How to Visit the Maldives Without Spending a Fortune

June 14, 2018Simon

Thoughts of the Maldives conjure up images of pristine beaches, coral reefs and snorkelling in some of the world’s best waters. But it also makes potential visitors start to think about the price tag in this notoriously expensive destination in the Indian Ocean. We see photos of exclusive Maldives beach houses or bungalows elegantly standing over the sea on private islands. Celebrities and the world’s rich and famous make an appearance there too. But the Maldives aren’t as expensive as you might think if you know how to cut the costs. Here’s how to have a holiday in the Maldives without spending a fortune while still maintaining a high level of luxury.

How Expensive is the Maldives?

Before we jump into money-saving strategies, let’s take a look at how much it really costs to visit. Some of the exotic bungalows that appear in the photographs and travel brochures often come to more than $600 per night. Sometimes this can be double or even five times the price depending on where you stay and the resort’s level of luxury and exclusivity. Some of the cheaper onesaverage around $300 per night. Most offer all-inclusive food and drink to their guests too. And you should be aware that some of the islands located further away require a seaplane, which often costsup to $1000 for two people. Speedboats travelling between the islands range from $25 to $50.

Cutting the Costs

While a holiday to the Maldives will likely be a trip of a lifetime, it does make sense to try and reduce the costs whenever it’s possible. In fact, savvy tourists might even be able to visit at a fraction of the prices mentioned above. Previously, the only islands tourists could visit were the resorts. Each one owns the island they’re staying on turning it into a tropical paradise,or the ultimate vacationing retreat. In recent years to drive tourism, some of the local islands are opening up too. Local islands, as the name suggests, is where the Maldivians live and work.

Enterprising Maldivians transformed their houses into guesthouses such as those found on Maafushi, a popular island near the capital Male. Rooms range from as little as $30 a night to more comfortable ones costing slightly higher depending on the season. Food and drink are available too in the restaurants set up by locals. The fastest way to cut the costs is to consider staying at a guesthouse rather than the luxurious resorts, which could potentially save up to $500 or more per night.

But don’t despair: You’re still going to experience the luxury and paradise of the Maldives. Local islands are just as attractive as some of the resorts with soft white sand, clear water and endless opportunities to go snorkelling. Stroll through the street,and you’ll find lots of tour operators providing day trips for between $25 to $70 per person ranging from snorkelling and diving to night fishing and island hopping. And the price of the tours from the operators at your guesthouse are often much less than the same package from a resort.

Island Hopping

The bestway to have a luxurious vacation in the Maldives without spending a fortune is an open secret. If you stay in a guesthouse on a local island, it’s possible to visit the resorts as part of a day trip. Approximately 10 to 15 resorts offer passes near Maafushi for between $70 and $110 per person including return transfer by speedboat. Passes give visitors full access to their facilities like the swimming pool, sun loungers and more often than not, an all-inclusive bar and buffet lunch. So, rather than paying $600 to stay overnight, it’s reduced to $100 per person to spend the day on their island.

But the most significant advantage of this isn’t necessarily about cutting the costs. Instead, it gives you the opportunity to see more islands rather than spending your entire trip in one place. A popular way to visit is to book a guesthouse on a local island and visit a different resort each day. Not only does this allow you to see and experience more of the Maldives but it also cuts the cost of travel considerably.

Be Aware of Taxes

If you’re planning to book your trip to the Maldives independently, be aware that the price you see often doesn’t include tax. Expect to pay 12% tax and a further 11% property service charge. This adds up to almost 23% extra on top of the nightly rates leading to significantextras when planning a week vacation. And you also have to pay a $6 an environment fee per person each night. The $200 per night for a family of four suddenly become almost $260. The resorts often charge ridiculous (and often mandatory) airport pick up and drop off services too.

Expect to pay the same taxes whether you’re staying at the luxurious five-star resort on one of theprivate islands or a budget-friendly guesthouse on Maafushi. It’s probably a better idea to add at least 25% to the price you see to get a more realistic impression of what you’re expected to pay.

The Maldives Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

By approaching your dream trip to the Maldives with a different perspective, you can expect to cut the costs of travel by up to 70%. Stay at a local island in a guesthouse and island hop to visit the resorts. And don’t neglect the day trips to experience the very best of the island nation’s beauty.

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