St Mary’s Islands, also known as Coconut Island is located in Arabian Sea, off Malpe beach in Udupi. These are one of the 26 geological monuments in India and are unique for their special hexagonal structures formed through volcanic activities. These are best described by the ‘Geological Survey of India’ display board put on the island – “These marvelous structures are nature’s splendid handiwork. The geometrical form of the rock mossaic looks manmade as if a sculpture has delicately chiseled them from rough hewn rock.”
Boat/Ferry is the only option to reach the islands and can be boarded from the harbor close to Malpe bus stand. One has to walk around half a kilo meter inside the harbor to reach the boarding point. While walking, you will pass through boats parked in harbor, trucks loading fishes and people knitting fishing nets giving you a full feeling of being in a fishing town.
You can buy tickets on the spot and it takes around 30 minutes for ferry to reach islands. As ferry could not go to the shore, so you will step into small boats just close to shore which will drop you on the beach.
St Mary’s Islands are an altogether different experience and are one of the four sites in the world which have these kind of structures. You will be pleased to see these unique natural structures all across the island.
Islands have pillar like hexagonal structures formed some 85 million years ago through lava trapping. It won’t take more than couple of hours even if you would like to explore the islands completely. Also a good part of the island has sand beach where you can play and also bathe.
We thoroughly enjoyed exploring the St Mary’s island and rock system moving from sand beach to rocks made of pillars and then reaching to the highest point which gave us bird’s eye view of whole island (Not very high point. Can be reached within 5 minutes).
How to reach St Mary’s Islands in Udupi
Regular buses ply from Udupi to Malpe (Distance ~10 KMs). You can catch a bus from Udupi bus stand (Intercity bus stand) to Malpe and journey will take around 20 minutes (Rs 10 per person). Harbor is located next to bus stand only but you have to walk around half a km to reach the ferry boarding point. Ferry starts from 9 AM and last ferry leaves at 4:30 PM. Time for last return ferry from islands is 5:30 PM. Return ticket costs Rs 150 per person for adults and Rs 80 for children aged less than 10 years.
Private boats too operate from Malpe beach. They cost anywhere between Rs 200-300 per person.
Things to take care for St Mary’s Islands Trip
Please carry water and some eatables as island does not have any options. Also, do not forget cap/hat as temperatures soar really high during day time.