About 26 km from Malé – the capital city of The Maldives, Maafushi is a local island that is well worth your time. Part of South Malé Atoll, this inhabited island is famous for its guesthouse tourism. This is where public island tourism began, making Maldives affordable to budget travellers. Let’s take a look at all the activities and things to do in Maafushi Island.
It is important to understand that Maldives’ history and culture are rooted in Islam. If you book the South Malé local island hopping tour, you will have a Maldivian tour guide to offer insights on the lives of the local villagers. It is also possible to explore Maafushi all by yourself. Here’s how:
#1 Admire the Street Art
Maafushi is brimming with caricatures and colours. As you walk along the quaint sandy streets of this little island, you will notice how talented the youth are. There is graffiti on every other wall, and most dive centres sport some form of chalk art. The widespread theme of all the artworks is the marine biodiversity of this part of the Indian Ocean.
Turtles, whale sharks, sponges, manta rays, wrasses, corals and a variety of fishes dominate the brick-walled canvas of Maafushi. You will also notice sketches of locally found tropical fruits and delicacies, apart from edgy depictions of water sport activities like surfing, snorkelling and deep sea diving.
#2 Sunbathe on the Bikini Beach
Remember that Maafushi is an inhabited island, and all of its public beaches require that you dress modestly, meaning, no bikinis, short clothes, body-tight outfits or see-through fabrics. However, bikini beaches are exceptions.
Maafushi’s Bikini Beach is located in an isolated part of the island which is separated from the rest of the public beach by trees that act as a partition. This is the only place on the isle where you can flaunt your revealing swimwear and soak in the Maldivian sun. Rub on some sunscreen and laze on the sunbeds that are available free of cost.
#3 Resort Day Trips
The Maldivian archipelago is full of opulent private island resorts. While these are exorbitantly priced and not every traveller can afford to book a stay there, it is possible to tour these properties as part of Maldives’ full day tours. In Maafushi, you can find affordable guest houses in The Maldives and still enjoy a bit of luxury.
Choose from different resort day trips from Maafushi at prices that start from just USD 15. For high-end services such as access to a private beach canopy, buffet lunch, snorkelling, a spa session, beach towels, bodu beru performance and the liberty to use the public swimming pool and roam throughout the property, rates often cross USD 200.
Some gorgeous 5-star Maldives water villas that offers resort day trips are:
- Adaaran Club Rannalhi
- Paradise Island Resort
- Anantara Dhigu
- Taj Exotica
- Sun Siyam Olhuveli
- Adaaran Prestige Vadoo.
#4 Sandbank Tours
One of the relaxing activities to do in Maldives is to visit a secluded sandbank and take in its serenity. Maafushi offers a number of sandbank tours which sometimes include snorkelling on the house reef, a picnic with a pre-packed meal and drinks from the ice box in the speedboat, and even dolphin spotting along the way.
Options include Furafathi sandbar (or Sexy Beach) which costs just USD 25, and is only 15 minutes from Maafushi. For honeymooning couples, this sandbar with the glowing ocean as the backdrop is great for photo shoots.
Biyahoo reef is another alternative for a satisfying lunch on the sandbank. This Maldives day tour also includes snorkelling excursions to Turtle Reef to spot turtles and a myriad fish such as clownfish (Nemo), groupers and others.
#5 Enjoy a Drink at a Floating Bar
Drinking is prohibited on local islands. However, Maafushi is one of those few islands in The Maldives that have floating bars to go around this rule. A floating bar is basically a yacht that serves alcohol. Docked about 500 metres from the island, these floating bars can be reached via free shuttles (which are smaller boats, sometimes operated by the hotels on the isle).
Once aboard, you can not only sip on your drink but also enjoy the mesmerizing sunset if you visit around that time. Expect to pay about USD 5 for a can of beer and USD 8 for hard drinks. The options are limited, so you may not always get your choice of wine or vodka.
Some floating bars also have a TV lounge with plush sofas to enjoy your tipple. Currently, there are 3 floating bars in Maafushi – Kaani Princess, Ushva and Sharifa. Late night parties can be awesome here as they stay open until 1:30 AM max.
#6 Underwater Scooter Ride
If you are looking to book activities in Maldives that are unusual yet exciting, try the underwater scooter ride. Presently available only in Maafushi, underwater scooter riding is the answer to what to do in Maldives for non-swimmers. You don’t even need a certification, license or any previous experience, unlike those required for regular scooters on land.
This novel concept uses the same principle as seabed walking to keep the rider’s head dry. An underwater scooter can take 1 or 2 riders at the same time, allowing them to breathe normally through the nose. The oxygen cylinder is affixed to the scooter, and you need not take off your specs if you wear any.
Explore the underwater world as your guide steers the submarine scooter. Watch schooling fish, hard and soft corals, seaweeds and other vibrant marine flora and fauna. The maximum speed possible is 2 kmph while this underwater submarine scooter can reach a depth of 5 metres.
#7 Sing Along with the Karaoke
While on land, you will not find any traditional bar that offers alcohol, but you will find a few karaoke bars. If you like to sing or are thinking of what to do in Maldives with family, Maafushi has some fun karaoke bars where you will be able to sing popular songs in English, Hindi and a few other foreign languages.
Some hotels in Maafushi that offer karaoke are Kaani Beach Hotel, Maafushi Inn and Arena Beach Hotel. In fact, there is also a karaoke lounge on Kaani Princess – one of the yachts that serves as a floating bar!
#8 Book a Spa Treatment
Even if it’s not a part of your Maldives vacation package, spa sessions are worth the price and also one of the best things to do in Maldives solo. When you have tired your limbs swimming all day or worn out your feet walking about the island, a relaxing massage or an Ayurveda therapy can do wonders to your energy levels.
Maafushi has over 70 guesthouses, and many of the hotels have a dedicated spa. While Oak Spa is the only standalone spa on this island, you will find good spa therapists at hotels such as Kaani Village & Spa, Triton Beach Hotel & Spa, Aquzz Inn, Kaani Grand Seaview, Ufaa Health & Spa, Kaani Beach Hotel and Hotel Beachwood & Spa.
The full experience includes a cold towel before the service, choice of facials, foot massages, full body massages and even Ayurvedic therapies, and a cup of green tea after the session. Prices for an hour are generally around USD 50.
#9 Chill on Velana Beach
Maafushi is just 2 km in length and not even 500 metre wide. It is literally possible to see across the island when you look through an empty lane. Velana is a public beach on the side opposite to the main arrival jetty.
More peaceful than the busy bikini beach or the main beach in the front part of the island, Velana Beach is perfect for those searching for some solitude. It is one of the best public beaches in Maldives. Watch the stray boats anchored by the rocky shore or pose at the selfie-points. There is a lot of scope for photography since this place is naturally beautiful, needing no edits.
#10 Night Fishing
Maldives’ weather permitting, night fishing is a thrilling activity for all ages. Most hotels in Maafushi offer night fishing which typically begins at 5 PM, just before sunset. It is one of the popular things to do in Maldives at Night. Typically, the traditional Maldivian style of fishing is employed on these tours, wherein you are given a line with a hook at one end. A medium sized fish is attached to the hook as bait.
The speedboat tenders at a certain place in the deep sea as the guide tells you to lower your hook into the water. As soon as you feel a tug on your fishing line, you must alert your guide so he can help you pull out your catch. Some hotels in Maafushi Island will even let you eat your catch when the chef serves it for dinner. You might also be able to barbecue it yourself. The joy of eating your catch after a successful evening of fishing is amazing!
There are so many activities and things to do in Maafushi Island that you’ll find 10 days insufficient for your vacation. From romantic dinner dates on the beach, shopping for souvenirs, walking tours and hedika tasting at a local café to diving, snorkelling, dolphin and whale shark watching, and water sports like waterskiing, surfing, jet skiing, windsurfing and flyboarding, the list is endless.