The Maldives, given its tiny size, almost goes unnoticed on most world maps. However, this archipelago in the Indian Ocean is about 1,200 islands strong! The Maldivian population is largely scattered across 200 local islands while the rest of the isles are reserved for luxury resorts or industrial activity. Innovatively designed day tours such as the Full Day North Malé local island hopping trip offer a wonderful chance to experience the cultural ethos of the country closely.
Maldives’ history and culture is greatly influenced by Islam. Interestingly, the island nation was known for its Buddhist past. However, after the arrival of a Muslim philosopher from Morocco a few centuries ago, the nation saw a gradual acceptance of Islamic principles until Islam was decreed the state religion.
One does not have to search extensively for Maldives vacation packages that also let one take in the local feel of the country. Maldives island hopping tours show you around various public islands in different atolls, offering insights into local cuisine, traditional customs, indigenous architecture and the vibrant island ecosystem.
After you land at the Velana International Airport, the main Maldives international airport, located on the island of Hulhulé, you can go island hopping without even leaving your immediate atoll! North Malé local island hopping tour will let you venture into inhabited islands close to Malé, the capital city of The Maldives.
North Malé Local Island Hopping Tour Timings & Fee
This full day island hopping tour in The Maldives is conducted every day of the week. The tour begins at 10 AM and lasts until 4:30 PM. Priced at USD 175 per adult, the North Malé local island hopping tour lets toddlers under the age of 6 years join in for free. Children between 6 years and 11 years pay half the full price, which happens to be USD 88 per kid.
The tour fee is inclusive of all the local Maldivian taxes. The GST of 12% and a service charge of 10% are factored into the price of the ticket. The amount you pay takes care of the expertise of the guide, speedboat transfer, lunch on one of the public islands and the provision of snorkeling kits and buoyancy aids.
Full Day North Malé Local Island Hopping Tour Experience
Exploration of local islands becomes even more exciting when you hop from one isle to another, mentally processing the uniqueness and subtle differences among them. Most travellers to this archipelago are pressed for time since they come on Maldives tour packages that focus on short stays on a luxury island. This full day tour of the North Malé atoll will give such tourists an overview of the island cluster without taking too much of their time. Take a look at how the tour proceeds.
The participants of the North Malé Local Island Hopping tour are directed to assemble at the Hulhumalé Main Jetty. Located next to the ferry terminal, this is where your day tour guide will meet you. On special request, you can also be collected from your hotel in Hulhumalé or the nearby island of Malé – the world’s smallest capital.
For guests staying at private island resorts in Maldives, cruise tender jetty pickup can be arranged if informed well in advance. In this case, it is important that the resort permits the speedboat to tender on their property. This special service is charged extra.
Cruise to Himmafushi Island
You will be ferried on a speedboat to the northern part of The Maldives. The island of Himmafushi will be our first port of call. This little island follows its own set of traditions in the larger cultural context of this Islamic country. Our local guide will share more information on the exclusive practices of the people of Himmafushi.
Stroll around the white sand streets and window shop through the innumerable souvenir stores. If you like to take back small gifts and tokens home from your foreign trips, you will be elated with the options that you will find inside these memento shops. Look for handicrafts and other hand-crafted artefacts that you may not find at the curio exhibitions back in your country.
Hop to the Local Island of Huraa
Before the sun reaches the zenith, we will bid goodbye to Himmafushi and cruise on to the next local island on the North Malé Atoll – Huraa. Home to an ecologically rich mangrove ecosystem, Huraa Island is a village where the natives lead a simple life. After we dock, you will be taken to one of the popular local cafes for a hearty meal. Soak in the village vibes while you appreciate the heady Maldivian flavours.
Boat Building Yard Visit
You will get a closer look into the livelihoods of the villagers as we visit a boat building yard on this public island. Boat making happens to be a common trade craft in most of The Maldives as boats are not only essential for transportation but also quite valuable for conducting trade with other islands in the archipelago.
Sneak Peak into Drying Fish
Moving on, we shall also observe the process of drying and curing fish, widely followed across The Maldives. Since the country enjoys tropical weather, fish must be processed so that it does not spoil in the course of transportation. Tuna exports comprise a huge chunk of the country’s exports, and drying undoubtedly becomes a necessity. The fish is generally smoked after it is dried under the Maldivian sun. The smoking process is also a unique one, making use of coconut shells as the combustible material for fuel.
Overview of the Mangrove Ecosystem
The next activity on this day tour in The Maldives is to walk around the mangroves on Huraa Island and learn about its contribution to the ecosystem. Full of swamps and trees, it is hard to find such a type of vegetation on a sandy island. One can spot a number of indigenous birds, plants and animals, most of which benefit hugely from the presence of the mangroves. You will also find a freshwater lake in the mangrove forest.
Snorkeling & Return to Hulhumalé
After we wrap up from Huraa Island, we proceed to return to the island of Hulhumalé. The return trip, however, is much more exciting than the onward journey as we stop to snorkel on our way back. As you are handed over your snorkels, fins and breathing pipes, you will get a safety briefing from the guide on responsible snorkeling. The basics of snorkeling, how to wear your gear, and breathing techniques will also be explained to you on this Snorkeling tour.
The dive site is chosen on the day of the tour itself, depending on the weather conditions and the best chances of sighting marine life. If you are hesitant about getting into the water or are a non-swimmer, fret not. All the tour guides are Emergency First Response certified and additionally have International Life Guide Certification. You can also take comfort in the floatation aids which the guide will provide. Non-swimmers will be able to hold on to a tube as the spotter-cum-guide takes them around the ocean.
As you put your head in the water and connect with a whole new underwater world, you will quite literally be speechless. Colourful hard and soft corals, reef fish, turtles, nudibranchs, rays, sharks and other sea creatures await. You will surely be reluctant to get back to the speedboat!
Whether it is the barrier reef or the luxurious resorts, the balmy Maldives’ weather makes it a destination one can visit all year round. The dry months of November to January are considered the best for water activities, but the other months are just as pleasant, even with the occasional shower.