Maafushi Maldives. Slip into the quiet life!
Welcome to Maafushi Maldives! People say that the Maldivian islands are where they find their inner peace and calmness; so much so that the entire country’s economy is literally built around the hospitality business. But you’ll have to experience the sudden change of pace, from your flight to the hustle and bustle of the capital city of Maldives, to the utter change of pace that you’ll experience on a remote island in the Indian Ocean to fully understand what this means.
About 90 minutes away from Malé by ferry boat, Maafushi Island is a favorite that’s frequented by a lot of backpackers. Located in the South Malé Atoll, the island is relatively large, compared to other islands in the same atoll, but also suffers from erosion on the northern shoreline.
Severely damaged in the tsunami disaster in the first decade of the millennium, the island hence has been rebuilt by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent movements, and now houses an industrious community thriving in fisheries and tourism.
Guest houses in Maafushi
Maafushi has quite a few guesthouses that cater to the increasing numbers of tourists arriving in the Maldives on a low budget vacation. The Sting Ray is one of them; comfortable, chic, yet affordable, the guest house is right by the beautiful white sandy beach on the north east corner. Prices range from 30 United States Dollars off season, but can go up to as high as 70 dollars in the peak season.
The first guest house that was granted license to operate on a local island is the WhiteShell Beach Inn, in January 2010. It has proven itself as a great success, and several others like the Island Cottage, Summer Villa Guest House, Kaani Beach Hotel, Fazaa Inn, Maafushi inn and Holiday Lodge have sprung up.
These inns and hotels have comfy rooms packed with amenities like air conditioning, satellite television, wireless internet, mini bars and hot showers; and have entertainment options like karaoke and a library for those who love to relax with words. The only downside of Maafushi is that alcohol is unavailable on the island, but is easily remedied by taking a five minute boat trip to the nearby resorts to quench a particular thirst.
Travelers staying on nearby resorts such as the Cocoa Island towards the south now find it convenient to visit Maafushi as part of the island hopping experience, complete with souvenir shops.
There are several options for dinner and other meals, in the many restaurants and diners scattered through the island but the more adventurous try making friend with the locals who may invite them over to a classic Maldivian dinner consisting of fish soup, rice and salads made out of indigenous vegetables.
The small sandbar towards the north, on the same reef as Maafushi is a lovely place to spend a day snorkeling and sunbathing. Accessible by just walking in the sea during low tide, this tiny island has just about a couple of coconut trees, some shrubs and broad vistas of the Maldivian seascape in every direction. There is another sandbar named Furafathi, in the middle of the sea towards the west, but requires a boat for access. Snorkeling here is lovely as there are lots of fish, and the reef around the isle is alive and healthy.
Diving can be arranged with some of the sports agencies and guest houses on the island, while quiet walks along the length of the island towards the south will lead you to the penitentiary center, schools and other municipal buildings and facilities.
If you’re in the mood for a little fishing, the night fishing around Maafushi is a very relaxing hobby that will soak up all your stress as your boat gently sways in the ripples of the ocean while you angle. Either your guest house or the local groups can arrange for a fishing trip, complete with equipment, guides and even meals.
Guesthouses in Maafushi provide water sports activities like catamaran rides, while others have a colorful and exciting display of local cultural dances like ‘Bodu-beru’, during a barbeque of your catch of fish.
If you’re lucky, you can catch the thrill and excitement of being in the midst of a local festival like the Islamic holidays of Eid, where people run around in the streets splashing each other with water colors.
As with every trip to the Maldives it is wise to pack a lot of sunscreen and summer dresses and outfits that are modest, as the local laws prohibit bikinis and swimwear that are too revealing. With a little planning and a quick flight, you’ll soon find yourself relaxing on the joalifathi under the coconut palms of Maafushi, on the eastern jetty and idly watching yet another sunset on the timeless culture of Maldivian life.