No doubt Maldives is famous for its luxury island resorts with all the comforts money can buy, but its also possible to travel to Maldives on a budget and enjoy the Maldivian island life on a tight budget.
On your holiday to Maldives you could stay on a luxury resort island or stay on a local island and experience the real Maldivian culture and island life on a budget.In 2010 the Maldivian government opened up local islands for tourism
When we first travelled to the Maldives, we had stayed in a beautiful & luxurious island resort and wanted a different experience on the second visit. Moreover as this was a dive trip we wanted budget accommodation, and headed to Maafushi, one of the inhabited islands of South Male’ Atoll, located 27 km away from the capital city of Male’.
Maafushi is a perfect holiday destination for budget travellers, with a range of affordable hotels, guest houses and restaurants.
Getting to Maafushi
Travelling to and fro the islands in Maldives is done by ferries, sea planes , speed boats and luxury yachts. There are two ways to get to Maafushi from the capital Male’:
Ferry from Male’ to Maafushi takes about one and half hours and costs around 30 MVR per person one way.
After arriving at the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport take airport ferry to Male’ ( the airport is on an island close to the capital ).This will cost you around 10 MVR per person, one way and the journey takes about 10 minutes.On reaching Male’ take a taxi to the Villingili Ferry Terminal. The taxi ride takes around 10 min and costs around 30 MVR.Ferry from this terminal to Maafushi island leaves at 3.00 PM daily.
Note : There are no ferries to and from Maafushi on Fridays.
Speed boats pick you up from the airport and take only half an hour to reach Maafushi.Speed boat transfers cost around 180 usd one way.Bigger groups will find speed boats convenient and economical as the costs can be shared.
Talk to your hotel / guest house to arrange a speed boat pick up.
Maafushi has a range of affordable hotels and guesthouses.The ones located away from the sea front are cheaper than the ones on the sea front – this hardly matters as the island is small and everything is within walking distance.
We stayed at Venturo Maldives.A basic and small hotel offering bed and breakfast at 60usd a night ( this was in peak Christmas season, expect much lower prices otherwise )- a basic and value for money hotel.
Kaani Beach Hotel and Kaani Village and Spa are recommended if budget is not your only priority when deciding where to stay.They offer twin sharing rooms with breakfast at 100usd plus.
The island has restaurants serving variety of cuisines. Meal costs for 2 would be around 10 – 30 usd , depending on where you eat.
Things to do in Maafushi
Almost everything to do with sea and water sports- from chilling on the beach to scuba diving.All hotels organise day trips to scenic picnic islands , snorkelling trips to reefs close by , fishing , snorkelling with manta rays and whale sharks.
There are three dive centers in Maafushi.We highly recommend Maldives Passions Dive School, an extremely professional,well organised and super fun dive center.They are one of the best dive centers we have dived with.
The Sampa spa at the Kaani village and Spa is highly recommended if you want to pamper yourself after all the activities at sea.The therapists are from Thailand and are very well trained.
Maafushi island has a water sport center which had activities like sailing, kite surfing, banana boat ride, sea scooter ride.