Fulidhoo Island Guide: Shark & Stingray Beach In Maldives

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Fulidhoo is a quaint and affordable island we recently visited in the Maldives, along with Dhigurah Island, which we adored for its stunning beaches and expansive sandbar.

Beyond scuba diving, Fulidhoo’s main highlight is the shark and stingray beach, where you can observe nurse sharks, sea turtles, and stingrays in the shallow waters and even capture memorable photos with them.

Naturally, Fulidhoo features the iconic white sands and crystal-clear blue waters typical of the Maldives. With family-run hotels starting at just $60 USD per night, it’s an excellent choice for a tropical getaway on a budget.

This travel guide will provide all the essential information on getting to Fulidhoo Island, activities to enjoy, accommodation options, and everything you need to know before your visit!

Where To Stay In Fulidhoo

How To Get To Fulidhoo Island

Fulidhoo lacks an airport, so your journey begins with a flight into Male International Airport (MLE), the Maldives’ capital, located approximately 55 kilometers (35 miles) from Fulidhoo.

From Male, you can reach Fulidhoo by either a speedboat or a ferry.

Swimming with a stingray in Fulidhoo!
Swimming with a stingray in Fulidhoo!

By Public Speedboat

The primary way to reach Fulidhoo is via public speedboat, which is how we traveled there. Daily departures are available in the morning and afternoon from both Male airport and the city.

The speedboat ride to Fulidhoo lasts just under 1.5 hours and costs around $40 USD per person one way. Our trip was quite bumpy, likely due to the weather conditions at the time.

On the plus side, the boats are new and feature comfortable seating. They also have a toilet, ample luggage storage space, and provide free bottled water during the journey.

Speedboats from Male to Fulidhoo leave at 10 AM and 4 PM, except on Fridays when they depart at 9:30 AM only. Return trips from Fulidhoo to Male are at 7:30 AM and 1:30 PM, with Friday departures at 7 AM only.

However, multiple speedboat companies operate this route, and schedules can change, so it’s wise to confirm the timetable with your hotel before traveling.

You can ask your hotel in Fulidhoo to book the speedboat for you and pay for it along with your room bill upon arrival. This is what we did, and paying by credit card saved us from carrying a lot of cash.

Tour boat looking at the stingrays in Fulidhoo
Tour boat looking at the stingrays in Fulidhoo

By Private Speedboat

Chartering a private speedboat will cost significantly more than using the public speedboats, but it can be more convenient if you’re traveling with a group of 4 or 5 and need a direct transfer to Fulidhoo island.

Your hotel in Fulidhoo should be able to help you arrange this.

By Public Ferry

Drone view of Fulidhoo from above. It’s a very small island.
Drone view of Fulidhoo from above. It’s a very small island.

Alternatively, you can take the public ferry from Male to Fulidhoo. Though this option is slower than speedboats, it is much more affordable. The ferry ride to Fulidhoo takes around 4 hours and costs $5 USD for a one-way ticket.

Departures from Male to Fulidhoo are on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays at 10 AM, while the return trips from Fulidhoo to Male are on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays at 10:30 AM.

Ferry schedules can sometimes change, so it’s best to verify the current timetable with your hotel in Fulidhoo. Since you cannot book tickets in advance, arriving early is recommended to secure a seat.

The ferry departs from the Hulhumale ferry terminal in Male city (map here). Note that this terminal is in Male city, not Hulhumale, and is accessible by a 10-minute taxi ride from the airport.

Additionally, if you’re traveling from Maafushi island, you can take a direct ferry to Fulidhoo, avoiding a transfer in Male.

How To Get Around The Island

Fulidhoo is a tiny island where you can easily walk to any destination.

There are no cars on the island; only small electric buggies are used to transport luggage between the pier and the hotels.

With the island measuring just 700 meters in length and 250 meters in width, you can reach the beach or pier from any hotel within 5 minutes, or walk around the entire island in under 30 minutes. This is quite convenient.

Greek-ish street vibes in Fulidhoo town
Greek-ish street vibes in Fulidhoo town

Shark & Stingray Beach

Fulidhoo’s main highlight is the shark and stingray beach, located along the southwestern side of the island and marked on Google Maps as ‘stingray observation point.’

Stingrays visit this beach daily, drawn by the scraps left by fishermen, and you might also spot a nurse shark or sea turtle.

While their presence isn’t guaranteed, we saw stingrays almost every time during our two-day stay, and others have had similar experiences.

We observed over a dozen rays at once! It was an exciting experience. You can watch them from the shore or take photos with them in the shallow water. Please avoid touching them, although it’s okay if they brush against you.

Shark & stingray beach
Shark & stingray beach

Is It Safe?

Before coming here, we had the same question: Is it safe to be near sharks and stingrays?

Good question. The sharks around Fulidhoo are nurse sharks, which are generally harmless to humans.

And what about the stingrays? While we all remember the unfortunate incident with Steve Irwin, that was an unusual situation where he was following a stingray to film it, and it perceived him as a threat.

Stingrays are typically gentle creatures. As long as you avoid stepping on them, chasing them, or making them feel threatened, they are unlikely to harm you. Plus, the water here is very shallow.

Although it’s impossible to say it’s completely risk-free, many tourists visit Fulidhoo daily to see the stingrays and take photos with them, and we haven’t heard of any negative incidents.

Drone pic with the stingrays
Drone pic with the stingrays

Best Time To Visit The Maldives

The dry season in the Maldives runs from January to April, making this the ideal time to visit Fulidhoo due to the sunny weather and minimal rain.

Although more tourists visit the Maldives during this period, Fulidhoo still felt uncrowded when we were there in January.

The wettest months are from September to December. You can visit Fulidhoo during this time, but expect more frequent rain.

More Things To Do In Fulidhoo

East Beach / Bikini Beach:

The main beach on Fulidhoo’s eastern side boasts pristine white sand and clear turquoise water. This designated ‘bikini beach’ welcomes tourists to wear swimsuits and sunbathe. The waves are gentle, making it safe for children to swim, though there isn’t much shade.

Sunset View Point:

For a scenic walk, head to the island’s western end for a beautiful view of the sunset.

Banyan Tree:

In the island’s center stands an impressive old banyan tree with massive roots, shading a volleyball court. If you stay at the Huvan Inn, like we did, this tree is right outside the hotel.

Scuba Diving:

Fulidhoo is renowned for scuba diving, offering encounters with reef sharks, manta rays, octopuses, and other marine life. For dive shops, check out Fulidhoo Dive and Divers Lodge.

Resort Excursions:

Hotels in Fulidhoo can arrange half-day trips to nearby luxury resorts. These excursions let you enjoy the amenities of a high-end hotel, including transport, access to facilities like the pool and spa, and a food and drink allowance.

Other Activities:

Fulidhoo offers snorkeling tours to a shipwreck, picnics on a sandbar, and tours to see whale sharks and dolphins.

Sunset View Point
Sunset View Point
Stingray beach
Stingray beach

How Long To Stay

Given its small size, I believe most visitors would find satisfaction in spending 2 or 3 days on Fulidhoo, though extending your stay wouldn’t hurt. Two days proved sufficient for us; anything less than that feels too brief in my opinion.

Many visitors arrive on day trips from other islands to observe the sharks and stingrays. However, observing these tour groups from afar, it appeared they were rushed.

Most of these groups departed after just 30 minutes, barely enough time to explore or capture good photographs. We were relieved we opted against such a short visit. I recommend staying at least 1 or 2 days to truly experience the island.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Fulidhoo offers a delightful blend of natural beauty and tranquility, making it an ideal destination for a tropical getaway. From its stunning beaches to the abundance of marine life, there’s something for every traveler to enjoy.

Whether you’re seeking adventure in the crystal-clear waters or relaxation under the shade of a banyan tree, Fulidhoo promises an unforgettable experience. Plan your visit during the dry season for optimal weather conditions, and consider staying a few days to fully immerse yourself in the island’s charm.

With its welcoming atmosphere and array of activities, Fulidhoo is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who venture to its shores.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get to Fulidhoo from Male International Airport?

You can reach Fulidhoo from Male by either public speedboat or ferry. Speedboats depart from Male airport and the city, while the ferry leaves from the Hulhumale ferry terminal in Male city.

What is the best time to visit Fulidhoo?

The best time to visit Fulidhoo is during the dry season, which runs from January to April. This period offers less rainfall and more sunny days, ideal for enjoying the island’s beaches and outdoor activities.

Are there accommodation options on Fulidhoo?

Yes, Fulidhoo offers a range of accommodation options, including family-owned hotels and guesthouses. Prices are affordable, with some hotels offering rooms for as low as $60 USD per night.

What activities can I do on Fulidhoo?

Fulidhoo offers a variety of activities, including snorkeling, scuba diving, and sunset viewing. You can also explore the island on foot, visit the local banyan tree, or take a day trip to nearby luxury resorts.

Is it safe to swim near sharks and stingrays on Fulidhoo?

Yes, it is generally safe to swim near nurse sharks and stingrays on Fulidhoo. However, it’s important to exercise caution and avoid touching or harassing the marine life. Stick to designated swimming areas and follow any safety guidelines provided by local authorities.

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