Fuvahmulah is located south of the equator and is one of the Maldives’ most southerly atolls. It’s a single island atoll, and coral boulders have landlocked its lagoon. Freshwater lakes have formed where the water has lost its salinity. It’s the only island to have a native bird – the common moorhen – and the inhabitants keep them as pets.
The tropical climate brings a dry north-east monsoon from December to March and a wet south-west monsoon from May to November. The waters in the south of the Maldives are cooler, but at a minimum of 75° F (24° C) you won’t be needing a dry suit.
The atoll is one of the archipelago’s most culturally diverse, and this solitary island is only 2.8 miles (4.5km) long. You can easily explore it on a bike.
Due to its distance from Malé the atoll’s dive sites are still being explored. There are two established sites where you can encounter the archipelago’s rarer sharks. On land, you can walk on a beach and collect black pebbles (unique to Fuvahmulah), surf on dramatic waves and explore a mosque made from coral stone.
More liveaboards are visiting the atoll, but it’s not as popular a destination as other areas. Accommodation on the atoll is limited and mainly mid-range, but during the low season discounted rates are available. The limited diving on the atoll is mainly suited to advanced divers, so a split location trip may be needed.
For an authentic experience you can set sail before sunrise and try to catch tuna; then head to the fish market with the fishermen and watch the locals arriving for the day’s catch.
OTHER ATTRACTIONSThe atoll’s large wave break makes it a great place for surfers. If you’re learning to surf, be prepared for a bumpy ride.
In the north-east of the island are the ruins of a Buddhist stupa but little remains after unsupervised excavations for hidden treasure.
Cycle to Dhadimagu Lake and swim in the freshwater, or look for herons, flamingos and the white-breasted waterhen.
Enjoy a sunset meal on the beach, and celebrate your first tiger shark encounter.
GETTING THEREMale Ibrahim Nasir International Airport is well served by direct charter flights from Western Europe, but direct scheduled flights are rarer – and you need to transfer in the Middle East first.
If you’re staying on the Fuvahmulah Atoll then you will transfer by domestic flight (one hour) to the island’s airport.