St. Mary’s Island, Udupi Overview
A picturesque island just off the coast of Karnataka is St. Mary’s Island, the very first place where explorer Vasco De Gama set foot. With immense beauty and significant geological importance, St. Mary’s Island, has vast white sandy beaches, majestic rock monoliths and wildlife that will leave you spellbound. The island is off the tourist trail and is an ideal peaceful getaway where you can spend time with family and friends and enjoy.
Situated in the Arabian Sea approximately 6.4 km from the coast of Udupi, Karnataka, St. Mary’s Island is home to a few of the most stunning beaches in India. St. Mary’s Island is a group of 4 smaller islands, namely South Island, North Island, Daryabahadurgarh Island, and Coconut Island. The shoreline made of crystalline rock formations can be traced back to the time when India and Madagascar Island separated. The view of the sunset from the crystalline rocky shore is one of the most memorable experiences of the island. Despite the beauty and dazzling scenery, the tourism potential is yet to be fully explored.
More on St. Mary’s Island
Stay Near St. Mary’s Island
As St. Mary’s Island does not have accommodation facilities, the preferable location for lodging is Udupi, a major tourist centre in itself, which has places to stay for every budget.
Sightseeing Around St. Mary’s Island
Major tourist attractions on St. Mary’s Island are the Malpe Beach, Daryabahadurgarh Fort, and the Vadabhandeshwara Temple.
Activities At St. Mary’s Island
The most popular activities on St. Mary’s Island are beach trekking, site-seeing and bird watching.
Shopping At St. Mary’s Island
Rather than St. Mary’s Island, shopping options are more plentiful in Udupi which is famous for its spices, traditional jewellery and wooden handicrafts. Udupi’s Ratha Beedi market is popular for shopping.
Food At St. Mary’s Island
Udupi cuisine is a famous and delectable variety of Kannada cuisine, including tasty and flavorful dishes such as Bakshya, Menaskai (Sambar), Tambuli and spiced rice. Prominent restaurants in the area include Woodlands, Mitra Samaj, and Thamboolam.
Tips For Visiting St. Mary’s Island
1. Carry plenty of sunscreens when you visit St. Mary’s Island, along with hats and drinking water since there are no such provisions on the island.
2. Avoid wearing fancy footwear or sneakers since the only way to reach the islands is by boating, which may include wading in water for the last few yards.
3. There are no buildings or shops on St. Mary’s Island, so be prepared not to find many people there.
4. There is one single shack on the island that does serve juice, water and snacks for visitors.
Best Time To Visit St. Mary’s Island
The best time period to visit St. Mary’s Island is from October to January, as the temperatures are pleasant, and the most suitable attire is comfortable cotton clothes.
Travelling Around St. Mary’s Island
At St. Mary’s Island, the primary means to travel and move around the islands are rickshaw, ferry and foot.
How to Reach St. Mary’s Island
- Air: The closes airport is at Mangalore, a distance of 58 km from Malpe,
which is the boarding point for the St. Mary’s Island ferries. Cabs and buses
to Malpe are easily available from the airport.
- Rail: The closest railway station is at Udupi,
located 4 km from Malpe and autorickshaws and cabs can be used to traverse the
- Road: Malpe is well connected to Mangalore and
Udupi by road, with many public and private buses connecting Malpe to Mangalore
- Sea: Regular ferry services take place from Malpe Harbour to St. Mary’s Island. Ferries are the only way to travel to and from the St. Mary’s Island, and cost approximately INR 250-300 per person for a two-way journey, covering a distance of 8 km in 20 minutes. The last boat to the St. Mary’s Island departs at 5:00 PM and the last boat to Malpe Harbour depart the islands at 7:00 PM.