How to travel Maldives on a budget | Complete Guide


As soon as someone hear the word Maldives, probably the first picture which comes to their mind is of a luxurious water villa with a private pool overlooking the sea and sunset. And naturally, this destination is on everyone’s bucket list, it has to be! But as soon as people at the prices of these swanky villas, their Maldivian vacation plan goes into the ‘maybe in the future list’. But it doesn’t have to be that way, as the good news is, you can travel Maldives on a budget also. The answer to ‘how?’ lies in four factors, the most important accommodation, food, transport and excursion. Keep reading to plan your next vacation to Maldives on a budget.

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Best time to travel

Best and peak season

  • Best season to visit Maldives is from November-April, as this is the dry season with average temperature around 23-31 degree Celsius.
  • The peak season is from December-March. In this period, room rates are highest than any other time of the year

Low Season

From May-October, it is the rainy season. Hotel prices are comparatively low. But if can’t enjoy the beach and do water sports and more, and you will have sit inside the room, it won’t be totally worth paying such a high cost to be there in first place.


  • As mentioned above, the first and the most major step to reduce cost in your Maldives vacation is obviously the accommodation part.
  • You need to first understand the fact that Maldives consists of many islands, both local inhabited islands and private resort islands. It is obviously everyone’s dream to stay on the private luxurious one, but if you want to save money, you got to stay on the local islands.
  • These local islands contains many private hotels, guest houses and budget hotels. All these accommodation are generally very close or right in front of the public beaches. Thus, you will get almost everything you looking from your Maldivian vacation. Staying on a remote beautiful island, breakfast with sea view, water sports and everything else.
  • So as you are ready to stay on a local island, there are couple of options. Each island has its own charm and every island have hotels and guesthouses of different budgets. Here are the most popular local islands for travel and few things to keep in mind.

Local islands

There are a few cons of staying on a local island- it isn’t super luxurious, your accommodation may not serve you alcohol, you may not be able to wear a bikini anywhere and everywhere (they are pretty conservative) don’t be worked up, they have beaches for tourists where you can do whatever you want! Here are few local island where you can find great options.
  • Thoddoo – 67 KM’s from Male. It is home to some beautiful bikini beaches, hotels and guesthouses.  This island is also used for agricultural purposes.
  • Dhigurah – 100 KM’s from Male. But you can still travel here by speedboat. This island is home to whale sharks all year around.
  • Thulusdhoo – This island is famous as one of the best island to surf.
  • Maafushi –This is one of the most famous local islands and home to the maximum the number of guesthouses and dive centers.
  • Guraidhoo – This is one of the beautiful among the local islands. It also has a few bikini beaches. And it is accessible by local ferry and speedboat.
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  • To visit the local islands, you will have to take local ferries and speedboats which are way cheaper than owned by the private resorts. These local ferries doesn’t run on a fix schedule but they easily accessible. Please note that there is advance reservation system in the local ferries. So if one of the ferries is booked, you may have to wait for hours for the next one. This happens especially during the peak season.
  • As mentioned above, the prices are cheap. They charge on an average 2-5 USD for a 3 hour journey. From Male Airport to Male, they charge about 0.60 USD . From Male to Maafushi, it is about 3 USD. From Maafushi to Guraidhoo it is only about 2 USD.
Photo by Nattu on flickr(


  • On the local islands, you can expect to pay around 5-10 USD per meal, which is surely not expensive. Number of food options will depend on the island you choose. More bigger the island, more food options you will get.
  • Most of the good hotels and guesthouses have a all meals option in which you can book your stay with all 3 meals. We recommend taking that if you don’t to go searching for local food.
  • We went we busiest of the local island, Maafushi. We(couple) paid around 10 USD for a meal of fish, chips and tuna friend rice which is quite reasonable.
Photo by Moosa Haleem on Unsplash


  • The most budget friendly way to book an excursion on the local islands is to book through the accommodation you are staying.  You can definitely ask around in the nearby guest houses to see if you can get a discount. Also always check what is included in the price. Generally most of the guesthouses include soft drinks and lunch with no extra cost.
  • The cheapest way of booking a dive or snorkeling, is to book through a local dive shop on the island as the guest houses charge extra for it. If you planned your vacation in the whale shark season, it will be one of the best dives of your life. Maldives is one of the best places in the world for snorkeling and scuba diving due amazing visibility, and abundance of tropical fishes and adorable sea turtles.
  • Most guesthouses also arrange fishing trips (Around 50 USD per person), or day trips to the private resorts (Around 50 USD per person plus a 30 USD per person entrance fee). You can take excursions to sandbanks (25 USD per person) and go island hopping around the atoll (50 USD per person).
Photo by Aviv Perets on Unsplash


All I would like to say is that the myth of Maldives being a destination for those willing to spend holds no water. In fact, you may be able to enjoy the better parts of the real Maldives if you chose to stay with the locals.
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