Last Updated: July 29, 2022

Is Maldives Expensive? Travel Cost + Tips To Travel On A Budget

A trip to the Maldives can be compared to a trip to other island nations such as Bora Bora and Seychelles and is a bucket list trip that most of us would love to do at least once in our lives.

The Maldives is made up of some 1,192 local islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The islands make up a double chain of 26 different atolls and run a length of 871 kilometers from north to south.

Of the 1,192 local islands, only 187 of them are inhabited islands leaving 1,005 uninhabited islands. The marine ecosystem is pristine and is home to countless species which makes scuba diving one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Maldives along with fishing, surfing, and of course, hanging out at a paradise island resort.

As you can see, there are countless reasons to go on a trip to the Maldives but we are here to answer the question, is the Maldives expensive? We will run through loads of different Maldives costs so you can work out how much you will need for a relaxing vacation and give you some tips on how to see the Maldives on a limited budget.

How Much Is the Cost on Average to Travel to the Maldives?

travel cost maldives

The average cost of a trip to the Maldives depends on one main thing, whether you are spending your time on local islands or planning to stay in one of the luxury resorts on the resort islands.

A trip to a resort island is going to add a ton to your Maldives cost and resort islands can vary in expense from $3500 a week to over $15000 a week per person, depending on the level of luxury you want to have during your trip to the Maldives.

In comparison, if you are staying on local islands in local guest houses, your costs drop dramatically. Let’s take a look in more detail.

Average Costs Staying On Resort Islands

You can easily stay at one of the resort islands for around $1,070 per night for two people, and while this won’t be at one of the most luxury resorts in the Maldives, you are still going to get the true Maldivian experience the resort hotels are known for.

This price is all inclusive meaning you get your food and soft drinks in the price but alcohol and activities will have to be added. Overall, you can do a trip to the resort islands for around $600 per person per night.

Average Costs Staying On Local Islands

Staying on the inhabited islands will lower your Maldives cost considerably as staying in most guesthouses will only cost you up to around $60 a night and be as affordable as $25 a night, plus guests usually get a free breakfast included too.

You will have to pay for everything extra though from lunches to dinners along with transportation, sightseeing, and any activities like scuba diving and fishing trips. Overall, the average Maldives cost when staying on a local island is around $100 per day per person.

Are Flights to the Maldives Expensive?

flights to maldives expensive

Whether you are traveling to a resort island or a local island, you are still going to have to fly to this rather luxury destination, and being able to book cheap flights can take a large dent out of your cost to travel. So, how much does it cost to fly to the Maldives?

Well, as all travelers will know, flight prices change dramatically depending on when you are booking, how early in advance you book your flight tickets, and where your flights will be departing from.

When traveling from Europe or North America, you should expect to be paying around $1000 on average for your flight. But you can get flight tickets for close to $500 when flying out of season in say May/June or October/November, if you book in prime season and at late notice, flights can skyrocket to close to $2000.

The cheapest plane tickets to the Maldives originate in Asian hubs like Kuala Lumpur, Qatar, Oman, and Sri Lanka too. You can find round-trip flights to the Maldives from these hubs for less than $300 return, which is awesome for those of you who live there.

If you are traveling from North America or Europe, why not combine the trip with say a week in Sri Lanka? You will get much better value for money for your round-trip flight and accommodation in Sri Lanka is much cheaper than in the Maldives too.

Is Hotel/Resort Accommodation in the Maldives Expensive?

The cost of staying in a hotel can vary dramatically depending on whether you want to stay on a resort island or a local island, and it depends a lot on the level of luxury you are looking for during your stay on the Maldives islands.

High End

A hotel room in the fancy resorts or hotels for example usually starts at $1000 a night and these are at the high-end resorts such as Baros where you get to spend your time on a private island luxury resort. You will be treated like royalty at one of these resorts but $1000 per night is only the cheapest option, you can spend a lot more if you want to.

Mid Range

Mid-range resorts in the Maldives that are also on private islands will start at around $250 per night per person and run up to $350 per night. Again, these are the costs for the most standard room they offer and can easily cost a lot more depending on how luxurious you want your experience to be.

Budget-Friendly Options

If you want to experience the Maldives on a small accommodation budget then you will be happy to hear that this is a very doable option. You won’t be staying on a private island when you visit the Maldives though, but you will most certainly experience paradise with a bit less luxury.

With a quick search on Airbnb, you will find a load of different hotels, villas, guesthouses, and rooms you can rent for very affordable prices. These usually range between $25 and $100 per night and are therefore much cheaper than staying in the resorts.

If staying locally doesn’t appeal to you, you can find great hotels to stay at on the local islands. A 3-star hotel on Male set on stunning white sand beaches, for example, will cost between $60-$100 a night and you will still get to see this dream destination and experience all the beauty it has to offer.

Levels Of Luxury

If you do decide to stay at a resort on one of the private islands then you should be aware of the huge price differences when it comes to your accommodation options.

Overwater bungalows are famous in the Maldives and if you want to stay in an overwater bungalow with a private pool or hot tub, the price is going to be around $2000 a night.

Naturally, water villas are the most expensive options but you can book a beach pool villa, not a water villa, for around $1000 per night.

As you can see, you can scale up the luxury as much as you can when you visit the Maldives as it has a tourism industry that is dedicated to giving visitors these kinds of amazing experiences where money is no object.

You can also opt for a full board package which may cost you more upfront but the all-inclusive price can bring costs down when compared to paying for meals, activities, and water sports on top of the room prices.

Is Food in the Maldives Expensive?

food in maldives

Like everything in the Maldives, the amount you can spend on food can range from $10 a meal to well over $200.

For example, if you are staying on a private island resort and have not opted for the all-inclusive package then your meal prices are going to be extremely expensive. Most island resorts will have a few restaurants for you to choose from laidback ones to fine dining options.

Basic meals in the laid-back restaurants will cost you around $20 and that is for simple food such as a burger. The cost of food goes up dramatically from there if you go to the high-end restaurants where the minimum amount you can spend on a meal will be around $100 per person. This, of course, is not the limit and you can easily push up to $300 a head when ordering the best food on the menu.

When staying on an inhabited island such as Male or Hulhumale island you can actually find food at reasonable prices similar to what you might expect at home, sometimes even cheaper too.

Male is home to a wide variety of restaurants and you can sample anything from traditional Maldivian food to international food options too. Generally speaking, a decent meal in sit-down restaurants will cost you around $10 per head which is incredibly affordable and the street food prices are even cheaper too!

If you are traveling on a budget, then staying on the inhabited islands is going to save you a ton of money when it comes to eating out! You also have the option to buy snacks, fruit, and supplies for the shops and markets to make it even more affordable too!

Is Transportation in the Maldives Expensive?

When it comes to costs and transportation, it is the same story as everything else in the Maldives. If you do it like a local, then local transportation is very affordable but if you are going to an island resort for some luxury, then transport prices and transfers go up rapidly.

Something everyone visiting the Maldives has to pay for is airport transfers and this can either be across the bridge to your hotel in Male or it can be a transfer to a private island, or even from one island to the next when doing some island hopping around the other islands near the main island of Male.

The main form of transport for the locals who live in the Maldives is via a public ferry service which only goes to the inhabited local islands, not to the resort islands. The ferry journeys cost more or less depending on their journey time but you should never be paying more than $5 one way at the most.

For example, traveling from Male to Maafushi is around $3 one way, Maafushi to Fulidhoo is about $4, and Maafushi to Guraidhoo is just $2. This makes traveling on a budget around the Maldives going from one island and guesthouse to the next very affordable and doable so long as you enjoy long ferry crossings over the pristine Indian Ocean, and who wouldn’t?

If you are staying at an island resort or want to visit an uninhabited island for the day and have your “own island” for a few hours then you are going to have to book a private speedboat or seaplane to get you where you want to go.

A return trip to an island on a speedboat can cost anywhere from $200 to $500 depending on the journey time. If it takes 45 minutes on the speedboat expect to pay around $250 for the privilege.

If a speed boat seems expensive, then a seaplane is another category altogether. A return flight on a seaplane to one of the other atolls will run you around $500 and that is only if the flight time is 20 minutes, the costs go up from there.

As you can see, while the exclusivity of island resorts is a lovely way to experience the Maldives, the costs associated with them are no joke!

Are the Attractions in the Maldives Expensive?

The most popular activities in the Maldives of course are all based around the sea. The coral reefs around the Maldives are some of the most beautiful in the world which makes it one of the top spots to go diving, snorkeling, surfing, and fishing.

It is also home to gorgeous beaches and some of the best beaches are found on the uninhabited islands, so you are going to need some transportation to get to each one.

The costs of seeing all these wonderful attractions are again dependent on whether you are staying on a resort island or a local island.

The prices on a local island are much more affordable for activities and you should expect to pay around $50 per person for a snorkeling trip, around $100-150 per person for two dives, and $50 for a fishing trip on a local boat.

You can also do some cool excursions such as going to sandbars which come out at low tide for around $25 per person, you will be on the most pristine beach you have ever seen doing so. Hopping around the islands of the atoll is also a fun day out and runs at $50 per person.

The most affordable way to book these kinds of excursions is through your guest house or even another guest house. Ask at a few and see what prices you get. If you are staying on Male, then doing a food tour or going to the museums are also very affordable.

If you are staying at a resort and aren’t on an all-inclusive booking, a sandbank trip is around $160, snorkeling is $150, fishing is $150, and a dolphin cruise is $175. Compared to a guesthouse price, these are pretty extortionate.

Are Alcoholic Beverages in the Maldives Expensive?

alcoholic beverage in maldives

The Maldives is a Muslim country and one of the most strict ones out there operating under sharia law, meaning all citizens have to be Muslim. This means that alcohol is strictly forbidden and if you are staying on one of the local islands, you are not going to find a beer being sold anywhere.

The only place in the Maldives where you can buy alcohol is on live-aboard trips or on island resorts. All alcohol in the Maldives is taxed at a whopping 22% so even when you buy a drink at a resort, remember that 22% is added at the end.

Drinking in the resorts is expensive and you are likely to pay around $10 for a beer and up to $20 or more for a cocktail, and don’t forget they are going to add the 22% tax and service charge to it at the end as well.

Other Travel Costs in the Maldives

You may have thought that we had covered everything here but there often are some extra and semi-hidden costs when traveling to the Maldives, which is something you need to check before booking.

These extra hidden costs tend to be based around taxes and service charges as these are not usually included in the price given to you by resorts.

Firstly there is a 10% hotel service tax that will be added to your bill in some cases and this goes hand in hand with a 12% goods and services tax too, so that is an extra 22% already. After this, a $3 Green Tax per person per night is then added and finally, don’t forget about credit card fees.

Resorts can charge up to 5% for a credit card fee. When you add all of these hidden extra costs together, your trip to the Maldives can have an extra 27% added to the bill at the end, which if you are staying at a luxury hotel can be a real kick in the teeth.

Be very wary when you are booking to check if all the taxes and extra charges are included in your price as this will ensure you know how much you are paying before you get there and won’t get handed an extra 27% bill at the end.

Travel Insurance

Another cost which we haven’t included here is general travel insurance and it is something very useful to have. While prices vary from one insurer to the next, travel insurance for two weeks in the Maldives would run between $70 and $100 depending on the level of cover you require.

Tips on How to Travel on a Budget in the Maldives

tips to travel on a budget maldives

If You Are Staying On A Resort, Go All Inclusive

If you are traveling on a budget then chances are you are not going to stay at a resort, but if you are, go for an all-inclusive package as it will save you money in the long run.

The extra costs of lunch, dinner, and activities which make the Maldives one of the coolest places in the world will quickly rack up. Plus, the last thing you want to do on your vacation is spending the whole time holding back from the things you want to do.

Stay On Local Inhabited Islands

If you have read through the article you will know that staying on a local island costs around $25 to $100 a night compared to $250 to $1000 a night for a resort booking.

This will save you a ton of cash and you will miss all the extra fees that go with it like a speed boat transfer, seaplane, plus the extra expensive food and activities at the resorts too.

Eat Locally

Local restaurants are so budget-friendly in the Maldives and for around $10 a meal you can eat really well. This doesn’t apply to resorts of course as you will have to dine in their restaurants if staying on a private island.

Plan Ahead

Having a good plan is always a great way to stick to a budget. Only pick islands you can access by public ferry, and book a room/guesthouse on each to have an awesome island hopping holiday.

Travel In The Off Season

Prices in the Maldives double during the high season of November to April, and flight prices are a lot more in July and August over the school holidays. Plan your trip around May/June or September/October and you will be able to do it for close to half the price.

Verdict: Is the Maldives Expensive?

Yes and no, the Maldives can be as expensive as you want it to be. If you go for maximum luxury through a resort you can spend $50,000 for a 10-day vacation for 2 people with your own private dinners in the sand over sunset.

Or, you can live off around $90 a day doing it the local way, staying in guesthouses, using local ferries, and eating local food. It is up to you!

About the Author Roger Timbrook

Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!

follow me on:

Leave a Comment: