Turquoise waters and powdery white sands greet every traveller who arrives in The Maldives. This country seems quite small on the world map but is actually composed of about 1,200 little islands! To explore the secrets of some of the local islands of this paradise, sign up for the South Malé local island hopping trip among many other tours that give you an insider’s view of the country.
The Maldives is made up of umpteen atolls which are essentially clusters of small islands. While a majority of the isles serve as private islands for the luxury resorts that they cater to, about 200 islands of The Maldives are reserved for the Maldivian locals. Often referred to as public islands, the tourist activity there is limited. However, that is changing as travellers become more keen on meaningful vacations, beyond the touristy traps.
Dhivehi – local language of The Maldives is easily understood by most locals, with slight variations in the dialect as you move from island to island. Nevertheless, on tourist islands and in all hotels and guest houses in The Maldives, the hospitality staff are fluent in English and even some other foreign languages in certain cases.
South Malé Local Island Hopping Tour Timings & Fee
The South Malé local island hopping trip is held on each day of the week. In case it is cancelled due to government mandates or bad weather, you will be informed otherwise. The tour starts at 10 AM so you can come well rested, without having to rush out of your hotel on an empty stomach. Like most Maldives full day tours, the island hop ends before sunset, at about 4:30 PM.
For all adults (13+ years), the tour price is USD 260 per head. If you are travelling with toddlers, they will not be charged as long as they are below 6 years of age. However, if your child is between 6 years and 12 years, you will need to pay half the adult ticket price, which works out to be USD 130 per kid.
The tour fee includes all of the local Maldivian taxes, so you need not worry about shelling out extra. A 16% GST and an additional 10% service charge are levied on the base ticket price. The tour fee is inclusive of the return speedboat transfer from Hulhumalé, lunch at a local café, local tour guide charges and the rentals for snorkeling kits and buoyancy aids.
Full Day South Malé Local Island Hopping Tour Experience
South Malé is one of the atolls of The Maldives. This atoll itself is home to several islands, some local and some private tourist islands. As part of your Maldives vacation package, this full day local island hopping tour will focus on the friendly public islands of Maafushi and Gulhi. Sometime through the course of the day, you will also have the chance to jump into the Indian Ocean and try some snorkeling. Let’s get down to the details:
If you are on the South Malé Local Island Hopping tour, you will be picked up from the Hulhumalé Main Jetty which is right next to the ferry terminal. A local Maldivian guide will be standing at this meeting point to greet you and collect all the other participants on this Maldives day tour.
If you would like some extra attention, we will be happy to arrange for a pickup directly from your hotel in the island of Hulhumalé or the neighbouring isle of Malé – capital city of The Maldives. This is on special request only.
For an even more personalized experience, you can pre-arrange with us to be picked up on a cruise tender jetty basis from the private island that you are staying in. However, you will have to ensure that your resort allows our speedboat to dock or enter into their private waters. This service is chargeable over and above the tour fee.
Cruise to Maafushi Island
Our first port of call will be Maafushi. While you cruise in the morning, notice the bright shades of blue and green that the ocean displays. The local island of Maafushi is one of the pioneers in the realm of public island tourism in The Maldives. Brimming with energy and art, this tiny island comes across as quite edgy, with its graffiti, chalk art and carefree lifestyle of the locals.
Listen to the local guide to gain some insights into the daily lives of the people of Maafushi. Maldives’ history and culture are deeply intertwined with Islam, which also happens to be the state religion, mandatorily to be followed by all citizens. Maafushi is hailed for its extensive practice of ‘guesthouse tourism’, whereby it is able to host hundreds of visitors in its 70+ guesthouses and hotels. The colourful cafes and shack-style shops are quite an eyeful!
This local isle is only 2 km in length, making it easy to explore on foot. Apart from strolling about the quaint streets of Maafushi, you can also pop into the souvenir stores and handicraft shops to take back a piece of this island with you. Don’t be shy to bargain for a discount, especially when picking up multiple articles from the same shop.
Fridge magnets, handbags made of coconut shells and other artefacts prepared with coir are some local mementos that you can buy. If you like to collect paintings, Maafushi will definitely delight you with its unique take on marine life and the local lifestyle. This island is also a big hit for its water sports as there are many dive centers here.
There are two beaches on Maafushi, where you can indulge in photography or just take some selfies which will not need any filters or edits, thanks to the pristine beauty of the sands and the rocks. Bikini Beach is the only part of Maafushi where bikinis and western beachwear are allowed. The rest of the island strictly expects that you keep your shirt on, ensure your shoulders are covered, and that your shorts don’t rise above your knee. On the other side of Maafushi, Velana Beach is for peace lovers.
Island Hop to Gulhi
Before it is time for lunch, you will be ferried to the next inhabited island – Gulhi. Not too far from Maafushi, the local island of Gulhi is much simpler in terms of the lifestyle of the villagers. Your tour leader will explain the indigenous way of life as you disembark. We will stop at a local café by the beach for a wholesome tropical lunch before resuming the exploration.
Post lunch, you will get to visit the boat building yard of Gulhi to appreciate the means of livelihood for the locals. Understand the process of constructing a boat and get a glimpse into this tradecraft that not only supports local transportation but also trade. You can spend the rest of your time chilling at the beach until it is time to head back to Hulhumalé.
Snorkelling & Return to Hulhumalé
On the return cruise, we’ll halt at a diving spot to relish snorkeling. You will be provided the fins, snorkels and masks to aid your exploration of the Maldivian corals and other undersea creatures that light up the ocean.
While most vacationers arrive in this archipelago to enjoy its flamboyant resorts and ultra luxe lifestyle, you will find Maldives tour packages that focus on the local heritage and cuisine. Maldives island hopping tours are a great way to soak in the culture of this nation when you are pressed for time.