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With over a 1000 islands, it can be difficult to decide which Maldives island to visit so when planning where to stay in the Maldives, consider a visit to the beautiful Maldives island of Thoddoo. Thoddoo is the best local island to visit if you like a Maldives island with long beautiful white sand beaches, snorkelling with turtles and if you want to visit the authentic Maldives and not just stay in a luxury resort. You can read here about the differences between local islands (or Maldives public islands as some people call them) and resort islands in the Maldives.
Thoddoo: Local Island Guide- Island Overview
Thoddoo is in North Ari Atoll and is a speedboat ride away from the main international airport in the Maldives near Male. It is an island with lots of agriculture meaning it is very green and full of plantations. It is well-known for its watermelons as there are huge fields growing watermelons specifically for Ramadan in the Maldives. They also grow papaya and coconuts. It is the best island to snorkel with turtles in the Maldives (I saw turtles every time I went in the water!) and Thoddoo has some of the most affordable hotels in the Maldives.
Top things to do in the Maldives: What to do in Thoddoo
What are the best things to do in Thoddoo? I spent 4 days there and it’s very hard to say which was my favourite activity to do in Thoddoo. Snorkelling with the turtles, walking along the beautiful Maldivian beaches, cycling around the island, taking photos with the palm trees and eating delicious local Maldivian food and sipping fresh coconuts were all high on my list of what to do in Thoddoo.
Snorkelling in Thoddoo
My favourite Maldives activity is snorkelling. Thoddoo is a great place to snorkel in the Maldives mainly because you can snorkel with turtles right off bikini beach. The marine life in the Maldives is absolutely amazing and one of the reasons why I love living there. In Thoddoo, you can see hawksbill turtles feeding on algae growing on some boulders near the beach. They were so relaxed, not bothered by humans and continued swimming and feeding as if we weren’t even there! Out of all of the local islands I have visited so far, Thoddoo is the best island to see turtles in my humble opinion. Every time I went into the water, I saw turtles and you can even see them coming up to breathe when walking along the beaches.
Is there a bikini beach in Thoddoo?
Yes! Thoddoo has a beautiful, large bikini beach which when I went in February was not particularly busy. The rest of the beaches around the island were completely deserted and a great place to stroll around and swim. On other beaches around Thoddoo, it is not permitted to wear a bikini or swimsuit, so take a rash vest and shorts or water leggings to experience these beautiful quiet Maldives beaches away from the other tourists. For advice on what to pack in the Maldives, read my ideal Maldives packing list here.
Scuba Diving in Thoddoo Local Island
Scuba Diving in Thoddoo is supposed to be great. I have been scuba diving in Rasdhoo, a nearby local island and saw really healthy reefs and loads of marine life so Thoddoo is definitely going to be a great place for scuba diving as well. If you are a beginner scuba diver then consider doing an Open Water course through PADI or SSI and the local dive shops so that you can become a qualified scuba diver.
Where to stay in the Maldives: Thoddoo
As one of the best budget local islands in the Maldives, Thoddoo island is perfect if you are looking for a cheap stay in the Maldives and affordable accommodation for the best Maldives holiday. We stayed at this awesome guesthouse called Thoddoo In (Agoda link) or (Booking.com link) which included a yummy vegetarian friendly breakfast every morning of orange juice, pancakes and watermelon. There were many affordable guesthouses in Thoddoo and I am very glad that I selected the one we stayed in. The rooms were big, clean and the staff were very friendly, letting us use bicycles and a motorbike for free to explore the island. They had tea and coffee available at any time of the day and a cute courtyard where we ate breakfast. The room rate was very cheap and we received a discount as a local/work permit holder rate.
Restaurants in Thoddoo: Where to eat
Thoddoo has various restaurants where you can eat yummy local Maldivian food and one Russian owned restaurant called the Black Anchor which serves more international food. I recommend enjoying kottu roshi, my favourite Maldivian dish that can be made vegetarian.
Transport: Getting to Thoddoo local island
Getting to Thoddoo from Male or the airport. The best way to travel to Thoddoo is by speedboat. It takes approximately 1 hour 20 minutes from the airport to Thoddoo island. The speedboats are safe, will provide life jackets but as it is quite far don’t expect an entirely un-bumpy ride! There is a toilet on board.
The speedboat goes from the airport & Male to Thoddoo every day at 11:00 AM and 16:00 PM every day. Return time is 7am and 1pm from Thoddoo back to Male/airport.
Cost is $35.00 per person per one way for tourist price. For locals and work permit holders we paid 250 rufiya one way.
Thoddoo Island Location
Thoddoo island is in North Ari atoll and about an hour and 20 minutes from Male and from the airport. To get to Thoddoo island you can take a speedboat from the airport. You can ask your guesthouse in Thoddoo to arrange this for you as they may even offer you a discount!
For more about the best islands to visit in the Maldives, check out my local island guide with all you need to know about staying on and visiting Maldives islands.
Check out Fuvahmulah island for the best diving in the Maldives and my entire life!
For more budget islands closer to the airport and near to Male, try Maafushi for cheap watersports, Thulusdhoo for surfing and diving, Gulhi for the best beach in the Maldives or Dhiffushi for the tiniest island!
For help with what to pack when visiting the Maldives and staying on local islands, read my Maldives packing guide what to wear and what to take to a hot Islamic country!
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