7 days in Maafushi, Maldives
Our first stop in the Maldives was Maafushi, an island located just a 30 minute speedboat ride from Male airport, and therefore very conveniently located for tourists who don’t want to travel far from Male (which is where the main airport is, and where most tourists coming to the Maldives will start their vacation).
We stayed for a total of 7 days in Maafushi, split in two stays – first for the first two days and then later for the last five days (after spending five days in the middle on Fulidhoo).
A great option for budget-travelers
I read a lot about the Maldives before we booked our trip. Where to stay and how to “do Maldives on a budget”. You probably know the Maldives as a luxury destination, with beautiful (and expensive as hell) villas over the water on private resort islands etc. And so did I of course.
But what I didn’t know was that the Maldives also can be done on a budget! And that is what I learned from reading up on it before booking. I also learned that Maafushi is the most popular option for budget-travelers, so off to Maafushi we went!
Busy and full of tourists
What we soon learned when we arrived in Maafushi, was that it’s rather busy and full of tourists. Maafushi is one of very few islands where they drive cars and mopeds, and let me tell you – they were everywhere! Or at least that’s what it felt like. And what felt a little strange for us, since the island is only a bit over 1 km long…
Also, the tourists, they were everywhere too! We heard and saw a lot of Italians, Americans, Chinese, Finns and Swedes. Plus more nationalities of course, but I’d say most of those five. I had no idea that Maldives was so popular among “normal tourists” (read: us who can’t afford luxurious over water villas at resorts), so I was shocked by the number of tourists. And rather disappointed… But, we did survive the masses of tourists, haha.
A local told us that he found Maafushi to be “all about money” these days. And I must say that we now totally agree. There’s a tourist shop and some kind of excursion-center in every corner. And hotel, and guesthouse. And, and, and. But well, I guess it’s good that they’re cashing in on tourism!
It has a charm though
Maafushi has a charm though, still.
What I especially loved about Maafushi was the colored houses. There were houses in all kinds of colors! We learned from a local that the colors of the houses represent which politician you support, which I found really interesting. I mean politics must be serious business when you’re ready to paint your house in the color of the politician you support. Pretty cool in my opinion! Takes guts.
Many good restaurants
Besides all of the colored houses in Maafushi, I also fell in love with a couple of restaurants. There was, of course, a lot of restaurants on Maafushi. Most of them serving local foods like roshi, curries, other rice dishes, fish and so on. But also some that served other cuisines, with a more international vibe. Of course I really liked the local foods, but eating only local food for 12 days could get boring (at least for me who because of allergies could eat only a limited number of the local foods) – so naturally we also tried the restaurants with a more international vibe. And then fell in love with those. But, I’ll name-drop the restaurants we loved in another post soon, stay tuned!
I do recommend Maafushi
As I’m trying to wrap this post up, I’m realizing that I might sound a bit negative when writing about Maafushi. Don’t get me wrong, we did love our time there and I do recommend it a lot! But please, don’t expect a paradise island if you ever go to Maafushi. As I’ve written, it’s rather crowded and “all about money”. But what’s awesome is the close location to Male airport, and also the fact that it’s a very cheap island with a lot of hotel options, restaurants and also excursion options to great prices.
My recommendation would probably be to do like we did… Do go to Maafushi, but also to at least one other and smaller island. Just staying on Maafushi for your whole trip in the Maldives is probably not a good option, you will want to see more of the Maldives!
Stay tuned for more posts on Maafushi and the rest of our Maldives trip soon ♥