Probably the simplest and most correct way to define the Maldives is to say that they are a paradise on earth. In this guide we want to give you the basic details to travel to the Maldives: how much does it cost, how to get there, when to travel, which hotel to choose, what to do and much more.
- Maldives Overview
- History of Maldives
- Flora and fauna
- How much does it cost to travel to the Maldives
- When to travel to Maldives
- How to get to Maldives
- Which hotel to choose in Maldives
- Activities in Maldives
What are the Maldives?
The Maldives Islands are located in the Indian Ocean, south of India. It is a set of 1,190 coral islands distributed in 26 large atolls, coral structures separated by lagoons that extend creating a landscape that falls in love with its natural charm.
The Republic of Maldives covers a distance of 820 kilometers from north to south and 120 kilometers from east to west. There are almost 2,000 islands, of which only 202 are inhabited and 87 are islands dedicated to holiday tourism. In Maldives, each island is operated by a single hotel, or rather, resort.
Only 1% of the country’s total area (90,000 square kilometers) is situated above sea level, with an average altitude of 2 meters.
A warm and humid climate throughout the year, with an average temperature between 29 and 32ºC, makes any time perfect to enjoy a few days on one of the beautiful islands.
Flying over the thousands of islands located in the Indian Ocean surrounded by a beautiful turquoise blue color, a shiver runs through the skin of future visitors to such a special place.
In this section we will try to answer the most common questions that arise before traveling to any country, especially when it comes to one as unknown as the Maldives.
The official language of the Maldive Islands is Dhivehi or Divehi an Indo-Aryan language spoken in the South Asian island country of Maldives and on Minicoy Island. Due to tourism and how little their language is in the outside world, in any hotel the employees speak English almost perfectly. If you visit Malé or another inhabited island, you may have some more trouble understanding each other.
Once there, you may find the extensive use of Italian curious. This is due to the fact that the Italians were the first to discover the tourist attractions of the Maldives, and even today they continue to be its main market.
The Maldives only have 1 official time zone, Maldives Time (MHT), which is 5 hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
Maldives observes Maldives Time all year. There are no Daylight Saving Time clock changes.
The official currency in the Republic of Maldives is the Maldivian Rupee (MVR), better known as rufiyaa. In any case, all transactions with tourists are made with US dollars or by credit card.
You can see more information about the currency of Maldives in this section:
The official currency in the Republic of Maldives is the Maldivian Rupee (MVR), better known as rufiyaa. Each rupee is divided into 100 laari.
Bills and coins
In Maldives you will find 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 500 rufiyaa bills, while the coins can be 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 laari, and 1 and 2 rufiyaa.
Cash or card?
The most common in Maldives is payment by card, although if you want to make small purchases in souvenir shops or something to eat on the inhabited islands like Malé, you will need some cash.
To pay in cash in the main tourist areas of the Maldives , the most common is the use of US dollars.
Where to change money
If you do not travel with rupees and your idea is to get the Maldives currency once you get there, you can change the money directly at the exchange houses without problems. In general, you will find that most exchange houses offer a similar exchange rate, but it is always advisable to compare before deciding on an establishment.
As in other destinations, the most recommended option is to withdraw money directly from ATMs in the Maldives, in this way you will obtain the Maldivian rupees you need with the exchange rate applied by your bank at that time.
The official religion of the Maldives is Sunni Islam. It is a society that is not very radical, in which the role of women acquires great importance. Maldivians are very calm and hospitable people, but above all very accustomed to tourism.
Electricity and plugs
In Maldives plugs have three pins, so it is normal that you need an adapter to connect electrical appliances. It is best to buy it before the trip because it will be much cheaper. If you don’t have it with you, you can always get it at the airport or borrow one at the hotel.
To travel to the Maldives, residents of the European Union only need to have a passport with a validity of more than six months and an exit ticket from the country. A visa valid for 30 days is given free of charge on arrival at the airport.
Telephone numbers of interest
- Medical emergencies: 119.
- Police: 110.
- Maldives country code: 960.
- Embassy of Spain in India (the closest to Maldives): +91 11 435 90 04.
History of Maldives
The Maldives archipelago has been linked to the feudal lords of the Indian coast since ancient times, its population originating from the Deccan Peninsula, mainly from the state of Kerala and also from the island of Ceylon.
In 1153 Abdul Barakatul Barbari arrived in the archipelago who converted the sparse population to Islam.
Since then the islands have been ruled by a sultan, usually a vassal of Ceylon, present-day Sri Lanka.
In the middle of the 16th century they were occupied by the Portuguese until 1573, when they were expelled by Sultan Muhammad Thakurufaanu.
From the mid-17th to the end of the 18th century the archipelago was under the Dutch protectorate.
In 1887 Great Britain, under the pretext of protecting the Suez Canal, imposed a protectorate on the sultanate by making it dependent on the British governor of Ceylon.
In 1933 a Constitution was approved that transformed the hereditary sultanate into an elective sultanate and in 1948 an autonomous government was established within the Commonwealth.
In 1953 a popular revolt proclaimed the republic, abolishing the constitutional sultanate, although it was restored a few months later.
The withdrawal of the British from Ceylon made the islands of great strategic value to the British who established a military base on the island of Gan, a base that would come to be widely used during World War II.
In 1957 there was a revolt motivated by popular discontent with the policy carried out by the local aristocracy headed by the head of government Muhamad Farid Didí.
The revolt overthrew Governor Didí and brought to power Ibreahim Nasir, a moderate nationalist whom campaigned for independence.
In 1960, through a treaty, Great Britain guaranteed the sultanate’s full sovereignty, although defense and foreign relations remained in the hands of the British.
Parallel to the movement initiated by Nasir, several uprisings against the British took place in 1959 and 1964.
On July 26, 1965, one of the most important events in the history of the Maldives took place, when the country gained independence and became an associated state in the Commonwealth. Britain continued to retain possession of the Gan base until 1976, when British forces withdrew.
In November 1968, the republic was established after a referendum held in March of the same year.
Maldives, yesterday and today
Traditionally, the Maldives have lived on the cultivation of millet, corn, breadfruit and coconut products, as well as fishing and shellfishing.
Although fishing is still important today, its great wealth comes from tourism. A successful tourism policy focused on high-level tourism and limited in number, has made the Maldives a truly unique destination and unmatched for its beauty, attracting wealthy tourists from all over the world who come to enjoy this earthly paradise.
Today Maldives is one of the main destinations for divers from all over the world.
What to do in Maldives
Maldives is one of the top destinations for scuba divers due to the beauty of its coral reefs and rich marine life, as well as a perfect destination for couples who want to relax in an idyllic setting.
You just have to take off your shoes, put on some light clothing and let yourself be enveloped by the magic of one of the most special places in the world where the most difficult decision you will have to make is whether you stay on the beach, the pool or the jacuzzi.
In addition to tranquility, the Maldives offer some activities, among which we would highlight the following:
Main water activities
Snorkeling in Maldives
What is snorkeling? what is needed to practice it? What are the best hotels in the Maldives for snorkelling? Answers to those and other questions.
Diving in Maldives
A perfect combination of clear, warm waters and a magnificent coral bottom makes the Maldives one of the best places in the world to dive.
For many centuries fishing has been the main livelihood of the Maldives. Nowadays going fishing is one of the most popular tours in Maldives.
Tours to other islands
Visit to an inhabited island of Maldives
Excursions to inhabited islands are a way to get away from the idyllic scenery that surrounds the hotels and fully immerse yourself in Maldivian culture.
Excursion to a desert island
Who has never dreamed of getting lost on a desert island to get away from the madding crowd? In Maldives it is possible. The most romantic excursion.
Depending on the hote where you stay, you can find countless different activities to do in the Maldives, from motor activities, to night shows, barbecues on the beach or private dinners on the sand. For example, at the Conrad Rangali you will find jet skis, boats and windsurf boards.
Flora and fauna of Maldives
Although the Maldives do not stand out for their terrestrial fauna, made up of some birds, fruit bats and small reptiles, they do thanks to their impressive marine diversity.
Diving under the crystalline surface it is possible to discover the thousands of underwater inhabitants of the Maldives islands. Among the most famous aquatic animals are the crocodile fish, the moray eel, the napoleon fish, the black marlin, the sailfish, the lion fish, the stone fish, the trumpet fish, the flute fish, the dolphin, the barracuda or the hawksbill turtle.
Larger aquatic species include the whale shark, manta ray, whitetip shark, gray shark, blacktip shark, hammerhead shark, and zebra shark.
The stars of the Maldives
The whale shark is the largest fish in the world and one of the most sought after species in the Maldives. Although they are known for their large movements from one place to another in the world, in the Maldives it is possible to find them at any time of the year. They are mainly concentrated in the South Ari Atoll.
Whale sharks live in warm tropical and subtropical waters, they can measure up to 15 meters and feed on plankton, small fish and squid, so they are completely harmless.
As a curiosity, in Vietnam they are revered and are known as “Ca Ong”, which means “Lord Fish”.
The manta ray is another of the “giants of the sea”. These animals “fallen from the sky” can reach a wingspan of 8 meters and weigh 1,500 kilograms.
In addition to its size, the manta ray differs from the ray in that it does not have a tail stinger, it does not have teeth and its mouth is in its front part, while in the ray it is below. Like the whale shark, the manta ray feeds on plankton and is totally harmless.
White Tip Shark
It is not surprising that in the lagoons of the hotels there are small whitetip sharks. This species, although in adulthood and on the high seas is very dangerous, when it is young it does not represent any danger to humans. There have been no shark attacks in the Maldives since the 1970s.
Black Tip Shark
It differs from the previous one in the color of the tips, they are very pretty!
The sandy terrain of the Maldives is not the most suitable for the development of dense vegetation, but despite this, the islands have different plant species. The quintessential tree of the Maldives is the coconut palm, which the Maldivians take advantage of from the fruits to the leaves and branches.
Bamboo, breadfruit, banana and other fruit trees can also be found on some islands .
How much does it cost to travel to the Maldives?
Maldives is one of the most expensive destinations in the world. This is so because the government tries to obtain the maximum income with the minimum number of tourists to preserve the impressive natural environment of the islands as much as possible.
To start evaluating spending a week in the Maldives, the minimum budget must be 1500€ (1533 US$) per person. We will use the US dollar to display local prices, as all resorts use this currency.
Initial price of the trip to Maldives
Although many people choose to hire packages, we will try to break down the costs. The price of hotels is difficult to define and there can be huge deviations depending on the time of the trip.
- Spain-Malé flight : Between 600€ (613,20 US$) to 1.000 € (1.022 US$).
- Round trip transfer between Male airport and hotel : Between 90US$ to 500 US$ depending on transportation and distance.
- Cheap resort : From 150US$ the night.
- Quality resort : From 250US$ the night.
- Dream resort : From 500US$ the night.
- Villa on the water : Very variable depending on the hotel.
Food and drink
The basic room rate usually includes bed and breakfast. Sometimes, and depending on the hotel, it is possible to reserve half board, full board and all inclusive in advance.
The price of the restaurants is in line with the category of the hotel and the prices of its rooms. In resorts of 200US$ the night it is possible to have dinner for 20US$ per person, while in the most luxurious resorts, it is difficult to get meals for less than 50US$.
Drink prices start at 5US$ for bottles of water and soft drinks. Fruit smoothies or other more special requests can be priced at around 10US$.
The price of the excursions also varies depending on the category of the hotel. In the less luxurious hotels you can do snorkeling, diving or fishing excursions from 20US$, while in higher category resorts these prices can double or triple.
To give an example so that you can get an idea of the budget to travel to the Maldives, spending 7 nights in a bungalow on the water at the Mirihi Island Resort, including the flight from Madrid and the seaplane transfers would have a price of about 2000€ (2044 US$) per person in low season.
Adding the expenses for meals, dinners and drinks, it can be said that 2500€ (2555 US$) o 3000 € (3066 US$) per person would be a fairly accurate budget.
We have chosen this hotel because it is one of the luxury hotels with a better price. The most luxurious hotels such as the Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, One & Only Reethi Rah or Gili Lankanfushi would make the trip much more expensive.
When to travel to Maldives
Maldives has a moderate tropical climate thanks to the presence of the Indian Ocean so, despite the monsoons, the temperature is warm and constant throughout the year.
With an average of between 6 and 8 hours of sunshine per day, the temperature in the Maldives is usually between 26 and 31ºC, while the sea water is between 27 and 29 degrees throughout the year.
Known in the Maldives as iruvai, the dry monsoon moves from the northwest between November and April, giving rise to the coolest time of the year in the Maldives, although with temperatures between 26 and 29ºC, it is never cold.
These months constitute the high season of the Maldives. Christmas is the most expensive period and the one that requires booking the trip in advance.
Between the months that go from May to October, the humid monsoon or hulhangu takes place, which blows from the southwest causing a greater number of precipitations.
Although it is the rainiest season in the Maldives, it is usually short-lived and abundant rainfall, after which the sun shines again and the temperature is very warm. This season is very hot and there is a lot of humidity.
Best time to travel to Maldives
Although any time is a good time to travel to the Maldives, the best months to visit paradise are usually from November to April, since during this time there is less chance of rain and the days are sunnier.
On the other hand, during these months is when the Maldives receive more tourism and therefore prices are higher. Official room rates double depending on the season. That is, a hotel that in August costs 300US$ per night, at Christmas it can have a price of 600US$.
How to get to Maldives
The Maldives Islands are located in the middle of the Indian Ocean, southwest of India and Sri Lanka. Unsurprisingly, such an isolated destination is only accessible by sea or air.
Arriving at the islands is incredible, despite having seen hundreds of photos of the Maldives, it is impossible to imagine that such a place could exist. Immense lagoons of clear waters surround the islands with their dazzling underwater coral gardens. Once on the islands, a rich and varied vegetation covers everything.
How to get to Male
Although there is no airline that makes direct flights to the Maldives from Spain, the plane is the fastest, most comfortable and cheapest way to get to the country.
To fly from Spain to Maldives you will need to make a stopover in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Dubai or Doha. If the price is similar or there is little difference, we strongly recommend you fly with Qatar Airways or Emirates, the route is more direct and both the planes and the service are better.
The approximate price of a return ticket Madrid-Malé varies between 600€ (617,20 US$) to 1.000 € (1.028 US$), depending on the time of year in which you travel and how far in advance you make the reservation.
Currently there is no ferry company that makes routes to the Maldives from any country and the only way to get there by sea is by taking a cruise that makes a stopover in the islands. It is possible to find cruises departing from Malaysia, Singapore or other Asian cities.
Needless to say, arriving on a cruise ship is not the best way to enjoy the Maldives.
Getting from Male to the hotel
How do I get from Male to my hotel island? It’s simple, whether you hire a package or book the flight and the hotel separately, the hotel itself will contact you to organize the transfer to the island.
Depending on the distance between Malé and the chosen island, the transfer will be made by different means of transport :
Slow Boat or Dhoni
The typical Maldivian boat is the means of transport chosen by the hotels located in Malé or the nearest islands. Transportation is usually free or at a greatly reduced price.
Resorts located close to Male, but not close enough to go by Dhoni, do speedboat transfers. The price of a return speed boat transfer ranges from 90€ (92,50 US$) to 180 € (185,10 US$).
The seaplane is the transportation of choice for the hotels located on the more distant atoll islands. The transfer by fast boat would be too long and bumpy.
The cost of the return seaplane transfer ranges from 250€ (257,10 US$) to 500 € (514,30 US$) per person, depending on flight time.
If the hotel gives you the choice between a boat or a seaplane, don’t just look at the cost. Viewing the atolls at low altitude from the seaplane is a magical sight and the best way to start the trip.
Which hotel to choose in Maldives
When we start looking for a hotel in the Maldives it is practically impossible to decide, since all of them seem perfect.
The best way to choose is by taking into account some basic points so that the resort adapts to your tastes and needs :
Whether we like it or not, the price of hotels is one of the main factors to take into account when choosing between the different options. The most affordable resorts start from 200US$per night, while an overwater villa in a more luxurious hotel can start from 450US$ the night. The best hotels exceed 1,000US$per night
It is important to bear in mind that traveling during the low season months (from May to October) it is possible to find significantly more affordable prices.
Big or small island
Some people prefer a small island that can be easily navigated and where no one bothers them. Others, on the other hand, prefer a large resort where they find a wide variety of restaurants and places to explore.
Maldives is capable of satisfying everyone, since it is possible to choose large resorts such as the Sun Island Resort & Spa, with 426 rooms, or smaller and more welcoming ones such as the Banyan Tree Madivaru, with only 6 rooms.
There are some even smaller and more exclusive islands such as The Rania Experience hotel that offer the possibility of complete solitude, having the hotel and all its staff privately for us. This option can cost close to 10,000US$ per night, so it is not valid for all pockets.
Lagoon or Reef
Depending on whether you want to snorkel or not, there may be some islands that are more or less suitable for you. Some resorts like the Taj Exotica Resort & Spa are surrounded by a beautiful lagoon but to reach the reef you would have to go by boat.
There are other options in which the lagoon is combined with the reef, as is the case of Gili Lankanfushi , in which the reef is somewhat remote but can be easily reached by swimming, or the Coco Palm Dhuni Kolhu, which also combines the lagoon with a nearby reef.
Snorkelers can opt for one of the islands that, as in the case of the Bandos Island Resort & Spa, are completely surrounded by a very close reef.
Travel with children
Although the Maldives Islands are not a very common destination to travel with children, if you choose to take them on the trip, it is important to bear in mind that some hotels do not allow children of certain ages.
Bed and breakfast or all inclusive?
The Maldives is a destination that does not usually offer all-inclusive as it happens in other destinations such as the Caribbean. If you are interested in this option, some hotels offer the possibility of hiring it, although you must bear in mind that in the Maldives “All Inclusive” some things are not included.
We advise you
If you have already decided to travel and need advice, or simply want to book the trip of your dreams at the best price, you can do so by clicking here.
Activities in Maldives
16 excursions and activities
- Male airport transfer by speedboat
- Guided tour of Malé + Excursion to Villimalé
- Excursion to Himmafushi and Huraa Islands
- Excursion to the islands of Gulhi and Maafushi
- Sunset boat ride + Snorkel
- Excursion to Villimale
- Snorkeling in Maldives
- Night fishing in Huraa
- Snorkeling in Dhiffushi
- Dolphin watching in Dhiffushi
- Snorkeling in Villimale
- Night fishing in Dhiffushi
- Dolphin watching in Male
- Snorkeling in Huraa
- Dolphin watching in Huraa
- Guided tour of Male