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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? Let’s find out how to deal with it!

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;
-the development of the infrastructure;
-the competition among guest houses and hotels.

IslandDistance to Male (km.)Travel time by speedboatNumber of hotels and guest housesThe cost of living (per night, $) without taxes
Maafushi2645 min5450-145
Omadhoo8590 min650-80
Guraidhoo3550 min1450-102
Thulusdhoo3025 min1560-120
Rasdhoo5670 min2450-210
Thoddoo6770 min2465-180
Mathiveri84120 min660-210
Ukulhas72100 min20130-210
Dhangethi8880 min660-90
Dharavandhoo115120 min1155-145
Hanimadhoo290Only domestic flights available570-90
Dhiffushi36,640 min650-75
Himmafushi1715 min750-75
Huraa2120 min550-110
Mahibadhoo7570 min470-90
Gulhi2135 min650-95
Fulhadhoo8590 min345-75
Thinadhoo7580 min675-130

The prices were taken from the online traveling websites.

Mathiveri , Ukulhas, Dhangethi, OmadhooDhigurah, RasdhooThoddoo are in of North and South Ari Atoll.

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

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

Dharavandhoo  and Fulhadhoo are 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 the same on each island.

how to choose a local island in maldives street

Transfer to local island

It’s possible to go to almost each mentioned islands by a public ferry or scheduled speedboat (except of Hanimadhoo). The cost is about  2-20$ per person, depends on 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 or without any reason.

For example, the ferry to Ari Atoll runs 2 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.

how to choose a local island

That’s why speed boats better, but a bit more expensive option. The cost per trip is about 25-60$, duration from 30 min to 3 hrs. It’s better to find out a travel timetable at the guest-houses or check here (for selected islands only).

And that’s all available more or less cheap 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 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).

how to choose a local island in maldives

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 to resorts. And back you will be taken by speedboat that is provided by guesthouses.

And finally, the last transfer is a domestic flight. There are  4 international and 7 domestic airports. The cost of tickets starts from 170$ (round trip, Dharavandhoo).

how to choose a local island in maldives view

What to do in local island?

Almost every guesthouse offers almost the same activities.

Snorkeling on a house reef or snorkeling safari on 3 different spots.

Check our budget tours to local islands

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 .

how to choose a local island in maldives whale shark

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. Omadhoo, Dhangethi, Dhigurah and Addu Atoll are the only places in Maldives to catch these creatures.


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 their 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. Not every local island has a dive center. Here 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 the island.

Read also: Scuba diving in Maldives. Ultimate Guide

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.

thulusdhoo surfing point

Surfing. Yes, there are a few surfing spots in Maldives. And the most popular spots are  South and North Male Atoll. The scarcity is connected with the 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 160$ to 50,000$ per night. So if you read this post, obviously you aren’t going there. But tourists have the opportunity to visit these luxury places.

Guest houses on the local islands can organize such excursions. The cost of a visit is about 60-120$. For this money, you can get some Spa-procedures, dinner, an alcohol cocktail and the opportunity to swim in a pole and to sunbathe on a beach.  You have to pay for extra services. Transfer to a resort is paid separately (20-50$ per person).


One local island or several?

The answer 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 but since that time many things have been changed.

It should be mentioned 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: Thoddoo, Rasdhoo Ukulhas, Mathiveri. Thanked to ferry it’s possible to plane your route as Male-Thoddoo–Rasdhoo-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.

Another one is Omadhoo-Dhangethi-Dhigurah.

And finally Himmafushi-Huraa-Thulusdhoo-Dhiffushi.

ukulhas sand bank

The advantages of such choice

  • The opportunity to visit several islands per trip. Each island is unique and unrepeatable itself.
  • It takes less than an1-2 hrs [in most cases] to transfer between islands.


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

how to choose a local island


It’s difficult to choose a local island for only one criterion. 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 afford it, 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.




How To Choose A Local Island In Maldives?
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