Maldives on a budget: Everything you need to know!
Dreaming about the crystal clear blue water, pristine beaches, relaxed island lifestyle, fresh seafood and the colorful marine life? If that’s the case, the Maldives must be high on your bucket list! Well known for their luxury resorts, the Maldives has much more to explore and can be easily done on a budget.
While planning this trip, two words kept coming up which will make this destination much more affordable than expected: local islands. Over the last few years more and more hotels and guesthouses have sprung up across the islands making the Maldives more affordable for budget travelers to enjoy too!
Let’s discover how you can make your trip to the Maldives affordable…
One of the main reasons why people think Maldives can't be done on budget: the flights. Located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, this destination isn't the easiest to get to. The cheapest option regarding the flights to the Maldives would be by flying from a nearby country in Asia. It’s normal to find flights for less than $120.00 to Male, the capital city, from India (Delhi or Cochin), Sri Lanka (Colombo) or Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur). That beeing said, it would be cheaper to book your long haul flight through one of these countries and book a round trip to the Maldives from there. You should keep an eye on makemytrip.com to find the best deal for your dates!
After arriving in the main city, Male, you'll be itching to find some paradise. If you can't afford a few hundred dollars for a sea plane, don’t worry there are some cheap and easy options for a backpacker to get around. It pays to plan this bit out in advance!
By far the cheapest option is by public ferry, will only cost between $3.00 - $5.00 depending on the destination. The ferry schedules are pretty limited and don’t run on Fridays but if you plan ahead you might be able to catch one! The next option would be by speedboat ferries. These tend to have more departure times and will get you where you want to go much quicker.
Many of the islands do not have public transportation between them so if you wanted to go island hopping on a budget most times require you to go back to Male and transfer. If you’re a bit confused in your planning you can send a message to your accommodation, most will help you arrange your transportation!
So many islands to choose from
The Maldives is an island nation consisting of 26 coral atolls, broken into over 1000 small islands. Which means narrowing your destinations can be tricky. some islands are better then others depending on your interests, such as surfing, snorkeling and diving or sunbathing on a pristine white sand beach. With loads of options to choose from, we've narrowed our trip down to 2 islands to explore;
The first one, Maafushi, is one of the more popular local islands to visit. Its close proximity from Male, its many growing options for accommodation and restaurants, and the easy access to many water sports, and photogenic scenery the Maldives is famous for makes Maafushi a great option to visit if you like a more lively vibe with a beachy atmosphere!
Our second destination, Rasdhoo, is the definition of slow paced living. Only 0.5 km in any directions, this little island still has a ton to offer for those looking for a more authentic piece Maldivian culture. Its breath taking bikini beach shaded by coconut palms sits on the edge large natural lagoon with some snorkeling just a short swim away! The locals here will make you feel right at home, and their laidback lifestyle is sure to rub off on you.
Popping up on more and more islands you can find accommodation that fit all needs and most budgets. In the Maldives, you won’t find hostels like you would in South East Asia, but you can find a great range of guesthouses that offer rooms with private bathroom and air conditioning for as low as $40.00 to $65.00 per night. Most of them will include a free breakfast in the price (and a yummy one)!
You can expect to pay between $5.00 and $10.00 per meal here. Some accomodation will offer included breakfast which really helps to get your day started on the cheap and save yourself the cost of a meal. Before your beach day you can always stop by the markets and pick up some snacks, fresh fruits and drinks!
The Maldives is an amazing backdrop for an endless amount of activities and watersports. But if sailing trips and jet skis are not in the budget there is still plenty to see and do.
If snorkelling is your cup of tea, many islands have a house reef within swimming distance or better yet offer half day and full day boat trips. Grab your mask and fins and take the plunge. You can see thousands of colourful tropical fish, turtles, and if you're lucky maybe even some sharks!
Your beach lover side won't be disappointed with the endless supplies turquoise water, white sand beaches and secluded islands!
Team June xx