The Maldives have the reputation of being a luxurious honeymoon destination. While this is certainly true, there is also another side of the Maldives. By choosing to visit local islands instead of a resort island, you can explore this remote paradise in an affordable way. Here is how much a day approximately costs on a local island in the Maldives:
A couple of years ago, things have changed in the Maldives. The government allowed locals to open their own tourism business, so that travelers are now able to stay on local islands and to visit the Maldives on a budget. Tourism is still quite new to the local islands and therefore still developing.
As I have only visited Malé, the capital of the Maldives, and Maafushi, prices may vary from island to island. Keep in mind that the Maldives have to important nearly everything, so that the costs of living are much higher than in neighboring countries like Sri Lanka. Regarding the payment, you can only pay in US dollars and the Maldivian currency Rufiyaa. All prices listed here are in US dollars.
To reach the local island Maafushi, you can either choose the speedboat transfer or the ferry. We chose the speedboat, as it is not only quicker, but also much more convenient than the ferry. It took us about half an hour to arrive from the airport to Maafushi. The transfer costs $15 per person, one way. The ferry takes about 1,5 hours and costs around $3. Remember that the Maldives are a Muslim country, so that the ferry is not operating on Fridays.
Hotel & Guest Houses
Although Maafushi is quite new to tourism, the island has a vast selection of several hotels and guest houses. A double room in a mid-range hotel or guest house including breakfast, air conditioning and tax costs approximately $70, making it $35 per person. There are more options for higher and lower budgets available as well.
Restaurants & Food
On local islands you will most often find Maldivian cuisine that consists mainly of tuna, coconut and lots of spices. Make sure to try the Maldivian fish curry and flat bread roshi! The prices in restaurants exclude the service charge and tax of 22%.
Here are some examples:
A soft drink from a grocery store – $1
Lunch at the snack bar – $6
Dinner at a buffet restaurant – $10
A fresh coconut at the beach – $2
The Maldives are home to incredible sea life, so that we couldn’t miss the opportunity to snorkel as much as possible. We booked twice a half day snorkeling tour, which costs $25 per person. A tour usually includes about 10 persons and lasts about four hours. It includes snorkeling with a guide in different reefs, a visit to a sand bank and dolphin watching. Additionally, equipment, water and snacks are provided as well.
On the island, you will also find different water sport activities that can be rented. The access to the tourist beach (a beach where you can wear beach wear) is free of charge.
On average a day on a local island in the Maldives costs around 80 US Dollars. While this is quite cheap compared to the costs on a resort island, you won’t be able to decrease the costs much more. However, choosing to stay on a local island is the most affordable way to visit the Maldives and definitely worth every penny.
Have you been to the Maldives? Let me know below in the comments!