Maafushi Island
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Maafushi Island 2024: Your Ultimate Travel Guide

When talking about premier travel destinations and all it entails, a few places tend to be on top of everyone’s list. And with all these top-tier options, one thing is for certain: they tend to burn a tiny hole in your wallet. One such destination is Maldives, with its crystal clear waters that boasts a beauty few can rival and an experience that puts relaxation above all else.

This may have been the case a decade plus ago when resorts were the only option for people to enjoy the sunny side of life. But now with the islands in Maldives having opened up for tourism (which initially happened in 2009), locals are running guesthouses and water sport facilities that cater to both locals and tourists alike. One of the best locations that offers the Maldivian experience that is affordable is Maafushi Island.

Maafushi Island is located in South Male’ Atoll, a comfortable 28 km / 17 mi from Velana International Airport. It can be reached via a 30 – 40 minute speedboat trip. The island has a population of around 1,500 to 2,000 people and a size of 1270 x 265 m (just over a kilometre long). The island may be small but it makes up for it with its beauty, affordability and authenticity.

Why is Maafushi Island Famous?

Maafushi Island
Photo Credit: Backpacker Banter via Google Images

The answer to this question is easy. It’s because of the accommodation costs being a wonder to look at. Maafushi Islands’ accommodation costs are so much cheaper compared to resort prices. The island also offers a really well-rounded dive & watersports centre which we’ll get to shortly. 

The island is also known for its marine ecosystem, offering stunning views into the underwater world. If you’re not too keen on exploring the water, you still have the beach available to you. Get your tan going as you relax and read a book by the lagoon.

What to Expect in Maafushi Island in 2024

Maafushi Island is always on the move when it comes to tourism. There’s always a guesthouse being built or renovated to accommodate the increasing number of tourists each year. Restaurants update their menus to ensure the tourist gets a proper taste of Maldivian food. Dive centres are always refining their skills to ensure a safe time during any sort of dive.

Maafushi Island is always going to be a popular tourist hub due to the fact that they are friendly people, who want nothing more than to accommodate the travellers that go through this island nation.

Can You Drink Alcohol in Maafushi?

Can You Drink Alcohol in Maafushi?
Photo Credit: Jetset Christina via Google Images

As Maldives is a Muslim country, the use, possession and drinking of alcohol on any of the Maldives local islands is strictly prohibited. For those who do want to go for a drink, you have two sets of options to choose from.

One is by going to a Floating Bar, which is located on a yacht 500 metres beyond Maafushi’s lagoon. There are three yachts you can explore: Kaani Princess, Ushva and Sharifa. They open up at 7:00 pm and tend to close around midnight / 1:00 am so if you’re really craving a drink, this is one of your options.

The other that you can do is to head on over to a nearby island resort for a day trip. You get to explore and compare the resort life to the island life, along with being able to drink at your leisure. Some resorts will have a limited selection for those who are just visiting so it’s good to manage your expectations. Some of the resorts that you can go to are:

  1. Adaaran Prestige Vadoo
  2. Anantara Veli Maldives Resort
  3. Anantara Dhigu Maldives Resort
  4. COMO Cocoa Island Maldives
  5. Fihalhohi Island Resort Maldives
Did you know Maafushi has the highest number of excursions for you to enjoy?
Embark on unforgettable excursions in Maafushi with Madly Maldives, your local experts ensuring the best deals. Dive into adventure without breaking the bank!

Exploring Maafushi Island

The island is divided into three halves; the tourist beach is located on the southern end and houses all the hotels, guest houses and restaurants. The jail, which is situated near the northern tip of the island, is the third section of the island, housing a portion of Maldivian criminals and providing a paycheck for residents of Maafushi Island.

There are tons of souvenir shops you can check out while you’re there if you want to get yourself some Maldivian paraphernalia. They charge USD and can seem a bit expensive but it’s all locally made with love.

The centre of the island holds the administrative office, a school, a playground and a mosque.

As mentioned before, Maafushi Island is just over a kilometre long and a quarter of the way in width so getting around isn’t too much of a hassle. You’re looking at about a 20 minute walk from end to end.

While you’re walking around Maafushi, you’ll see locals going about their day doing their own thing. They might be in the middle of constructing a Maldivian boat (known as ‘dhoani’), doing wooden lacquer work or weaving reed mats. Stop by and converse with them for an authentic insight into the life of a Maldivian islander.

Getting to Maafushi Island

Photo Credit: Ishan @seefromthesky via Unsplash

When talking about how to get to Maafushi Island, there are a few options you can look into. You’ve got the public ferry, a scheduled speedboat and a private speedboat. Sadly, there are no seaplane transfers.

Public Ferry

Public ferries cost around $3 per person for one trip with 90 minutes of travel time. Public ferries are accessible from the Male’ Villingili Ferry Terminal from Male’ City.

From Male’ to Maafushi Island:

  • Monday – 3:00 pm
  • Tuesday – 10:00 am & 3:00 pm
  • Wednesday – 3:00 pm
  • Thursday – 10:00 am & 3:00 pm
  • Friday – Unavailable (weekend)
  • Saturday – 3:00 pm
  • Sunday – 10:00 am & 3:00 pm

From Maafushi Island to Male’:

  • Monday – 7:30 am & 12:45 pm
  • Tuesday – 7:30 am
  • Wednesday – 7:30 am & 12:45 pm
  • Thursday – 7:30 am
  • Friday – Unavailable (weekend)
  • Saturday – 7:30 am & 12:45 pm
  • Sunday – 7:30 am

Scheduled Speedboat

The scheduled speedboat is available daily and clocks in 45 minutes of travel time. It costs $25 per person for one trip. They can be requested by getting in touch with the guesthouses when you’re making your reservations. You can get more ticket info by clicking here or here.

From Male’ to Maafushi Island – 9:15 am, 1:30 pm, 7:00 pm, 10:00 pm

From Maafushi Island to Male’ – 8:00 am, 12:00 pm, 1:30 pm, 5:00 pm, 9:00 pm

Private Speedboat

This option is available whenever you need, with a price of $150 – $300 (excluding taxes) per way. This option can also be requested by getting in touch with the guesthouses when you’re making your reservations.

Where to Stay in Maafushi

Hotel Arena Maafushi
Photo Credit: Maldives Magazine via Google Images

inding guesthouses and hotels in Maafushi Island is a breeze, due to the fact that the island has a ton of accommodation options. Let’s divide our best picks into the budget, mid and high ranges for ease.

Budget Accommodation Options

  • Arora View Inn
    • Has the following features and amenities: Free wi-fi, cafe’, en suite bathroom (hair dryer and shower included), minibar, AC, 24 hour room service, in-room safe.
  • Arena Beach Hotel
    • Has the following features and amenities: Spa, indoor swimming pool, free wi-fi, in-house restaurant, room service, private bathrooms (bathtub / shower,toiletries and hair dryer included), electric kettle, flatscreen television, wardrobe, in-room safe, AC.
  • Triton Beach Hotel and Spa
    • Has the following features and amenities: Poolside restaurant, rooms come with balcony, wi-fi, in-room safe, flat screen television, minibar, hot water shower, AC, hairdryer.

Mid Range Accommodation Options

  • Kaani Palm Beach
    • Has the following features and amenities: Outdoor infinity pool, shared lounge, garden, room service, 24 hour front desk, airport transfers, complimentary wi-fi, complimentary towels, complimentary bed linen, in-house restaurant, tea / coffee making facilities, spa.
  • Salt Beach Hotel
    • Has the following features and amenities: Complimentary wi-fi, in-room safe, flat screen television, kettle, wardrobe, towels, bed linen. Sea view and balcony rooms available. Family friendly restaurant, outdoor play equipment for kids, bicycle rental service, airport shuttle, spa, room service, tea / coffee maker.
  • Rehendhi Villa
    • Has the following features and amenities: Outdoor swimming pool, restaurant, airport shuttle, terrace, garden, room service, complimentary wi-fi, kettle, towels, bed linen, minibar, in-room safe, flat screen television, desk, private bathroom with shower.

Maafushi Island doesn’t really have much high range accommodation so if you’re looking for somewhere that oozes luxury, we suggest checking out the resorts nearby the island. We recommend checking out the resort islands that we outline in the ‘Can You Drink Alcohol in Maafushi?’ section of this article.

Exciting Activities in Maafushi

Maafushi Maldives Beach
Photo Credit: Trevallog via Google Images

Maafushi Island has a variety of fun activities for you to indulge in, both in water and on land. Let’s go through them one by one.

  • Diving
    • Courses, packages, sites to pick from, etc
  • Snorkelling
  • Parasailing
  • Wakeboarding
  • Waterskiing
  • Kneeboarding
  • Windsurfing
  • Flyboarding
  • Fun Tube & Banana Boat
  • Seabob
  • Jet Skiing
  • Standup Paddling
  • Wave Surfing
  • Catamaran Sailing
  • Wind Surf
  • Kitesurfing
  • Sunset Fishing
  • Trip to a nearby resort
  • Sandbank trip

Maafushi Island has five dive centres for you to choose from by the name of:

As for stuff you can do on dry land, here’s what Maafushi Island has to offer:

  • Bikini Beach (for sunbathing)
  • Karaoke
  • Spa day (at specific guesthouses) and many more
  • Day trip to a neighbouring resort island
  • Island hopping

Local Cuisine and Dining Options in Maafhushi Island

Photo Credit: Holidify via Google Images

Maafushi Island has almost 30 Maldives restaurants for you to choose from so for the sake of ease let’s split it up into sections along with our favourites.

Budget Restaurants

  • Fine Bake by Suzy
    • Technically a bakery, the establishment still makes delectable culinary options in both the sweet and savoury departments.
  • The Palm Cafe’
    • Serves Italian, Chinese, Indian and Russian cuisine.
  • Hot Bite
    • Serves pizza along with international cuisine.
  • Hiyala Mariyaad Cafe’
    • Serves Seafood and Asian cuisine, along with vegetarian and vegan options.
  • Moonlight – Food. Drinks. Shisha
    • Serves Mediterranean cuisine along with vegetarian options.

Mid Range Restaurants

  • Kaalamaa Restaurant
    • Serves Seafood and Fusion dishes along with vegetarian and vegan options.
  • Mr. Octopus – Your Holiday Chef
    • Serves International and Seafood Cuisine, along with vegetarian and vegan options.
  • Kaani Beach Restaurant
    • Serves Seafood and Asian cuisine, along with vegetarian and vegan options.
  • Harbour Cafe’
    • Serves Seafood cuisine, along with vegetarian options.
  • Stingray Cafe’
    • Serves Seafood and Asian cuisine, along with vegetarian and vegan options.

If you’re also interested in the more lavish of culinary options, check out the resorts close to Maafushi on your day trip. These restaurants are all in the high range and serve the finest of foods. Our list of resorts you can visit is under ‘Can You Drink Alcohol in Maafushi?’ right above.

We know some foodies would be curious about the local food in Maldives, so here are some popular Maldivian dishes and treats we think you would enjoy!

  • Mas huni
    • Fish that has been dried and smoked, after which is combined with onion, chilli, coconut flakes and any other herbs and spices.
  • Rihaakuru
    • A dark fish paste with a salty flavour, with spice being an option.
  • Garudhiya
    • A clear fish soup made with pod peppers, onion, lemon and fish. A variety of other ingredients can be added depending on the cook and still achieve the taste of authentic Maldivian garudhiya.
  • Roshi
    • Basically the Maldivian version of a chapati / tortilla. Usually eaten in combination with mas huni, rihaakuru, etc.
  • Bajiya
    • A small triangular fish pie that has onion, fish, chilli, coconut and a variety of other ingredients depending on the cook.
  • Boakibaa
    • Fish, chilli, onions, salt, pepper and a variety of ingredients are turned into a paste and cooked on a skillet, making a sort of pie that’s easy on the taste buds.
  • Thehli kavaabu
    • A croquette that’s been fried, containing chilli, salt, finely diced onions and fish.

Maafushi Island is a spectacle to experience, with its relaxing environment and adrenaline pumping water activities. If you’re looking for some time off to deflate and recuperate, look no further. Maafushi Island in 2024 is the trip for you.