Maldives holiday, local accommodation

“The affordable, authentic way to see the Maldives – staying on a local island in a small guesthouse, enjoying everyday life with lots of fun excursions, too.”


Experience local island life | Guraidhoo South Male Atoll | ‘hedika’ small dishes meal | guided snorkelling | dinner with a local family | speedboat to uninhabited island and picnic lunch | dinner with traditional dancing and music | ferry transfers | optional: diving, island tour | Male

Description of Maldives holiday, local accommodation

The Maldives has a reputation for being an exclusive destination, but thanks to changes to local law made in 2011, tourists can now stay in accommodation on a local island rather than in one of the resorts here. It's the perfect way to get a flavour of the real Maldives, without the hefty price tag. You will still enjoy the gorgeous beaches, excellent snorkelling and diving and fresh food any visitor to the Maldives expects, but will also have the chance to experience local island life.

This four day adventure includes water sports, exploration and lots of time to relax. For an authentic experience, you’ll use the ferry, have a meal with a local family and even try some Maldivian singing and dancing. There’s the opportunity to find out how boats are built and to simply enjoy being part of the local life of one of this beautiful archipelago’s inhabited islands.

You can also try some of the activities that the Maldives is rightly famous for, including snorkelling, diving, fishing, surfing, dolphin cruises and beach barbecues. The Maldives is a Muslim nation, so drinking alcohol and wearing bikinis on beaches restricted, but all our guests have the option to enjoy the freedom of tourist beaches, picnic islands and resorts where these restrictions are not in effect.

This is an affordable and enriching way of visiting the Maldives, which you can combine with a resort stay or as part of a holiday in Sri Lanka or India, for example. All packages begin and finish at Male International Airport and they can all be customised to your timings and interests.

Accommodation is in small, locally owned guesthouses, usually on the island of Guraidhoo, although we do offer holidays on other islands. All accommodation is chosen for its comfort, excellent service, great value, good food and friendly feel. Rooms are well kitted out with ensuite bathrooms, air conditioning and fans. There is Wifi, too, as well as tea, coffee and water. Some overlook the sea while others have a private garden or beach, and there are usually cafes and restaurants nearby.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Accessible tourism overview:
We are a team of can-do people, and we are able to customise our tours and experiences to ensure that anyone can make the most of our tour options. We have welcomed a range of guests with different disabilities and ages and our guides are only too happy to help accommodate their needs. Our youngest guest has been 6 months old and our eldest guest has been in their 90s so the team are used to working with different age groups and adapting the tour and activities to be encompassing regardless of age, ability or experience. All we ask is that we are made aware of any specific requirements at the time of booking so that we can plan in advance.
Limited mobility:
We can offer ground floor accommodation options or properties with lifts and our activities can be adapted by our experienced and professional guiding team.
Guests with wheelchairs can be assisted to negotiate Male as well as most of the local islands we visit. We offer resorts where access around the property is on wooden board walks or paved pathways so there is no fear of wheels getting stuck in the sand. Some of our partner dive centres offer special days for locals with disabilities to try dive or snorkelling in safe and controlled conditions. If this is of interest then we maybe be able to accommodate this into your stay with us.
Cognitive conditions:
The people of the Maldives are naturally laid back and relaxed and you will find stays on local islands calm and peaceful. We select small family run properties and if you have specific requirements in regard to the activities included on our tours we are happy to tailor-make. We have a relationship with a local autism centre which allows us to access accompanying support if necessary.
'Free from' food:
As you may expect from an island beach nation the Maldives imports over 90% of its food, discounting the abundance of tuna, chilli and fresh coconut that form part of our staple diet. We appreciate that our guests may have special dietary requirements and are used to dealing with allergies, intolerance and special requirements. Providing we know in advance either before or at the time of booking we will do our best to meet your dietary requirements or at the very least advise you on what alternatives will be on offer.
This trip ensures safe and welcoming travel for LGBTQ travellers. It allows everyone to enjoy and discover our island paradise.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

We recommend low carbon transport and make the journey as stimulating and sustainable as the stay allowing our guests on our Stay Local tour to travel by public ferries and experience true local transportation. Whilst cars do exist within the capital area of Male, none of our team travel by any other mode of transport when traveling to and from work other than foot, bicycle or public transport.

We free the land, sea and waterways from rubbish and pollution.The Maldives is a fragile environment. It is more fragile and more in danger than most other places on earth. The country’s existence relies on healthy coral reefs and a moderation of the sea level rise. The Maldives struggles to eliminate all the rubbish produced by over 1 million tourists per year and whilst educating locals in waste management is all part of a large project, as visitors to their home we encourage our guests to support in the following ways and help by leading by example. For this reason and for the obvious difficulty in eliminating several materials, we suggest to bring back the empty containers of shampoo, bath foam, conditioner, cream and photograph film, Reuse plastic bags in shops. We are currently, in the process of designing and producing roll away shopping bags that will be given as a welcome gift to all our guests, with the opportunity for guests to purchase additional bags for us to distribute within the community.

The Impacts of this Trip

A fair deal
We offer local people good working conditions, a fair wage, and empower them with training opportunities. We employ 1 local within our office who deals with all our day to day administration and 2 local guides who assist with airport receipt and departure as well as accompanying our guests on a number of different tours, activities and excursions, sharing their enthusiasm and knowledge for their country. Whilst our guides have benefited from completing the Maldives Ministry of Tourism Guide Course, all the team have benefited from in house service training. Every member of the team is involved with our local island package development, planning and organisation and their input has allowed us to develop a very unique product.

Travelling with respect
We work to create good relationships between tourists and the local community. We respect local customs and culture. We want our guests to learn about local customs and cultural practices whilst respecting local dress and cultural requirements. It is a practice on all tours to teach basic local language and this is also included on our welcome leaflet so that our guests can as a minimum offer a greeting in the local Dhivehi language. Our Stay Local tour includes the opportunity to eat at the home of a local family and sample local cuisine ate in local style without the aid of cutlery, allowing guests and locals to interact and share a unique experience.


2 Reviews of Maldives holiday, local accommodation

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 15 Jan 2018 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Being surrounded by a pod of around 300 spinner dolphins and seeing lots of fish while snorkelling. Sitting on a white sandy beach and walking out into the sea to snorkel in warm clear blue waters.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Maafushi is one of the larger and more commercialised islands which caters for those wanting less expensive accommodation. There is a lot of building work going on around the island, including next door to our hotel, but this did not interfere with our enjoyment of the holiday. If you want a small romantic
island this may not be the one for you, but it was perfect for four friends who enjoyed the few shops on the island, varied restaurants and being able to
snorkel off the beach. The Triton Beach hotel and spa was not right on the beach, but a few yards away. The rooms were a very good size and had a balcony. It was also exceptionally clean and as good as any hotel I have stayed in. The restaurant was very stark with a football table and pool table and the pool by one side, which didn't appear to be used.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes I did. Booking through a local company who employs local people benefits the community. We didn't like the use of plastic bags on the islands and suggest that they look for alternative packing materials for souvenirs.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Excellent. Very relaxing.

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Rosemary,

Thank you for taking time to write your review. It was a pleasure to be able to meet with all upon arrival and then during my brief visit to Maafushi and I was delighted to learn that you were all having a great time and were being well looked after by your personal guide Kokko Ibbe.

Local tourism in the Maldives at just 6 years old is still very much in it's infancy and there are indeed challenges and improvement opportunities to be made. The Maldivian’s would historically have thrown their waste into the ocean, however, that was in the days when waste would have been predominantly food waste and all biodegradable, then came along plastic and then came over one million visitors. Add all this together and we are presented with a country that has a significant challenge regarding waste removal. Positively, there are a number of actions being taken to manage waste and over time a more environmentally
friendly waste management process will come into being throughout the archipelago. Whilst the obvious answer is for the government to ban the use of plastic bags we are a long way from this decision being made. However, as a business we work closely with NGO Save the Beach to increase awareness of both waste management and coral reef protection. Last year we sponsored and supported waste management presentations in schools in the capital. We also take part in monthly beach or city clean ups in Hulhumale where our office is based.

I have been visiting the Maldives since 2000 and have had the pleasure of living here for the past 6 years. I have personally seen waste management practices improve over this period of time. There is certainly a growing awareness and it is also encouraging to see a lot of youth involvement. Whilst it is going to be a slow process to achieve a plastic bag free nation, as visitors to the country we can all play our part by taking home plastic waste wherever possible and by leading by example.

We look forward to you travelling with us again in the future.
Kind Regards,

Reviewed on 09 Nov 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

We experienced the real Maldives, met local people and learnt about their kindness and dignity. We accepted their costumes and in exchange they showed us beautiful places. Often the local beach in the island was exclusively for us. Islands and the sea are amazing, every snorkel, dive or boat trip is a magic surprise.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be ready to accept what is offered to you and to abide to local rules, no fancy clothing required, water activities will take up most of your time. Local tourism is a new concept, people are still learning and enthusiastically giving more then you expect.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes the holiday benefited locals who are working really hard to offer the best to tourists. Plastic bottles are still widely used, but in 1 guesthouse they were providing filtered water. In our facilities nothing was wasted and guides always had as a primary focus conservation of the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

We had a blast!!

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Veronica,

We were delighted to be able to welcome you to the Maldives to experience one of our local adventures and therefore is is with great pleasure that we read your positive and enthusiastic feedback.

We work hard with our partners and guides to promote and drive responsible tourism and it is always pleasing when their is acknowledged. I will ensure all your comments are shared with Kamey, your guide and the teams at the Guesthouses where you stayed.

Thank you for taking the time to submit your review and we hope that we can welcome you to the Maldives again in the future.

Kind Regards,

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