You might not like what I have to say but if you’re on a budget or are kinda cheap, don’t go to the Maldives. Prices for the Maldives are high. Period. I’ve read several slightly disingenuous posts on the net with all the budget cliche tag lines you can imagine claiming that it can be done and it was fabulous. But in the end, there’s always the lingering, invariable fine print. Every one of the posts ended with a few if not all of the following: “Beware of the high taxes”, “we had to wear clothes inside the water”, “Our hostel wasn’t allowed to serve alcohol”, “Ferries ran every other day”, “the locals thought we were intruders.” C’mon please.
More power to you if you want to deal with these limitations. I am not saying “You are poor, you can’t visit.” What I am saying is that the government needs to make concessions if they want to develop budget travel in a responsible and practical way. Until then, prices for the Maldives will remain high. I would suggest going to other destinations in Asia which offer more variety and established options in budget travel like Thailand, Sri Lanka or Goa. Here is an article on a pocket friendly boutique hotel called Udekki in Sri Lanka. Save up for the Maldives or make it a honeymoon destination, meaning treat it like A once in a Lifetime Trip. Not to say, this may all change one day. There are guesthouses sprouting up on the local islands but they have limitations. That idyllic getaway you see in the magazines? Forget it.
A lot of the charm of the Maldives involves staying in those luxurious over water villas (click here for some pics) and walking into the clear waters from the steps of your private deck, many of which have their own plunge pool. Each resort takes up an entire island so you get that coveted feeling of having washed up ashore your own tropical private paradise. You don’t necessarily need to island hop in the Maldives unless you’re doing research on 5 star luxury hotel operators or have to experience a different interior design theme.
Remember: The Maldives is a Muslim Nation
The Maldives is an Islamic Republic and follows Sharia law so understand what that means. It means that this is going to have a big impact on what you envision your tropical paradise holiday to be when on a budget in the Maldives. Unless you’re at a resort, you’re unlikely to purchase alcohol or wear a regular bathing suit at the beaches. You sign a waiver at the airport saying you’re not bringing in banned substances like alcohol or pork.
There are specially designated tourist beaches where you can wear a bikini but again, it has to be designated. And your shoulders need to be covered and skirts of a certain length if you’re walking around the island. So forget the sunset cocktails and canoodling with your partner if you’re at a hostel or one of the guesthouses (again, these rules don’t apply at the resorts) that have been sprouting up on some of the islands.
So what are prices for the Maldives like?
Finding a luxury resort can be a daunting task… there are many to choose from. There are hotels for families, for couples who want more buzz, for honeymooners who want to see only themselves, for snorkelers… it all depends. So, do you want a clearer picture of what the prices for the Maldives are? If you want the 5 star hotel experience (you do) without the over water villa, budget $600-$800 a day. It includes your hotel stay, food and alcohol and the high taxes.
If you want an over water villa, more than double that budget to $1400-$1600. And, if it’s peak season, add on another 40-50%. These prices do not include your flights, sea plane, boat transfer or water sports/activities. A half hour sea plane ride to your island can run up to $250 pp or more EACH way. In peak season (December through April) its very likely to be spending over $2,000 a day. This will include food and beverage for an over water villa at many of the resorts. There are exceptions but you’ll notice the difference in quality.
The Price of Food in the Maldives
More about the price of food. Since your resort is on an island of its own, food transport costs are high. And of course, passed on to you five fold. Be prepared to spend $250-$300 per day for two, including alcohol, if you dine at the casual hotel restaurant or stay in your villa and order standard items. I would budget about $500-$600 for two if you plan to dine at the fancier hotel restaurant(s). You can’t escape these prices. There’s no grocery store or mini mart to grab a sandwich. You’re not going to take a ferry or sea plane to get a cheaper meal. I’m sure food at the hostels and guesthouses will cost you a fraction of this but with all the restrictions…. Who wants to be in paradise with nothing to do except eat?
Hope you found Prices for the Maldives informative. Feel free to leave a comment below.
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