The Maldives is probably the most celebrated group of islands in the Indian Ocean, known as a luxurious honeymoon destination. The natural beauty is a tropical paradise of pristine beaches and sparkling turquoise waters. A cluster of almost 1,192 small coral islands that are further grouped across 26 naturally formed atolls. But the big question remains … is Maldives on a budget possible?
The Maldives islands are probably one of the few places on earth that most people hope to experience in their lifetime, and I was no exception. Such exclusivity unfortunately comes at a price, but in recent years, travelers on tighter budgets have managed to make their way to the islands.
While most want the experience of staying in overwater bungalows that gives them direct access to the Indian Ocean, budget travel would mean opting for guesthouses on local islands instead.
LIVE WHERE THE LOCALS LIVE
Staying on the local islands may rob you of the water bungalow experience, but on the other hand will give you greater insight and opportunity to experience the culture of the Maldivian people. This is something you won’t experience at the resorts.
HERE ARE THE TOP 10 LOCAL ISLANDS – MALDIVES ON A BUDGET
- Laamu Gan
TRAVEL DURING LOW SEASON
Travel during low season, or at least try to avoid high or dry season (December to April). Dry season will cost a lot more as you can expect low rainfall, low humidity and lots of sunshine. The wet season which is known as the “South West Monsoon” runs from May to November, and is considered the worst time to visit the Maldives. We just visited the Maldives (in July 2022) and experienced the most amazing weather. Yes, it did rain, but we had many sunny days and moments on the island. No risk, no reward, I guess!
FIND CHEAP ACCOMMODATION
Private resorts are incredibly expensive and if you want a budget experience then best you look at Airbnb and Booking.com for guesthouses, and even Couchsurfing as an options for cheaper accommodation. Make sure your booking includes breakfast and free Wi-Fi as this will help you stay within budget.
Transport is also reasonably affordable with local ferries costing on average of $3 for a 3-hour journey. Ferries however pose a challenge as they run infrequently. Do your research and make sure your arrival coincides with the days those ferries operate. The one mode of transport you will want to avoid is seaplanes which are rather expensive with prices ranging from $200 to $850 per person. Traveling by seaplane is also time consuming and weather dependant.
FOOD ON A BUDGET
Load up on the breakfast inclusive offer so that you can skip lunch. That way you will only need to pay for dinner. A cooldrink at the airport cost us $3, so take a water bottle with you and fill that up at your accommodation to save on buying something to drink all the time. Most accommodations provide X amount of bottled water per day.
Do not book excursions ahead of your travel. Instead book through your guesthouse. It’s best to shop around for prices. Negotiate and you may be pleasantly surprised. It is however super important that you check ask what’s included in the price so that there are no surprises.
Snorkeling is worth every penny in the Maldives so put that on your to-do list. It is truly the most beautiful experience. Excursions are aplenty with most types of accommodation arranging various trips to keep tourists entertained during their stay.
To check out our other travels around the world, head to our Wanderlust Hub.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING THE MALDIVES
- The Maldives is an Islamic state operating under sharia law and requires all its citizens to be Muslim.
- Public observance of any religion other than Islam is prohibited.
- Do not take materials deemed contrary to Islam including idols for worship and bibles, pork and pork products, and alcohol into the Maldives.
- Alcohol drinks will not be found on local islands, and that is probably one of the reasons that private resorts are hugely successful. So, remember, what happens on the private island, stays on the private island.
- Maldives has very strong anti-drugs laws, so don’t even consider it as it could land you on the wrong side of the law.
- You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions always.
- Dress conservatively and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas around Mosques. This also applies to the use of local beaches but the good news is that thete are tourist beaches that you can visit.
- Same-sex relations are illegal and convicted offenders could face lengthy prison sentences and fines.
- The export of tortoise shell and coral is forbidden.
- Though the local currency is Maldivian Rufiyaa, tourists will generally have to pay in dollars. The local currency is for the use by the locals. Make sure to take enough cash as there aren’t ATMs on all the islands.
I sincerely hope that this article helps you achieve Maldives on a Budget, but if you are fortunate enough to stay at a luxury resort then you want to make sure to subscribe to www.fitlikemummy.com so that you don’t miss out on my next article.