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Tourism on the local islands of the Maldives began to develop in 2009-2010, when the country relaxed tourist rules, allowing guests not to restrict themselves to resort islands, but to expand their geography and visit the territories where the local population lives.

This type of recreation allows tourists to see the country from the inside , explore the culture and traditions, national cuisine and entertainment, and just chat with hospitable locals in a relaxed atmosphere .

If you are looking to experience the real Maldivian life, check out our selection of the best local islands and plan your unforgettable vacation.

Asad Photo Maldives
Asad Photo Maldives

Maafushi

Maafushi Island is located 26 kilometers from Velana International Airport and is one of the pioneers of the Maldives' budget and guest tourism industry.

Today, this small, distinctive island has a developed tourist infrastructure and dozens of beautiful guest houses, where, for a reasonable fee, guests can enjoy the sun, sea and sand, as well as get acquainted with the culture and life of the local population.

Since the Maldives is a Muslim state, resting on the local islands, you should respect local customs and dress with restraint, both in public places and during a beach holiday.

The only place on Maafushi where tourists are allowed to wear a swimsuit is Bikini Beach, located in the center of the tourist part of the island. This small well-kept beach is quite popular with tourists. Here you can enjoy a cocktail or fresh coconut, have a snack, explore the house reef, choose one of the fun water activities and end a busy day with a romantic dinner with your significant other.

In addition, while resting on Maafushi, guests can:

  • go on a tour of the sandbanks or nearby island resorts;
  • visit the capital of the Maldives - the city of Male;
  • watch dolphins during safari;
  • organize day or night fishing followed by a barbecue;
  • visit the floating bar and get acquainted with the range of alcoholic beverages;
  • walk around the island, immersed in the leisurely, measured pace of island life.

How to get there: by public ferry or speedboat.

Where to stay:

  • Crystal Sands is a modern guest house with a garden near Bikini Beach. The approximate price is $90 (hereinafter the price is indicated for a room with breakfast , tax is paid additionally );
  • White Shell Island Hotel & Spa is a guest house near Bikini Beach. The approximate price is $55.
Learn more about Maafushi from the article.

Depositphotos
Depositphotos

Dharavandoo

This beautiful island with lush greenery is home to the country's most popular domestic airport, making it easy to get here from Male. After spending about half an hour on the flight to Dharavandhoo and covering a distance of about 117 kilometers, you will find yourself in one of the most famous and beautiful places in the Maldives. After all, it is here, in the waters of Baa Atoll, that an amazing miracle of nature is located - the famous Hanifaru Bay, where you can see huge concentrations of manta rays and whale sharks, and also swim with them.

Read more about the unique nature reserve Hanifaru here .

In the northwestern part of the island is Bikini Beach, exclusively for tourists. Shady trees provide shelter from the scorching sun, and the island's home reef, which stretches along the beach strip, offers many colorful tropical fish, rays and even whale sharks.

For those wishing to look deeper into the underwater kingdom, island diving centers offer to visit more than 30 interesting locations in Baa Atoll, including: Aidhoo Tila, Wella Faru, Nelivaru Tila and others. The estimated cost of one dive is about 60 USD.

In addition to water activities, fishing, excursions, wilderness picnics and local crafts, Dharavandhoo guests can visit one of the Baa Atoll resorts that are open to visitors, such as Coco Palm Dhuni ColhuKihaa Maldives or Royal Island. Most of the guesthouses can help you arrange a day trip.

How to get there: by domestic flight from Male or by speedboat.

Where to stay:

  • Madi Finolhu Guest House is a nice guest house with playground and private beach. Estimated price - $ 70;
  • Biosphere Inn is a mini-hotel with a private beach and free bike rental. Estimated price - $ 77.
Learn more about Dharavandhoo from the article.

Mohamed Nazeef
Mohamed Nazeef

Ukulhas

This unique eco- island, which is part of an atoll of North Ari, known as the first in the history of the Maldives island with systematic removal of waste and was the award-winning Green Leaf for its contribution to the protection from and storing e environment.

Tourism here has started to evolve relatively recently, and n he first tourists officially visited Ukulhas al in 2012.

The main attraction of the island is its clean beach, complete with sun loungers, umbrellas and lush tropical vegetation. The idyllic picture of nature is complemented by a beautiful house reef, densely populated by underwater inhabitants. Here you can meet a variety of fish and cuttlefish, turtles, octopuses and rays. After exploring the house reef, guests of the island can head to unique dive spots such as Maaya Thila, Fish Head and Hafsa Thila .

Given the short distance from the hotels to the beach, the island is well suited for families with children. Also, young tourists will appreciate the Kudakudhinge Ufa children's park, equipped with playgrounds, shaded structures, a trampoline and other entertainment facilities. The park is decorated with a beautiful pond with a variety of fish.

Periodically, musical events are held on the island, during which vacationers can get acquainted with national music and dance to the rhythms of the boduberu.

Local hotels organize beach and sandbank dinners for tourists. The island is famous for its fishing, so the basic elements m food here is fish and seafood. However, in addition to this, local restaurants and eateries offer guests a variety of Western, Eastern, Indian, Thai, Continental and national cuisines. Popular Hedhika snacks include grilled fish with grated coconut and lime juice and the famous boakibaa fish pie. Of the most popular establishments on the island, it is worth highlighting:

  • Retro Royal restaurant , famous for its wide selection of seafood,
  • Café SeaLaVie, which offers a varied menu and reasonable prices,
  • Home Beach Cafe with a friendly local atmosphere, delicious cuisine (including Indian) and affordable prices.

The island has several grocery stores (which cannot boast a very wide range), a school, a medical facility, a Body Work gym and a mosque.

How to get there: by public ferry, speedboat and seaplane.

Where to stay:

  • Olhumathi View Inn is an affordable guest house with a private beach, children's playground, BBQ facilities. Estimated price - $ 50;
  • Ukulhas Beach Inn is a mini-hotel with a private beach and a fitness center. Estimated price - $ 60 per villa.
More details about used Ukulhas learn from the article.

Depositphotos
Depositphotos

Dhigurah

Translated from Maldivian "dhigurah" means "long island", and it fully lives up to its name. In fact, the length of this island is more than 3 kilometers with a maximum width of about 250 meters.

The main natural attractions of the island are: the cleanest and longest beach in South Ari Atoll, a large lagoon and a house reef where you can meet manta rays and whale sharks. By the way, the waters of the Ari atoll are known as the year-round habitats of these representatives of the underwater world, and special safaris are called to meet with them.

The island offers great opportunities for divers of all levels. In addition to whale sharks, more than a thousand species of fish and sea creatures live here, including: turtles, needle fish, napoleon, moray eel and many others. There are more than 30 diving points in the vicinity of the island , including such famous locations as: Kuda Rah Thila, Broken Rock and Manta Point .

For leisure, there are traditional Maldivian entertainment: water sports, day and night fishing, barbecue picnics, watching dolphins and whale sharks. In addition, private cooking classes with local residents and one-day visits to resorts such as Vilamendhoo Island , Centara Grand Island and Conrad Maldives are organized.

One of the most popular restaurants on the island is Hermit's, where you can taste both local and European dishes, from traditional Mas huni (tuna with coconut) to the usual pizza and burgers.

How to get there: Domestic flight, speedboat or public ferry.

Where to stay:

  • Bliss Dhigurah is a comfortable guest house with a private beach, fitness center and sun terrace. Estimated price - about USD 120 per room with breakfast, tax included.
Book a room at Hotel Bliss Dhigurah here.

Abdulla Abeedh
Abdulla Abeedh

Thoddoo

Another picturesque island of the North Ari atoll, located about 70 kilometers from Male, invites guests to relax on its small but well-groomed beaches (one of which you can wear a bikini), admire the house reef and plunge into the atmosphere of island life.

Tourism on the island began to develop only in 2015, and today, along with agriculture, tourism is the basis of its economy.

Tourists who choose to rest on Thoddoo will not be bored. In addition to diving, snorkeling, various water activities and excursions, you can rent a bike on the island and explore all its nooks and crannies. Thoddoo is widely known for its abundance of fruits and vegetables. Therefore, while here, you should definitely take the opportunity and go on a tour to fruit plantations, where you can enjoy the taste of fresh fruits while the guide tells you about the peculiarities of their cultivation.

Alternatively, take a short trip to the nearby islands of Rasdhoo and Ukulhas using the local ferry network. When planning such a trip, it should be borne in mind that ferries in the Maldives are not a sufficiently reliable mode of transport, so be sure to check the schedule at your guest house before traveling.

The island has mosques, a school, a football field, a gym, a hospital, as well as shops, cafes and restaurants. Of the latter, it is worth highlighting:

  • Black Ancor (mainly European and Mediterranean cuisine, as well as seafood);
  • Priani (seafood, Italian and European cuisine, including pizza and vegetarian options);
  • Lagoon (European cuisine).

How to get there: by public ferry, speedboat or seaplane.

Where to stay:

  • Palm Garden is a guest house with a private beach, free parking and a playground. Estimated price - $ 55.
Learn more about Thoddoo from the article.

Depositphotos
Depositphotos

Rasdhoo

It is located in the neighborhood (20 kilometers) with the island of Thoddoo and is part of the North Ari atoll.

The island is famous for its beautiful beach, which is also one of the largest bikini beaches in the Maldives. The island is surrounded by a beautiful house reef. Diving in Rasdhoo is known for encounters with large fish species, in particular, the hammerhead shark. In addition, it is home to vibrant reef fish, hawk and green turtles, barracudas, gray reef sharks, whitetip sharks and schools of eagle rays.

Island entertainment includes a variety of water activities, picnics, safaris, island tours, shark and ray feeding.

Tourists who want to experience all the benefits of a luxury holiday in the Maldives, can go on day trips to the Resort of Kuramathi Maldives and Veligandu Island Resort & Spa.

There are several grocery and souvenir shops on the island, where you can buy both basic necessities and gifts.

How to get there: public ferry, public or private speed boat, seaplane.

Where to stay:

  • Acqua Blu Rasdhoo is a 3-star guest house with a garden, fitness center, playground and free bike rental. Estimated price - $ 70;
  • Quicksand Rasdhoo - Guest house next to bikini beach. Estimated price - $ 50 per villa.
You will learn more about Rasdhoo from the article.

Maahid Photos
Maahid Photos

Thulusdhoo

It is located at a distance of about 30 kilometers from Male and is the capital of the Kaafu Atoll. The island is considered one of the best surfing spots in the Maldives, as it is here that the world famous Chickens, Cokes and Coca Cola spots are located.

Read more about surfing in the Maldives here.

The island has a bikini beach where you can cool off in the clear ocean water and sunbathe on a sun lounger.

In addition to beach recreation, diving and snorkeling, walks along the picturesque village streets and entertainment traditional for most of the local islands, here you can take a short but informative excursion to the Coca Cola factory. Its uniqueness lies in the fact that it is the only Coca Cola plant in the world that uses desalinated water.

How to get there: by speedboat or public ferry.

Where to stay:

  • Season Paradise is a comfortable guest house next to the bikini beach, with a swimming pool, fitness center and evening entertainment. The approximate price is $ 130;
  • Met House is a nice guesthouse just steps from Bikini Beach with a garden and free parking. Estimated price - $ 140.
Learn more about Thulusdhoo in the article.

Depositphotos
Depositphotos

Guraidhoo

This small, picturesque island is located about 30 kilometers from Male. Near Guraidhoo, there are popular surfer spots such as Riptides and Foxy's.

The island beach is clean and well maintained. The reef is quite far from the island, but the hosts of the guesthouses will be happy to help you organize a trip to explore it. In addition to helping with leisure activities, some guest houses offer spa and massage services.

A short walk across the footbridge will take you to Lhosfushi, a deserted island specially designed for tourists, where bikini sunbathing is allowed.

One of the most popular and inexpensive restaurants on the island is Amore, serving local, international, Asian and vegetarian cuisine.

How to get there: by public ferry or speedboat.

Where to stay:

  • Rosy Villa Hotel - a hotel a few steps from the beach with a playground and billiards. Estimated price - 60 USD;
  • Ithaa Beach Maldives is a guest house with a private beach area and water sports facilities. Estimated price - $ 100.

Depositphotos
Depositphotos

Fuvahmulah

According to many Maldivians, the largest island - odes and n of the most beautiful in the Maldives archipelago. Fuvahmulah is located near the equator at a distance of 500 kilometers from Male and has a number of features that make it unique.

There are mangroves, two freshwater lakes and vast wetlands are boiling Xia home etc. A variety of plant and animal species, which is no longer anywhere in the Maldives. The waters are home to over 1200 species of fish, including tiger and whale sharks, as well as hammerhead sharks. H and one dive in Fuvahmulah divers can see up to 7 species of rare sharks, making diving is spectacular. One of the local people's entertainment is hand-catching flying fish, large concentrations of which appear here every year at the end of the southwest monsoon season. In addition, there are over 160 bird species on the island.

The island is the largest mango producer in the Maldives. Pineapples and oranges are also grown here, which are not found anywhere else in the country.

However, the main highlight of the island is the unique "Thundu" beach, covered with unusually smooth and shiny white pebbles. Such pebbles are found only on this beach located in the northern part of the island. In addition, a natural phenomenon called "Bissaaveli" periodically occurs here, when some of the beach sand moves from the coast to the paradise of the reef, creating a shallow lagoon suitable for swimming.

And on the southeast coast, there are places covered only with black pebbles, which is quite unusual for the Maldives, widely known for their white beaches.

In general, the island has a well-developed infrastructure, shops, restaurants and eateries, good beaches, a wide range of water activities and excursions. And the most energetic tourists, along with the locals, can take part in football and volleyball games.

How to get there: flight domestic flight from Malé.

Where to stay:

  • Calyx Grand Fuvahmulah is a guest house with a private beach and the possibility of renting a bike and car. Estimated price - $ 70;
  • Veyli Residence is a guest house near the beach with a well-groomed green area. Estimated price - $ 75.

Tholaal Mohamed
Tholaal Mohamed

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