The Maldives 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. But, how does it actually cost to go to the Maldives? 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 Gold Rewards Card gives you a signup bonus of up to 30,000 American Express Membership Rewards points which have a minimum value of $300 (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, a sign up bonus worth $250 and it comes with airport lounge access.
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.
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:
- Adaaran Prestige Water Villas – Premium All Inclusive
- Grand Park Kodhipparu, Maldives
- OBLU SELECT at Sangeli- All Inclusive
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. For example, Canadians should consider the BMO World Elite Mastercard since it typically has a sign up bonus of $250 when you charge $3,000 to your card in the first three months of card membership. This card does have an annual fee of $150 but it’s normally waived for the first year so you’re getting $250 for free. There’s also the Marriott Bonvoy American Express which gives you 51,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when you charge $3,000 to your card in the first three months. That’s enough points for up to five free nights at some hotels which could easily have a value of over $650.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.