Pre-Arrival

Q: It is safe?
A: Yes, we have a 100% safety record with no incidents since we started. None of our volunteers have ever experienced violent behaviour whilst volunteering with us, nor will you. The Maldives is a very safe country and this is especially true for the remote islands like Naifaru.

We provide safe accommodation, where you can always ask the volunteer coordinator for help.

While the risk of violence is close to zero, we do encourage our volunteers to make sure that they are responsible with their belongings when outside the volunteer house.

Should you ever feel unsafe, we have a 24-hour hotline. Also, there is a police station on the island in the unlikely event of anything happening. With the island’s small size, the police is never more than a couple of minutes away.

Q: How do I prepare myself for my stay?
A: Once you have signed up for a programme, we will email you our volunteer guide and arrival information. The volunteer guide should help you with any questions you may have as well as in regards to which preparations to make. The arrival information takes you through all the airport procedures on arrival. If you still have questions or doubts, please do not hesitate to contact our volunteer coordinator as she will be more than happy to help you!
Q: When should I arrive?
A: You should liaise with us before you book your flights, and we will then make recommendations on arrival and departure flights.

Please read the Arrival & Departure Section for more.

Transportation

Q: What is the easiest way to get to the Maldives?
A: The international airport next to Male’ has connections to many other airports throughout the world.
The cheapest flights are usually via Sri Lanka or the Middle East (Doha, Abu Dhabi, Dubai).
Q: Who will arrange my flight to the Maldives?
A: It is up to you to organise your flight. However, we are happy to assist you with advice and we encourage you to organise your arrival and departure dates with us to ensure that you get the most out of your stay.
Q: How will I get from the airport to Naifaru?
A: We organise all domestic transportation for you within the Maldives.

Before you depart on your flight to the Maldives, you will be given arrival information about the procedures at the airport. A local will be waiting for you to pick you up and bring you to Male’.

Airport transfer to Male’ is by a small ferry at a rate of US$2.

We will organise for you to be set up at a discounted rate at a hotel in Male’ until transport is available to Naifaru.

Transport to and from Naifaru is included in the programme fee and you will be briefed about your arrangements both before arrival in the Maldives and upon arrival at your hotel.

Q: How do I get from Male’ to Naifaru?
A: We organise the transfer from Male’ to Naifaru as part of the programme fee. Usually we will get you on a speedboat or ferry depending on your time of arrival.
Q: How can I get around the Maldives?
A: The usual form of transportation in the Maldives is by a boat. Either by a dhoni (traditional Maldivian wooden boat), ferry or speedboat.

Sea planes are also an option, but guests at resorts are always prioritised.

Living in Naifaru

Q: Where will I stay?
A: When volunteering with us, you will be staying at our local guest house. Please read the Accommodation section for more information.
Q: Will I need a mosquito net?
A: No, you would not have much use of it. There is no risk of malaria in the Maldives and the mosquitoes that we have can be chased off by having the room fan turned on at a low spin during the night.
Q: What will I eat?
A: You will be staying near a restaurant, where you will be having breakfast. Here you have a variety of local Maldivian dishes and a more “continental” style breakfast (toast, jam, eggs and sausage). An all time favourite is the Maldivian dish mashuni and roshi, which is a mix of coconut, tuna, chilli, a local lettuce-like leaf and thin pancakes.

Lunch and dinner are served at local restaurants, a charming little place where you have the choice between any one dish and a drink. The restaurant serves a variety of Maldivian, Asian and Western dishes. There are several restaurants on the Island and we are having a cooperation with some of them, and we are constantly working on trying to get more partners, so our volunteers have more choices.
If you have any dietary needs, like vegetarianism, please inform our Volunteer Coordinator beforehand, and she will make sure that these are met as much as possible.

Q: What happens upon arrival in Naifaru?
A: When arriving in Naifaru, you will be received by our Volunteer Coordinator and a local staff member that will take your bags and bring you to your accommodation. After this, the Volunteer Coordinator will take you for a meal, following which you will be given a welcome briefing and a tour of the island.
Q: How do I get around on the island?
A: Our Island is only 53 hectares, and walking from one end to the other only takes 10-15 minutes. Transportation in Naifaru is usually by foot. There are a few cars on the island as well as a number of scooters and motorcycles.

Recreational Activities

Q: Will I be able to go on more than the weekly excursions?
A: Yes! Atoll Volunteers provides a free excursion once a week. Usually this is to an uninhabited island or fishing, snorkelling etc. Provided you can get the time off from your volunteer project, you are free to go on more excursions for a small price.

Furthermore, there are a few good snorkelling sites around Naifaru and you will have plenty of opportunities to enjoy these for free.

Q: Is it possible to visit a resort during my time with Atoll Volunteers?
A: Yes! There are a number of resorts across the atoll and some provide discounts for our volunteers in recognition of their contribution to the island communities.

Provided you can get the time off from your project duties, you may arrange a visit to the resort at the end of your stay. You can organise this either before or during your stay with our Volunteer Coordinator.

Q: Is it possible to dive with Atoll Volunteers?
A: Unfortunately not at the moment, but we are working on establishing diving as part of our marine programmes and as a recreational option for our volunteers. We do, however, have a good relationship with a local diving centre at a resort, and we can get you on a free transport to this centre.

Culture

Q: Do I have to wear a head scarf?
A: No. Although the Maldives is a Muslim country, it is not required to wear a head scarf and it is not uncommon for some local women to go out without a scarf.
Q: What am I allowed to wear?
A: When in the local community, females are required to cover their knees and shoulders and not have a deep neckline. When in the Volunteer House and on most recreational excursions, you may wear what you like.
Q: Can I wear my bikini/swim wear to the beach?
A: When in the local community, females are required to cover their knees and shoulders, even at the beach. When in the Volunteer House and on most recreational excursions and resort visits, you will be allowed to wear your normal swim wear.
Q: Is alcohol allowed?
A: No, not on the non-resort islands of the Maldives as alcohol is prohibited by law. If you are really thirsty for a chilled beer or cool cocktail, we can arrange for you to visit one of the nearby resorts either as a daytrip or staying overnight.
Q: What are the language requirements?
A: Most people in the Maldives speak a high level of English. The local language is Dhivehi, but you will not need to learn any phrases to get by in the island communities.