Maldives (the paradise) on a budget


Our trip to Maldives was similar (relatively speaking) to the island of Arousa, totally unexpected. A boring weekend, in the mood for beach and sea and my friend Natalia that never fails (and is ready for anything!). We were looking for a nearby destination with good weather and ended up booking a flight to a country that was more than 20 hours flight away: Maldives!

Nuestro viaje a las Maldivas fue similar (salvando las distancias) al de la Isla de Arousa, totalmente inesperado. Un finde aburrido, ganas de playa y mar y mi amiga Natalia que nunca falla (y se apunta a todo!) Buscábamos un destino cercano con buen tiempo y acabamos reservando un vuelo a un país que estaba a más de 20 horas de viaje: Maldivas!








The Republic of Maldives (I love its official name) is located in the Indian sea, in the middle of nowhere, in paradise. The nearest country is Sri Lanka, barely 50 minutes flight away (and a half hour time difference O_O). Maldives consists of about 1,200 islands, of which only 203 are inhabited. It was Portuguese, Dutch and British colony until its independence in 1965.

La República de Maldivas (me encanta su nombre oficial) esta situada en el mar índico, en medio de la nada, en el paraíso. El país más cercano es Sri Lanka, desde donde a penas son 50 minutos de vuelo (y media hora de diferencia horaria O_O). Maldivas está constituido por unas 1200 islas, de las cuales solo 203 están habitadas. Ha sido colonia portuguesa, holandesa y británica hasta su independencia en 1965.






Everyone has an idea of the Maldives, usually associated with luxury, but you can also visit Maldives with a more modest budget. Until a few years ago, 2009, tourism was hardly relegated to the resorts. From that year on, the opening of hotels in local island and the use of local transport by foreigners was allowed. Since then, it is possible to travel to the Maldives with a more limited budget. Let me tell you how!

Todo el mundo tiene una imagen de las Maldivas en la cabeza, generalmente asociada al lujo, pero Maldivas también se puede visitar con un presupuesto más modesto. Hasta hace a penas unos años, 2009, el turismo estaba relegado a los resorts. A partir de ese año, se permitió la apertura de hoteles en las isla locales y el uso del transporte local a extranjeros. Desde entonces, es posible viajar a las Maldivas con un presupuesto más limitado. Os lo cuento!








The first requirement is to stay at a local island, ie, an island where Maldivians live. There are several, we chose Maafushi for being one of the most developed islands for tourism. In other circumstances, we wouldn't have chosen it, but in this case, being a country of endless islands, we wanted one where we could get to know the local culture and find things to do besides beach and water activities. On this island you have plenty of hotels at affordable rates. We stayed at Holiday Lodge, highly recommendable.

El primer requisito es que te alojes en una isla local, es decir, una isla en la que viven los maldivos. Hay varias, nosotros escogimos Maafushi por ser una de las islas más desarrolladas al turismo. En otras circunstancias, no la hubiéramos elegido, pero en este caso, al ser un país a base de islas, queríamos una donde pudiéramos conocer la cultura local, donde hubiera comercio y actividades que no solo fueran playa y buceo. En esta isla tienes mucha oferta hotelera a precios asequibles. Nosotras nos alojamos en Holiday Lodge, totalmente recomendable.



Maafushi

Male (no bikini beach)

picnic at a sandbank


The second requirement is to use, whenever possible, the Maldivian pubic transport. All local inhabited islands are connected by a network of ships with very economic prices. From the Airport to Male costs 10MVR (about 0.60€) and from Male to Maafushi 53MVR (about 3 €) 30MVR if you buy in advance. The "speed boat" costs around  $40 per person and the seaplanes used by the resorts go from $300 per person on...

El segundo requisito es utilizar, siempre que sea posible, el transporte púbico maldivo. Todas las islas habitadas por locales están comunicadas por una red de barcos con precios muy económicos. Del aeropuerto de Maldivas a Male cuesta 10MVR (unos 0.60€) y de Male a Maafushi cuesta 53MVR (unos 3€) 30MVR si lo compras con antelación. Los "speed botes" cuestan unos 40$ por persona y los hidroaviones que utilizan los resorts más de 300$ por persona...


local transport

Maldives' airport!!!

Speed boat
The food at the local islands is not expensive, you can eat for $10 per person. Once on the island, you'll want to do some excursions, because you see the island in one day. Ask your hotel and check also other prices in  the island until you find the price that best suits your pocket. We discovered that our hotel had a super good deal.

La comida en las islas locales no es cara, puedes comer por 10$ por persona. Una vez en la isla, querrás hacer excursiones, porque la isla en un día la tienes super vista. Pregunta en tu hotel y en el resto de la isla hasta que encuentres la tarifa que mejor se ajuste a tu bolsillo. Nosotras descubrimos que nuestro hotel tenía una oferta super buena.





Snorkel. I've never been a big fan of diving and I haven't had any diving mask until this trip. However, when you look beneath the sea in Maldives, you die! It's the most amazing thing I've ever seen. In fact, I have troubles to breathe underwater with mask and, when I put my mask on I was almost to quit. Until Natalia told me to look for a moment under water. I hallucinate. Corals and fish of all shapes and colors pass by without any fear. The half day snorkel trip with 3 different stops (one to see turtles!), diving equipment, underwater photos, transportation for the 2 of us and a picnic on a sandbank did cost us $ 30 per person.

Snorkel. Nunca he sido una gran fan del buceo y no he tenido gafas de bucear hasta este viaje. Sin embargo, cuando miras debajo del mar en Maldivas, MUERES! Es lo más increíble que he visto nunca. De hecho, me cuesta bastante respirar debajo del agua y, cuando me puse mi nueva "máscara" por un momento me agobie y decidí pasar. Hasta que Natalia me dijo que mirase un momento debajo del agua. ALUCINÉ. Corales y peces de todas las formas y colores pasan delante de ti sin ningún tipo de miedo. La excursión medio día de snorkel con 3 paradas diferentes (una para ver tortugas!), equipo de buceo, fotos bajo el agua, transporte para nosotras 2 solas y picnic en un banco de arena nos costó 30$ por persona.





Day trip to a resort. Something also super worth doing. Near Maafushi there are several resorts at relatively affordable prices: Fihalhohi and Biyadoo. Admission to both is $35 ($15 more if you want to have lunch there). Both have an amazing coral reef. Fihalhohi is definitely our favorite and 100% recommendable. Transportation for the both of us was $30 per person return.

Visita a un resort. Algo también super recomendable. Cerca de Maafushi hay varios con precios relativamente económicos: Fihalhohi y Biyadoo. La entrada a ambos cuesta 35$ (15$ más si quieres comer allí). Ambos tienen un arrecife de coral increíble. Fihalhohi es sin duda nuestro favorito y 100% recomendable. El transporte nos costó 30$ por persona i/v.







Useful information:
- Maldives is a Muslim country, so it is forbidden to drink alcohol, eat pork and wear bikini. All this doesn't affect to the resorts and beaches known as bikini beaches. In Maafushi there is one.
- The local currency is the Rufiyaa but you can pay in many places with dollars. In fact, resorts only accept dollars.
- from where the boat drops you at Male, coming from the airport, to where you take the one to Maafushi there are around 35 minutes walking (about 30MVR by taxi).
- Fridays are holiday for Muslims, so local boats don't circulate. Keep that in mind if you arrive or depart on a Friday.
- Tuna is the main diet in Maldives, you shall be satisfied with eating!

Información práctica:
- Maldivas es un país musulmán, por lo que está prohibido el alcohol, el cerdo y bañarse en bikini. Todo esto deja de ser efectivo en los resorts y en algunas playas conocidas como bikini beaches. En Maafushi hay una.
- la moneda local es la Rufiyaa pero puedes pagar en muchos sitios con dolares. De hecho, en los resorts solo aceptan dolares.
- de donde te deja el barco del aeropuerto en Male a donde se coge el barco a Maafushi hay unos 35 minutos andando (unas 30MVR en taxi).
- los viernes son festivos para los musulmanes, por lo que los barcos locales no circulan. Tenlo en cuenta si llegas o vuelves en viernes.
- el atún es la dieta principal en Maldivas, te hartarás de comerlo!








In the next post I will tell you about my impressions of this country and show you all about Maafushi.
En el próximo post os contaré mis impresiones sobre este país y os enseñaré la isla de Maafushi.


- end of the Obsession - 





35 comments

  1. What fantastic pictures, and useful guide too! Looks a wonderful vacation you had :)
    Cheers from Maria @ http://momentumtravels.com

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  2. Oh my god I could die looking at those photos. So immensely jealous! Amazing!

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  3. Hubby wants to go to Maldives. Your tips make it sound very doable!

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  4. Great post Midori! I never though Maldives would be possible on a budget. Do you know if it is possible to rent a boat/kayak/canoe and use that as your main form of transportation between the islands?

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    1. Hi! I'm glad you like the post :) I'm sure you can rent a boat, but I don't know how easy is to move around the islands with it. Sometimes the distance are quite big and is not easy to skip the thousand of coral at sea level, not deep enough...

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  5. This is such a helpful guide! I really want to go to the Maldives (and I'm currently pretty close to there) but always afraid of it being super expensive. Thanks for the budget suggestions! Though I'd die to stay in one of those over-water bungalows!

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    1. You should definitely go, is beautiful! Of course over-water bungalows are to die for, but also quite expensive. Specially because then you have to organize all your trips and food with the resort and they charge always more than the locals... But I would definitely love to spend 2 nights in on of those bungalows!!!!

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  6. This is the post I have been waiting for - Maldives on a budget!! We plan to visit but as we are backpacking, we have a limited budget so this is perfect, thank you so much for sharing this excellent information! I have pinned this for the future and I will definitely be referring to it soon! :D #feetdotravel

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    1. I'm glad you liked and find useful information! Is definitely worth going to Maldives! xxx

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  7. Great photos! That's great that you can visit without breaking the bank. I think that's why I never really had it on my radar. Looks so relaxing and peaceful. Will pin for a future visit!

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    1. Yes, I never thought I would go! :)

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  8. Beautiful photos of paradise, we have yet to get to the Maldives but it is definitely on our to do list! #feetdotravel

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  9. The Maldives is is well known for its luxury resorts and romantic getaways. I've seen some of these resorts advertised at $4000 a night. Most of us don't have the funds for this kind of lifestyle so great to read that you were able to do it on a budget.

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  10. I'm in Thailand this Spring and they have cheap flights to the Maldives. After reading your post I have a good idea what to do there! I don't have to worry about the bikini rule ;)

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    1. Cool! hahahaha The bikini rule affects also to men! You have to wear cloths, not just swimmwear... sorry...

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  11. Wow, the Maldives look amazing. I didn't know that you can also stay there on a budget. Another place on my bucket list now. Thanks for sharing :)

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  12. Holy Crap! These must be the most amazing photos I have ever seen. Literally paradise. I am ready to drop everything and go to the Maldives haha! Glad to hear it can be done on a budget. I will definitely save this for the future!

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  13. Very informative post with stunning photos!

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  14. That swing! Yep...I want that for my backyard. The beach, too. :) Great photos - thanks for sharing! #FeetDoTravel

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    1. Definitely I want that for my backyard too! :D thanks

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  15. What a stunning location. Your pictures are fantastic. Never been to the Maldives but may stick them on my list now. Thanks for sharing.

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  16. It's great to see that there are budget options for the Maldives because it's always appeared as paradise in photos and yours are no exception. What an incredible place and somewhere I'd love to go one day. I'm pinning your post for later reference :)

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    1. Thank you! When you're there you can't believe that it actually exists!

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  17. Hi, thank you for post!
    I'd like to add there are more beautiful local islands, like Rasdhoo, Thoddoo, Thinadhoo (Vaavu atoll), Mathiveri, Ukulhas, Dharavandhoo, Dhigurah. Just google them )

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