All You Need to Know About Dhiffushi Island in Maldives
There are many islands in Maldives that cater to tourism, be it in the form of resorts, hotels or guesthouses. While some are well-known, there are other islands that are quite under the radar. Introducing Dhiffushi Island, a hidden gem that offers unique and jaw-dropping views of nature that’s hard to find elsewhere in the world.
One of the first islands in Maldives that took the initiative and started accommodating tourists and holiday-goers in general was Dhiffushi Island, at least as an island that wasn’t also a resort. This started when guesthouses and local hotels were given permission to operate by the Maldivian government in 2009.
Since Dhiffushi Island is quite low-key, we want to provide the public with a complete blog post about the island so that you can consider going there with all the knowledge you could possibly have.
Location and Geography
Dhiffushi Island is located at Kaafu Atoll, just 37 kilometres (23 miles) from the capital of Male’. It measures a small 0.95 kilometres (0.59 miles) in length and 0.2 kilometres (0.12 miles) in width, making for a tiny island that’s big on heart.
The island is close to amazing diving and snorkelling spots which will keep ocean lovers entertained for hours. Dhiffushi’s own house reef spans more than 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) and houses a large variety of marine flora and fauna.
The beaches on the island, numbering to a total of two, are a sight to behold as well. Sand so small and fine it slips through your fingers when you pick it up and through your feet when you walk as you enjoy the rising or setting sun. A cerulean waterscape gazes back at you, beckoning you to take a swim in its warm and inviting waters.
Dhiffushi Island’s 1,200 denizens look to tourism and fishing for income. With such a low amount of people living on the island, rest assured you’ll have a quiet and relaxing holiday if that’s what you’re looking for.
Getting to Dhiffushi Island
When it comes to how to get to Dhiffushi Island, there are three choices that you can pick from, each trip longer than the last but with less expenditure.
Private Speedboat to Dhiffushi Island
Coming in at $300 for a one-way journey (with up to six passengers) that lasts 45 minutes, the private speedboat (which can be booked from Velana International Airport) is the fastest option due to the convenience of being able to choose when you want to travel.
This also reduces wait times, making this the fastest option overall.
Pre-arranged Speedboat to Dhiffushi Island
This speedboat option runs on a schedule, with the service being provided by the Mee Altec Express. This is known as the most convenient option, with a price tag of just $35 for one-way.
The journey lasts 45 minutes and can be taken from Male’ City to Dhiffushi Island within these allotted times and options:
- Airport: Departs daily from the airport jetty at these times:
- Daily: 11:40am / 4:40pm / 10:40pm
- Friday: 8:40am / 10:40pm
- Male’ City: Departs daily from Jetty Number 7 which can be located right outside the Bank of Ceylon along the outer road of the city at these times:
- Daily: 11:30am / 4:30pm / 10:30pm
- Friday: 8:30am / 10:30pm
When you want to return from Dhiffushi Island to Male’ City or Velana International Airport:
- Dhiffushi Island: Departs daily from the island harbour at these times:
- Daily: 7:30am / 1:30pm / 5:45pm
- Friday: 7:00am / 5:45pm
Local Ferry to Dhiffushi Island
The ferry is the best option for those who’re on a budget or for those who want to take a slower ride through the waters while making a few pit stops to three other islands before getting to Dhiffushi. A one-way trip lasts 3 hours and 15 minutes and is open for travel all week except for Mondays and Fridays.
You can buy a ferry ticket from the Villingili Ferry Terminal located in Male’ for $4 per person. The ferry can be taken within these allotted times:
- From Male’ to Dhiffushi: 1:30pm
- From Dhiffushi to Male’: 6:30am
Dhiffushi Island Accommodation Options
Dhiffushi Island has a few accommodation categories with multiple options for travellers to choose from. There are guesthouses, hotels and a neighbouring resort that is sure to fill you with awe.
The guesthouses in Dhiffushi, which number to about or more than a dozen, tend to go for a cool $30 to $75 per night with breakfast, making this island an affordable haven.
There’s also a villa called Veli Vilaa that can house up to 8 people, with it being fitted with four bedrooms, kitchenette, shaded patio, living area, television, washing machine, wifi, beach access and more. The price range for the villa is between $690 – $800 per night.
Close by the neighbouring island of Meerufenfushi Island lies Meeru Maldives Resort Island, a multi-award winning 5 star resort that caters to guests of all ages. This resort has been in the industry for 40 years and offers a variety of activities ranging from spa services, watersports, a kids club, honeymoon perks and more.
Here are some of the guesthouses that might tickle your fancy:
- Budget Guesthouses: Ameera Maldives, Portia Hotel & Spa, Infinity Dhiffushi
- Mid Range Guesthouses / Hotels: Sky Beach Hotel, Heron Beach Hotel, Crown Beach Hotel
Things to Do and See in Dhiffushi Island
Diving & Snorkelling
As mentioned earlier, Dhiffushi is close to some well known diving and snorkelling sites. The island itself also has two dive centres (MIYARU Folhudhoo Divers and TGI Dhiffushi Diving Academy), with some guesthouses also offering diving and snorkelling excursions for those who’re keen.
For the more experienced divers, there are multiple dive sites that can be reached via boat, one of which is known as Dhiffushi Beru. With great visibility and depth, you get to experience diving with sharks, explore the diverse coral reef and interact / observe the multiple species of underwater fauna at a convenient starting price of around $75 per person.
Throw out your fishing line and relax as the sea breeze offers a cooling calm like no other. Dhiffushi Island itself is a fishing island so it should be of no surprise that guesthouses offer fishing trips with a starting price of $30 per person.
The geography of the island itself also allows for fishing close by the island so that you can maximise your fishing time. With multiple lagoons and reefs around the island, you wouldn’t have to venture far to have a good time.
Thulusdhoo and Surfing
If you’re feeling even more adventurous, you can visit the island of Thulusdhoo, which is pretty close to Dhiffushi. The local ferry system has a boat that travels to Thulusdhoo each day of the week except for Mondays and Fridays at 6:30am. The boat will make its trip back from Thulusdhoo at 4:30pm which is more than enough time for you to explore this neighbouring island.
Thulusdhoo is also known as a popular surfing destination, with big waves riding through from April through September during the rainy season in Maldives.
Dhiffushi has the option for you to experience these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, with the island offering a 1.5 hour sunset cruise for $30 per person. The boat will take you to dolphin-laden waters where you’ll see them swimming in and around the water and at times jumping up in true dolphin style, allowing you to take pictures of these aquatic beasts and create memories.
Local Culture and Traditions
Maldives as a whole is a Muslim country so it should be of no surprise that the islands observe a more conservative environment. There are certain things you should observe as you’re in foreign land and it’s best to respect their way of life while you’re visiting.
The way you dress while you’re out in public should be such that you’re wearing loose fitting clothes. Bikinis are fine on certain beaches but not when you’re out in the general public.
When it comes to food and drink, alcohol and pork are prohibited on the islands. If you’re an enjoyer of both, you’ll be able to enjoy both at resorts where they’ll accommodate these options.
If you’re interested in the religious side of Maldives and have the urge to explore and learn, visiting a mosque and observing Friday prayers might do you well. Just remember to wear clothes that cover your body and legs (with the addition of a shawl for women) as this is the custom.
If you get the opportunity to make friends with a Maldivian family, you might get invited to have tea at their house. It’s important to note that any sort of footwear is to be left outside the house before you enter so as to keep the sand from covering the floors. When greeting Maldivians, it should be noted that handshakes are usually the way to go, with a slight nod between the men and women conveying the proper respect.
Best Time to Visit Dhiffushi Island in Maldives
As Maldives is a country that lies on the equatorial line, there are only two seasons in this island nation: the Northeast Monsoon (the dry / sunny season) and the Southwest Monsoon (the wet / rainy season). The sunny season runs from January to March, while the rainy season runs from mid-May to November. April and December are transitional months for the monsoons.
The high season is the dry season and this is the time when a lot of tourists come to Maldives so if you’re looking for a vacation where there’s not as many people then booking your vacation for the rainy season would be the best choice.
Even though Dhiffushi Island experiences these two seasons, rainfall is scarce and doesn’t last very long even if it does rain. Dhiffushi’s annual rainfall averages 254 centimetres (100 in) in the north and 381 centimetres (150 in) in the south, making it a prime location for a summer vacation at any time of the year, when it comes to the weather.
If you feel like dropping by during a more festive period, we suggest you book your tickets during Eid Al Fitr. This is the celebratory period when the month of Ramadan has passed and while there are celebrations of families coming together for a feast in the capital, it is much more exciting in the islands. The people in the island would come together to give food to one another, play age-old games by the beach, sing and dance to the art of Bodu Beru and much more as a grand send-off to the month of fasting.
Budget-Friendly Travel Tips
Travelling to Maldives was always deemed as expensive and while that may have been true in the past, it isn’t the case now. With local islands opening up their own guesthouses and hotels, it has become easier to find more options in the sea of island resorts.
Here are some travel tips that won’t stress your wallet as much when going to Maldives on a budget:
- Book your tickets during the rainy season as prices will be much cheaper during then.
- Book your tickets around 6 months prior to when you want to go. The further the date, the cheaper the tickets!
- As mentioned earlier, stay on a local island where there are guesthouses. They’re cheaper than resorts and make for a more authentically Maldivian environment.
- Guesthouses tend to serve breakfast so you’d only have to worry about lunch and dinner (and tea time for those who partake). Maldivian restaurants in the islands tend to be cheap and serve local dishes so not only will you be tasting some amazing food, you’ll be paying a fraction of what you would at 5 star resorts.
- Guesthouses also tend to have the answers when it comes to activities so don’t hesitate to ask them how much it would cost and whether they would accommodate your request. Take the time to check out what the other guesthouses offer so that you have a clear idea of the going rate.
- If you want to check out some neighbouring islands or go to the capital Male’, you can take the local ferry system instead of booking a speedboat, which would cost more. Keep in mind that the local ferries take longer to get to their destination so you’d be trading money for time.
Responsible Tourism and Conservation
Sustainability and conservation has become a high priority in the Maldives throughout the years. The government has been taking steps to ensure a healthier environment is fostered within the country and multiple resorts and conservation efforts have taken the initiative to make and become a positive change within the industry.
If you’re interested to check them out and lend a helping hand, here are some of the resorts and organisations that take environmental health to heart:
- Olive Ridley Project: Protection of sea turtles in every shape and form.
- Manta Trust: Conservation through research, education & collaboration (excerpt from their website).
- Blue Marine Foundation: Protection of the Maldives’ coral reefs.
- Maldives Whale Shark Research Programme: Whale shark research and conservation charity.
- Marine Savers: Sea turtle conservation.
Best Resorts in Dhiffushi Island
- Six Senses Laamu Maldives: Sustainability on multiple fronts.
- Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu Maldives: Sustainability, education & turtle rescue efforts.
- LUX* South Ari Atoll Maldives: World’s largest floating solar system, on-site water plant, coral restoration and more.
- Kuramathi Maldives: On-site eco centre, marine biologist & Environment Committee, along with multiple environmental initiatives.
- Conrad Maldives Rangali Island: Hydroponics garden, Coral Regeneration Program and more.
- Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi: Extensive sustainability efforts, one of which is with the Olive Ridley Project.
- Reethi Beach Resort Maldives: Efficient energy, water & waste management, environmental awareness, marine conservation and more.
- InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort: Minimising waste in multiple facets, solar power utilisation, ultrafiltration & reticulation.
- Soneva Fushi & Soneva Jani: Sustainability practices for 25 years.
- Baros Maldives: Education, coral plantation and more.
Safety and Travel Essentials
Maldives is relatively a safe destination for all travellers, even solo ones but there are a few things you should definitely keep in mind.
Dhiffushi does have a medical centre on the island itself so if you sustain a minor injury like a small cut or a tiny bruise, the medical centre will suffice. But for something a bit more serious, you would need to travel back to Male’, which is a 45 minute speedboat ride.
That being said, you should get some travel insurance before you go as well just as an extra layer of protection. Doesn’t hurt to be safe!
Dhiffushi does have a Bank of Maldives ATM available for use and while that’s good, it would be wise to get some local money (Maldivian Rufiyaa) from the airport or from Male’ before you head to Dhiffushi as island ATM’s sometimes don’t get refilled on the regular.
As it is widely known, Maldives has a hot and humid climate so make sure you pack some sunscreen for daytime and mosquito repellent for nighttime!
Lastly, ensure you always have your passport on your person at all times. While crime may be really low, petty theft has been known to occur in Maldives so it’s best to keep your valuables on hand at all times.
Dhiffushi is one of the islands where it has been shown that you don’t need to go to a 5 star luxury resort to get the full Maldives experience. The food is more authentic and true to spirit, you get to meet actual locals and you still get to enjoy a slice of the island life.
We hope this blog has helped and convinced you to plan a trip to a local island instead of a resort to try an authentically Maldives experience! If you have any questions about Dhiffushi, don’t hesitate to contact us by going to our website and clicking the Whatsapp icon on the bottom right of the screen.
Links for Additional Information
- Dhiffushi Island website: https://www.visitdhiffushi.com/
- Ameera Maldives: https://www.instagram.com/ameeramaldives/
- Portia Hotel & Spa: https://www.facebook.com/PortiaHotel/
- Infinity Dhiffushi: https://infinitydhiffushi.com/
- Sky Beach Hotel: https://skybeachmaldives.com/
- Heron Beach Hotel: http://heronbeachandspa.com/
Crown Beach Hotel: https://www.facebook.com/crownbeachhotelMaldives/