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Do you want to know how much does it cost to go to the Maldives? The country is made up of many islands and is an exotic paradise and dream destination for many travellers, especially those looking for a special honeymoon location or a romantic getaway. However, while the crystal waters and sandy beaches promise to impress, the price tag associated with the country often scares people away. Is it as expensive as everyone says? Read on to find out.

For the purpose of this article, I’m going to suggest an 8-day 7-night itinerary in the Maldives. This is going to be a more luxury-oriented itinerary including a 2 night’s stay in the over-water bungalows that the Maldives is known for, so keep that in mind when you look at the initial price breakdown. I will, however, also be including a couple of tips for more budget-friendly options when visiting the Maldives.  

Please note that this guide is based on the costs of a single person. If you are travelling as a couple make sure to double these estimates (except for hotels).

 Estimated cost
Airfare$1,000
Accommodations$3,900
Local transportation$200
Attractions$300
Food and drink$200
Random spending$200
Total$5,800 USD

The above estimate is in American dollars, so please use xe.com to find out the average costs in your home currency.

If you’re Canadian, you may want to consider applying for one of the best travel credit cards in Canada to help offset your costs by collecting points. For example, the American Express Platinum Card gives you a signup bonus of 60,000 American Express Membership Rewards points which have a minimum value of $600 (potentially more if you transfer your points to Aeroplan or Marriott Bonvoy). There’s also the Scotiabank Passport Visa Infinite card that has no foreign transaction fees and it comes with airport lounge access.   

Airfare

The Maldives isn’t exactly the easiest place to get to. Especially considering that the island on which the main international airport is located on, Malé, is probably not the island that you want to stay on for your actual vacation.

Flights to Malé will cost you about $1,000 coming from North America. You’ll also need to take at least one (sometimes two) stopovers just to get to the Maldives. Of course, there are expectations; some months are cheaper than others, and you may find a sale, but $1,000 is a good estimate to expect to pay for flights. If you’re flying from Asia, flights should be a bit cheaper.

Tip: The Maldives is hot and sunny year-round, however, monsoon season runs from May to October, so keep that in mind when booking.

Accommodations

The Maldives is known to be a luxury destination and is renowned for its resorts and over the water bungalows.

Essentially, each of the resorts in the Maldives has its own island which means you will need to change islands if you want to change hotels. Whether you change or not is up to you, however for this itinerary I’m allocating a couple of nights in an over the water bungalow since that’s one of the top experiences you can have in the Maldives, and then the rest of the time at a regular room in another resort.

Over the water bungalows are, unsurprisingly, the most expensive accommodation option in the Maldives and prices start at around $700+ per night. However, they are an experience in themselves. This type of accommodation does book up very quickly, so if you have your heart set on staying in one, book well in advance (as in a year in advance). A few top-rated options include:

As for resorts, there are plenty to choose from. If you are switching islands, you’ll want to make sure you choose islands that are relatively close together so it’s not too long to get to (or too expensive; more on that to come).  Resorts will still cost $500+ per night. Some more popular properties include:

It is possible to find cheaper accommodation in the Maldives. There are some more local islands which have hotels and even Airbnb rentals. Islands like Malé (where you fly into) have more budget-friendly options. However, the local islands, while still nice, are not the same as the islands you see in the media. If you are looking for that more remote escape type of experience, you’ll want to go to the resorts.

It is important to note that there are a tax and service charge of 22% on pretty much everything in the Maldives, so don’t forget to add that onto your prices!

If you have the right credit card, you can save a fair amount of money on hotels. Americans should strongly consider the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant American Express Card since you can earn up to 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy points and $200 back at U.S. restaurants as a welcome bonus (must apply by May 15, 2021).

Canadians should consider the BMO World Elite™* Mastercard®* since it typically has a sign up bonus worth more than $200 and the annual fee is normally waived for the first year. There’s also the Marriott Bonvoy American Express which gives you 65,000 Marriott Bonvoy when using a referral link. That’s enough points for up to five free nights at some hotels which could easily have a value of over $700.

Local transportation

As mentioned above, the majority of luxury hotels and properties in the Maldives have their own island which means you will need to arrive by seaplane or speed boat. Unsurprisingly, neither of these are cheap options.

Pricing depends on which resort island you are going to, and how far it is from Male. For speed boats, you can expect to pay about $100 return. Seaplanes can cost as much as $500 return. If you were thinking about going to a nice restaurant on a different island for a special occasion, you need to budget for the cost of your transportation which will likely cost more than your meal.

Given these costs, I recommend you stick to one or two islands for your trip and do some research ahead of time at how expensive it is to get to the islands you choose.

For this article, I’ve estimated $200 with the idea of visiting two islands and using the cheaper transfer options.

Maldives trip cost

Attractions

The Maldives is an ocean lover’s paradise. This country has some of the best scuba diving and snorkelling in the world. You can expect to pay around $80 for a snorkelling tour and around $160 for scuba diving. Other popular activities including surfing, boating and fishing.

If you’re staying in Malé, consider a walking tour or food tour so you can get a sense of the local culture. You could also take an island hopping tour to give you a look at different parts of the country

What you spend here really depends on how much you want to do and what you plan on doing, but allocating $300 for attractions will give you a couple days of activities.

Food and Drink

If you are staying in the resorts in the Maldives, you’ll likely have the option to do an all-inclusive package or pay for meals separately. It is definitely in your best interest to go with the all-inclusive packages. Since the resorts are the only buildings on the islands, you will have to eat in their restaurants anyway and you will be charged a premium for all fees.

Alcohol is generally not included in the all-inclusive packages, so you’ll need to add more to your budget to pay for drinks. These drinks range from about 10-20 dollars each.

Assuming you go with the all-inclusive plan, allow about $200 for extra food and drink charges and remember that 22% tax!

Random spending

The Maldives isn’t exactly a shopping destination but it’s always good to budget a little extra in case. Maybe you’ll find some souvenirs, or maybe there’s an extra tour you’d like to take. Or maybe you’d just like to spend a little more on cocktails by the beach. I’d add an extra $200 to your budget just in case.

Maldives trip cost

So, how much does it cost to do to the Maldives? Based on my suggested 8-day, 7-night itinerary which leans more towards luxury, you can expect to spend about $5800. As I said, this is taking a more luxury approach to your vacation planning, but there are ways. However, if you’ve always dreamed of a luxury tropical vacation to the islands, then the Maldives is definitely worth the splurge. That said, if you want something a bit more budget friendly, check out my guides to Dubai, Bali, Barbados, Hawaii and Thailand.

When is the best time of the year to visit the Maldives?

Traditionally, November is a cheaper month to visit the Maldives as it’s right before the December / winter rush. That said, the Maldives has a lot more action going on during the summer months of June, July and August since that’s when the country has the most tourists.

How far in advance should I book my Maldives vacation?

Since the Maldives is a dream destination, many people will plan years in advance. That said, when it comes to actually booking your trip, most people will book about 8-12 months before their departure date. Checking out flights early can be advantageous as you might be able to find a sale. Booking your accommodations early will help guarantee you a room at the resort you’re looking at.

How do I get a cheap travel package to the Maldives?

While cheap travel packages to the Maldives do exist, they’re usually only offered through specific travel providers such as Expedia. It may be tempting to book one of these deals, but be sure to read the fine print and check to see if the dates work for you.

What are the top attractions in the Maldives?

Most people head to the Maldives for the beaches and overwater bungalows, but there are also a few attractions that are worth checking out. The Male fish market, Male local market, Grand Friday Mosque, and water sports are just some of things you can enjoy while visiting the Maldives.

How Much Does It Cost to go to the Maldives?
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About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

16 Comments

  1. Avatar Clara caso on May 14, 2020 at 11:39 PM

    Love the description very informative but thanks I don’t think that’s my luxury vacation. I can find more exciting experiences next to home. Your article is fantastic touched all the important points. Again Loved clara caso

  2. Avatar Virna on June 13, 2020 at 7:00 PM

    Thanks for this info Barry! Maldives is on my bucket list once the pandemic is over.

  3. Avatar GYM on June 16, 2020 at 1:20 PM

    Great post, I am getting excited! Yes, the airport transfers can be costly… have to get over my fear of riding in a seaplane. Maybe I’ll take an Ativan or something before the trip, haha.

    • Avatar Jeffery Morris on November 4, 2020 at 7:28 PM

      Thanks for info!! How do you find out all this info? Flight over is no problem but all these choices for where to stay. I do want 3 nights in the bungalow!

  4. Avatar Jaclyn on July 2, 2020 at 12:51 PM

    How come the alcohol is not included in all inclusive ? I’ve never heard of it not being included.

    • Avatar Barry.Choi on July 2, 2020 at 1:03 PM

      Jaclyn,

      It just depends on the resort. I assume that their thinking is if you can afford to go to the Maldives, you can afford to pay extra for alcohol.

      • Avatar Rajvardhan Shinde on July 12, 2020 at 5:12 PM

        I meed a area with my special kid. I wNt

  5. Avatar Simi on August 5, 2020 at 1:19 AM

    Wow, lovely breakdown. I’m from Africa and It’s my dream to go there for a vacation but the budget though…phew!!! Probably when I’m much much older and financially stable.

    • Avatar Barry.Choi on August 5, 2020 at 6:14 AM

      Simi,

      It’s definitely a dream location, but there are plenty of nice destinations cheaper and closer to you.

    • Avatar Nichole on October 7, 2020 at 9:31 PM

      Simi

      Try French Polenesia. We are going in November, staying on the island of Moorea. 7 nights overwater bungalow, breakfast included. $6200 for 2 adults with all transportation/transfers. Not all inclusive tho.

  6. Avatar Saadat on February 12, 2021 at 2:15 AM

    Thanks for your helpful article, can you please explain more about taxes? I checked booking.com, for example, the hotel will cost 3000$ for 7 nights and below mentioned 600$ taxes.
    Where should I pay that?
    honestly, I reserve one, and til the final step just show 3000$ for paying, so I confused.
    I will be appreciated if you can explain this.

    • Avatar Barry Choi on February 12, 2021 at 5:33 AM

      Saadat,

      Taxes are included in the price you pay on booking.com. SO of the $3,0000, $600 is taxes.

  7. Avatar Donna on March 22, 2021 at 6:02 PM

    Barry,

    This is very informative and makes me feel like I want to go to Maldives once in my lifetime. I would probably be able to splurge once. I would definitely stay at an over water bungalow. I would be coming in from the states, so it will be expensive.

    I appreciate the information you provided.

    • Avatar Barry Choi on March 23, 2021 at 6:22 AM

      Hi Donna,

      I’m also dreaming about travel. Having a goal of splurging on one ultimate vacation is what keeps me going.

      • Avatar Chao Mwaluma on April 25, 2021 at 1:35 AM

        Thanks for the comprehensive article on Maldives. Looking forward to going there

  8. Avatar Danny on May 2, 2021 at 4:37 AM

    So i want to visit the Maldives by November this year and i want a simple experience, accommodation, feeding and a little outting aroubd town…with someone from the USA. I am from Africa and i will be meeting her for the first time in Maldives and will spend a month. i was hoping $10,000 will cover the cost…

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