Essential information for Socotra

Socotri standards:

Travelers to Socotra must understand that Socotra is an eco-tourism system and fairly new to the international tourist market. Hence the Socotra hotel accommodation standard, though good, may not be up to the same international standards that one would expect in a more developed atmosphere. We at Socotra Eco-tours believe that this only adds to the appeal of a visit to the island of Socotra.

 
Getting to Socotra Island:

Felix Airlines (Saida) offers four flights per week to Socotra:  Sana’a – Mukalla-Rian  – Socotra (Friday and Wednesday) and  Aden – Mukalla-Rian  – Socotra (Saturay and Monday) Flight duration is approximately 2,5 hours for the flight via Mukalla since the aircraft waits only 30 minutes there.

Check Felix Airways websites or  Socotra flights last update for the most up to date flight schedules. Socotra Eco-tours can arrange the flights for you and send you electronic plane tickets.  

 
When to go to Socotra:

Climate is a crucial issue to consider when planning your trip to Socotra. Avoid the monsoon season from June till September when strong winds sweep the island. However, if you are a surfing enthusiast come in July or August when wind is growing in speed and waves are getting higher.

Nature enthusiasts should go from early October to late May. Generally, wildlife and natural viewing is most rewarding from the end of January through May.  However in April and May temperatures are on the rise. You will need plenty of spare clothes to change frequently.

Visa for Yemen:

Buying visa upon arrival was canceled in February 2010 and you must get your visa in advance at the Yemeni embassy in your home country. The procedure however is not complicated and almost any nationality should be able to get visa within  couple of days.

Socotra Eco-Tours can issue you visa and send you an electronic copy. original copy will be handed to you upon your arrival.

 
Money on Socotra:

There are no ATMs on Socotra, credit cards and travel cheques are not accepted. Therefore it is recommended to bring enough cash with you. Dollars and Euro can be easily exchanged in the CAC bank or the National Bank of Yemen that have their branches in Hadibo. The currency rates are as good as on the mainland.

When travelling with Socotra Eco-tours, you only need local currency for private purchases as our prices are all inclusive (food, hotel & camping accommodation, car, guides, entrance fees etc.).

 
Health Precautions for Socotra:

Socotra is currently free of malaria, so use of malaria prophylactics is not recommended.  However, as mosquitoes occur locally, we do recommend to use insect repellent when sitting outside after sunset.  Cholera is not present on the island at all.  We recommend you drink only bottled mineral water; it’s readily available in Hadibo and Qalansiya and Socotra Eco-tours guide will have plenty for you all the time of your stay.

You don’t need any special vaccination to travel to Socotra. Common vaccines such as hepatitis A and B and tetanus are recommended as for any other travels.

The hospital and health units on Socotra offer only basic medical services.  Pharmacies are presented around Hadibo but it is much better to have your own first aid kit with drugs you have good experience with.

 
Time Zone:

GMT + 3 hours, same as on the Yemeni mainland.

 
Power supply on Socotra:

Electricity from public network is only available in Hadibo from afternoon hour till early morning. Some eco-campsites have solar panels allowing you to recharge your camera batteries. Hotels and restaurants often have their own small generator.

Plugs are generally two-pin and multiple plugs (British style). Socket adapters are easily available in shops. We Recommend you bring a car charger (working on the cigarette lighter) if you require to charge electrical appliances.

 
Communication on Socotra:

Yemen Mobile network operates on Socotra. However CDMA mobiles are needed and this system is not compatible with western GSM mobile phone systems (which work on the mainland). Our guides all travel with local mobile phones and they can act as contact for family abroad when travelling with Socotra Eco-tours.

Telephone lines are available in Hadibo.

Internet access is available only in Hadibo, you can have internet access for free at Socotra Eco-Tous office anytime you wish.

The post office is located at the center of Hadibo, in Hadibo Local Council next to the main mosque.

 
Where to buy souvenirs on Socotra:

 

There are not so many opportunities to buy souvenirs on Socotra. So if you see something you like don’t wait for later and buy it at the spot.

Socotra Women Association shop, Hadibo: opened in morning hours and late afternoon. You will find incense burners, rugs, woven baskets, some jewellery, solar lamps.

Honey Association shop, Hadibo: open in morning hours and then late afternoon till night. You can buy highly praised Socotri honey, traditional sets for making fire, some traditional utensils, some jewellery.

Old Hadibo market, street corner near Inet Café: women sell traditional incense burners decorated by dragon blood and sticks for cleaning teeth (miswak)

Dragon blood, frankincense, woven strips for comfortable sitting (habwa) and other traditional souvenirs are usually offered in eco-campsites, children also sell them by the Folklore Museum in Raqlah, in Homhill, Erher village with a small souvenir shop, Ras Irsil. 

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