Maafushi is roughly translated to ‘big island’, it has a range of hotels from budget to luxury but it’s generally better for backpackers or those on a tight budget.
Where to stay:
The island is so small that there is no ‘bad’ place to stay, you’ll only ever be a 10 minute walk from anywhere. We stayed at Alaka which is at the south end of the island, it was absolutely perfect, rooms are clean and spacious, they are cleaned every day and a buffet breakfast is included.
Getting to Maafushi using public transport is really easy and cheap, click HERE to read a separate post I’ve done on getting there.
What to do:
There was so much to do on Maafushi, compared to other islands in the Maldives, these are a few of our favourite things to do.
1. Snorkelling, trips can be booked through any hotel, we chose a half day trip including lunch and a trip to a sand bank, booked through Kuredhi beach inn for $20/pp, then a few days later we did a 2 hour tour for $10/pp booked through the Beachwood hotel.
2. Water sports, anything from paddle boards and to jet skis can be hired by the hour from a couple of places close to the beach. We hired a canoe for $15/hour.
3. Stingrays and baby sharks can be seen along the coast line every night, borrow a torch from your hotel reception and see how many you can count.
4. Bikini beach, its right at the north end of the island and it’s the only place you are allowed to dress in a bikini, we visited during low season and the beach was mostly peaceful, although it’s small and I imagine gets crowded during high season. If your not bothered about being in a bikini then the public beach on the east side of the island was completely deserted.
5. Beautiful sunsets, each day the times of sunset and sunrise are written on a board close to the main water sports beach, sunrise is best seen on the public beach (east) and sunset on the water sports beach (west).
Even through this is one of the more active islands we still felt a little bit restless after 8 nights here, in hindsight 6 days would have been perfect with the other 2 spent exploring a smaller island.
Where to eat:
We were on Maafushi island for 8 days, we had some fantastic food but also some disappointing food, our favourite place to eat was actually the hotel (Alaka), food had to be ordered a few hours in advance especially if you wanted a whole fish, even if your not staying here I recommend the grilled fish.
If you’re wanting a proper pizza, head to Mama Mia, it’s the only Italian on Maafushi. The evening buffet at the Arena hotel is also amazing although a little more expensive.
For lunch there is one small bakery on the island, it’s absolutely perfect for a light bite that you can take to the beach with you.
There is one ATM on the island, its towards the south end on the Main Street.
There is one gym on the island which is open to everyone, it’s $10/day or $5 during happy hour, a week pass is $25.
There are 4 or 5 supermarkets clustered around the north end of the island and a handful of smaller shops dotted around. You can buy everything you need on the island including sunscreen (although it’s cheaper to bring your own or buy it in Hulhumale).
It’s illegal to drink alcohol in the Maldives unless you are on a private island. There is a boat harboured just off shore, it’s allowed to serve alcohol through the loophole that it’s technically it’s own private island. We didn’t visit it so can’t review.