Maafushi Island 2024

March 02, 2024

Maafushi is one of the biggest and most popular local islands 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 islands, you won’t feel that the place is overcrowded.

Check also: Budget packages to local islands

From year to year, there are fewer and fewer locals are living on the island. The reason is simple – they either open another hotel by themselves or lease land with a house and move to Male or Hulhumale.

Tourism has been started in 2012 by President Nasheed. 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 island? All because of prison. It turned out that they pay a 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.


Things to do on Maafushi

Maafushi Bikini Beach and house reef

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 surrounded by a fence, and in the second there are several restaurants, a dive center, and hotels. Due to a large number of tourists even during the off-season, the beach can be crowded. Therefore, no privacy out there.


Sand Bank Trip near Maafushi

Head out to a stunning sandbank for a picnic lunch, an awesome spot to snap heaps of beautiful pictures, and enjoy the clear waters. You won’t be alone on a picnic island. Nowadays, a lot of nearby sandbanks and picnic islands are occupied by ner island resorts. So only near Rihiveli is one of the few places to visit.

Snorkeling Safaries near Maafushi

All guesthouses and water sports centers in Maafushi island offer exciting trips to breathtaking reefs that are full of colorful coral gardens and are teeming with marine life. Some of the best snorkeling sites are Maavelaathu, Banana Reef, Vilivaru Corner, Turtle Garden and Maafushi Corner. All trips are with a group.

Some guesthouses organize full-day excursions in Vaavu Atoll and include snorkeling, a sandbank visit, lunch, a safari with dolphins. 12

Night fishing on Maafushi

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, barracuda.

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Floating Bar near Maafushi

Alcohol is prohibited on any local island. However, a safari boat is anchored near Maafushi with a bar where you can stay with a can of beer, a glass of wine, or a cocktail. How does it work? 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. 1

Scuba Diving near Maafushi

Everyone who is lucky to visit the 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 centers, which guides have PADI certificates. If you wish, you can also take a course and get a certificate from a diver, which allows you to dive yourself (without a guide, but with a buddy). Depending on the season, you can see sea turtles, manta rays, sharks.

It should be noted that diving in Vaavu Atoll, South, and North Ari Atoll is much better. In this region, the South Male Atoll is now actively new islands are building, followed by the construction of new resorts, which also affect the reef and its inhabitants.

Water Sports on Maafushi

At Maafushi you can try any kind of water sports: kite surfing, windsurfing, parasailing, water skiing, jet skiing and much more. In this regard, Maafushi favorably stands out among other local islands, because such centers can be found not on every island.

If you are going to a group of 8-12 people, it’s possible to organize an excursion to Ari Atoll to swim with whale sharks.

Resort Day Visit

There are a lot of island resorts near Maafushi that allow day visits for guests. The trip includes transfer by boat, entrance 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 a local ferry running from Maafushi.

Available resorts:

  • Biyadhoo;
  • Adaaran Rannalhi;
  • Adaaran Vaadhoo;
  • Crossroads;
  • OZEN by Atmosphere (with the underwater restaurant);
  • Anantara Veli and Anantara Dhigu;
  • Fihalhohi;
  • Taj Exotica;
  • Embudu Village;
  • Olhuveli;

Maafushi Infrastructure

It is easy to navigate on the island. The southern end of the island is a tourist area: bikini beach, guest houses and hotels, gift shops, and restaurants are located there. In the northern part of the island, there is one of the prisons in the Maldives. In the center of the island, opposite the jetty, a school, the administrative office, a playground, 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! 4-5 hotels with a total capacity of about 200 people!

In general, the island is built up and is a smaller copy of Hulhumale, which is reflected in the overall atmosphere of the “budget Maldives”.

If you want to see the real Maldives with white sandy beaches, great house reef, high level of privacy, you should consider going to other islands.

My suggestions are Ukulhas, Feridhoo, Omadhoo, or Thoddoo.

What to eat in Maafushi?

There are a lot of cafes and restaurants for tourists on the island. Some guesthouses 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 meatballs 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 guesthouse you can order a private dinner on the coast or a barbeque on one of the neighboring islands.


Transfer to Maafushi

Public ferry

From Male
Saturday: 15:00;
Sunday: 10:00, 15:00;
Monday: 15:00;
Tuesday: 10:00, 15:00;
Wednesday: 15:00;
Thursday: 10:00, 15:00;
Friday: not available.

From Maafushi

Saturday: 07:30, 12:45;
Sunday: 07:30
Monday: 07:30, 12:45;
Tuesday: 07:30;
Wedesday: 07:30, 12:45;
Thursday: 07:30;
Friday: not available.

Scheduled speedboat

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, 13:30, 17:00, 21:00 and runs to the airport.

Private speedboat

Available at any time. Price is $US 170 per way.

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