Maafushi Island is one of the biggest islands in Maldives. It’s surely the most popular local island in Maldives. It is located in Kaafu Atoll just 27 km away from Male. The size is 1270 x 265 m. The island itself has an elongated form. 2700 people live on the island. It’s amazing how so many people can live on such a small piece of land, but there, as well as on other local islands, you absolutely don’t feel that the place is overcrowded.
It is quite easy to orient yourself on the island. The southern end of the island is a tourist zone; bikini beach, guest houses, gift shops, and restaurants are located there. In the nothern part of the island there is the only prison in Maldives. In the center of the island, opposite the berth, a school, the administrative office, a stadium, and a central mosque are situated.
The eastern part of the island is mainly uninhabited; a noisy electric power plant is constantly in action there. That’s why you’d better stay in the south of the island, although guest houses are ‘scattered’ around the whole island.
The first guest house on Maafushi was opened in 2010 , and since then the number of guest houses has been on the increase, as well as the population of the island. There are more than 60 guest houses of different price categories.
The island itself is built-up. Besides, new hotels are going to appear. Today 3-4 large hotels are being built there. It’s hard to imagine how the island will look like in a few years in peak season.
Maafushi beach area, as compared to Ukulhas or Thoddoo, is very small in size. That’s why tourists are taken to the neighboring island resorts to relax. The beach itself is overcrowded. So you can forget about any privacy and romanticism. And waters can’t boast of the abundance of beautiful small fish and coral gardens. This place is perfect for children rather than for adults.
In recent years there have appeared quite a lot of cafes and restaurants for tourists on the island. Some guest houses’ staff bring chairs and tables on the coast for the tourists to enjoy a open air dinner. The prices there are quite reasonable.
Here is a small gastronomic vocabulary, which should help you to distinguish between different products and dishes:
- Bajiya – fish pie with coconut and onion;
- Baj – rice;
- Bondi – pasties with coconut;
- Garudhiya – fish soup and rice with lemon, onion and pod pepper;
- Gula – fried meat balls with tuna and coconut;
- Dhiyaa hakuru – coconut milk;
- Keemia – rolls with fried fish;
- Kiru sarbat – sweet milk;
- Kulhi borkibaa – pasties with fish and spices;
- Mas – fish;
- Mas huni – dried and soft smoked fish with coconut flakes and onion;
- Rihaukuru – fish paste;
- Roshi – national no-yeast bread (looks like galettes);
- Theluli kavaabu – croquette with fried fish;
- Theluli mas – large pieces of fried fish with pepper and garlic;
- Fihunumas – pepper-rubbed fried fish;
- Foni boakiba – rice pudding with coconut milk;
- Hikimas – dried and soft smoked fish;
- Maldivian Hedhikaa – a deep-fried snack, which includes smoked fish, coconut flakes, lime juice, onion, and chili.
If you wish, in your guest house you can order a private dinner on the coast or a barbeque on one of the neighboring islands.
See also: Budget Holidays to Maafushi
Alcohol is forbidden here, as well as on other islands. But near the island a floating bar runs, where you can buy alcoholic beverages. You can get there by the following way: you board a boat (no money needs to be paid) and are taken to a ship (no charge for admission). But the prices there are really high: a can of beer (0,33 liters) is $5, a bottle of vodka is $130 (the prices may be different now). And then you’re taken back.
Nowadays it’s very difficult to go on a guided tour with one hotel, if you stay in another one (the managers contact each other and decide whether to let you go there or not). It takes some time to figure out how this system works.
Local diving centers together with guest houses organize snorkeling trips to various snorkeling points near Maafushi. Among them there are Maavelaathu, Banana Reef, Vilivaru Corner, Maafushi Corner and many others. Flippers and a mask with a snork can be hired in the centre for free. Remember, that the equipment is far from being new.
Everyone who is lucky to visit Maldives has to try scuba diving at least once. It will be an unforgettable experience! In the neighborhood, apart from coral gardens, there are lots of underwater cages and real valleys near Maafushi. There are 3 diving centers on Maafushi; the prices there are practically the same ($35 per dive). It is not that expensive in comparison to the cost of diving on other islands. There the specialists have PADI certificates. If you wish, you can take a course and get a certificate of a Open Water Diver, which gives you the right to dive yourself! Depending on the season, you can see sea turtles, manta rays, and sharks.
Among all other things, you can hire a jetski, try to catch a wave or to fill the sails, enjoy parasailing, or set out for a fascinating kayak trip!
Night & Day fishing
It’ll be interesting for fishing amateurs to know that guest houses organize fishing not only in the daytime, but also at night. The programme was drawn up in the way that it doesn’t presuppose the situation when you can be left without any fish. The fish you catch can be cooked in a restaurant for free. But it’s better to inform them in advance, especially what concerns the way it’s cooked, because it can be served with rice, fresh vegetables, etc, and you’ll have to pay for that.
Swimming with wonderful graceful dolphins will certainly give you an unforgettable experience and is unlikely to leave anybody uninterested! Sometimes dolphins get really close to the coast.
There are quite a lot of island resorts near Maafushi, and guided tours there are always organized. They usually include transfer by boat, visiting the island, meals and spa treatment. The ticket cost varies from $25 to $145 per person.
Each resort has its own unique beauty. But there are also some similarities. For example, there is a swimming pool almost on each resort. If you have an opportunity and you can afford going there, it’s better to visit them all.
6 km away from Maafushi another two local islands (Guraidhoo and Gulhi) are located, where you can be taken by local ferry running from Maafushi.
In conclusion, Maafushi is a “party” island with a lot of tourists. That’s why if you want to enjoy peace and quiet, you’d better stay on other islands.
You can get to Maafushi by public ferry departing from Vilingili Ferry Terminal. The travelling time is 90 minutes, the cost is $2. To order a speedboat transfer, you should contact your hotel’s administration directly not later than 3 days before arriving.
Sunday: 10:00, 15:00;
Tuesday: 10:00, 15:00;
Thursday: 10:00, 15:00;
Friday: not available.
Saturday: 07:30, 12:45;
Monday: 07:30, 12:45;
Wedesday: 07:30, 12:45;
Friday: not available.
Speedboat is available every day, the cost is $25, departs at 9:15, 13:30, 19:00, 22:00 from Male.
It departs from Maafushi at 8:00, 12:00, 17:00, 21:00 and runs to the airport.