to see and do
The Maldives consist of 26 coral reef atolls of which each counts various local islands, private island resorts, sandbanks and lagoons. I went to the Maldives mainly because of its amazing diving reputation. Although I spent most of my time on a liveaboard I did some research on the possibilities of how to explore the country on low costs. The Maldives are no typical low-cost destination and no matter how hard you try – your visit here will not be super cheap! Travelling the Maldives on a budget definitely does not include staying in one of the catalogue-like over-water bungalows in a fancy island resort.
Instead you should focus on guesthouses (or even couch-surfing options) that have been springing up on local islands (e.g. Rashdoo, Thoddoo, Fulidhoo, Guraidhoo, Maafushi, Thulusdhoo, Hangnameedhoo etc.) over the past ten years. They can be reached by local ferries from the capital island Malé for only a few dollars. But keep in mind that the ferries do not operate very frequently and often you have to come back to Malé before heading for another island so try to take your time. Your selected host may be able to advise you on this. Avoid the expensive speedboats or even seaplanes to get around!
Staying at a guesthouse instead of a resort on a private island also offers you the opportunity to experience local life. Book through one of our recommended booking websites or even AirBnB. Expect to pay 50-60 US-Dollars per night for a clean, modern room with aircon, Wi-Fi, breakfast and free snorkeling gear included.
Tip: You can also contact them and ask for permission to set up your tent in their backyard to save some money. Other meals (mainly fish dishes) can be eaten out in restaurants and cost around 5-10 US-Dollars. Excursions around an atoll including snorkeling, fishing or sandbank dinners start from 25 US-Dollars per person.
Tip: Check up on a few guesthouses and compare their offers to see what is included to get the best deal for your demands.
Try to avoid the peak season between November and April which is more expensive but also drier. And finally, plan your trip to the Maldives as soon as possible because there is massive construction going on everywhere and many islands are going to change their appearance completely within the next ten years.
19.06.2019 - Chris