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Best Local Islands Maldives

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

Budget Maldives: Maafushi Island

Maafushi Maldives Review
Maafushi island is well known for being a fun local island in the Maldives and is one of the best islands to visit for a cheap Maldives holiday. Maafushi offers lots of cheap water sports and water activities and you can find decent budget accommodation here. It is a local island close to Male and only takes about 20-25 minutes by speedboat from Male or the airport.
Maafushi welcome to the island sign
Maldives on a Budget – What to do in Maafushi
Maafushi Water Sports

Maafushi is one of the best Maldives islands for water sports. Water sports such as jet skiing, SUP, kayaking, banana boats and parasailing are very popular activities to do here. The cost of water sports is cheap in Maafushi, especially in comparison with water sport prices on other islands in the Maldives. For example jetskiing can be as cheap as $30 for half an hour.

Snorkelling in Maafushi
Snorkelling was disappointing off of bikini beach but snorkelling trips will take you to better snorkel sites. However the marine life in Maafushi was still great as we saw two turtles while jetskiing (and I was very wary of hitting them) and we saw spinner dolphins from the beach on several occasions.
Cheap Scuba Diving in Maafushi
Maafushi has some great dive spots nearby and very cheap rates for scuba diving. The cost of diving is approximately $40 per scuba dive including equipment. I really enjoyed the marine life diving near Maafushi and the coral was some of the best coral I have seen in the Maldives so far. On a nearby dive site we spotted white tip reef sharks, turtles, eels, a peacock mantis shrimp and also did a great wreck dive.
Maldives Budget Accommodation: Where to stay in Maafushi
You can find some very cheap hotels in Maafushi and it is a great island to stay on if you are on a budget Maldives trip. I usually compare prices on booking.com. The cost of hotels in Maafushi usually start from $30 per night up.

 

Bikini Beach in Maafushi
Maafushi has a small bikini beach found at the end of the island between two rocky areas. There are some nice swings for photos at the beach but the sea and beach was quite crowded when I visited. It also has large hotel buildings overlooking the beach so the view is definitely not as beautiful as other islands which have more natural backgrounds to the beach.
life is better at the beach sign
Maafushi Budget Hotel: Kaani Village and Spa Review
I stayed at this great accommodation when visiting Maafushi. The rooms were basic but clean and I liked the bathrooms. The swimming pool was the best feature of the hotel and we had some great photos taken here with the greenery in the background. The hotel were very helpful and even lent snorkelling equipment to us free of charge. If you work in the Maldives or are a Maldivian National, ask for a work permit discount. There was also no issue with mixed nationality couples (Maldivian + Foreigner) staying together.

Photo of me by a swimming pool in Maafushi
One of the few hotels with a swimming pool in Maafushi with reasonable rates

Drinking alcohol in Maafushi
While it is not possible to drink or purchase alcohol on local islands in the Maldives, Maafushi has access to liveaboard safari boats which means you can drink alcohol at these floating bars in Maafushi. These bars are party boats with a small dancefloor, disco lights and DJs. Alcohol is not expensive considering what they could charge ($5 a beer or $8 spirit and a mixer). Don’t expect any fancy cocktails even though they are listed on the menu! These floating bars cannot be found on many local islands so this makes Maafushi a top Maldives destination and  one of the best party islands in the Maldives.
Transport to Maafushi from Male
The best way of getting to Maafushi from Male is by speedboat. You can book onto a speedboat by calling this number and these are the timings. Additional boats go at different times so ask about other speedboat companies too. Bear in mind that if you have an early flight which is outside of these timings then you may need to pay for a private boat which is expensive. The speedboat to Maafushi costs approximately $20 per person for tourist rate and work permit/Maldivian National rate is 100 rufiya.

Budget Maldives cheap travel top Maafushi
Regular Speedboats to Maafushi

Maafushi Location
Maafushi is located in Kaafu Atoll, not far from the capital Male and the Maldives main international airport Velana. This means that Maafushi is very easy to travel to as you can access the island via speedboat and there is no need for expensive domestic flights to get there.
Maafushi Restaurants: Where to Eat
I enjoyed the local food in Maafushi as always but no one restaurant in particular stood out. Many restaurants connected with hotels offered buffet options but will also offer a la carte if you ask for a menu. Make sure you ask for ‘no straws’ when ordering drinks as Maafushi is still using plastic straws.
For a quieter alternative island to Maafushi, consider staying in Gulhi, a nearby island which has the best beach in the Maldives!
Visit an alternative local island where you can also drink at floating bars, and another really beautiful island is Thulusdhoo local island.
For more overviews and frequently asked questions about local islands read this post.
For the best scuba diving in the Maldives – read my blog post about cheap diving in Fuvahmulah island
For snorkels with turtles, check out Thoddoo local island!
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