Maafushi is one of the biggest and most popular local island in Maldives. It is located in South Male 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 as on other island, you won’t feel that the place is overcrowded.
From year to year, there are less and less locals are living on the island. The reason is simple – they either open another hotel by themselves, or lease a land with house and move to Male or Hulhumale.
Tourism has been started in 2012 from the President Nasheed, who now lives in London, all because of politics. In fact, this man did a lot of things to establish the budget segment of tourism in the Maldives, and he began with Maafushi.
But still, why there are so many guest houses and hotels on Maafushi? All because of prison. It turned out that they pay very good salary – about $ 1000-1500 per month! This place employs almost the entire local population that is not working in tourism. Therefore, they are sufficiently secured to open their own hotel.
The beach area on Maafushi, in comparison with Thoddoo or Ukulhas, is small and is divided into two parts by a breakwater. One part is surronded by fence, and in the second there are several restaurants, a dive center and hotels. Due to the large number of tourists even during the off-season, the beach can be crowded. Therefore, no any privacy out there.
For this reason, tourists are taken to the neighboring island resorts or sand banks. If you are looking for an island with a beautiful beach, then Maafushi is definitely not the best choice.
Alcohol is prohibited on any local island. However, a safari boat is moored off the islands with a bar where you can stay with a can of beer, a glass of wine or a cocktail. How it works? It’s very simple: from Maafushi you will be taken to a safari boat, where you relax and after a few hours you will be taken back. Approximate prices for alcohol: a can of beer 0.33l 5-7 $, a bottle of wine – 30-50 $, a bottle of vodka / whiskey 1l – 100-130 $. It is prohibited to take alcohol with you.
The house reef is almost dead (it’s pretty far from the beach). But guest houses organize snorkeling safaris at 1,2,3 different sites. The average cost of such a trip is $ 25-40 per person. Among the most popular places are: Maavelaathu, Banana Reef, Vilivaru Corner, Maafushi Corner, Turtle Garden and others.
Some guest houses organize compleated excursions in Vaavu Atoll and include a snorkeling, a snad bank visit, lunch, a safari with dolphins.
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 is a wreck, but only certified divers can get there.
On Maafushi 4 dive center, which guides have PADI certificates. If you wish, you can also take a course and get a certificate of a diver, which allows you to dive yourself (without guide, but with buddy). Depending on the season, you can see sea turtles, manta rays, sharks.
It should be noted that diving in Vaavu Atoll, Sount and North Ari Atoll is much better. In this region, the South Male Atoll is now actively new island are building, followed by the construction of new resorts, which also affects the reef and its inhabitants.
If you are going to a group of 8-12 people, you can organize an excursion to Ari Atoll to swim with whale sharks.
At Maafushi you can try any kind of water sports: kitesurfing, windsurfing, parasailing, water skiing and jet ski and much more. In this regard, Maafushi favorably stands out among other local islands, because such centers can be found not on every island.
Caught fish can be cooked for free at your hotel. But it is better to discuss all the details in advance, because it can be served with rice, greens, etc.
There are several types of fishing, the easiest of them is when they give you a reel with a fishing line and a hook. The option is more serious – big game fishing – hunting for large fish – marlin, sailfish, baracuda.
There are a lot of island resorts near Maafushi that allows day visits for guests. The trip includes transfer by boat, entransce fee, meals, drinks and all resort amenities. The price from $80 to $180 per person.
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.
It is easy to navigate on the island. The southern end of the island is a tourist are: bikini beach, guest houses and hotels, 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 jetty, a school, the administrative office, a play ground, 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.
There are about 70 guest houses and hotels on Mafushi. Among them there are 3-4 hotels with a total capacity of about 200 people!
In general, the island is built up and is a smaller copy of Hulhumele, which is reflected in the overall atmosphere of the “budget Maldives”. Therefore, to see real Maldives it’s better to go to other island.
There are a lot of cafes and restaurants for tourists on the island. Some guest houses carry chairs and tables outside, giving the opportunity to enjoy dinner in the open.
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.
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.
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.
Available daily, Male-Maafushi, the cost is $25, departs at 9:15, 13:30, 19:00, 22:00.
Maafushi-Male at 8:00, 12:00, 17:00, 21:00 and runs to the airport.