Maldives Travel Guide
With powdery white sand beaches, turquoise waters and unique ways of vacationing, Maldives is quite righteously portrayed by the media as a true tropical paradise. The Maldives, known to the locals in their native language (Dhivehi) as Dhivehi Raajje, are an archipelago of 1,192 coral islands grouped into 26 natural coral atolls in the Indian Ocean. Maldives is the smallest Asian country by land area and population, with around 430,000 inhabitants (2019). Out of 1190 islands, only 192 islands are inhabited and the rest of the islands remain virgin islands, besides the more than 100 islands that have been developed for the top end of the tourist market.
We decided to experience two sides of the Maldives. The local island called Hulhumale and the resort island Fushifaru, where we experienced a true Maldives holiday.
Things to See and Do in the Maldives
- Go diving/snorkeling
- Stay in a water villa
- Visit a local island
- Have a private sandbank picnic
- Have a SPA day
- Rent a kayak
- Dinner under the stars
Typical Costs When Travelling
Accommodation – Maldives can be done both on a budget and extreme luxury. If you can’t afford to stay in one of the resorts, you may opt for a hotel on one of the locals’ islands, the sea and the beaches are beautiful there as well and the accommodation comes at a fraction of price of a resort. If you book a mid-range hotel on Hulhumale, expect to pay around $40-60 a night, with modest breakfast. Resorts will typically cost you around $300 a night and then it will depend heavily on your meal package. If you have lots of money to spend, then Maldives are perfect for extreme luxury too – with some resorts costing even $5000 a night. The experience you want will depend on your budget.
Food – If you are staying on a local island then shopping for groceries is similar to Europe ($1.40 for milk for example). If you decide to stay in the resort, then you can almost always choose between only breakfast, half-board (breakfast+dinner), full-board (all meals) or all-inclusive (meals and drinks). Taking the all-inclusive option will often almost double your room rate though. We opted for half-board, which then came to about $100 extra per night/2 people. Be advised that if you take only breakfast, you won’t have anywhere to buy your food. The resorts are the actual islands and they don’t have grocery stores. You can buy food once you are there, but be prepared to pay around $30-50 for a meal/person.
Transportation – Another thing we wished we knew before booking our Maldives holiday, was that getting to the Maldives resorts doesn’t come cheap. In fact, once you land to Male Airport you have to take either a speed boat or a seaplane to reach your final destination. When booking your resort, make sure to scroll all the way down to the fine print to see what their option is (speed boat is usually for those closer to the airport, seaplane for those further away) and how much it costs. Getting to/from Fushifaru cost a whopping $440 USD/per person for only a 30 minute ride. Look at this ride as an experience in itself though – it is not often you ride a seaplane over the beautiful Maldivian islands!
Suggested daily budget
$500 USD/2 people (Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a resort, have a half-board package and take a seaplane. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation and drink more often, expect this to be higher!
Good to Know
1. Islam is the official religion If you decide to stay on a locals’ island, make sure you use the designated tourist beaches and be respectful to the inhabitants by not revealing too much of your skin.
2. You can’t bring alcohol Due to the fact #1, bringing alcohol with you is strictly forbidden in the Maldives. You will be able to enjoy a cold beer or a sunset cocktail in a resort, but not on a local’s island. Keep that in mind.
3. Some islands are man-made Just like Fushifaru, which used to only be a sandbank, some other islands are also man-made. Make sure to ask your resort about some flora & fauna facts as well – you will learn a lot about how they import everything to the islands, including bugs!
4. Time of arrival If you can, try to arrive at Male before 15.00. Seaplanes don’t operate all day/night so you might be stuck at the airport. If that does happen, book a hotel night on a nearby local island and you’ll get two experiences in one!
When to visit the Maldives
Maldives climate is warm and sunny throughout the year with very slight temperature variations. Maldives are divided in two seasons based on monsoons.
From December to April there’s going to be slight rainfall and lower humidity, calm seas, and the continuous sun shines.
Wet season and high humidity start from May to October with possibly strong winds.