The Maldives is cheap
A lot of our compatriots think that many kinds of leisure activities and tourist destinations are very expensive, as initially they are positioned as elite. For a long time, such an attitude existed to the Maldives, location for paradise rest. But today everything has changed. Everyday tens of thousands of travelers prove that to go to the Maldives cheap is real if you approach your holiday management responsibly and try to find and choose a lot of things for yourself (e.g., choose a hotel in the Maldives and book it yourself). So, now the Maldives shouldn’t be associated with a hundred thousandth travel budget. In this article we will talk about how to make a vacation on the islands budget.
The table of contents
- Buy the tickets in advance
- How to organize a transfer to the right island
- The features of the Maafushi island
- What can you do in the Maafushi
The main item of travel expenses is usually airline tickets. There are some tricks to finding the right offers. First of all, always you should to compair different offers from air carries and don’t exclude options with connections. Also, you can combine several countries for visiting. For example, the tickets from Shri-Lanka to the islands and back cost no more than $300.
Think about planning your way to the Maldives before you travel. Usually, it makes sense to have a rest on the islands in winter, when it is cold and snowy in Russia, and on the other side of the world are warm sea, hot sand and total absence of precipitation. So, for flying in January, you have to buy tickets in September or even earlier. Then there is a chance that you will fit in 100 thousand rubles back and forth when counting on a family of three with a child. Most likely, you will have to fly with Aeroflot.
Don’t forget about right tickets’ choose to accord to the day of the week. So, on weekends flights are becoming more expensive, so look for offers in the middle of the week. In the same period, by the way, there may be a cheap transfer in the Maldives, as closer to the end of the week the number of tourists sharply increases and demand generates supply.
Foremost, you need to figure out the final destination. About 80% of tourists choose the Maafushi for budget holidays. At first, it is the cheapest island on the atoll and it is located near the Maldives’ airport. Also, you can get to any island or coral reef, which are interesting for you in short a time.
Arrival in the islands will most likely take place through HulHule Male’ airport. Here you have several options for further movement. You can directly order a high-speed transfer to Maafushi, which will not make stops in the capital. It is cost 35 dollars a person. If you get on a ferry that will stop in Male’ and gather people there (which means that it will take a little longer to sail), you will have to give 15 dollars each. But this is a very expensive scenario.
It is advisable to take a bus from the airport to the pier by yourself, so as not to overpay for expensive offers. From the pier you can get only to Male’ for 5 dollars a person on the ferry, and then relax a little in the capital and think about the way to Maafushi.
If you are in the capital of the Maldives, in Male, for a long time, you can rent a hotel there. A night in the hotel will cost 3 000 rubles for two persons. It is very important to think about the issue of cash in advance, because there are almost no ATMs in Maafushi and in the capital itself. It makes sense to withdraw all the money right at the airport. The advantage is that you can pay in many places with a card, but then you will have to pay +5% more. Also, in the Maldives, they accept not only rufiyaa (local currency) but also dollars. However, change can be given in other money.
Male’ has a total area of only 2 sq. km. At the same time, more than a third of the country’s population lives here, which is 130 thousand people. There is almost no public transport on the island, as well as car rental. If you need the Internet on the journey, take care of buying a SIM card in the capital, as the hotels wi-fi often is not stable. SIM-card with Internet of 4 gigabytes will cost 350 rupees (within 20 dollars). By the way, 4G works in the Maldives.
In terms of infrastructure, it should be noted that there is no place to have fun, but there are parks, promenade, cafes, souvenir shops and markets. But you can visit the cultural attractions of the Maldives. Prices in the capital, as well as in Maafushi: one dish usually costs 50 rufiyaa ($3 and above).
A bus ride will take you to the ferry to Male’, where transport to Maafushi departs. However, it may not be allowed in with large luggage, so you can take a taxi for 30 rupees (ideal price, but can ask for 70 rufiyaa or more). The difference with public transport is only 5 rufiyaa.
A passenger ferry from Male’ to Maafushi runs approximately twice a day and costs 30 rufiyaa in a few hours. But it can be cancelled because of bad weather, and then it is necessary to either look for a cargo ferry and ask for the same price, or to agree to a private boat, which for 15-25 dollars per person will deliver to Maafushi in half an hour.
So, Maafushi is the most budget island with wide line of cheap hotels where you can find excursions to other neighboring islands on South Male’ Atoll. First of all, it should be said that the Maldives prohibits the consumption of alcoholic beverages, as it is a Muslim country. So for drinking alcohol, you can get a real term of two years. By the way, the prison is right on the island and occupies about a third of it. It is also prohibited to carry alcohol on a plane.
If you want to try intoxicating cocktails and have a snack, you should go to the open sea, at a distance from the island. Every evening with Maafushi all comers are free to pick up a safari boat with a bar, but the prices in these places are very high. For example, a can of beer will cost $7 and a bottle of whiskey $150. Naturally, you can’t take your drinks with you (if you aren’t constrained by the means, then maybe you should consider another type of rest — Maldives is expensive).
The religious component of the country also determines the rules of conduct on Maafushi beaches. There is only one officially designated area in the northern part of the island (Kaani beach), where you can relax in bikinis.
The main Maafushi’s landmarks are very warm water and white sand. There are hammocks all over the city for a quiet rest. Now the island is under construction, but this does not affect the infrastructure: Maafushi is ideal for measured passive leisure time. And it is possible to bypass the island in 30 minutes.
The cost of a hotel for one night on Maafushi starts from 40-50 dollars per person. If you do not plan to stay only on this island, there is no sense to overpay. Lunch on Maafushi will cost 50-80 rufiyaa per dish (for example, spaghetti or rice with chicken). There aren’t many cafes on the island, but they are, though, without nightclubs. You can smoke a hookah for 4 dollars. Do not forget that the service is 10% of the check amount.
With regard to day trips to reefs (from 7 a.m. to 5-6 p.m.), a transfer costs $20-45. But the cost of the tour usually includes the cost of visiting the reefs. Yes, keep in mind that the entrance to many islands of the Maldives is paid, an average of $50. This price often includes lunch, as well as a hotel and additional entertainment, such feeding sharks or rays.
In order to save on such trips, you should compare different offers and try to unite with other tourists, as the price per person in the boat is usually half as low as in a boat by two people. Be sure to find out in advance what is included in your excursion and whether you will be fed. You can save on lunches if you take snacks with you, but keep in mind that the choice of grocery stores and the assortment of them at Maafushi is not great.
If you are not constrained in finances and a budget holiday is not for you, it makes sense to plan your holiday in the Maldives differently.
- Diving. Maafushi has four official diving schools (Maafushi Dive School, for example). With a true certified instructor, you are trained and also receive a valid course completion certificate. One dive near a coral reef costs $35. You can see sharks and manta rays, large sea turtles, but much depends on the season. Some divers believe that dives to Maafushi are not ideal, as the active washing of the islands in South Male’ harms the marine inhabitants.
- Snorkeling. Fish watching on Maafushi itself is very limited to the island (there is almost no home reef here, and there are no more than 10 reefs in the area), so that such snorkelling is suitable only for beginners. You can use the island as a learning location. There is a snorkel safari service for 1-3 of the most interesting places in Maafushi. Keep in mind that renting a mask with a pipe costs $3, and if you have fins — $5-7. Flippers must be taken if you travel to other islands. In some places in the Maldives you can get a fine of $500 for snorkeling without fins. By the way, Maafushi has the cheapest diving equipment, so rent it here in advance, rather than running during excursions to other islands in expensive rental centers. Snorkeling in the Maldives will open up a new world for you — underwater, even if you don’t have special equipment and skills.\
- Massage and spa treatments. All relaxation and beauty centres are located in the Maldives on the beach. You can choose traditional Asian technologies or modern European procedures, but in any case, all cosmetic products will be natural. General body massage, various face massages and even special massages for lovers are practiced here. “Oceanic Ritual”, energy massage with oils, mask with sea minerals and salty bath, is especially notable among spa procedures. There is also the “Maldives Monsoon”, scrubbing the body, washing with rose water, steam bath and herbal massage. Thalassotherapy is also very popular in the Maldives. It includes procedures with algae, sea water and healing mud. The course can be short or almost a week, to restore the harmony of body and soul and eliminate all toxins.
- Race of hermit crabs. Yeah, that’s an unusual kind of entertainment. Every night at Maafushi you can take part in the most creative competition. You’ll just be given a little crab, and you’ll be cheering for it to be the first to get out of the sand circle. The person whose crab comes first can get a nice bonus, for example an excursion to the neighboring islands or free lunches.
- Excursions to the neighboring reef. This has already been mentioned above. For example, a trip to the Vadoo will allow you to admire the legendary bungalows built on water and feed the predatory sea creatures. Snorkeling is not bad here, but there are no turtles and rays. You can choose the island of Biyadhoo, where snorkeling is much more diverse and steeper, although there are no houses on the water. You can go to Cocoa Island and Fihalhohi for such exotic accommodation. But keep in mind that the cost of daily living in such bungalows is 420 dollars (and in a normal hotel on the islands 150 dollars).
- Fishing. The island offers a day fishing service as well as a night adventure. Fishing from the coast is not possible, so you will be taken on a yacht to the open ocean. The catch will be 100%, and then the fish can be cooked for free at your own hotel. You will have to pay extra only for the side dish. The simplest format of fishing is with a reel, fishing line and hook is designed to catch traditional small sea fish. But the format of Big Game Fishing implies hunting large marine creatures, such as marlin or barracuda.
You can also ride a helicopter or an inflatable banana on Maafushi, watch dolphins and have a barbecue. There is a huge choice of water sports on the island, so you can choose to surf, kite surfing or windsurfing, parasailing, jet skiing or kayaking, etc. The cost of pleasure a person is 35-100 dollars per hour, not counting the cost of renting equipment. If you are traveling to the Maldives with children, you should consider their needs in this memorable journey.
A week’s trip to the Maldives will cost two thousand dollars a week if you plan your holiday properly, not including food and flight costs. If a visit to the neighboring islands is not planned, you can have a great time in Maafushi within 600 dollars. However, in the Maldives there are also rare elite services, for example, renting a separate island for 7 thousand dollars. But traveling on a budget is much more pleasant; moreover, there will be a lot of impressions from the islands.