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The island of Maafushi

Maafushi is undoubtedly the best island for budget travel in The Maldives. This small island hosts 50+ hotels and homestays for every budget, a bikini beach, every day trip imaginable, amazing food and is located only 45 minutes by speedboat from Malé. Have we got you excited yet? Read more below!


What to do in Maafushi?

Maafushi is THE backpackers hub in the Maldives and for good reason. As there is so much competition between the hotels, guesthouses and tour operators, the prices of tours are very affordable. There is a variety of snorkelling and diving tours available to experience the best of the Maldives underwater. A full day tour will usually include 2 snorkelling points to see fish, manta/sting rays, nurse sharks or turtles and will provide a lunch on a (private) sandbank. On the way back, the crew will try to find dolphins to spot and sometimes even to swim with! Expect to pay around $75USD for a full day tour like this and anywhere from $25/$40 for a half day tour. As mentioned in our ‘Travelling to The Maldives from Sri Lanka’ blog you can also arrange a day trip to a private resort or a lunch at a remote sandbank.


We booked a tour every other day and spent the rest of our time exploring the island itself. As the island is quite small, you can easily roam around and find lovely places to eat and drink. We also found a lovely bakery Fine Bake by Suzy. On your days off from tours there are plenty of trendy cafe’s to explore. Alternatively, you can relax at bikini beach and cool off in the crystal clear sea. If you like a little more action, you can also book water sport activities. For example jet-skiing, tubing, parasailing, stand-up paddle boarding and canoeing.

Where to stay?

There is a variety of accommodations on offer for really any budget. We stayed in Crystal Sands for around $100 a night but you can certainly get much cheaper if you book in advance! There are guesthouses/homestays starting around $30 for a private double room. Ocean Vista, Oceana Boutique, Triton Beach Hotel & Spa, Kuredhi Beach Inn and Sunrise Beach all offer very affordable rooms and have great reviews! As previously mentioned, the trick is to book in advance to make sure you can land one of these rooms before they’re gone, otherwise you will have to resort to the more expensive or less comfortable rooms.

Where to eat in Maafushi?

Maafushi isn’t known for its culinary highlights but you will find many trendy cafe’s and restaurants to enjoy fresh seafood, Arabic & Indian cuisine and of course Western food. Have a look at Mr. Octopus, Caviar Café & Restaurant and HotBite. Harbour Cafe has some lovely and cheap Indian food, and our favourite by far is Moonlight. They serve amazing food, drinks, shisha and good vibes!

Drinking alcohol in the Maldives is prohibited by law and is not available on the local islands. Use your time here as a detox or if you really can’t stay away from it, you can visit the Safari Boats/ floating bars. You can get a drink for about $6 to $8 but we have heard it is a lot of hassle and frankly not worth it.


How to get to Maafushi?

The best way to get to Maafushi is by public ferry or a shared speedboat from Malé airport or Malé island. The ferry will only cost a few dollars but takes a long time. Alternatively, the speedboats only take around 45 minutes but cost 20-30 USD. For the ferry you will have to take a boat to Malé island ($1/$2), walk to the ferry point and take the 90 minute ferry to Maafushi ($2/$3). For the shared speedboat from the airport you can hop on a boat provided by Maafushi Tours, iCom or Shadow Palm.

The system of regulating the speedboats seemed a bit flawed in our opinion. With so many tourists arriving at the airport and not knowing where to go. There are also no signs or screens with information. Just remain calm and ask for help! You can also ask your accommodation to reserve a seat for you on a shared speedboat. Ensure you have the name of the company/operator and the estimated(!) time of departure as all speedboats look the same… You won’t have the same issue on your return to Malé airport as it is very easy to book transport back through your hotel.


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