White sand, turquoise waters and palm trees, without the expensive price tag!
Love the idea of a tropical island getaway, but loathe the thought of being confined to your hotel? Skip the resorts and see a different side to this paradise by visiting the Maldives local islands.
For years only those who could afford luxury overwater bungalows could travel to the Maldives, and while stunning, this style of accommodation also comes with a hefty price tag! The local islands opened up in 2009 and since then guest houses and hotels have popped up everywhere. Now, families of all budgets have the chance to experience not only the gorgeous, palm-fringed islands but also the generous and warm Maldivian hospitality.
Read on to discover the best local islands for families in the Maldives. Whether you want action and adventure (surfing, sailing and snorkelling anyone?), lazy beach days or to get a taste of the local culture, there is an island to suit every family. What are you waiting for? Your next family adventure awaits!
Fun-loving families need to look no further than Thulusdhoo Island (Th-oo-la-st-oo) for a tropical vacation full of sun, sand, surf and relaxation. Located just 30-minutes via speedboat from Velana International Airport (otherwise known as Male Airport), Thulusdhoo is cheap and hassle-free for families to get to.
With over 20 small guesthouses and beachfront hotels to choose from, families are spoiled for choice when it comes to accommodation. For the adventure-seeking Mums and Dads, it’s possible to dive and snorkel directly off the bikini beach (as it’s a Muslim country where covering up is the norm, you’ll find designated “bikini beaches” for sunbathing tourists) or take a trip to the Coral Garden where you are likely to spot eagle rays, sea turtles and baby reef sharks.
Stand-up paddleboard or glass-bottom kayak through Thulusdhoo Island’s turquoise lagoons, surf Maldives best surf breaks “Cokes” and “Chickens”, take a stroll with the family to watch the magnificent sunset from the island’s sandbank, or laze in a beachside hammock under the shade of coconut palms.
For families wanting to experience a little luxe for less, consider taking a day trip to a nearby luxury resort. Many places like Club Med Kani offer all-inclusive day passes starting from $780 per person. This ensures you spare yourself the expensive accommodation price tag, yet still enjoy all of the four and five-star facilities on offer!
Thoddoo is a must-see local island situated in North Ari Atoll, 90-minutes via speedboat from Velana International Airport. Thoddoo Bikini Beach has all of the ingredients necessary for a perfect family day at the tropical seaside – picturesque still blue waters, a flat sand base and endless natural foliage offering all-day shade.
This generously-sized island boasts kilometres of endless palm trees, pastel coloured sunsets and seasonal bioluminescence by night. Whilst there are no beachfront guesthouses at Thoddoo Island, families can enjoy boutique-style guesthouse accommodation in the centre of the island. You can explore the island via bicycle or enjoy a leisurely 15-minute stroll to reach the Bikini Beach.
When it comes to Maldives local islands, Maafushi Island is by far the most popular for budget-savvy travellers. From just $155 per person for a 40-minute speedboat journey from Velana International Airport, it’s both affordable and accessible for families. As Maafushi Island is home to the origins of local island tourism in the Maldives, it boasts the most accommodation options of all the local islands.
With over 30 guesthouses and hotels, families can choose from modern beachfront hotels to hostel-like guesthouses, starting from as little as $390 per night. Maafushi has two bikini beaches side by side, including one flat-sandy beach perfect for the kids. Beware that during peak season (November to April), the Bikini Beaches are extremely popular and are easily crowded. Kids big and small will love the selection of inflatable water sports at Maafushi Island. For diving, snorkelling, fishing and surfing excursions, take a day trip to other nearby islands.
Renowned as one of the most picturesque islands in all of the Maldives, Dhigurah Island translates to “Long Island” in local Dhivehi language. With white sands stretching for almost 3km, families can take their pick of where to assemble their colourful beach umbrella and are ultimately spoiled for seclusion and privacy.
This area boasts over 15 dive sites and Dhigurah Island is the only area in the Maldives where majestical whale sharks and manta rays are sighted year-round. Located in South Ari Atoll, travellers have two options to reach Dhigurah Island: the most cost-effective option is to take a two-hour speedboat from Velana International Airport. For a faster journey, families can take a 20-minute domestic flight to Maamingili Airport, (have your camera ready!) combined with a 10-minute speedboat journey.
Accommodation, food and transfers are slightly more expensive here in comparison with other local islands, due to the location and unique ocean experiences offered.
If you desire a small private island getaway for your Maldives family vacation, look no further than Goidhoo Island in the beautiful Baa Atoll. It’s highly likely you will have the entire beach and overwater swings all to yourselves! Perched nearby a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, Goidhoo Island is a one-hour 45-minute speedboat journey from Velana International Airport.
With only two guesthouses on the island, your family will experience the full graciousness of Maldivian hospitality. Sail by catamaran to neighbouring Fehendhoo Island, be wowed by strings of untouched sandbank islands and snorkel with colourful corals and sea turtles in the rich Baa Atoll waters.
There’s a reason they say it’s better in Baa!
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