Maldives specificities

How To Choose A Local Island In Maldives?


How to choose a local island? What to take into consideration? What’s the difference between islands and how not to get disappointed with a vacation of your dream? I’ll try to tell you about it and some other things  in this post. Also I want to admit, that it doesn’t concern resorts for which apply other rules.

The cost of living on local island

In general, the cost of living on local islands depends on such factors as:

-the distance between island and Male;
-in which atoll the island is;
-the development of the infrastructure;
-the competition among guest houses and hotels.

IslandDistance to Male (km.)Travel time by a public ferryNumber of hotels and guest housesThe cost of living (per night, $) without taxes
Maafushi2690 min2750-145
Gulhi2180 min650-95
Guraidhoo35110 min750-102
Thulusdhoo30140 min1060-120
Rasdhoo563 hrs1450-210
Thoddoo67about 4 hrs865-180
Mathivery846 hrs560-210
Ukulhas72about 4 hrs6130-210
Dhangethi88about 5 hrs260-90
Dharavandhoo1158 hrs755-145
Hanimadhoo290Only domestic flights available370-90
Dhiffushi36,6about 3 hrs550-75
Himmafushi171,5 hrs470-95
Huraa21about 2 hrs550-110
Mahibadhoo754,5 hrs184

The prices were taken from the

Such Islands as  Mathiveri , Ukulhas, Dhangethi, Dhigurah, RasdhooThoddoo are a part of Ari Atoll.

Gulhi, Maafushi, Guraidhoo are a part of Southern Male Atoll.

Thulusdhoo, Dhiffushi, Himmafushi, Huraa and Hulhumale are a part of  Northern Male Atoll.

Dharavandhoo is a part of Baa Atoll.

Hanimaadhoo is a part of Thiladhunmathi Atoll.

The cost of excursions, food in café, souvenirs, products in local supermarkets almost doesn’t depend on the island.

local island

Transfer to local island

It’s possible to go  to almost all mentioned above islands by a public ferry. The cost is about  2-20$ per person, depends on the distance to the island. The travel time is from 80 min to 8 hrs. Such ferry is very slow and can be canceled because of bad weather. Timetable of this slow boat depends on the place of your destination.

For example, the ferry to Ari Atoll runs 3 times a week, and comes back the same, but in other days. To Northern Male Atoll and Southern Atoll – daily or a couple of times per day.


That’s why speed boats better, but more expensive option. The cost per trip is about 20-100$, duration from 30 min to 3 hrs. It’s better to find out a travel timetable at the representatives of guest-houses.

And that’s all available more or less cheep transfer. Almost every guest-house has a speedboat that can hold 8-12 people, the price is about 500-900$ per trip, but it’s possible to share this sum among all members of your group (of course if it’s enough people for renting). This transfer is available on request (but at any time you need).


One more quite popular type of transfer is seaplane. It costs about 250$ per person per way. An incomparable advantage of this plane is its speed. It takes to it 15-60 min to bring you to almost any place in  the Maldives. But I have to notice, that planes fly only during daytime and only on resorts. And back you will be taken by speed boat that is provided by guesthouses.

Create individual package. Contact me for details. Or book by yourself on Booking.

And finally, the last transfer is domestic flight. There are  4 international and 7 domestic airports. The cost of tickets starts from 220$ (round trip, Dharavandhoo), but there is no necessity to fly to the capital and then to go back with transfers.


What to do in local island?

Almost every guest house offer you the same activities.

Snorkeling on a house reef or the excursion to the places not far from the island.

Dolphins watching. There are 10 species of dolphins in the Maldives. Their habitat depends on a geographical position of an atoll. More information about dolphins you can find  here .


Whale shark watching. The Maldives is a home for the biggest fishes on the Earth. It’s possible to meet this giants only at a certain time and only in a few places. Dhigurah and Addu Atoll are the only places in Maldives to catch these creature.


Fishing. There are over 700 species of fish on the Maldives, that’s why all amateurs of fishing will get unforgettable impressions plus will have an opportunity to eat theirs catch.  The domestic reef full of fish as well and it’s possible to try your luck not far from the beach.


Scuba diving. Perhaps diving will leave the brightest impression about the Maldives. There is at least one diving center on each island, where even beginners can learn the basics of diving. The cost is about 60-100$ per dive with an instructor (with advanced training) and depends on island. Do not forget that the marine life of Maldives is extremely various and each island has its own reef with its unique inhabitants. That’s the reason why its hard to say which place is better.

Surfing. Yes, there are a fer surfing spots in Maldives. And the most popular spots are  South and North Male Atoll. The scarcity is connected with absence of high places on the islands. The highest place is 2 meters above the sea level.


Canoe and catamaran trips. It’s a great pastime for leisurely rest. It has to be at least 2 people on a canoe. If you are alone, a representative of a guesthouse can join you in your trip.


Day trip to resort. As you have already read, the cost of living on the resorts starts from 250$ to 3000-4000$ per night. So if you read this post, obviously you aren’t going there. But tourist with an average income have the opportunity to visit this luxury places.

Guest houses on the local islands organize excursions. The cost of a visit is about 80$, upper limit is 400-500$ per day spent on the resort. For this money you can get some Spa-procedures, dinner, bungalow, an alcohol cocktail and the opportunity to swim in a pole and to sunbathe on a beach. But not any of these services are included in this sum of money, only a certain one. You have to pay for the some of extra services. Transfer to a resort is paid separately (20-50$ per person).


One local island or several?

The answer is completely depends on the purpose of your visit of Maldives. Either your goal is to lay on a beach and take some excursions or to travel across the local islands. 5 years ago it was almost impossible bur since that time many things have changed.

It must be admitted that the cheapest and the easiest way of such trip is within one atoll. For example Ari Atoll. It consists of  local islands with infrastructure: Toddoo, Rasduoo Ukulhas, Mathiveri. Thanked to ferry it’s possible to plane your rout as Male-Toddoo-Ukulhas-Mathiveri-Male.

The travel time between two islands within one atoll is less than 2 hours. So if your vocation is 9-12 days it’s possible to stay on different  islands for a few days.

One more possible route is Male-Gulhi-Maafushi-Guraidho-Male.



The advantages of such choice

  • The opportunity to visit a several islands per trip. Each island is unique and unrepeatable itself.
  • The general cost of a trip in a case of compounded rout is less than the cost of visiting only one island during the same period of staying.
  • It takes less than an hour [in most cases] to transfer between islands (it’s not so much).


  • Such transferring can be difficult if you have a child
  • You just don’t like boat trip



It’s difficult to choose an local island for only  one criteria. That’s why don’t pay attention for a distance from an island to Male and for a cost of living. Each island is beautiful itself.

Try as many excursions as possible  (if you can allow it yourself, of course).

The lowest prices for living are from May till September, the highest ones – from November till April.

If you have an opportunity to visit some island – just use it, you won’t be upset.

Before you start the trip within the Maldives – decide for yourself what you want to get from this adventure.

by Tertius Greyling on Blank Product Name
Hammerheads at Rasdhoo in September

Hi Alex,Just wanted to say thank you for the information and booking advice. Our trip went very well and we had a great... view more

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Отдых на острове Тодду

Александр, здравствуйте!Только добралась до личной почты. И хотели Вас поблагодарить за помощь! На о. Тодду нас встретили... view more

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  • Excellent information. I am going to Dhigura and Mahibadhoo in a few weeks and have used your site as one of my main resources. Thanks.

  • Girts Berztiss

    Hello guys any cheap options to get from Guraidhoo to Kandooma and back? Is it actually physically possible to walk across or is it too deep?

    • Hi, You should ask your guest house in Guraidhoo. If you’re staying in Kandooma (as a guest) its beter to ask them. No, you can’t cross by walking.

  • Rameez Uddin

    hello sir i need to make some inquiry regarding my visit to Maldives next week !!

  • Kay Dietz

    We try to decided between Bodufolhudhoo or Dhigurah for the first week -which one would you choose? Afterwards we could go to Guraidhoo for the second week. Is that a good idea or should we stay one the first two?

    • I haven’t been in Bodufolhudhoo as I have no idea what to do on that island. Dhigurah is nice. Guraidhoo will visit this week to check.

      • Kay Dietz

        Are there Islands you would espically recomment during september ?

        • There is a high possibility of raining during September.

          • Kay Dietz

            We knew that when booking the flights- does that mean you don’t recomment to come to the Maledivies during that time ? And we want to visit two islands in 2 weeks time which in your opinion would be the nicest ?

  • Florian

    I already choose Thoddoo as first island to stay but now I have to choose the second…which can you recommend (nice beaches, snorkelling, palms on the beach) from Ari atoll(convenient transport)?

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About Me

I'm Alex Horoshkevich from Belarus. I have been leaving in this Paradise more, than one year. And my jorney in Maldives has started in 2015. For now I'm organizing budget trips to guest houses in local islands, sailing trips by catamaran, diving liveaboard trips, staying in luxury island resorts. Just contact me!

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