Ever wanted to just escape from it all? There's an island waiting to welcome you home.
Fulidhoo sits on the northern edge of Vaavu Atoll and lies at 3°40’48.65”N 73°24’56.92”E, just a few hours away from the equator. At 700m long and 200m wide, it’s not much more than a sliver of sand in the vast ocean. Yet thanks to the availability of fresh water, local vegetation and the bountiful sea, its remote island community has thrived for centuries.
This country needs little by way of introduction. It’s a place akin to paradise; endless turquoise waters, coconut-tree clad beaches, lagoons brimming with life. It’s the ultimate holiday getaway and on nearly every diver’s bucket list.
These islands, strewn across the Indian Ocean, were formed many thousands of years ago when coral reefs began to grow around the summits of ancient volcanos, now long sunk back to the ocean floor. On those reefs, sand began to gather and form islands and, as it does, life found a way.
Over the past two thousand years, the islands have drawn settlers from every edge of the Indian Ocean. Migrants from Sri Lanka and India, sailors from Africa and travellers from Persia and the Middle East all found there way here and made these beaches their home.
As such, the country has a colourful past. It has seen sultanates rise and fall, religions come and go, and outsiders invade and flee. Throughout its long history, the Maldives has not only survived against the odds. It has flourished against them.
Vaavu Atoll, also known as Felidhe Atolhu (all administrative atolls have two names), is the smallest of all the atolls in terms of population. So few people has led to deserted beaches and stunning natural vistas. Even amongst Maldivians its islands are renowned for their beauty, and the citizens here are famously hard to impress!
Although all atolls have similarities, each has their own identity and Vaavu is known for two things: fish and music. Fishermen come from all over the country to benefit from the swarms of tuna to be found here. And when they’re not on the water, they can relax by listening to the sounds of traditional Boduberu drumming.
Life in Fulidhoo is simple and centres around the good things in life: family, music, fishing and relaxing! Time slows down here and visitors soon adapt to island rhythms. Islanders are up with first light to make the most of the sun’s mercy in the early morning, before the heat becomes too strong for most outdoor tasks.
The day is structured around the five calls to prayer, which are announced by the island’s mosque, allowing islanders to put aside chores and pause for reflection. A 100% Muslim nation, the Maldives practices a form of moderate Islam and welcomes visitors of all faiths and none.
In the evening, many islanders gather on the beach to enjoy the breeze and the sunset and as night falls they retreat to their homes for family meals or to the local café to catch up with friends.
Although Fulidhoo is a small community, we live well here. You’ll find a medical clinic with a doctor available around the clock, a pharmacy, several local shops selling souvenirs and groceries, two local cafés, a community centre and a mosque. Although we recommend bringing everything you need with you, you’ll be able to pick up snacks, bottled water, gifts and items such as mosquito spray or toiletries that you may have forgotten.
As English is the country’s second language, and all schooling is undertaken in English, most shopkeepers and islanders will be able to converse in English, especially the younger generation.