Your local guide to the perfect stay in the Maldives
welcome to the
While the Maldives were once a destination primarily reserved for the upper crust, the beautiful island nation has recently opened up to an entirely new demographic: budget travelers. New guesthouses are being constructed as we speak, so we went directly to the Maldives to see what the fuss is all about, and to explore both the luxury, and the budget options that are now available for you. While the Maldives may not be the ideal budget destination, the Maldives now at least offer accommodations at rates that are quite reasonable when compared to the past, ranging from $60-$120 a night at a reasonable but simple guesthouse or hotel. Compare this to the $700-$1500 rates you’ll pay for one night in the coveted water bungalows, and you’ll realize that you just got a steal of a deal.
Your Maldivian Local Guide
Hails From: Maldives
Educated in: Sri Lanka
Lives in: Dubai/Maldives
Ibrahim was born in an island in the northern part of the Maldives. It is one out of the in total 1,190 beautiful islands of the nation. After receiving a Bachelors in International Business and Marketing in Sri Lanka, he returned to his homeland to start a career in the blossoming tourism industry. After several jobs, he co-founded his travel agency, Tourlogy Maldives, in 2014. The agency offers custom-made holiday packages including tickets, accommodation, transfer transportation and activities in resorts and local islands. He has gained a great knowledge of the Maldives and consults tourists about their holidays to meet their needs. By working with people from all around the world and offering holidays in his beautiful country, he made his dream come true.
**[[Contact us to book through Ibrahim for the best rates for the Maldives.]]**
The Breakdown: A Local's Tips for the Maldives
Your Maldives Outline
SLEEP: In guesthouses and/or water villas
WALK: Around the islands breezy coasts
SNORKEL: With the fishies in crystal water
RIDE: A ferry to your island paradise
RELAX: You’re in the Maldives!
Tips on how to meet locals
1.) At the resort: Strike up conversation with your hotel workers, bartenders, waiters, and tour guides. Even if they are not from the Maldives, many are from other countries and here for work, and they are very interesting to get to know!
2.) Local eateries: When dining at local eateries, strike up a conversation with your neighbors! Many Maldivians are very friendly, and often seating is communal making conversation easy.
3.) Tour guides: Many tour guides are self operating entrepreneurs with a lot to say! Get to know them and learn about the unique culture of this isolated atoll nation.
How to get around the Maldives
Sea Planes, not trains, and not many automobiles
$1-3 Local Transport
There are three main ways to get around the Maldives: Sea planes, speedboats, and ferries. Sea planes can run you from $100-$300 one way to your resort or island. Speedboats are more affordable, starting at $20 for a short trip to a nearby island, and going up from there. You can save money by splitting with other travelers, just ask around at your hotel. Local ferries are incredibly inexpensive, starting at literally $1. You can choose your mode of transport based on how much time you have, which island you’re going to, and your budget.
On a budget or short on time?
Consider going to islands closer to Male so as not to have to spend 12 hours on a ferry. The ferries are sometimes NOT DEPENDABLE so don’t expect your ferry to leave on time, or even on the DAY it says! You need to be flexible with your time and have buffers. The ferries that take you to closer islands are more dependable, though it’s not unheard of for ferries to be delayed for days. Rain, weather, or just not enough passengers are reasons cited for ferries not departing.
[[ You can always contact us for help if you’re overwhelmed with the choices.]]
$100-300 Luxury Transport
Maldivian Visa Requirements
Visa: “The Maldives have a remarkably easy visa policy — Everybody gets a free 30-day visa on arrival, provided that they have a valid travel document, a ticket out and proof of sufficient funds, defined as either a confirmed reservation in any resort” -wiki
Where to stay in the maldives
Are the famed overwater villas worth the hefty price tag?
The famous over water villas:
We stayed at Centara Ras Fushi Resort (our full review is available here) and visited Fihalhohi. And to be completely honest, I wasn’t sure if staying in an overwater villa would be worth the price. I was almost sick thinking about paying that much for one night when you can live for a month on $700 in some places! BUT IT WAS AMAZING! Really just beautiful and so memorable. We had all meals included, there was a gym so we FINALLY worked out (twice! that’s right. killing it.)
Sports: We had free stand up paddleboarding at our resort (I didn’t actually do it, I just took a picture hahaha) and free kayaking! Which we did. We kayaked into the ocean and looked at the gorgeous islands. DREAMMYYYY. Just pause your kayak in the middle of the ocean and stare into the sky.
Snorkeling there is AMAZING. Such clear water and so many fish.
Working with Tourology:
Guaranteed best resort prices: We worked with and got to know the company Tourology. They’re is from the Maldives and have spent years working out deals with many of the resorts, so they can almost always get you literally the best deals on all the maldives. Contact us if you’d like to plan an affordable trip to the Maldives, we work with Tourology to get you the best deals. They have a best price guarantee.
Staying in budget houses: The Maldives used to be a resort only country, and recently legalized local guesthouses. You can now get a simple room for $30 -$100 on many of the local, non-resort islands, vs the exponentially higher costs of the (lovely) over sea bungalows. There are some mid range places as well, but generally there are really nice hotels ($500-700) and budget hotels ($60-100) and not so much in between.
Where to eat in the Maldives
Cheap local eats
If you have a stop over in Hulhumale/Male on the way to your resort or guesthouse, as most people do, small local eateries like “Tea Time” in Hulhumale are a great budget option. These places charge just a couple of dollars for pre made curries, milk/tapioca drinks, papaya with sweetened condensed milk for dessert, or samosa type pastries. They are fast and easy and affordable, the budget travelers’ trifecta of perfection. They have vegetarian options, just ask for a veggie or egg curry. You can also choose from rice or bread that you rip into little pieces to mix into the curry. Locals chew on nuts and leaves after their meals, so don’t be surprised if they’re placed in front of you on the table! Eat too many leaves and your mouth will go numb :p
All inclusive Resorts
The resorts in the Maldives generally half or full board options. Full board is great if you don’t want to have to worry about anything – buffet breakfast, lunches, and dinners are provided, along with restaurant options. Some restaurants are included free of charge, while others are “premium” options that you can choose to dine at and pay separately. If you do half board, some islands have other eating options, though many of the nicest resorts take up the entire land mass, so you’ll end up buying food at the resort or just eating less frequently. Food quality is generally good, though remember, virtually everything is imported, as the Maldives are an island nation with limited land and virtually zero farming. All resorts have many vegetarian options at the buffets, and will make them for you separately as well if you request.
Now that you’re set to explore the Maldives affordably, keep in touch with us via facebook or instagram! Planning a trip? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out this free Trip Quote Request Form. Want more? Check out our other interview with National Geographic photographer and instagram giant, Michael Christopher Brown, World Traveler Shazia Chiu, or Luxury Yachter Eric Goldring. Traveling in your golden years? Check out our updated travel tips for Seniors!
Thanks for Reading! Meet the Author-ess:
Alyne Tamir is a 27 year old person who went to University and also got a great SAT score in high school that 10 years later is still her life’s greatest accomplishment. She has been to over 50 countries, and especially loves Eastern Europe and the Balkans. She worked in Viral Video marketing, and has now semi-retired to work in Digital and Social Media. Currently based in Istanbul, she literally moved to Eastern Europe because she wanted to eat cheese pastries every day. She incidentally knows a lot about travel, and can be reached via the internet at:
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