The Maldives are the perfect place for honeymoons and couples looking for a luxury island vacation. This country of 1,000 islands has everything a person could want in a tropical island — clear water, white sand beaches, palm trees, warm sunny days, and lots of great diving. It’s as close to heaven as you can get. While the Maldives have always been thought of as an expensive, honeymoon /couple place to visit, it’s actually an incredible budget traveler destination. Yeah, the resorts are expensive (even the ones on the cheaper end) but the country has opened up its tourism in recent years and now allows locals to start their own guesthouses and the ferry system is greatly improving. You can easily visit these countries on a budget and still get to experience that picture perfect beach vacation you came here for!
Accommodation – Aside from the capital, there are no “hotels” in the Maldives. The cheaper resorts usually start at around 900 MVR in the low season. At most resorts, a double room will cost at least 1,500 MVR per day. Air-conditioning and WiFi are relatively standard at most resorts, however, if you want a resort with a swimming pool, expect to pay several thousand MVR per night! However, thanks to new laws, locals can open their own guesthouses and you’ll find many islands with guesthouses. Most start around 600 MVR per night for a room with a private bathroom (and will include wifi and breakfast).
Food – All your meals and drinks are included when you are at the resorts. On the main island of Male, you can find local markets and restaurants where meals typically cost around 80 MVR. For a nicer meal at a restaurant with table service, expect to pay around 325 MVR. If you buy your own groceries, and depending on your diet, expect to spend around 1,000 MVR per week. On the non-resort islands, expect to pay, 110-150 MVR each for most meals, 150-230 MVR for the dinner buffets you see around, and 5 MVR for a pot of tea. A bottle of water will cost between 6-12 MVR.
Transportation – Your resort takes care of all your transportation needs and can help you figure out what ferries you need to get around. Getting from the airport to Male via ferry will cost around 40 MVR per person. Public inter-island ferries cost 30-75 MVR while speedboats cost 110-310 MVR. Flights from Sri Lank are the cheapest, with tickets costing as little as 2,300 MVR, round trip. If you are flying from the United Arab Emirates, expect to pay double that.
Activities – Diving costs vary but a single-tank dive will cost around 100 MVR and a week’s worth of diving will cost around 5,250 MVR.
Suggested daily budget – 770-1,075 MVR / $50-70 USD (Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying the local guesthouses, eating the local food, and using local transportation. If you plan to do a resort Maldives vacation, expect to pay at least 4,500 MVR per night at a resort!)