About our guesthouses

Alongside the luxurious resort islands, something exciting has emerged in the Maldives. On the locally populated small islands, small businesses have opened up offering accommodation, food and experiences to travelers curious to see "the real Maldives".

We have been there and picked out a couple of gems on some of the beautiful small islands around the country. Places that offer the best of the Maldives, without it having to cost a lot. Unlike the resort islands, which consist entirely of a resort complex, you get to experience everyday life in the Maldives on a local island. Here you will meet the children on their way to school, the fishing boats coming into the harbor, the women growing and drying fish and the elderly resting in the shade under the trees.

A diving holiday at a so-called guesthouse gives you a chance to get to know the Maldivian culture and enjoy the peaceful island life that prevails, while at the same time you get to take part in the diving that the Maldives is world famous for. The sea, the reefs and the dive sites are the same regardless of whether you stay at a resort or at a guesthouse on a locally populated island. The price tag, however, is different.

Which island should you choose?

The Maldives consists of 1 islands, of which 200 have been developed into resort islands and 100 are locally inhabited islands. In other words, there are many to choose from. We have handpicked a couple of really cozy guesthouses on islands at different atolls. The most easily accessible are located in South Malé atoll and are reached by local ferry or speed boat. These islands are very suitable for you who wish to extend your liveaboard week with a couple of days on an island and do not want to spend so much time on transport.

The island of Maafushi in South Malé atoll has quickly become the most popular guesthouse island in the Maldives. Here you will find Stingray Beach Inn and here there is also a large selection of restaurants, cafes, diving schools, water sports centers and excursion organizers. Several bar boats are anchored in the harbor and for being a Maldivian island, there is a lot going on here.

If the whale shark is the goal of your trip, you should stay at TME Retreats on Dhigurah Island in South Ari Atoll. Here is the organization "Whale Shark Research Programme", and for a reason. Along the atoll's elongated outer reef, whale sharks are seen every other day, which makes this place unique. All liveaboards make a stop here during their week-long journey between the atolls. It is possible to both snorkel and dive along the reef, which makes TME Retreats very suitable even for non-divers. For those who want to dive for a whole week, the island is Dhigurah a perfect starting point as many of the most popular diving sites in the country are located in Ari atoll.

In the northern part of Ari atoll you will find the very famous dive sites Maaya thila and Hafsa thila as well as many other delicious dive sites. If you want varied, world-class diving, the guesthouse is the place to be My home on the island of Mathiveri an obvious choice. If it's the manta rays that attract you in the Maldives, the choice is easy. Aveila on the island of Dharavandhoo is 5 min from the marine reserve Hanifaru Bay where hundreds of manta rays are seen during the southwest monsoon which runs from June to November. The rest of the year, when there is less plankton in the water and thus less manta rays, the atoll instead offers mirror-like sea, visibility of +30 meters, pristine reefs, fantastic macro diving, turtles and reef sharks. This island is great for divers and non-divers alike. Families have a blast at Aveyla.

Make your way to your guesthouse in the Maldives

Logistics and transport are a central part of Maldivian everyday life. Basically everything except fish and coconuts is imported to both resort islands and locally populated islands. It is not always easy to travel after sunset and the sea sets the conditions. The locally inhabited islands located near the capital Malé can be reached by local ferries that run once a day in each direction (Sat-Thu). About SEK 20 one way for 2 hours on a hard wooden bench is what you have to wait for. A privately chartered speedboat makes the same trip in 40 minutes and instead costs about SEK 1 per boat one way. To the islands of Ari and Baa atoll, which are a little further away, a flight is required. You go by seaplane to Casa Mia as the island lacks an airport nearby and domestic flights to Aveyla and TME Retreats.

Upon arrival at Male Airport, the domestic terminal is just a few steps away from the international arrivals hall. Just turn right when you come out and you'll be right there. Check-in must take place at least 1 hour before departure. Once you have left your luggage and received your ticket you can go out again, just make sure to be there at the specified time.

Important to keep in mind when living on populated islands!

Dress code - When you move outside your guesthouse, you should remember not to go with bare shoulders, deep necklines and short shorts, applies to both men and women. Some islands are less strict, ask us beforehand and get a feel for the situation on site. Swimwear is allowed on designated beaches on the islands. Ask your guesthouse and they will show you where it is ok and not. If you swim among the locals, do it in a t-shirt and shorts, just like they do.

Alcohol - According to the law, locals in the Maldives are not allowed to drink alcohol and therefore serving permits in the country are limited to resort islands and liveaboards. So you cannot order alcohol at your guesthouse. If a sunset drink beckons, there is the option of visiting nearby resort islands or bar boats anchored off a couple of the local islands. Fresh juices from coconut, passion fruit, mango and papaya are not completely crazy either. In fact, many of our travelers who have already tried the guesthouse in the Maldives are surprised that they didn't miss the bar at all during their vacation.

Communication & culture - Guesthouse tourism has many positive effects on the small islands around the country. Above all, they contribute to more people being able to get a job on their own island and not having to move away from their family. The jobs are not only created at the guesthouse itself, but also at restaurants, shops, tour operators, diving centers, laundries and transport companies. Many of the young people on the island start their working lives through internships and apprenticeships at these companies and basically have limited experience in the tourism and service industries. As a guest, it's good to remind yourself that tourism in the small islands is a very new business and you can't always expect a well-oiled 5-star service experience where everyone speaks perfect English. The people of the Maldives are very hospitable, curious and take good care of their guests. However, be prepared that nothing is rushed, everything is adapted to the weather and that this matter of fitting times is not particularly important. Just sit back and relax and trust them to do the rest.