We’ve explored the waters of Greece, Mexico, Sri Lanka, and Florida. Nothing compares to the azure of the Maldives. These islands take your breath away from the moment you land, to the seaplanes and ferries that usually whisk you away to your resort island. We’ve been to the Maldives a few times now and it has blown our minds every single time.
Most of the resorts in the Maldives have all-inclusive packages that are built into the price of the room. You can usually choose between a range of rates, from just breakfast included, to half-board (two meals included) to full-board (three meals included) to all-inclusive (all meals and certain drinks included). Do keep in mind that resorts usually have all-inclusive clauses such as specific items you can order on an all-inclusive menu that may not necessarily include all the items they offer at the bar or restaurant. Check to make sure that alcoholic beverages are included in the all-inclusive tab if you are going with this option.
Do: Remember that the Maldives is a Muslim country
While drinking is allowed for tourists, locals are prohibited from consuming alcohol. There are the few and far between that ask you for a drink but you may get into trouble if you are caught offering your drinks to locals so take care!
Drinks are usually not offered on high holidays (Islamic holidays) so check ahead before you go. Different resorts have specific rules when it comes to these things, and they tend to be very attentive to client questions beforehand so feel free to email/call beforehand.
Do: Remember that alcoholic drinks tend to be extremely expensive
Be aware that if you are not on the all-inclusive package with alcoholic drinks included, alcoholic beverages tend to be extremely expensive on resorts (because they can afford to be!) We personally recommend you go on an all-inclusive package, since it tends to save costs if you tend to enjoy a few cocktails on the beach.
Smoking and shisha lounges are open to the public. Check out Cave Café in Male, for an incredible selection of shisha flavors, great music, and fantastic service!
Aside from the obvious such as scuba diving and snorkeling, gear for which is offered at the resort stores, you can arrange for a deep sea fishing expedition and romantic dinners by the beach usually for an extremely reasonable price.
You can also ask for a day trip with lunch to sand banks or sunset cruises, which tend to be more expensive but well-worth the trip!
Sea-plan/ferry rides: Getting to your resort
The Maldives isn’t the best place for a budget vacation but there are ways you can minimize on the splurge. Check ahead to make sure that the cost of your seaplane/ferry ride to the resort from the airport island is included in your cost to the hotel – seaplane rides can range from US$400 one way! Also remember that ferry and seaplane rides are weather dependent. Ferry rides can get bumpy, so if you’re queasy on the water, take care!
If you’re taking a seaplane to your resort/if your resort is only accessible by seaplane, make sure that you arrive in the Maldives between 8:00 and 20:00. Most hotels will inform you of this.
If you are on a budget, try to book a hotel with ferry access instead of having to take a seaplane as the latter does tend to cost significantly more.
Where to vacation
The Maldives is best enjoyed on an island away from Male (which you can explore for a flavor of the more local culture for a day or two before you leave) but if you are on a strict budget you can choose to stay on Male, where the hotels tend to be cheaper. Hulumale is a great island nearby where you can take a day trip to from Male, to enjoy a more island vibe if you get sick of the city-bustle that ensconces Male.
Types of rooms
Remember that the fancier the room, obviously the more expensive the stay. Room rates range from standard rooms to over-water bungalows with private pools, and while the latter can afford some incredible Instagram pictures (and privacy), remember that the turquoise waters of the ocean would be all around you for you to enjoy!
We’ve never seen the resorts get really crowded and you would almost always enjoy excellent privacy at the beaches even if you opt for a standard room without the perk of a private villa pool.
Booking.com has some great deals for the Maldives, as long as you book ahead. You can also try looking on the hotels’ websites themselves for some good deals. We’ve stayed on Ellaidhoo Maldives a number of times and it’s an incredible place to visit!
If you love the sun, white sand, bungalows above water, and exquisite azure views of the Indian Ocean, look no further than the Maldives. It will be a bit of a splurge, but plan ahead and look for all-inclusive resort packages and you should be set for a vacation of a lifetime.
Do: Make sure your seaplane/ferry ride to the resort is included in the price of the hotel. Make sure it is booked in advance, and you arrive between 8:00am and 20:00 just to be on the safe side!
Do: If you are on a budget, look for a hotel with ferry access, so that you can avoid taking a seaplane (though these views are really incredible, so it’s worth saving up for!)
Do: Go deep sea fishing (if you have the stomach for it!), and maybe take a sunset cruise or a day cruise to a private sand bank.
Do: Look for all-inclusive resort packages. Make sure they are indeed all-inclusive (including alcoholic beverages).
Do: Remember that the Maldives is a Muslim country so locals are not allowed to drink, drinks are not offered on high holidays at certain resorts (check ahead before you go!) and if you are not on an all-inclusive package, alcoholic beverages tend to be extremely expensive.
If you are on a budget and don’t mind city-views, stay on Male and take day-trips to Hulumale. You can also enjoy a flavor of the more local culture on Male.
Do: Check out Cave Café!
Been to Maldives? Planning a trip there? We’d love to hear about your experiences! Share your stories with us below!
As always, be a conscious traveler: Take nothing, and leave nothing behind. Be conscious, be welcome! Read more about conscious travel here.