Visiting the Maldives on a Budget

Maafushi Bikini Beach

When you think about the Maldives, you will picture luxurious overwater bungalows, stunning turquoise waters, and high-end resorts that seem exclusive to the wealthy. However, the idea of an affordable Maldives vacation has been a reality for some time. In recent years, the Maldives has become more accessible to budget-conscious travellers, offering more reasonably priced accommodations and activities. 

The emergence of guesthouses on inhabited islands marked a turning point in the Maldives’ tourism sector. For fifty years, the Maldives had been synonymous with exclusive private island resorts. However, in 2008, the government’s groundbreaking decision to open up local islands to tourism reshaped the landscape, providing a more budget-friendly alternative to the inhabited islands. 

This shift has allowed visitors to immerse themselves in local culture, connect with the warm Maldivian community, and still experience the unparalleled beauty of the Maldives.

Guesthouses on Inhabited Islands

The introduction of guesthouses on inhabited islands marked a pivotal moment in the Maldives’ tourism industry. For five decades, the Maldives had been synonymous with exclusive private island resorts. However, in 2008, the government’s groundbreaking decision to open up local islands to tourism reshaped the landscape, offering a more budget-friendly alternative. This shift allowed visitors to delve into the local culture, engage with the warm Maldivian community, and still experience the unparalleled beauty of the Maldives.

Choosing to stay on inhabited islands presents an opportunity for travellers to connect with locals, savour traditional cuisine, and contribute to the local economy. It’s truly an immersion into the vibrant tapestry of Maldivian culture. This transformation has enabled tourists a more authentic travel experience in the heart of the Maldives.

It is essential to keep in mind that despite being commonly referred to all inhabited island accommodations as guesthouses in the Maldives, some of them are small hotels. Unlike what you might expect from a typical guesthouse, these places have modern amenities and services similar to small hotels worldwide. They offer a level of comfort that surpasses typical expectations associated with the term “guesthouse.”

Breakdown of Expenses and Useful Tips 

Accommodation: Guesthouses range from $50 to $150 per night, depending on the season and the amenities offered.

Packages: Explore all-inclusive Maldives tour packages for the best deals. Connect with local travel agents to find budget-friendly options.

Meals: Delve into local restaurants and savour native snacks for a culinary adventure. Allocate approximately $8-$13 per day for your dining needs.

Activities: Engage in water sports, snorkelling, and exploring nearby reefs, often more budget-friendly than high-end resort excursions. Budget around $30-$120 per activity per person.

Transportation: The typical cost for a Speed Boat ferry ranges from $20 to $30 per person for islands in Male’ Atoll, while the local Dhoni ferry ticket is priced at under $10. The Dhoni ferry offers a leisurely cruise, with the potential of stopping at a few islands before reaching the destination.

Travel During the Off-Season: Plan your trip during the off-peak season (May – Nov) to benefit from lower room rates and flight prices. The Maldives is captivating year-round, offering a chance to avoid crowds, reduce accommodation and flight expenses, and experience occasional rain showers during the quieter months.

Area to Stay: Choose an island in Male’ Atoll to save travel time, particularly if your stay is short. Guesthouse islands are closer to the main airport, eliminating the need for a domestic flight, which can add to your travel time and expenses.

Book in Advance: Secure accommodations and activities early for potential discounts. Early bookings also guarantee availability, especially for sought-after guesthouses.

Maafushi Island

We recommend considering Maafushi Island for your budget holiday in the Maldives, as it was the first island to embrace guesthouse tourism. Just a 45-minute speed boat ride from the Velana International Airport, Maafushi boasts numerous beachside highrise guesthouses offering ocean-view rooms. Especially the Kaani Palm Beach Hotel which has the highest infinity pool in the Maldives. 

For those eager to delve deeper into planning their budget Maldives getaway, we suggest getting the “Discover Maafushi”, a budget travel guide for the Maldives. 

Discover Maafushi: The Budget Traveller’s Guide to the Maldives

This ebook covers essential details for your holiday, including accommodation options, local experiences, suggested itineraries, a glimpse into Maldivian cuisine, suggestions on souvenir shopping, practical tips and much more. The aim is to ensure your trip is well-planned and enjoyable.

What makes this guide stand out is that it’s the first travel guide for Maafushi Island. While it focuses on Maafushi, it’s also useful for anyone interested in visiting the Maldives on a budget. Crafted by locals it offers insights that differ from articles written by individuals who only had short visits to the country and limited cultural knowledge. 

This guide provides practical information to enhance your understanding of the Maldives and make the most of your trip. It is the perfect companion for a well-informed and authentic experience. 

Download your copy here:

Pack your bags, set your budget, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in the Maldives.

What is included in this book:

  • Recommendations for accommodation in Maafushi.
  • Unmissable experiences you should include in your itinerary.
  • Choosing the right neighbourhood to stay in.
  • Practical pointers are provided at the end of each chapter.
  • Insights on the best times to travel with pros and cons for different seasons.
  • Cultural dos and don’ts for a richer travel experience.
  • Three suggested itineraries for various lengths of time.
  • Pricing details for activities, day trips, transport, and more.
  • Practical tips on navigating business hours, local events, transport, weather, and other travel essentials.
  • A compilation of the most Instagrammable spots around the island.
  • A guide to the best local dishes and snacks to try.
  • Recommendations for the best souvenirs and where to find them.
  • Google Map links for all suggested guesthouses, cafes, shops and landmarks. 
  • A complete island map highlighting main landmarks, neighbourhoods, and beaches.
  • Over 70 colourful images.

Get the Discover Maafushi ebook today. It is all you need to plan your Maldives getaway –