Can you do the Maldives on a budget in 2021?

If you are looking to book that trip to the Maldives, but you’re not quite sure what to expect in terms of budgeting, this blog is for you.   One of the most important decisions you’ll have to make when visiting the Maldives, is whether you’d want to stay at a private resort or local island.  The resorts come with their own benifits such as allowing alcohol on site and the amazing accommodation options, however be prepared to pay a lot more for this.  With the current pandemic you may find some incredible deals so do not just dismiss this from the get go, maybe you strike it lucky.  

We however chose to stay on a local island and our reason for choosing the island of Thulusdhoo was because of the surfing spots surrounding the island.  It is important to remember that there are more than 180 inhabated islands and therefore choosing your location will probably be the most difficult task.  My recommendation would be to list the main expectations you have for your trip and then to find a location that can offer you just that. 

Once you land in Male you’ll have to get to your island by sea or by sea plane depending on how far it is.  We paid USD 20.00 for a 30 minute speedboat ride to Thulusdhoo.  There are slower boats at cheaper rates available, however be prepared for it to take much longer.  Sea plane rates will depend on how far from Male you’ll have to travel. 

Accommodation on the island of Thulusdhoo was quite reasonable.  We went for the beach front options, which obviously ended up being a bit more, around USD 100 per night, however on Thulusdhoo there are several cheaper options to consider with way more cheaper rates.  Do not think that the experience wont be as nice as going to a private resort as our accommodation was still beautiful and it felt like staying in paradise. 

Food again will depend on whether you dine locally or at one of the hotels or resorts.  As with any trip, eating the local food will be a lot cheaper and add to your experience.  We paid around USD 7.00 – 10.00 for a meal.  Water is usually included complimentary and soft drinks and juices around anything between USD 2.00 – 7.00 depending on whether it is a soft drink or freshly squeezed juice. 

If you are staying on a local island, remember that alcohol will not be allowed.  You are also not allowed to take any alcohol into the country so be warned.  Should you wish to have a drink you can get a boat to take you out to the bar boat just off the island.  The trip to the bar boat is around USD 10.00 and then expect for it to be quite pricy at the bar boat.  Beer is USD 5.00, single shot of spirits USD 4.00 excluding the mixer which will be another USD 4.00 – 5.00.  Wine is around USD 30.00 for a bottle.  Alcohol is not cheap.   If you do not see yourself going on holiday without a cocktail in hand most days then I’d suggest finding a deal at a private resort. 

There are many excursions to chose from.  Going out to a surf spot was around USD 10 – 20 depending on how far it was; water sports can go up to USD 45 per activity and snorkelling around USD 25. Since we went in a group we ended up negotiating a rate that included several activities in a one day trip and therefore we paid a special rate for the day.  I suggest trying to combine some experiences and then negotiating your rate. 

On Thulusdhoo we found a few local shops with all the basics where we ended up getting our supplies on most days.  Also remember to budget an extra USD 60 for your Covid-19 test that you’ll have to take prior to leaving. 

My trip to the Maldives was definitely not the cheapest I have ever done, however it is also not just for the wealthy and especially now with the pandemic there are some amazing deals out there.  It truly is a place that I have always wanted to see and I am so happy that I did.  Personally, I think because of the pandemic, it is the best time to plan a ‘budget friendly’ trip to the Maldives.

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