goats in Socotra, Socotra island tour

Camping in Dihmri

The first day is a pretty relaxed one, and about an hour before sunset you'll arrive to the campsite. Dihmri is beautiful because it is on the water, and has gorgeous shades of red and pink. We decided to climb the top of the rocks to enjoy the views of the area.


Dihmri camping on the Socotra island tour
Dihmri camping on the Socotra island tour
Dihmri camping on the Socotra island tour
Dihmri camping on the Socotra island tour

Dihmri is known for its various shades of red and pink.

After sunset we had tea, relaxed, and then had an incredible seafood dinner with fresh octopus and pasta. As there is barely an electricity on the island, everything you eat is freshly caught, and your diet will be full of delicious seafood cooked on site.


After a day of travel, we decided to go to bed early, and enjoyed a sky full of stars (something you'll get to experience nightly due to the lack of light pollution).

astrophotography on the island of Socotra, Yemen

Camping in Socotra allows you to enjoy sleeping under a sky full of stars each night.

Day 2 of the Socotra Island Tour

With the sun starting to rise at 5, and it already shining bright at 5:30, you can expect to be starting your days pretty early in Socotra! We started our day taking some sunrise photos and videos, before having our first island breakfast, which is typically beans, homemade bread, and a variety of jams or spread.


sunrise in Socotra, Socotra island tour
sunrise in Socotra, Socotra island tour
sunrise in Socotra, Socotra island tour
sunrise in Socotra, Socotra island tour

Make sure to take advantage of the beautiful sunrises during your Socotra island tour.


Snorkeling in Dihmri

Now it's time to explore the incredibly blue waters of the island of Socotra, as well as its abundant sea life!


We got our snorkel gear and headed out to see the different coral, fish, and marine life that the area has to offer. After we got back to the campsite, we showered, and head out for our next set of adventures on our Socotra island tour.

clear waters of Socotra, Yemen
Snorkeling in Socotra, Yemen on a Socotra island tour

Trees of Homhil

Our next stop was Homhil, an area known for its incredible dragon blood and bottle trees. These are endemic to the island, and one of the things that Socotra is most famous for.


You'll do a drive through Homhil to experience the trees, before heading to the natural pool nearby.

Homhil trees, Socotra Island Tour