How to visit Socotra

Post updated in Jan 2024

We decided to visit Socotra in 2019, and if “off-the-beaten path” places are your thing, then you should put Socotra Island on your bucket list.

Since there is a new flight option to visit Socotra, we have updated our blog post to help you plan your trip

How to Visit Socotra Island – Everything you Need to Know

Where is Socotra Island?

Socotra is located between the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, where the Indian Ocean meets the Arabian Sea.

Politically speaking, it belongs to Yemen. But geographically speaking, it belongs to the African continent.

In 2008, the Socotra archipelago was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Socotra Airport
How to visit Socotra Island – Landing at Socotra Airport

How to Visit Socotra – Which Airlines Fly to Socotra?

A visit to Socotra has been challenging for some years.

In 2019 and 2020, the only airline flying to Socotra was Yemenia Airlines on their once-weekly flight from Cairo. We visited Socotra in 2019, and we flew with Yemenia Airlines.

Things have since changed. Now, in 2023 and the plan for the upcoming 2024 season is a charter flight from Abu Dhabi to Socotra.

Air Arabia operates this charter flight and connects Abu Dhabi and Socotra on Tuesdays. You will not be able to book these flights on Skyscanner or other flight booking platforms; you will need the assistance of a local Tour Operator. Read more about our recommendations on the best Tour Operator in Socotra below.

The perfect time to visit Socotra is right now.

In this blog post, you will find information on how to visit Socotra on the flight from Abu Dhabi to Socotra by charter flight.

As far as we know, Yemenia Airlines is still flying between Cairo and Socotra. But, as they have a layover in Seiyun on the mainland, foreigners can’t use this route due to visas. 

The weekly flight from Abu Dhabi 

The new flight route from Abu Dhabi makes visiting Socotra much easier than in the past.

We recommend browsing Skyscanner for cheap flights from/via your home country to Abu Dhabi.

The Current flight schedule from Abu Dhabi AUH to visit Socotra SCT (2023/24)

ABU DHABI – SOCOTRA Non-stop direct flights on Tuesday.

FLIGHT NO 476 Abu Dhabi (AUH) 11:00 departure > Socotra (SCT) 12:15 arrival 

FLIGHT NO 477 Socotra (SCT) 13:45 departure > Abu Dhabi (AUH) 17:00 arrival

You will be returning on the same plane that lands in Socotra, and you should expect delays.

If you’re considering a visit to Socotra this season, I suggest flying into Dubai for a few days (read our post about visiting Dubai on a budget) and then transferring to Abu Dhabi before your flight to Socotra on Tuesday.

Alternatively, you can fly directly to Abu Dhabi with enough time to catch your connecting flight to Socotra.

On the way back, I would stay an extra night in Abu Dhabi to connect the flight home the following day. This means you won’t stress about missing your connecting flight. 

How to visit Socotra – Detwah Lagoon and beach in Socotra

How to Book the Flight to Socotra 

You might’ve already searched for the flight online through Skyscanner but have not found it.

This is because this flight can not be booked online. And yes, this is the only flight you can book to visit Socotra as a foreigner.

To book the flight, you’ll need your Yemeni visa first (more details below), and you can only book the flight through a travel agent.

The agent can hold your seats (reservation) for a few weeks while your visas are being processed and then once payment is made, the e-tickets will be issued.

You must have a printout of your visa and ticket to check-in at Abu Dhabi Airport to visit Socotra. 

As there is currently only one flight between Abu Dhabi and Yemen and it does sell out. Not because of tourists, as only a few are on each flight. But many Yemeni citizens fly for medical procedures.

Our Recommended Tour Operator to visit Socotra

The easiest way to book the flight is to have your tour company take care of that. It was booked via their travel agent in Abu Dhabi and you could pay via bank transfer.

We recommend the local Tour Operator, Eye Of Socotra. They offer two popular tour itineraries that you can view here.

The package price depends on how many people in your group are travelling, but you can contact Eye of Socotra for more information. The email address is: [email protected].

WhatsApp: +967 774 186 500

How Much Is A Tour to Visit Socotra?

Tour prices will vary between operators, and as mentioned above, the price does depend on how many passengers are in the group. Most groups that visit Socotra are small, or between 4-12 people. Tour programs are often very similar and include similar activities.

Most agencies can arrange private tours in Socotra; however, expect to pay more for this option.

We have listed approximate prices for this season, 2023/2024, if you book your tour program with Eye of Socotra. The prices below are for the Tour Program only, excluding flights, visas or any hotel upgrades or extras. *These prices are subject to change at any time.

When booking, you can take 5% off this tour price if you quote our exclusive code below.

  • 1 person: USD 1800
  • 2 to 3 people: USD 1450 pp
  • 4 to 5 people: USD 1300 pp
  • 6 people: USD 1150 pp
  • 7 – 9 people USD 1050 pp
  • 10 or more people: USD 950 pp


Quote our exclusive code: EYEOFSOCOTRA5 to receive a 5% discount on your tour!

How to visit Socotra
How to visit Socotra – Dragon Blood Trees are endemic to the island

We used WISE to pay for our trip to visit Socotra Island in 2019.

The Price of the Flight to Socotra

In 2023, the return flight from Abu Dhabi to Socotra costs approximately USD 900 per person. As there are limited options for Socotra, the charter flight is the only way to visit Socotra.

They have a monopoly and can charge anything they wish, so you don’t have any choice in getting to Socotra.

Back in 2019, we paid USD 1200 per person for our return flight to Socotra.

How To Get A Visa for Yemen?

The only way to secure a Yemeni visa for your visit to Socotra is by booking a tour with a local company.

Embassies are currently not issuing tourists visas. And as you can imagine there aren’t many Yemeni embassies in the world and only a small number of adventure travellers wish to visit Socotra.

Eye Of Socotra Agency can arrange your flights, tour packages and visa.

You can also obtain your visa if you know someone in Socotra who can facilitate this, especially if your visit to Socotra is not your first time there.

The Yemeni visa price is USD 150; you will receive it via email about 2-3 weeks before you arrive in Socotra.

Once you arrive in Socotra, your visa will be issued at the airport. The visa is valid for 30 days, and you must not have any stamps from Israel.

How to Book a Tour to Visit Socotra

The season to visit Socotra is short, so you need to be quick! To book a tour to visit Socotra, check the website of Eye of Socotra for dates of tours for this season (October- January).

Remember to quote code EYEOFSOCOTRA5 to save 5% on the tour price; it’s a significant saving!

Alternatively, this tour booked through Tourradar is another great option.

If you need visas for other countries – see our helpful Visa Page here

Extra Travel Tips

Learn more about Yemeni cuisine and check out these 20 most popular foods from Yemen.

You may also be interested in visiting some nearby countries that are also fascinating. These 10 reasons why you should visit Oman should provide enough inspiration to book a trip here. 

Don’t miss our Perfect 7 Day Road Trip Itinerary for Oman. This country is best explored on wheels to explore all the hidden wadis and amazing views.

And then, if you’re stopping by the UAE, it’s possible to visit Dubai on a Budget. Seriously, stay somewhere nice and eat the best food; the details are covered in our post.

For more of our best travel advice, read our list of expert travel tips from 20+ years of travel.

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