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Maldives on a Budget: A Detailed Guide to Enjoy a Dream Vacation

Maldives is perceived as an expensive holiday destination for honeymooners and families with every luxury resort built on exclusive private islands with lagoons. But here’s the catch, you can visit Maldives on a budget without “breaking” your wallet on vacation.

Maldives
Source: unsplash

So, if you plan a trip to the Maldives on a budget, we are here to tell you how to spend your money best at this exotic island destination.

Food

food in Maldives
Source: shellbeans

The traditional Maldivian cuisine is known for its drinks and fish-based dishes. Popular dishes are Mashuni- tuna mixed with lemon, chili, and coconut served with Roshi flatbread. Another famous dish is Gardudhiya- clear fish broth with plain rice, lemon, and chilies. Boshi Mashuni- banana flower salad, Kulhi Boakibaa- fish cake, Aluvi Boakibaa- sweet cassava coconut cake, traditional fish curry, and Theluli Mas- fried fish are also well known.

Price: Maldivian Rufiyaa 50 (INR 240) onwards- depends on the restaurant/café
Places to eat: Jazz Café, The Sea House, Salathai Café (Male), Crystal Sands (Maafushi), Iberry Café (Hulhumale)

Kiru Sai- milk tea, Kalhu Sai- black tea, and Raa- toddy tapped from palm trees are popular in the Maldives.

Price: Maldivian Rufiyaa 20 (INR 95) onwards
Places to drink: Street cafés in Male

Stay

Resorts in Maldives
Source: holidayinnresorts

Apart from luxury stays, a budget trip to Maldives is possible with a few affordable options.

Sun Island resort and spa is one of the budget resorts in Maldives which features water villas perched on stilts with a wooden jetty. They also have a private staircase leading into the lagoon. The resort offers a full board meal plan along with Global cuisine restaurants.

Price: INR 13557 onwards (excluding taxes)
Location: South Ari Atoll
Amenities: Round trip airport transfers, All-inclusive packages, and early-bird discounts
Experiences: Diving, Sailing, Canoeing, Bird sanctuary, Whale Shark trip, Wellness center

Embudu Village, an eco-friendly resort, features budget overwater villas with a private balcony. These villas have a jacuzzi and a private sitting area with plush sofas overlooking the ocean. The resort also has a theme buffet-style restaurant.

Price: INR 15104 onwards per night (excluding taxes)
Location: South Male’ Atoll
Amenities: Theme restaurant, Serena spa, Long stay offers, Half and Full board plans
Experiences: Fishing, Island excursions, Scuba diving

Holiday Inn is located at a 45-minute boat ride from Velana International airport. Is Maldives expensive? The answer would be no because this contemporary resort hotel offers budget water villas in Maldives with private balconies. It also has a staircase directly leading into the lagoon. The resort offers Beach and Garden view villas with a private outdoor terrace and a hammock.

Price: INR 13,689 onwards per night (Amenity fee included)
Location: Kandooma Fushi, South Male Atoll
Amenities: Diving site, Surfing point, Kids Club, Beachfront dining, Outdoor whirlpool
Experiences: Live entertainment, Tandem flyboard, Shipwreck diving

Activities

Diving

Diving in Maldives
Source: flickr

Diving in the Maldives is popular because of rich marine biodiversity. One can try out scuba diving or shipwreck diving all around the year. There are many diving sites and resorts in the Maldives, but only a few are famous for an underwater experience in the turquoise waters.

Best diving sites: Fotteyo Kandu, Kuredu Express, Kandooma Thila, Banana reef, Hanifaru Bay
Where to dive: North & South Mate Atoll, Raa Atoll, Baa Atoll, Ari Atoll
Attractions: Manta-Ray, Moray eel, Tiger shark, corals, Turtle, Napoleon Wrasse, Scorpionfish, seahorse, whale shark
Price: INR 4060 onwards
Best time to dive: January – April

Snorkeling

Snorkeling in Maldives
Source: unsplash

With over 2,500 reefs, one can snorkel in most diving sites in the Maldives but not from the Island shores. Popular snorkeling sites amongst tourists are blue lagoons, House reef, and resorts which offer snorkeling excursions. This adventure activity is suitable for all and does not require any experience. Snorkeling excursions provide a thrilling experience in a low Maldives trip budget.

Best snorkeling sites: Banana reef, Girifushi Thila, Manta Point
Attractions: Barracuda, Stingray, Sharks, tuna, grey reef shark, Napoleon Wrasse, Turtle
Popular Islands to Snorkel: Maafushi, Kuredu, Baros, Ukulhas
Price: INR 590 onwards
Best time to Snorkel: January – April

Surfing

Surfing in Maldives
Source: unsplash

Maldives has some of the best waves for surfing in the world. Both beginners and pro surfers frequent it. Waves in the Maldives tend to swell up from 3ft to over 10ft. Surfing points range from shallow for beginners and deep for experienced surfers.

Best surfing sites: Male Atolls, Villingilimathi Hurra Island, Himafushi, Central and Southern Atolls
Price: INR 9300 onwards
Best time to Surf: April – October, March – November

Budget Hacks

  1. Book your flight flights well in advance to avail of discounts
  2. Stay on a local Island and indulge in traditional cuisines
  3. Buy a resort day pass to experience the resort/hotel’s facilities
  4. Book your stay in advance to get exclusive offers on luxury accommodations
  5. Use local transport to travel from one point to another
  6. Travel during the offseason to spend less in the Maldives. Preferably May to November.
  7. If the conversion rate is less, try to use Maldives currency to make any transaction.

Curated by Ruchit Rastogi