Maafushi (population 2,692) is one the inhabited islands of the Kaafu Atoll. It is the proposed capital of the Medhu Uthuru Province of the Maldives.
While Maafushi was one of the most heavily hit islands in the 2004 tsunami, it has since made a steady recovery thanks in large part to funding from the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent.
While the primary industry in Maafushi traditionally was based on fishing, it was the first place in the Maldives to receive government funds for a tourist accommodation.
The first guest house on Maafashi opened in 2010, leading the way for others to follow.
Maafushi: What to Do
Maafushi is located about 90 minutes away from Malé by ferry, and is a popular destination for backpackers.
Like all parts of the Maldives, it is the outdoors that provide the majority of the attractions in the area.
There is a small sandbar on the north of Maafushi that is a nice place to spend the day snorkeling, swimming, and just relaxing on the beach.
The sandbar can be accessed on foot during low tide and boasts fantastic, broad vistas of the Maldivian seascape in every direction.
There is another sandbar to the west that also provides excellent snorkeling, however this bar can only be accessed by boat.
In addition to snorkeling, diving is also an option on Maafushi and can be arranged through some of the travel agencies and guest houses on the island.
Maafushi is also an excellent spot for fishing enthusiasts, with the night fishing being especially enjoyable. The majority of these activities, as well as other water sports, can be arranged through the guest houses on the island.
Where to Stay – Maafushi
There are a number of guest houses on Maafushi that offer affordable fares.
The Sting Ray is a chic, comfortable guest house right on a beach on the northeast corner of the island. Rates vary from $30-70 depending on the season.
The first guest house to be granted license to operate in the Maldives is the WhiteShell Beach Inn, which opened on Maafushi in January 2010.
I paved the way for others, such as the Island Cottage, Summer Villa Guest House, Kaani Beach Hotel, Fazaa Inn, Maafushi Inn, and Holiday Lodge to open their doors.
All of these inns and hotels have comfortable rooms, fully stocked with the standard amenities in addition to other, shared amenities in the hotel, such as libraries and pools.
Alcohol is not allowed on the island, however, there are a variety of floating bars that are only a five minute boat trip. Additionally, there are a number of restaurants and diners dotting the island.
However, it is also common for more adventurous tourists to be invited to dine with the locals on traditional Maldivian cuisine.
Visitors to the island should pack modest summer clothing. Local laws prohibit bikinis or revealing swimwear on some beaches.