Discovering Hormoz, Iran’s Red Island

After a rather troublesome departure and bumpy ride we’re glad to be off the ferry and on the shores of Hormoz. It’s already dark and the weather feels like spring in late january. Numerous drivers want to offer us a ride but we insist on waiting for Mr Bavi to come pick us up. He shows up with Ahmad on a rickshaw. Apparently rickshaws are the main mean of transport on the island. He urges that the five of us will fit into one rickshaw along with our suitcases. He’s not wrong!

About 20 min later we’ve reached our destination. It’s a small house which belongs to a local family who were willing to rent their place to us for two nights and meanwhile live elsewhere themselves. There’s only so many sources of income on the island and renting your own place to tourists is one of them. They seem to have been doing this for quite some time. The woman of the house quickly pulls out bags of relatively new blankets, mattresses and pillows and shows us where everything is. It’s a one bedroom apartment with a small front yard where the toilet is located. It’s simple but clean and that’s all that matters. The location is just across the famous Gelak cafe and super close to the beach.

We could have gone camping on the beach like many would do, but to be honest all of us prefer the comfort of a mattress and warm showers.

It’s too late to go anywhere so we decide that one of us could go grab some Felafel and the rest would try to settle in.

The next day we wake up fresh and ready to explore. We had bought some stuff from a local super market for breakfast and once we’re all full, we head out. We find Ahmad waiting for us on his rickshaw and ready to give us a tour of the island. There’s an unpaved road going all the way around the island which we’re going to take.

Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island

We make stops at salt caves, discover pristine beaches covered with glittery sand, we hike through mountains to reach a view point known as the valley of statues and wander into another one named rainbow valley after its colourful soil. Hormoz is a geological wonder. Home to some very unique minerals mines, it’s not hard to find mountains coloured in blue, white, purple and shades of red and orange. There’s even a big festival held each spring when the locals create the biggest carpet in the world out of coloured soil.

Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island

Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island

Sand like no other!

Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island

We had the beach all to ourselves…

Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island

Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island

Where the famous carpet is created each year.

Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island

Rainbow valley

Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island

Valley of statues

Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red IslandWe head back to Mr Bavis for lunch. His wife has prepared us a feast of local sea food. It’s a crime to leave Hormoz without trying Ghalyeh Mahi which is a dish made out of fish, herbs and spices served with rice. It’s famous to the southern region of Iran but I find the version in Hormoz to be the most delectable.

Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island

We reach back home shattered and in the mood for an afternoon nap.

For the afternoon we decide to go wander around town. The famous Portuguese castle is close by. We walk around its remnants, discover a mine with red soil rich in iron, chat with local women and find the best sunset view of the island.

Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island

Inside the Portuguese castle

Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island

Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island

Next day we decide to explore Hormoz on a boat. There’s still way too much to be seen on the island but a little change wouldn’t hurt.

Due to the heavy waves coming from east, we’re limited to observing the western side of the island and making a stop at a sublime beach protected by huge cliffs. It’s not too hot but we take pleasure in getting our feet wet. We indulge in a langurous walk on the beach and let ourselves be intrigued by the gushing sound of waves and swoon over the feeling of pinky shade sand under out feet.

Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island

For lunch we head back to Gelak cafe – probably the only cafe of its kind on the island. We had gone here the day before for an afternoon tea and loved it. The food is just as fabulous.

Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island

Shrimp and Ghalyeh Mahi was our first choice.

Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island

Views from the cafe

Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island

For the afternoon we visited the Nadalian museum. We had to ask for directions a couple of times but finally made it. The gallery is owned by Ahmad Nadalian who is an international environmental artists. He’s dedicated this place to teach his art to locals and showcase their work. They made us watch a short documentary which was a good way to get an idea of what this place was all about.

Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island

Entrance to Nadalian museum.

Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island

For the evening we had some locals girls come over to our place and draw henna tattoos on our hands. We ended up in a deep conversation until late into the night.

Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island

On our third day we strolled around the neighbourhood, befriended local kids and packed to leave Hormoz on the first ferry to Bandar Abbas in the afternoon.

Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island

Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island

We could have easily stayed longer on the island. It’s probably one of the most intact places of the country which is quickly coming into spotlight. The views are rewarding and the locals are desperate for more tourists.

If you’d like to read more on our itinerary and expenses for this trip check out this post.

Tips:

  • If you’re into camping, then this is camping heaven.
  • Hormoz can get extremely hot during the summer so it’s highly recommended to visit during winter.
  • If you decide to go camping, make sure you buy all your supplies before heading to the site. Going back and forth to town is not that easy.
  • Hiring a rickshaw or a car to explore the island is definitely the best way.
  • Having beaches to yourself is almost guaranteed so packing for swimsuits might be a good idea.
Discovering Hormoz, Iran's Red Island

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