6 Stunning Local Islands For Paradise on a Budget- Maldives



During my year living and working in Maldives I learnt that budget-travel here definitely is possible. More and more islands are opening up guest houses and dive clubs- the local people are now benefiting from tourism more than ever before. While resorts are wonderfully luxurious, visitors often state how bored they get after lying in a sun-bed all day drinking and not really ever meeting a local nor learning anything about the country.

Here are six beautiful local islands I’ve visited which offer insight into authentic Maldivian life. If you’re staying for around a week, I’d recommend you stay on one or two islands and make use of the growing public transport networks and the willingness of guest house owners to explore wider and deeper into this enchanting archipelago.

1. Hithadhoo Island District, Addu Atoll


Enjoying the Indian Ocean sea breeze

A photo posted by Mizbar 👽 (@mizbar) on

I had an incredibly authentic experience when I was kindly invited to stay with a friend’s family in the southernmost atoll of Maldives. There’s a fantastic dive club where I got close up to SIX Manta Rays, we went sunset fishing, visited charming lakes “Kilhi” and “Running Fenganda” and enjoyed lovely strolls around the islands- which are all linked up with roads, so really easy to travel around!



I loved how far away I felt from all the hustle and bustle. Addu is bursting with history, it was even significant in the Second World War. Check out “A Weekend in Addu with The Naseem’s (And a history lesson)” for more information and pictures!








How to Get There: Take an international flight into Gan Island or a domestic flight from the international airport near the capital.

Where to Stay: Check out guest houses in Addu Atoll here.


2. Hinmafushi (Himmafushi), Kaafu Atoll

#silhouette #sky #sunset #sea #hinmafushi #maldives

A photo posted by ash raf (@ashh_raf) on


This local island is bursting with life and colour (not to mention is recognized for it’s world famous surfing and diving spots!) I remember strolling around the island and seeing some women relaxing in the shade smoking shisha, while others were cooking in huge pans bubbling over small fires, children were playing on their bicycles. Absolute peace and tranquility.


For more information and pictures, check out “My First Island Hop: Himmafushi”

Maldives Maldives







How to Get There: Take a public ferry from the capital.

Where to Stay: Check out guest houses in Himmafushi island here.


3. Huraa, Kaafu Atoll


Savner det her hver dag 🌴 #Huraa #Maldives #adventuredk #påturmedremse #ogminesødevenner

A photo posted by Sidsel 👋🏼 (@sidselmchristensen) on

Where do I even start with this charming island?! I adored my stay in Huraa: I dived with turtles, snorkeled with SHARKS, enjoyed tasty local food and met so many interesting people.


Still not convinced? Guest houses on this island can organise visits to sandbanks, snorkelling with Manta Rays, dolphin watching, excursions to other local islands and nearby resorts, sunset fishing, paddleboarding or kayak, surfing, catamaran, para-sailing, renting a jet ski .. you can even have a romantic beach wedding here!

For more information and pictures check out my post ‘A Short Stay in Huraa









How to Get There: Take a public ferry from the capital.
Where to Stay: Check out guest houses in Huraa Island here.


4. Gan Island, Laamu Atoll

Gan Island is an absolute gem! It’s far enough that you can feel totally away from your troubles, but close enough that it’s easy to travel to! Gan is the most culturally-rich island I’ve been to in Maldives, it has a gorgeous fresh water lake (the Red Lake) as well as some truly unique ancient Buddhist ruins.


There’s a fantastic diving school on the island and you’ll be able to do so many budget-friendly excursions and activities during your stay!

For more information and pictures, take a look at ‘Maldives, Laamu Atoll. Gan: a local island with history & luxury









How to Get There: Take a domestic flight from the capital.

Where to Stay: Check out guest houses in Gan Island here


5. Maafushi, Kaafu Atoll


Maafushi is a lovely little island bursting with life and tourism! It’s fantastic that more and more people are exploring the local life here, boosting local tourism and showing that travel in Maldives is affordable. Here you can expect a fun-packed itinerary: strolling around, snorkeling and sandbank excursions, scuba diving, fishing trips, island-hopping (nearby local island AND resorts), excursions to uninhabited islands, dolphin, whale shark and Manta cruises, a whole range of water sports and, if you’re lucky, I really recommend planning your trip to join in the Eid celebrations- we had so much fun!


If you’re a bit nervous about going somewhere too local, Maafushi is perfect as there will be many other backpackers around to meet!

If you’d like more information and pictures, check out my ‘Quick Guide to Local Island Maafushi, Maldives

Maafushi Maafushi







How to Get There: Take a public ferry or the South Kaaf Atoll Ferry from the capital.
Where to Stay: Check out guest houses in Maafushi here.

6. Thulusdhoo, Kaafu Atoll


Thulusdhoo is a vibrant local village with stunning white sandy beaches, warm turquoise waters and a remarkable house reef, not to mention all of the dolphins swimming nearby. Planning a more local (and affordable) trip to Maldives? Look no further.

There’s an uninhabited island right next door too, which I hear is perfect for surfers!

If you’d like more information and pictures, take a look at ‘A Trip to Thulusdhoo- The Perfect Local Island in Maldives

keep the island safe and secure








How to Get There: Take a public ferry from the capital (which also stops at Himmafushi and Huraa en-route!)
Where to Stay: Check out guest houses in Thulusdhoo here.


That’s all for now folks! If you’ve found this useful or have visited any other local islands in Maldives I’m dying to know, please comment below! You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram 🙂

Hi! I'm Sarah. I dropped out of university tired with the mundane life I was living in England. Now I'm an aspiring ex-pat of the world, having already lived and worked in Vietnam, Italy and Maldives. I'm using this blog to document my experiences and hopefully inspire others!

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