Everything you need to know about Maldives in one single article!

 

Location:

Located in the Indian Ocean, near India and Sri Lanka, Maldives is a country well known for its pristine water, white-sand beaches, luxurious resorts and great surf and dives sites.

 

Population:

Maldives population is about 400.000.

 

Language:

Dhiveri/Divehi is their local and official language. English is widely spoken by those working in the tourism industry, but do not expect every Maldivian to speak it.  

 

Islands:

The archipelago has over 1,190 islands grouped in 26 atolls. During my month in Maldives I visited: Male (Capital), Hulhumale (where the airport is located), Maafushi, Fulidhoo, Gulhi, Dhigurah, Rasdhoo, Ukulhas, Thoddoo and Ellaidhoo.

Gulhi Island - Maldives

Gulhi Island – Maldives

 

Currency:

Rufiyaa (MVR) is the currency in Maldives but dollars are accepted. Bear in mind that ATM’s are available only in few islands.

 

Religion:

Islam is the official religion in Maldives. 

  • Dogs and pork are forbidden in the country.
  • Besides that, alcoholic drinks are also not allowed, unless you are in a resort, safari boats or the airport hotel called Hulhule Island. Do not bring any alcoholic drink to the country, otherwise they will be confiscated at the airport.
  • Everyone shall cover chest and thighs. Swimsuits are allowed only at the accommodations, boats, and Bikini Beach. P.s.: Every local island has a Bikini Beach which is designed for tourists.
  • Note that Friday is their weekly holiday, so you will find most of the establishments closed. To check prayer times, click here
mom and daughter in maafushi island

When your lipstick matches with the baby’s clothes.
Photo by: Elaine Villatoro

Vaccines:

Yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers arriving from a high risk of yellow fever transmission countries. To check the countries that are listed, click here.

Also check our Travel Medicine article for more information about vaccines and how to keep healthy during a trip.

 

Visa:

30 days visa is given during arrival in Maldives. So far, they do not require it to any country but you can check any updates here.

 

Other requirements:

Return or Onward Flight Ticket and Accommodation booking proofs for all length of your stay are required.

In my case, I wasn’t sure how long I would stay in the country, so I booked a hotel that had a free cancelation fee and I booked a flight considering the fee I would pay in case of changes.

For the accommodation, you may also check with the hotel you will stay in the first nights if they can send a confirmation for the whole trip, knowing that in fact you will stay only for couple of nights.

 

Accommodation:

Maldives’ tourism started in 1970 with luxurious Resorts. In 1984, the government created a law saying that tourists were only allowed to stay in Resorts.

Only in 2009, the government allowed the local islands to build Guest Houses, making the tourism in the country affordable.

It is possible to find fancy Guest Houses that provide a high-level service.

To get a discount for your next reservation on Booking.com click here.

To get a discount in your first Airbnb reservation click here.

Fulidhoo Island - Maldives

Fulidhoo Island – Maldives
Photo by Elaine Villatoro

Taxes and Fees:

Be aware! Taxes and fees are often not included in the prices of accommodation, activities, packages and so on. For you to have an idea, accommodations charge:

10% Hotel Service + 12% GST (Goods and Services Tax) + USD 3 of Green Tax per person per night + If you decide to pay something with your Credit Card, the establishments usually charge between 3,5% to 5%.

 

Transportation:

You can get around the Maldives‘ islands by ferry, speed boats, sea planes and and domestic flights.

Ferry is the cheapest way to move around in Maldives, but it is not available to every island, they run in specific days and times and it may take many hours for you to get to your destination.

The schedule is available at MTCC’s website, but their website is not really foreign friendly as they separate the files per atoll.

Speed boats are run by several companies, my recommendation is for you to get the company’s name with the hotel you will stay and contact them directly so you don’t need to pay taxes twice.

Flights are operated by FlymeMaldivian and Trans Maldivian

Make sure you check the transportation options, dates, times and prices before making your trip itinerary and bookings to avoid unpleasant surprises.

 

Weather:

The Maldives are hot all year long, the temperature average is 23-31 degrees Celsius.

The best time to visit Maldives is between November and April because it is least likely to rain.

High Season: From December to February. You can expect little rain and high prices.

Low Season: From May to November due to the monsoons. The monsoons peak is in June.

Surf Season: From April to October.

Sandbank in Maldives

Sandbank in Maldives

Waste management issue

You will definitely see some garbage at the local island beaches, which doesn’t happen at the resorts islands and I will tell you why this happens.

Couple of decades back, the only garbage Maldivians would produce would be things like fish bones and other natural stuff, so they were used to throw their garbage in the ocean. Every island had a swimming beach, fishing beach, garbage beach…

As the tourism started to grow, they had to import things and started to receive many packages like cardboard and plastic. Now, imagine how hard it can be to manage the garbage of over 1,000 islands? Soon, this became a big issue as they were not ready (and still not ready) to deal with it.

The government is working to change it. They failed while trying to change adult’s mindset about it. Now, they have a program with the kids at school, where they show corals to the kids, show all the bad impacts plastic makes to the environment, so they can see and think in a different way.

In the meantime, life at the resorts are totally different, with the high rates and less people to deal with, resorts can keep their private islands clean.

Other articles about waste management in Maldives:

Plastic in Paradise 

Maldives’ growing garbage problem

 

Internet:

Internet in Maldives isn’t the best, even at resorts and guesthouses. If you would like to keep connected during your trip it is nice to get a local sim card

I bought a prepaid package with Dhiraagu at the airport which helped me a lot.

If you would like to have more information about prepaid sim cards in Maldives, check this article

gulhi maldives

Beautiful beach at Gulhi Island – Maldives
Photo by Elaine Villatoro

For other posts about Maldives, click here.