Best Local Islands Maldives

(Last Updated On: November 2, 2022)

Best Local Islands Maldives

There are many island contenders for best local island in the Maldives. There are 1125 islands across the Maldives and around 200 of these are inhabited and are divided into local islands and resort islands. The islands are grouped into atolls. Some of these are reachable by speedboat from Male Velana international airport and some of them require a second flight, either by expensive but awesome seaplanes or a domestic flight.

Photo of local island Thulusdhoo
Visit Thulusdhoo: One of the best local islands in Maldives – only 30 minutes from Male airport

Which Maldives island is the best?

There are so many amazing local islands in the Maldives that it can be hard to decide which Maldivian islands to visit. So far, I’ve spent my Maldives holidays on more than eight different local islands so here are my reviews for the best local islands in the Maldives.

Best local islands Maldives – Scuba Diving

Best local islands Maldives – Scuba Diving with Pelagics

There are so many great scuba diving spots in the Maldives but Fuvahmulah has to be the best island in Maldives for scuba diving. Fuvahmulah island has amazing pelagic ocean giants and you can see tiger sharks, whale sharks, oceanic mantas and thresher sharks. All of these ocean visitors make Fuvahmulah one of the best local islands for scuba diving. 

Fuvahmulah is a big island by Maldives standards, contains two freshwater lakes and requires a domestic flight from Male airport to get to Fuvahmulah. For my in depth guide to Fuvahmulah island read this article here.

oceanic manta scsuba diving
Fuvahmulah – best local island in Maldives for scuba diving with oceanic manta rays

Best local island in Maldives – Scuba Diving with Marine Life & Coral Reefs

Rasdhoo island is one of the best local islands to visit in the Maldives for scuba diving with a lot of marine life and pretty coral reefs. You can see reef mantas here as well as many different types of reef sharks and colourful coral making Rasdhoo one of the best Maldives island for diving. Read my full Guide to Rasdhoo island here.

Rasdhoo Island Views – best local islands Maldives

Best Island for Snorkeling Maldives

Maldives best island for snorkeling with manta rays

The best local island for snorkelling with manta rays will be to stay on a local island in Baa atoll such as Dharavandhoo. For everything you need to know about seeing manta rays in the Maldives, read my manta ray snorkelling blog post here.

underwater photo of snorkelling with a manta
Snorkel trips to see manta rays in the Maldives

Maldives best island for snorkeling with turtles

Thoddoo island is the best island to snorkel with turtles in the Maldives, just off of the bikini beach in Thoddoo. Eagle rays and tropical fish can also be seen. For my guide to Thoddoo island, read more here. 

Best local islands in Maldives for beautiful beaches

There are so many beautiful beaches in the Maldives that it is challenging to pick the best. Many Maldives beaches have soft white sand and clear turquoise water. One of the best local islands that stands out to me with its beautiful beaches is Gulhi island. Read my Gulhi island Guide here.

local island Gulhi beautiful beach
The beautiful bikini beach in Gulhi – local island near Male

Thoddoo island has a bikini beach that is absolutely stunning with uninterrupted ocean views that will not disappoint its visitors. A bonus of Thoddoo island is having turtles that you can snorkel with just off the beach. Read my full Thoddoo Island Guide here.

Bikini Beach in Thoddoo
best local islands Maldives – Thoddoo Bikini Beach

Best Local Island in Maldives for surfing

Thulusdhoo is one of the most famous and best local islands in Maldives for surfing. The island is beautiful and has huge waves that are reef breaks. This island has many professional surfers come to stay and the size of the waves is usually recommended for more advanced surfers. As a beginner/intermediate surfer I found the size of the waves intimidating. Thulusdhoo also has one of the best rooftop infinity pools in the Maldives. Read my full Thulusdhoo island guide here. 

Maldives on the cheap Thulusdhoo Local Island Maldives
Best Rooftop Swimming Pool – best local islands Maldives

Best Local Islands in Maldives near Male Airport

If you don’t want another flight or a long speedboat ride, then stay on local islands near to Male in Kaafu atoll. The following islands are all the best local islands near Male airport:

Gulhi

Thulusdhoo

Guraidhoo

Maafushi

For more information about visiting the Maldives read the following articles:

Maldives Packing List

Maldives 101: Everything you need to know

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