Maldives on a Budget
A budget traveller’s haven, Guraidhoo island is locates in South Malé Atoll in the Maldives. Accessible by ferry or speed boat from the capital of Malé, Guraidhoo will give a chance to dive into traditional Maldivian island life without forgoing modernity.
With a serene and tranquil ambience, the island is a stone’s throw away from some of the world class dive sites and the area boasting some of the best surf spots. This is the perfect destination to go if you love the water adventures and nature that're guide your holiday with a beauty, rhythms and magic.
How to Get: Transfers
Guraidhoo island is 35km from the capital, Malé and 36 km from Velana International Airport (VIA). The airport is set on Hulhule island with regular ferries service linking it with the capital. Ferries operate back and forth every 10-15 minutes. One-way airport ferry transfer – USD 1 or MVR 15 per person. Once you reach Malé, take a taxi to the Villingili Ferry Terminal. Taxi fares are fixed at MVR 25 (without luggage). You can reach the island by ferry or speedboat.
There are two ferries that go to Guuraidhoo: The Guraidhoo ferry and the Province ferry. The departure point for both ferries in Male is at the Villingili Ferry Terminal. Travel by ferry offering a scenic vistas of palm fringed islands, reefs and sandbanks along the way.
As a rule, you should allow at least an hour from the time you exit the airport arrival hall to catching the ferry at the Villingili Ferry Terminal in Male. If your departure is on Friday or earlier than 11:00 am you have to leave Guraidhoo one day before the date of your departure to ensure you arrive at the airport on time.
There is no ATM on Guraidhoo, so please stock cash in Malé. You can coordinate the traffic schedule and the transfer type in advance with the staff of your guest house (recommended), or check here. The staff will also need your name and arrival and departure flight details. A representative of your hotel will meet you at Male airport and assist with transportation to the island.
Guraidhoo Ferry (Direct transfer)
Departure from Malé: 14:30
Departure from Guraidhoo: 07:00
Travel time is approximately 2 hours.
One way fare: MVR 30 (USD 2) per person.
Ferry runs daily except on Fridays.
Province Feryy (Transit)
Departure route from Malé: Malé – Gulhi – Maafushi – Guraidhoo
Departure route from Guraidhoo: Guraidhoo – Maafushi – Gulhi – Malé
Departure from Malé: 15:00
Departure from Guraidhoo: 07:00
Jorney time is 2 hours 30 minutes.
Ferry runs daily except on Fridays.
Departure from Malé: 12:30, 16:00, 22:00 daily
Departure from Guraidhoo: 08:00, 14:30, 17:30 daily
Travel time is 45 minutes.
One way cost: $30 per person.
Speedboat costs: USD 250 one way/boat ( maximum 10 person)
Travel time to Malé airport: 35 minutes
Located on the atoll's eastern edge, Guraidhoo is a charming Maldivian fishing village. With a population of 1,800, it is surrounded by reefs teeming with the hypnotic marine life. Historically, Guraidhoo was used as a refuge for sultans during political turmoil and attempted invasions. One reason for this could be that the complex reef displacement made it difficult for foreign ships to find a passage into the island.
It is located a little further south of famous Maafushi, and it is smaller. With a less typical tourist infrastructure, the island therefore can give you a more authentic Maldivian experience. The hospitality of its people and the many souvenir shops lining the main road have long attracted visitors from neighbouring resorts and passing liveaboards.
While explore the island you will spot a hospital, police, drugstore, a children's playground, school, a mosque, some minimarkets that sell the basic necessities, a lot of souvenir shops, 3 cafes and restaurant, and two dive centres.
There is no beach bikini on the island itself, but the tourist beach is located on the neighboring island of Lhosfushi, which is connected to Guraidhoo by a picturesque bridge. Lhosfushi is a deserted island that is designed specifically for tourists. Here you can sunbathe and swim in a bikini, although swimming there is difficult - shallow waters and a lot of dead coral. The southern side of this island is shore with a strong waves and surfers usually hang out here.
Guraidhoo itself has a beautiful semi legal bikini beach, overlooking the Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives. Some Guraidhoo's guest houses also have their own private beaches for their guests.
Guraidhoo's house reef is a good place for snorkeling to open your eyes to the spectacular marine life of Maldives. If you’re are new to snorkeling, a some guest houses provide a guide to the house reef to learn the nuts and bolts of snorkeling. Once you get accustomed to it, then its time to venture out in to the individual reefs around the atoll to seek more adventure. Please note a snorkeling gear not for free, if you plan to do lots of snorkeling, please do bring your own mask and fins.
The Maldives is one of the most amazing surf destinations in the world. K.Guraidhoo is no different, surrounded by several exceptional and diverse surf spots to cater for every level of surfer.
There are 2 breaks adjacent to the island. Foxy’s is a fast shallow left hander, only semi-consistent, while Riptides (aka Last stop) is a super fun right. You have to cross a 40 m channel to get there. Foxy’s is a “Goofys Paradise” or if you’re fast on the backhand you will love this wave. Breaks for 100 to 150 meters and provides many barrel opportunities. Advanced spot that can be also reached by swimming from Lhosfushi (Bikini Beach Island) Best with SE swell and NW wind.
Riptides is consistent and works pretty much at all tides. Great wave for the long-boarders and short-boarders as well as low intermediate surfers, providing curved walls with the occasional hollow section. Best with S swell and SW wind. There are occasional safari boats that show up but crowds are generally much lighter than North Malé.
Kates is an advanced spot that can be also reached by swimming from Lohifushi. Slow right-hander, perfect for beginners and for long-boarders. It is better with West-North West winds and with a moderate swell from the South.
The Maldives has some good coral reefs, but the abundance of marine life across the country makes the islands the world's best scuba diving destination. You will spot moray eels, lion fish, squirrel fish ad soft coral here with schooling trevallies and patrolling sharks. Seasonal Pelagics are mantas, sharks, turtles and the frequent whale sharks.
There are two dive centers PADI on the island that're offer a fun diving trips and the dive courses ranging from first timers to dive master certifications. The most popular dive sites are Kandooma Caves, Cocoa Corner, Kandooma Thila, Guraidhoo Corner and Medhu Faru.
Things to Do
Enjoy a day out on the beaches just a few minutes away, or go explore the splendid reefs and lagoons surrounding the island. Revitalise your senses at spa or simply relax and retreat! In addition to the sun, sea and beach experience, you can also pick and choose your own holiday package, from among a variety of exciting activities such as snorkeling, diving, surfing and other water sports.
Make your budget holiday adventures, active and exciting. The island's Water Sports Center offers water skiing, kneeboarding, catamaran sailing, jet skiing and windsurfing.
The snorkeling excursions from Guraidhoo to nearby reefs offers guests to discover the unique coral reef system of South Male Atoll and its colorful inhabitants. These remarkable reefs made up of caves, terraces and cliffs are home to a variety of species such as turtles, manta rays, sting rays, moray eels, reef sharks, Napoleons and abundance of small reef fishes.
Sand banks are white sand mounds in the middle of the ocean surrounded with immaculate lagoons. Discover these sandy strips with a nice cold drink. The deserted setting is ideal to combine sunbathing and snorkeling around the exotic reefs around the bank. Although it’s a half day excursion it can be extended to a full day with picnic lunch. The best selfie happens here!
Guraidhoo's guest houses offer picnic trip to small uninhabited islands that have equal natural beauty. A picnic island looks more natural than resorts and you can have your own privacy as these islands are uninhabited. You can simply spend your day in the clear waters of these islands, swimming, snorkeling, beach games and experience a barbecue on the beach.
Night Fishing is another fun activity on Guraidhoo. As the setting sun splashes its colours across in the sky and the evening breeze dims the heat of the day, an anglers hop on a boat and ride away to a nearby reef to catch Snappers, Jacks, Squirrel, Groupers etc. The trip provides basic fishing gears for fishing. If you are really into fishing bring along your fishing equipment to go for the big game.
South Male Atoll is home to many luxury resorts. Sample some these and get the full Maldivian over-water villa experience with a full-day excursion. Spoil yourself with impeccable service and befitting style at some of the most secluded island getaways.
Also on offer are trips to Dolphin point, sunset cruise, manta point (you can snorkel with mantas), submarine excursion, whale shark trip, full day trip to other atolls and more. You'll find a spa (massage) service at some geust houses also.
Mostly all guests prefer to eat in the hotels when a some restaurants have a beach side location with a sea views. The food is tasty and you have a good choice of different food options. Usually dinner is a buffet, lunch by menu. All rooms have everything for tea and coffee. The local chefs offer a delicious options for every appetite, perfect for every palate any time of day. A great idea to start the day with a hearty Maldivian breakfast or nutritious light bite; try innovative local and International favourites prepared with fresh ingredients, including fresh seafood and fish.
Expect on the menus a good mix of delicious dishes from around the world. Added to that, a dining places include a some of the best loved local dishes in their menu to give you a glimpse of Maldivian food culture. To make your dining experience even more memorable we recommend BBQ lunch and romantic private dinners at the beach. The most of the eateries also provide meal plans for vegetarians and people who require special diets.
Alcohol is banned on inhabited islands so enjoy the dry law together with a local residents.
Where to Stay
Today (oct 2018) there are 17 hotels on Guraidhoo island and generally all budget accomodation is excellent! The staff is very friendly and helpfull from meeting at Male airport to check out. The rooms are are designed with your comfort in mind and are fit for families, couples, and solo travellers. All rooms are equipped with comfy beds, Air Conditioner and hot and cold water availability in bathrooms, TV and free wifi. Some of the rooms also have a fantastic location right on the beacha, little balcony and a beautiful patio/ seating area. Check out our 10 best Guest Houses in Guraidhoo
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