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With only a few connecting causeways between islands, road vehicles are not the primary mode of transport here! The airport transfer first option is therefore the airport passenger ferry, which runs a regular service 24 hours a day, seven days a week. There are ferries to Malé centre every 10 minutes for most of the day.
Otherwise, inter-island travel is often done by seaplane – the taxis of the Maldives. Malé International Airport has a whole terminal dedicated solely to Maldives transfers by seaplane. Trans Maldivian Airways runs services to islands all across the archipelago.
The final option for Maldives transfers and getting around the Maldives in general is by speedboat. These high-speed boats, which are quicker than the ferries, tend to service resorts that are a little closer to Malé, while seaplanes are used for the more far-flung islands.
One of the most prohibitive costs for holidaying in the Maldives is transfers – to offset the costs, ask if it’s possible to get a shared transfer.
Many hotels and resorts in the Maldives will arrange airport transfers. But if you want to go island-hopping, you may need to handle the logistics yourself.
If that’s the case, then it’s worth knowing there are two types of ferry in the Maldives: public ferries, which vary in frequency depending on the route and time of year, and private ferries that are commonly used for tourist day trips.
With private ferries, departures are rarely scheduled, but it may be worth asking around nevertheless. In-the-know locals can often help, although sometimes there really is no schedule at all; the boat simply departs when enough people have arrived to make the journey worthwhile for the captain.
For a more personalised service, try taxi boats, which are commonly used to shuttle tourists between the larger urban areas and the corners of secluded paradise that are the private island resorts.