How to travel the Maldives on a Budget

How to travel the Maldives on a Budget

The Maldives have a reputation as a dream destination and they really are. But resort vacation is not for everyone and it’s not exactly a bargain. Before, visitors were allowed only to stay on the resort islands. This has fortunatley changed for some time. You should take this opportunity in order to really explore the paradise of more of 1,000 islands. For this I have a few tips for you:

1. Look out for an inhabited island

When we were on the Maldives, my husband and I stayed on Maafushi Island. That’s a cosy place with local flavor. There are a few other islands where you can find guesthouses as well. I found it fantastically beautiful there. At Maafushi there were several beaches and many beautiful colorful houses. See in the  photo gallery below, what the colorful culture of the Maldives is about:

2. Stay in an idyllic Guesthouse.

On Maafushi Island we had a very nice accomodation. Guesthouses are admittedly more expensive than in many other countries in Asia, but still affordable. They are generally less expensive than a mid-range hotel room in a central European city. It was very pleasant to stay there. We had a small terrace with our own sun beds and could borrow snorkeling gear for free. At the guesthouses you can often book extra experiences, such as a barbecue for two right in the sand by the sea. For me it was a great experience. More about excursions you can find below. My extra tip: Ask for a typical Maldivian breakfast and be surprised!

Guesthouse at the Maldives

Sun beds in front of the guesthouse

3. Take the public ferry

We all know these seaplanes on the Maldives. This must be certainly a great experience. But if you don’t have an appropriate budget or don’t want to spend the money, the public ferry is a great wax to get to different islands. In addition, you get close to the locals. On the ferry, not only the locals travel between the islands. It’s also used for food transport. I found it priceless to learn something about everyday life on the Maldives in this way – for an amount that is not worth mentioning.

Ferry to Maafushi Island
Ferry to Maafushi Island

Inside a Ferry

3. Eat at a nice beach bar

On the local islands you can find nice little restaurants on the beach. Often the table is right on the sand. A dinner at the Maldives at sunset is a great experience (see above) Eating vegan is unfortunately not easy there. Generally, vegetable curry is available, but you might not want that  every day. For me it’s OK now and then to eat seafood or fish. The curries are generally very tasty.

Boats at Maafushi
Boats at Maafushi

Shady Place at Malé

4. Enjoy the Maldives

The guesthouses offer excursions. Although they cost money, I would recommend you to try some of them. It doesn’t need to be the trip to the resort island  (which rather bored me, see below). I found snorkeling on a remote coral reef and feeding masses of colorful fishes much more impressive.
If you still want to take a trip to a resort island, I recommend that you choose a really luxurious island. We made the mistake to go only to a “normal” resort island. You could find the self-service buffet for lunch in any country in the world. We were only among Germans. Not our style and not how we like to travel. But I liked the fact that the island had so many small beaches. We even had a mini-beach just to ourselves. I have not experienced the very luxurious resorts in the Maldives and can tell you only what other travelers have reported.

Most important: Do not miss these beautiful islands in any case, if you like the tropics. That was one of my best trips in recent years.


4 thoughts on “How to travel the Maldives on a Budget

  1. Alex

    Thanks for post.

    I’d like to add a list of more nice and peaceful local islands in Maldives:
    – Rasdhoo;
    – Thoddoo;
    – Mathiveri;
    – Ukulhas;
    – Thinadhoo;
    – Dhigurah;
    – Dhiffushi.

    Just google them!

    1. Ricarda Christina Hollweg

      This is great. Thanks for the recommendations, Alex. Will keep them in mind when going back.

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