7 things to do in Gaafaru Maldives and where to stay
More about the island Gaafaru Maldives and where to stay
Gaafaru Maldives location
Maldives consist of more than 1,190 islands which form different atolls.
Being the only guest on the whole island let me explore Gaafaru even better.
7 things to do in Gaafaru Maldives
1. Observe local life
As I’ve said, Gaafaru Maldives is a perfect place to learn more about the life of the locals. Many people go to Maldives and stay only at a resort which does not give them any chance to find out how the locals live. For that, you need to stay at a local island, such as Gaafaru. And because now in 2017 there’s only 1 hotel there, the local experience will be even more unique. The locals are not really used to tourists yet which gives you an opportunity to really get to know the Maldivian habits.
I went for a barefoot walk every day while in Gaafaru. I tried to go at different times of the day to see more of local activities. My favorite time was sunset when the kids were back from school and they would play at the big colorful playground not far from the port. When I was there, they got curious and wanted to play with me, too. At that time the adults would swing in the funny swings below the trees found all around the island.
TIP: Mingle with locals at Island Deck. Island Deck is a famous coffee shop located just a couple of metres from the Gaafaru port. You can take steps up to the roof to watch the sunset in the port. Many locals go there to get a coffee.
2. Relax on the bikini beach
Hope you know that the main religion on the local islands in Maldives is Muslim which means that you have to be covered. The same applies for the beach so you would need to swim in the Ocean with your clothes on. To attract tourists who are used to sunbathe and swim in swimwear only, some local islands have a designated Bikini beach. Imran, the owner of Mirian Sky Hotel also marked a sand bank on Gaafaru as the Gaafaru Bikini beach where you
can freely wear bikini only. I loved to have that beach to myself only (again no other tourists were there at the same time). Yay, private beach! 🙂
There’s some shells and corals along the beach after high tide. Feel free to admire their beauty. Oh, and the sunset from the beach is also cool. The sunset is somewhere in the port and not directly at the Bikini beach but it’s still visible.
I didn’t really swim there much because of some algae and corals close-by. I would only But I think it wold be possible to go for a swim.
There’s a couple of free sunbeds on the beach to sunbathe on. If you got bored, you can rent a canoe at Mirian Sky Hotel or go on a banana boat.
You can find more of my photos on my Instagram 😉
Pozrite si tento príspevok na Instagrame
3. Snorkeling with turtles
I went snorkeling with sea turtles in other places too but this one was the best, no kidding! We went on a boat trip for approx. half an hour from Gaafaru and anchored not far from to coral reefs with many fish and turtle families. I was extremely happy to see 4 turtles, a baby one and 3 adults. If I’m not mistaken, all 4 of them were hawksbill turtles, just of different sizes. One of them swam so close to me and seemed enjoying the camera so much it would swim towards me for a few minutes, even when I tried to keep my distance. I managed to get a lovely turtle selfie, and a really cool video, too. The best turtle experience ever 🙂
*Just please remember NOT to touch the turtles and always keep a distance. Sea turtles are wild animals and not domesticated pets that need affection. Touching them is not natural.
4. Snorkeling around Gaafaru shipwrecks
As Gaafaru is located on the important shipping route, we can find many old shipwrecks around the island. In the past, the reef around Gaafaru was not well visible in the storm which is what makes it now a great shipwreck diving location. It’s not necessary to go diving though. Some shipwrecks are also visible when snorkeling.
As I dived only once in my life so far, we took a boat to go snorkeling around SS Seagull shipwreck. SS Seagull is now found near the outer wall of the reef in the North of the Gaafaru Atoll. This German steamboat sank in 1879 on the way from London to Calcutta. It is possible to see parts of the wreck on the top of the reef which ranges between 6 to 10 meters in depth. The ship is split in half and is mostly covered with coral, home to many fish. If you would like to go diving there, try to find a small cave, boilers and stern located at the depth of 30 meters.
5. Boat trip to picnic island Kagi
One of the most common activities offered at many Maldivian hotels and resorts is a trip to a picnic island. It’s funny but usually tourists do not realize that it’s always a different picnic island, depending on the location of the Maldivian island you are staying at. There’s no one island called Picnic island in the Maldives. Many islands are referred to as ”picnic islands” because tourists take a boat and go to a different island to have picnic there, hence the name.
6. Boat trip to sandbank Maadhooni Finolhu
A trip to the Maldives would not be complete without a sandbank visit. Three weeks before Gaafaru, I had a chance to visit Thoddoo island and take a trip to Madivaru Finolhu sandbank where we had the best snorkeling ever. Then a week later, I walked along the sandbank at the Kuramathi Island resort. So taking a boat trip from Gaafaru to Maadhooni Finolhu was my third sandbank visit in the Maldives.
Maadhooni Finolhu sandbank is a tiny white sand island with nothing but loads of sea birds and crabs. Only wish the weather was better when we visited so we ould have stayed longer there. But I usually get really bad weather when visiting a sandbank, and this time was no difference. After taking some nice photos we had to hop on the boat again and leave asap to avoid a big storm. But then again, I was there during the rainy season (September and October 2017). Yet, in my opinion, a sandbank visit is a must when in the Maldives.
7. Dolphin cruise
Maldives are an incredible place for sea animals… turtles, fish, sharks, dolphins… Oh dolphins, you gorgeous creatures! As I can never spend enough time observing dolphins, I simply had to see them in the Maldives, too.
One of the evenings on Gaafaru we took an hour sunset cruise and were so lucky to spot loads, and I mean loads of dolphins. I was just sitting on the boat looking at many dolphins jumping all around us. The Sun setting in the horizon even added to already the magnificent feeling I had. I was eternally grateful to see dozens of dolphins 🙂