In the south of the country lies the heart shaped Addu Atoll from where travelers, from Gan can cycle to three inhabited islands via a causeway. Addu Atoll is the main economic and administrative centre in the south of the country and is just a little smaller than Male’. It has a population of 28, 000 across seven islands. The biggest influence on Addu’s modern history has been the British bases, first established on Gan during WWII as part of the Indian Ocean defense. The base had around 600 personnel permanently stationed here with the number rising up to 3000 during periods of peak activity. The British built a series of causeways connecting Feydhoo, Maradhoo and Hithadhoo islands and had most of the population working for them on or around the base. In 1976 when the British went for good, they left an airport, some large industrial buildings, barracks and a lot of unemployed people who spoke English and had experience working for Westerners. In the 70s when the Maldives tourism industry took off, many of the men of Addu went to Male’ to seek work in resorts and tourist shops. As a result, at resorts all over the country, most of the staff are from Addu.
There are several flights a day to Male’ and direct charter flights to Gan. Island Aviation flies from Male’ to Gan and back two or three times a day. The standard fare for foreigners is US$ 271 round trip. Private yachts report by radio to the NSS in Gan or Hithadhoo to arrange security and customs clearance, but many have to continue to Male’ for health and immigration checks to complete the ‘clear-in’ process. The best way to get around Gan and over the causeway to neighbouring villages is by bicycle. Taxis shuttle between the islands and around the villages; from Gan to Hithadhoo and cost about Rf100. Taxis wait at the airport and you can order one from any resort. The buses seen on the main road are only for workers in the Gan garment factories. Resorts pick up guests by free minibus from the airport, though you may need to call at arrival.