You have seen me hanging out in very luxurious resorts in Maldives, but I have also seen the other side of island hopping in Maldives. Maldives tourism is booming and not only for luxury travelers. Since a couple years local islands in Maldives are open to tourists and guesthouses are popping up. A trip to the Maldives is no longer just for honeymooners, but how does traveling in Maldives work?
Traveling in a country that consist of more than a thousand islands is not like your standard trip. Getting around in Maldives already is an adventure in itself. Staying on a local island is the best way to get a feel with the country. Looking to do Maldives on a budget? Surely this is possible! Take for example Hulhumale Island, basically the international airport island, which also has amazing beaches. A bus to your hotel don't cost more than $2 and they have some very nice guesthouses. Click on the link to find a complete Hulhumale guide.
Best local island for scuba diving in Maldives
With so many islands to choose from it is hard to make a decision where to go on your trip to Maldives. If you are looking for cheap diving in Maldives though the decision gets a little easier to make. The stunning local island of Fulidhoo offers amazing scuba diving and is not far from Male. Fulidhoo is the most northern island of the Vaavu Atoll, which holds the most eastern point in the country. The Vaavu Atoll is just south of the South Male Atoll and can be reached by speedboat from Male within an hour. More about getting to Fulidhoo later.
Scuba diving in the Vaavu Atoll
The Vaavu Atoll is known for its many natural underwater channels. These channels connect the atoll with the big blue and therefore bring in exquisite marine life. During channel dives the big fishes are almost guaranteed. Large schools of reef sharks and big-eyed trevallies are common sights, but even hammerheads and manta rays are often seen. Scuba diving in Fulidhoo is also famous for its high adrenaline night dive at Alimatha where one of the world’s largest known school of nurse sharks hangs out. These guys will surely lighten up your dive into the dark ocean.
The Vaavu Atoll is a pretty remote atoll and there are not many Maldives islands in this atoll, neither luxury resorts. The most nearby luxury resorts are Lux South Ari, about 2 hours by speed boat. There you can find whale shark diving and I was lucky to spot a couple.
Reef safe sunscreen
Are you in the know that standard sunscreen is toxic for our coral reefs? Please use biodegradable sunscreen and help saving our beautiful planet and the fragile ecosystems around the Maldives islands. Check them out here...
Afraid of diving with harmless reef sharks? Then scuba diving in Maldives might not be your thing!
Because of the isolated location of Fulidhoo, scuba diving in the Vaavu Atoll is pretty much exclusive. There are only a couple resorts in the Atoll, which means there is hardly any boat traffic and dive sites are almost always exclusive to Fulidhoo Dive.
Are you already excited about diving in Maldives? Then let me tell you about the Maldives scuba diving packages available at Fulidhoo Dive and you surely want to grab your bags for a scuba dive trip to Maldives.
Prices and packages for scuba diving in Maldives
When you google Maldives diving trips I am sure you might think this is way out of your league, but that is exactly why I wrote this article. Scuba diving in Maldives is not like diving in Thailand and yes getting certified here is way more expensive but... visitng a local islands in Maldives for scuba diving is affordable! And on top of that amazing diving is guaranteed. Fulidhoo Dive is great value for money.
What about 4 nights with half board and 8 dives for only $599 USD? Lets say a mid range guesthouse in Maldives including half board cost $80 per night. With two people you would pay already $320 for 4 nights, excluding diving. With two people you get 16 dives so that is only $1200 - $320 = $880 / 16 = $55 per dive.
Now you see why I named this article cheap scuba diving in Fuldhoo Maldives!
Or check out the following scuba diving in Maldives price package.
And remember the most important for this price you get world class diving! Not like in many other places where diving might be slightly cheaper, but there is hardly anything to see. I have been diving in Bermuda for $145 per dive and the visibility was 2 meters, waste of money! :)
For more info check out the Fulidhoo Dive website. Mention TRAVELTOMTOM in your inquiry and get a nice surprise and let me know when you are going, so I can be happy for you and jealous at the same time! :)
What to know when you travel to Fulidhoo, a local island in Maldives
Most pictures you will find about Maldives include overwater bungalows, cocktails, infinity pools and lobsters on a plate, but this is totally not what it is like to travel to Maldives on a budget. Local islands in Maldives do not have any of the above. Overwater bungalows are guesthouses, cocktails are coffees, infinity pools are bikini beaches and lobster on a plate is a fish curry. Welcome to a Maldives local island!
There are a couple things you need to know when you go scuba diving on a local island in Maldives. Fulidhoo is one of those local islands where rules are a little different than on resort islands.
Maldivians are strictly Muslim and sharia law applies.
Tourists in Fulidhoo won’t be bothered much with the strict Muslim laws, but there is a mosque that calls for prayer a couple times a day, which you will hear for sure. No escaping possible!
Tourists need to dress appropriate
On Fulidhoo there is such a chilled vibe that locals are not really bothered that much, but girls should wear a t-shirt at all times and cover their shoulders. For guys it is easier and although it is not common, walking around in just board shorts is accepted by locals, but wear a tshirt when you decide to walk into the center of the island.
Bikini beaches vs. public beaches
On public beaches it is not allowed to wear a bikini, therefore there is a separate bikini beach at the eastern tip of the island. There is a little shop on the bikini beach that sells drinks and snacks. There are no sunbeds, bring your towel.
Bikini beach Fulidhoo.
Public beach in Fulidhoo.
No alcohol on local islands
Alcohol is strictly forbidden on local islands in Maldives, but however there is a solution for those really craving a drink for sunset. Offshore Fulidhoo there is a boat that holds a license to sell alcohol to foreigners, it is not always around, but you can always give it a call. There is a sign at the bikini beach with a phone number.
Bring enough cash money
Although you can pay the guesthouse and diving by credit card, bring enough cash with you as there is no ATM on Fulidhoo. Charges apply for credit cards.
Buy a local sim card
Most guesthouses will tell you there is free wifi, but for a modern western traveler there is no way you will be able to even check your Instagram. WiFi is extremely slow on local islands in Maldives so I would very much recommend you to buy a Maldives sim card to enjoy 4G internet on Fulidhoo. Click on the link to find out which packages and which provider is best for tourists, I did the inquiry for you.
Where to stay on Fulidhoo?
I stayed in Kinan Guesthouse, a beachfront property on the best side of the island. The location of Kinan Guesthouse is perfect as it is on the beautiful side on the island. The south is where you will find the pretty beaches and calmer waters, not on the north side. The guesthouse was a pleasant surprise with spacious rooms, clean and a good warm water shower. Great value for money!
I was on a full board package, which made things easier. There are not that many restaurants in Fulidhoo and gettinnig served a meal in and between the dives was perfect. At night food was sometimes served on the beach and we could see the stingrays swimming next to us. Kinan Guesthouse made my trip to Fulidhoo complete.
Great scuba diving, an amazing local island life vibe, good food and lovely people!
Scuba diving in Maldives does not have to be expensive! On Fulidhoo there are budget hotels and amazing valued diving packages! Come to Maldives and experience its amazing underwater world yourself.
How to get to Fulidhoo
There are two different ways to get to Fulidhoo island. There is a cheap way and an expensive way. Of course is the expensive way faster and more convenient, but if you want to save money you can also take the slow local boat.
The speedboat will take you from Male to Fulidhoo within a little over an hour directly to the island and cost $40. Depending on either the morning boat or the afternoon boat you leave from the Muizzu Neru Jetty or Jetty No. 1.
The local boat only costs $3,50 but only goes 3 times a week: Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday. The boat leaves from the Villingili terminal in Male and take about 3,5 hours depending on the weather conditions.
As you can see on the boat schedule for Male to Fulidhoo Friday there are no boats at all.
I also added the boat schedule from Fulidhoo to Male for you, so you can get back to the international airport.
Note that a taxi in Male from one side of the island to the other side will never cost more than $3 = 45 MVR so be aware of those taxis that charge you $10.
May you have a spare day in Male then don't be bothered and head over to Hulhumale, the artifical island attached to the airport island. Check out my Hulhumale travel guide and let me tell you how to spend your spare day.
If you have any questions please let me know and I am happy to help. If this article was helpful please give it a like or even better share it somewhere on Facebook or pin it on Pinterest. A small thing to do, which would make a big difference to me. Thank you very much!
If you are looking for resorts to choose from I can tell you about those kind of places to stay in Maldives as well. Ultra luxurious resorts in Maldives? Try my favorite Lux South Ari Atoll or Shangri La Villingili. More affordable ones? Kuramathi Island and Kandima Maldives. Overwater bungalows near Male International airport? Kurumba or Adaaran Prestige Vadoo.