I was pretty lucky on my first weekend in Timor Leste to get to take a minibreak to Atauro Island. The island is 25 km off Dili. You can get there on the ferry (which runs on Saturdays) or via the significantly more expensive yet much faster water taxi.
The island is quite a vision, with crystal clear water and snorkelling and mountain ranges rising high above the sea. It was a bit rainy on the weekend we visited, but it was still beautiful and so very relaxing.
We stayed at Barry’s eco resort, which was just a short walk from the ferry port… the water taxi drops off and picks up right on the beach in front of Barry’s.
Most of the time on the island, I just chilled. Reading, relaxing, relaxing, swimming, floating in the ocean looking back at the beautiful view, eating, relaxing. It was pretty great. We also rode down to the town at Vila to shop for locally weaved bags and gifts as well as jewelry made with local seeds and nuts (that I think I will have a hard time ever getting back into Australia). How did we get to the village? On a wagon attached to a motorbike, obviously. Because a single small motorcycle is the perfect vehicle to pull a steel cart that could seat four westerners (six Timorese) down an extremely potholed road, natch!
This is the cabin we stayed in at Barry’s ecoresort on the island.
The cabins were pretty amazing. Beautiful rustic wood, thatched rooves, an upstairs sleeping nook, an outdoor verandah, mozzie nets over all the beds, a hammock and an outdoor table… and all lights and small fans run on solar power. The bathrooms were shared between the cabins, the paths there lit by solar lamps at night… there was a spring water mandi and a composting toilet – all very clean and well maintained.
Our accommodation tariff included breakfast, lunch and dinner down at the family’s home, where there was a great spread for each meal with so many veggies and fish or chicken. It was delicious! The owner’s gorgeous twin toddler boys were there to keep everyone amused… they certainly weren’t shy around the guests and were very funny and cute.
All in all, it’s a nice place to get away and relax. There’s hiking and diving for people that are that way inclined, but for the others, there’s plenty of chilling and beach times to wash all your cares away!
I’m sure I’ll be back there a few times for some hammock sessions during my 18 months in Dili.