Ah, Maldives. What can be written about this tropical paradise that hasn’t already been said? Are words even enough to describe this heaven on Earth? Well, for one thing, every island is unique and a little bit different and each traveler has his own idea of paradise. I have visited Maldives 4 times and I can say with no doubt in my mind that I will keep coming back. After all I have added the islands in my travel favorites list. Because Maldives represent everything that a beach lover wants and needs to recover from everyday stress. If you are asking yourself how much does one week in Maldives cost, when is the best time to visit Maldives, which island should you choose and all the basic information for a hassle free vacation in Maldives, you came to the right place.
SHORT INTRODUCTION OF THE COUNTRY
Maldives is a country that lies in the middle of the Indian Ocean, southwest of India, comprising a territory of around 300 square kilometers, 26 atolls (collections of islands) and around 1200 islands of which only around 100 are open for tourism. The main Velana international airport lies on a separate island next to its capital Male which inhabits around one third of Maldives’ total population (altogether around 420.000 inhabitants). Maldives are a very religious country – over 98% of people are committed to Islam, which reflects in the culture, architecture and their way of life. As a tourist you won’t feel any of this, unless you decide to visit Male where women need to dress properly (covering their shoulders and knees) and no alcohol or pork are served in the restaurants.
WHEN TO VISIT
Maldives have a tropical monsoon climate which means a relatively high humidity and pleasant temperatures around 30°C year-round. If you want to avoid the rainy season (which actually has its own charm as the rain is always warm and you can still swim in the ocean), you should avoid the period from September till late December. But also in this period rain showers are not heavy, I particularly like December month with less direct sun which can be very very hot. The driest period to visit Maldives is January till late April.
GETTING THERE AND AROUND
Usually people book Maldives vacation “in package” which includes the flight from your home destination. The more fun and sometimes cheaper way is to book the flight yourself so you can be more flexible or you can combine your trip with Sri Lanka or India’s golden triangle, which are popular destinations as well. In any case you will land in Velana International airport and from there you need to get to your final destination – the island or the resort. If you book Maldives holidays with an agency the local transfer will be included in your package. Make sure you get this confirmation because the cost of aerial transfer can be as high as 500 USD per person! Boat transfers are cheaper but can be a real pain for your stomach when the sea is rough and if the ride takes more than 30 minutes. Plus, you will miss all the fun watching other islands from above. Do your math and choose wisely!
WHICH ISLAND TO CHOOSE
First let me say that most of the tourist islands are actually resorts, owned by foreign companies. This means only you (and other resort guests) and the staff will be on the island and nobody else. When it comes to choosing the island, I always follow these steps: 1. the resort has to offer all-inclusive plan (I want my Maldives to be wallet-free), 2. I want to stay in beach villa with ocean view and direct beach access, 3. I want a gym for my ass to stay fantastic even during vacation, 4. I want free Wi-Fi to communicate with my followers 24/7 (actually it is because of my job, but who would believe me) and 5. The island has to be rated with at least 4 (or better 4.5) stars on TripAdvisor. Of course I look after my budget as well – I usually chose 4-star resorts, and here are some options that I can recommend.
HOW MUCH DOES MALDIVES VACATION COST
Which island and service you choose for your Maldives vacation depends on your idea of paradise and the depth of your wallet. Prices for 7 nights all-inclusive option in a 4-star resort vary from 1500 – 3000 USD per person, depending on the type of villa or bungallow you rent. Add the cost of your flight ticket and 150 – 400 USD for island transfer (as I already mentioned above). By choosing a 3-star resort (in some cases they are well worth the money!) or decreasing your meal option to half board, you can save a few 100 USD and still get a good service. Just keep in mind that the drinks will be on you!
People often ask what is the cost of food and drinks in a Maldives resort, to see if all-inclusive is really worth the money. Well, I am used to eating all the time so I couldn’t survive with half board only. The price of a snack (sandwich or french fries) in a 4-star resort varies from 10 to 20 USD, while pizza costs from 20 to 35 USD. A bottle of 1,5 l water costs around 2 USD, small beer around 4 USD and cocktails around 10 USD. If you want to visit Maldives during Christmas or New Year’s eve, count on adding around 150 USD for a gala dinner. Crazy, I know… but this is the tax you pay for trying to avoid the bad weather at home 😉
Recently Maldives changed the tourism law which means that locals can rent their homes and guestrooms as well. So, there is also an option for “low cost” vacation. But in that case don’t expect that you will have direct beach access nor that phenomenal ocean view, the beach won’t be cleaned every day, alcohol will probably be off limits … to sum up – my advice is don’t do Maldives on budget if you want to be spoiled properly. Go to Thailand instead, you will get much better service for lower price.If you want to get 15 € off your booking and don’t have a Booking,com account yet, you can book your hotel through this link.
THINGS TO DO IN MALDIVES
Besides the obvious, swimming in crystal clear ocean, drinking cocktails in the shade of your private palm, reading a good book and making selfies on your pink flamingo, there is so much more you can do in Maldives. Atolls are rich with marine life and if your island is surrounded by a coral reef, get under water and snorkel until you drop! I can spend hours under water (make sure you wear heavy sunscreen or a T-shirt!), especially in the company of cute little reef sharks. If you like reef sharks as well, check my review of Royal Island Resort & Spa.
Following the water activities – most of the resorts offer water sports like kayaking, surfing, kiting and SUP-ing (not all of them are included in all-inclusive plan though), so plenty of stuff there to keep you awake and going. If you get tired of the sun you can always sweat in the gym or play pools or table tennis in the bar. You can also take one of the excursions like deep sea fishing, night fishing, whale shark diving or visiting Male. So, make sure your MasterCard or Visa is with you all the time 😉
DRESS CODE FOR MALDIVES
Dress code in Maldives depends on the type of the island you visit – sometimes even restaurants are paved with sand so you won’t need shoes your entire vacation. But usually normal clothing (like shorts and skirts) are necessary for the main restaurants, while you can wear your flip flops throughout the day. My rule when it comes to Maldives vacation: no makeup and no high heels. And trust me, you don’t need any sweaters, even at night, no matter which month you are visiting – the night temperature is always higher than 25 Celsius. However, if you want to visit Male, women need to cover the knees and shoulders, especially if you want to enter some public places.
THINGS TO PACK FOR MALDIVES
Allthough some better resorts already offer them for free, do bring an adapter for electricity just in case. Take a LOT of sunscreen, a hat and the basic first aid kit (you can check my travel health kit here). If your island is covered with corals, you might want to bring water shoes (you probably won’t wear it but just to put your mind at rest). Keep in mind that there is not much to do in Maldives after sunsets (which is around 6 – 7 pm), so it won’t hurt to bring some books or laptop to watch your favorite TV series. Don’t forget your camera, phone and charger as well 😉
SAFETY IN MALDIVES
This one is tricky. Maldives are known to have had a lot of political issues in the past decades. However, they only reflect to the capital Male and I can say from the first hand that the situation doesn’t interfere with tourism on the islands. Still, it might be wise to follow the news and safety instructions from your Foreign Ministry. The safety on the islands (resorts) is not an issue, and if someone steals something from you it will probably be a tourist. The staff is always professional.
WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT MALDIVES AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
If you are a beach lover who appreciates pristine beaches, crystal clear water in 50 shades of blue, the serenity of nature in the middle of the ocean and a touch of luxury while pampering yourself with great culinary experience (Maldives cuisine is a mixture of Indian and Thai food, rich in fish, vegetables and tropical fruits), then start saving the money and get your ass to this little piece of heaven before it goes under water. It is anticipated that most of the Maldives islands will dissaper in about 30 years due to the climate change which we all hold responsibility for. In fact, around 100 islands have disappeared already. So don’t only ask yourself what Maldives can do for you but what you can do for Maldives.
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