The best island to stay in Maldives for just a couple of days when traveling on a budget

Maafushi is an inhabited island in Maldives located the Kaafu Atoll, just 26km away from Male (capital) and with a population of approximately 3,000. It is the most popular local island in Maldives and the best one to stay in case you would like to have a better infrastructure and travel on a budget.
In this article you will find out why Maafushi is cheaper than other islands, will learn how to get there, what to do, where to stay and more.

Tourism in Maafushi

Until 2009, the government of Maldives used to allow tourists to stay in resorts located in private islands only. Once they authorised the construction of guest houses in local islands, Maafushi started investing on this type of tourism and opened their first guest house in 2010.

This explains why Maafushi is the local island with the best infrastructure for tourists, having a bank, several options of guest houses, restaurants, shops and tour operators.

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Why to visit Maafushi

These are some main reasons to visit Maafushi island:

  1. Short stay in Maldives: If you have only a couple of days to enjoy Maldives, Maafushi is a great local island option because they have a better infrastructure and is near the airport.
  2. Easy to access: There is a ferry that runs 5 days per week besides the speed boats that can take you there in just 35 minutes.
  3. Traveling on a budget: Since they have a larger number of guest houses and tour operators, the market competitiveness helps us to travel in Maldives on a budget.

How to get to Maafushi

Maafushi Map:

You can take a ferry from Male to Maafushi island which is super cheap. The ferry schedule is available on the MTCC website, and belongs to the Zone 03, Route 309 of the K Atoll.

Ferry from Male to Maafushi

Ferry working days: Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
Departure time: 3pm
Arrival time: Around 4:35pm after a quick stop in Gulhi Island.
Trip duration: 1 hour 35 minutes
Cost: MRV 22

Ferry from Maafushi to Male

Ferry working days: Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
Departure time: 7:25am
Arrival time: Around 9am after a quick stop in Gulhi Island.
Trip duration: 1 hour 35 minutes
Cost: MRV 22

Important: The information above is from May/2019 and may change over time and during Ramadan. Double check with your accommodation to ensure the current prices, working days and time are right.

How to get to Maafushi by speedboat

There are speedboats that can take you from Male to Maafushi and Maafushi to Male in a quick way.

Working days: Everyday
Trip duration: 35 minutes
Cost: About US$25
How to book: Contact your accommodation and ask for an operator number

Where to stay in Maafushi

There are several guest houses that you can stay in Maafushi, but during my 9 nights there I stayed at Seven Corals.
This is a nice, cheap and clean option with a very friendly staff =)

Get a discount in your next reservation with!

Seven Corals Maafushi Hotel
Sea View Room at Seven Corals – Maafushi

8 things to do in Maafushi

1) Spend a day at the Bikini Beach

Just like any other local island in Maldives, Maafushi has a Bikini Beach which is the only beach where tourists are allowed to wear swimsuit.
Important: Bear in mind that you should cover your chest and tights while walking around any local island in Maldives.

mom and daughter in maafushi island
When your lipstick matches with your daughters clothes.

2) Go to a sandbank

Visiting sandbanks is one of the most incredible things to do in Maldives. You can take a tour to a Sandbank near Maafushi with is called Sexy Beach.

Get 10% off to go on a sandbank tour in Maafushi

If you have a drone, make sure you take it with you so you can take amazing shots like this one.

Sandbank in Maldives
Sandbank in Maldives

3) Snorkel around a shipwreck

This was one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had!

ship wreck maldives - vaavu atoll
Ship wreck near Maafushi

Sea Blue Maldives & Seven Corals organize a day trip that takes you to snorkel around this shipwreck, to snorkel with nurse sharks, takes you to Fulidhoo Island, a sandbank and you can also see a bunch of dolphins during the sunset.

Our readers also have 10% off to do this tour which is called Vaavu Atoll Explore =)

Check it out this Instagram post where I share photos, videos and how the day I took this tour was one of the best days of my entire life!

4) See the bioluminescent planktons

Around midnight, try to find a the darkest spot at the beach and you may see the bioluminescent planktons. The darkest it is, the easiest it is to see them. So, going to Maldives during new moon will increase your chances to live this experience =)

5) Enjoy the nightlife

Knowing that Maldives is an Islamic country, I was very surprised when people told me that there was a floating bar nearby with music and alcoholic drinks.

It takes about 5 minutes to get to Kaani Princess by boat from the pier.

To give you an idea of costs, here are some prices from 2018:

Beer USD 6
Fried Rice USD 9
Fish & Chips USD 10
French Fries USD 12

Although going out and drinking aren’t the highlights in Maldives, going to this party boat while staying in Maafushi for at least one night it is worth it checking it out.

6) Talk to some locals and take some pictures in front of cute houses

The Maldivian people are the reason why I ended up staying in the country for a whole month. They are very receptive to those who want to learn about their home and their culture!

Cute Maldivian House in Maafushi
Cute Maldivian house in Maafushi

7) Relax at a resort

There are several resorts nearby Maafushi which you can get a day use pass. These are some of them:

Shop Resort 2019 at ViX Swimwear

Adaaran Club Rannalhi
Centara Ras Fushi
Taj Exotica Resort & Spa

Resorts near Maafushi
Prices from 2018 – Check updated prices with Sea Blue Maldives

8) Visit Gulhi Island

Gulhi Island is just 20 minutes away from Maafushi by ferry. It is such a beautiful island which can be visited for super cheap.

Gulhi Island - Maldives
Gulhi Island – Maldives

How to get to Gulhi Island

Ferry working days: Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
Trip duration: 20 minutes

From Maafushi to Gulhi
Departure time: 7:25am
Arrival time: 7:45am

From Gulhi to Maafushi
Departure time: 4:15pm
Arrival time: 4:35pm

Important: The information above is from May/2019 and may change over time and during Ramadan. Double check with your accommodation to ensure the current working days and time are right.

Coupons & Discounts in Maafushi

Check it out all the coupons and discounts we have available for you to Save Money, Travel More in Maldives.

I supposed to stay only 5 nights in Maafushi, turned out that I enjoyed it so much that I extended my time there!
I hope you like it as much as I did =)

Take care.


Any questions about Maafushi? Feel free to ask below =)

Read more from Maldives:

Maldives: A complete guide with all you need to know about this paradise

Dhigurah Island, Maldives: The diver’s dreamParagraph

Rasdhoo: A nice island to stay for about a week in Maldives

Maldives coupons & discounts