Hormuz Island Travel Guide – How to Organise a Trip to Iran’s Rainbow Island
If you’ve enjoyed exploring Qeshm island, you will absolutely love Hormuz island, Iran’s Rainbow island and geological wonder. Despite having heard beforehand about how beautiful the island was, we were still completely blown away with the amazingly beautiful, multi-coloured sites across Hormuz island.
Hormuz island lies in the Persian Gulf in the south of Iran, not too far from Qeshm island, to which it is connected by ferry. The island is very small, so the main sights can all be seen in one day. Hormuz island is called Iran’s rainbow island due to its many hues. Red soil and sand give it its typical red colour, whilst other different shades of the volcanic, salty rock found all around Hormuz island, contribute to the character of Iran’s rainbow island.
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How to get to Hormuz Island
Getting to Hormuz island is easy enough if you’re already traveling in Iran. You can take a ferry to Hormuz from Bandar Abbas on the mainland, or from Qeshm island, its larger neighbouring island in the Persian Gulf.
Follow our Qeshm island travel guide for details on how to get to Bandar Abbas or to Qeshm from other parts of Iran or from outside Iran.
There’s no airport on Hormuz island, so even if you’re coming from outside of Iran, you first need to fly to Qeshm island or to Bandar Abbas on mainland Iran, both of which are home to airports, before taking a ferry to Hormuz island.
Ferries from Bandar Abbas to Hormuz Island
Ferries from Bandar Abbas run to and from Hormuz island pretty regularly, several times a day so it is easy to take a day trip, by catching an early morning ferry to Hormuz island, and an afternoon / evening return ferry to Bandar Abbas, although be sure to double-check the timing of the last ferry at the terminal. Trips are around 40 minutes long.
At the time we were traveling the schedule was as follows:
Bandar Abbas to Hormuz island: 6:15am, 9am, 12pm, 2pm, 3pm, 9.30pm
Hormuz island to Bandar Abbas: 7am, 10am, 1.30pm, 3.30pm, 7pm
Ferries from Qeshm island to Hormuz Island
Ferries from Qeshm island to Hormuz island run at 7am and 2pm (when we were there), so it is perfectly possible to organise a day trip to Hormuz from Qeshm island during your time in Qeshm.
You can also arrive in Hormuz island on the 7am ferry from Qeshm island like we did, and continue your journey on to Bandar Abbas, which is what we eventually did. We were initially wondering whether this was a good idea since we were carrying rather large backpacks and didn’t fancy carrying them all around Hormuz island, however this actually worked out perfectly since we could just leave our luggage in the tuk tuk, the mode of transport we used to travel around Hormuz island.
The ferry from Qeshm island to Hormuz island cost 300,000 rial (30,000 toman) each. We were at the ferry terminal at 6.15am and realised that the tickets for the 7am ferry were already selling out, so we were pretty lucky to have managed ours. Indeed, the ferry left a few minutes before 7am, since it had filled up.
As soon as we arrived at Hormuz island, we immediately bought return tickets to Bandar Abbas for the afternoon, so as to avoid complications. We decided to take the 1.30pm ferry back to Bandar Abbas, since we had been told that we could visit all the Hormuz island attractions pretty well in about 4 hours. The island is quite tiny! The ferry from Hormuz island to Bandar Abbas also cost 300,000 rial (30,000 toman) each.
You can also travel from Hormuz island back to Qeshm island with ferries departing Hormuz at 8am and at 4pm.
When to go to Hormuz Island
As with Qeshm island, the best time to go to Hormuz island (and most of the south of Iran) is from November to May. The summer are just too hot to enjoy much sightseeing!
Keep in mind that Hormuz island is usually quite full with Iranian day trippers and tourists, especially during Iranian weekends. Don’t expect to have the island all to yourself! Be sure to wear closed, flat shoes and to carry plenty of water during your trip around the island. There shouldn’t be lots of trekking involved, but the paths are full of stones, sand and rubble and there’s some minor climbing involved too, to get to some of the attractions. Also, it makes sense to keep drinking water, it gets very hot!
Where to stay on Hormuz Island
We spent one day in Hormuz, so we didn’t get to experience any of accommodation options on the island. There are a few hotels and guesthouses scattered around the island, and some people choose to camp on Hormuz island too.
There’s no need to spend more than a day on Hormuz island to see the main sites, but of course, spending longer will surely give you some more insight.
You can book accommodation on the island on 1st Quest.
How to get around Hormuz Island
There aren’t many ways of traveling around the island. You can either rent out bicycles close by to the ferry terminal, or you can pay a tuk tuk driver to take you around the island. If you’re staying longer on the island, you can also walk around it, and, especially if you’re camping, you can just set camp on different parts of Hormuz island and explore Iran’s rainbow island on foot.
This was never an option for us since not having mastered the art of traveling light, we were carrying 2-3 backpacks each! However, it is perfectly possible to cycle around the island if you’re athletic enough. From other travelers’ reports though, although this mode of transportation may be slightly cheaper than renting out a tuk tuk, cycling up hills in the southern Iranian heat is not for the faint-hearted!
Renting bicycles costs about 100,000 rial (10,000 toman) an hour, and they can be rented near the port / ferry terminal.
By Tuk Tuk
Getting around Hormuz island by tuk tuk was incredibly convenient. All the drivers know which Hormuz island attractions they should stop at, so you can just relax and enjoy the ride until you’re stopped at whichever attraction is up next.
Indeed, when I tried discussing with the driver which attractions we wanted to like to visit, he explained that we would just stop at all of them, and just shouted out the attraction’s name every time we stopped. The island is very small, so the attractions are located very close to each other.
We paid 1,250,000 rial (125,000 toman) for the tuk tuk for four hours, after negotiating it down from the asking price of 2,000,000 rial (200,000 toman). We could have perhaps tried lowering it a little further, but we felt that the cost was fair enough. This cost can be shared between different people on the tuk tuk, which can hold 4-6 people, so it works out to be quite affordable the more persons you are.
Our main concern was leaving our backpacks in the tuk tuk, wondering what would happen if the driver had to leave the vehicle for a while whilst we were sightseeing. To our initial horror, the driver insisting on parking the tuk tuk, and leading the way to the island attractions himself, trying to explain some details in broken English as we walked along.
Whilst we appreciated the effort, we were genuinely worried about our unsecured laptops and a bunch of other items in the open tuk tuk, but felt we had no choice but to risk leaving them there, although we felt that we were just asking to be robbed! Thankfully, nobody seemed the least interested in our poorly secured backpacks in the open tuk tuk and everything remained intact and untouched every time we left the vehicle. We wondered whether this would have been the case in any other country in the world!
Hormuz Island Travel Attractions
The following are the island’s main travel attractions that can be covered in a 4-hour tuk tuk ride:
A short walk off the main circular road around Hormuz island, colourful and beautiful salt formations give rise to surreal-looking cliffs. This was a perfect introduction to the wonders of Iran’s rainbow island
Located close to the salt mountains, the salt cave is probably the least spectacular of the island’s attractions but worth seeing. You will need a torch inside.
Different hues of yellows and greens are layered with the red, purples and whites giving the valley its name. Rainbow valley is a geological wonder, but hold on, it only gets better!
Valley of Statues
A little trek along a path will lead you to a series of strange looking rock formations, of which you may or may not be able to make out shapes and figures. The path ends on the cliffs overlooking Mofannagh beach, a gorgeous spot to take photos, but do watch your step since there are no barriers on the cliff.
Wow, what can we say! Red and black sand, and bright red waters make this beach pretty unique when it comes to beachscapes! We loved walking across the beach seeing the sand change colour from black to red and back again. We didn’t get to swim here, but we feel that taking a dip in the red waters would have been pretty awesome!
Rainbow cave on Iran’s rainbow island might just be one of the most beautiful caves I’ve been to. The differently-coloured layers of striped rock are just incredible, and we thought that they looked like huge masses of shiny candy!
Viewpoint on Turtle Beach
Can you even believe that Iran is home to such beautiful beaches! Not a scene normally associated with Iran, but turquoise waters and golden sands can be found here too!
The last attraction on our island tour by tuk tuk was the crumbling, reddish Portuguese castle, probably the most historically-significant of the Qeshm island attractions, though not the most beautiful we thought. An underground crypt leads to a church with multiple arches which is rather well-preserved.
Entrance fee – 150,000 rial (15,000 toman) each.
Hormuz island might just be the most unique destination in all of Iran, with its wonderful colours and geological formations. We totally recommend Iran’s rainbow island to anyone looking to explore more of Iran!Read more about Iran!