Is the Maldives expensive? Here’s everything you need to know!
When I think of the Maldives, I picture incredibly exclusive and expensive resorts with every amenity you can dream up.
For those able and willing to pay for the luxury that the Maldives offer, you can have an exceptional island vacation. If you stay at an exclusive resort, it is likely set on a private island where you can roam the island freely, sometimes in as little as 15 or 20 minutes.
The Maldives are located in the Indian Ocean and are generally considered a splurge destination. However, we’ve been to the Maldives and used our skills as travel hackers to enjoy a luxury trip at a fraction of the price tag.
So, while the Maldives have a reputation for being very expensive, you might be wondering how inaccessible it really is or if rumors of high price tags are a bit overstated.
We visited the Maldives ourselves and want to share everything that we have learned, including prices and tips to save while on your trip to the Maldives.
Is The Maldives Expensive?
There’s no two ways about it; the Maldives is an expensive place to visit. The incredible islands in the Indian Ocean are known for being a luxury destination for travelers, many of whom have very generous budgets. For reference, the Maldives is generally considered to be more expensive to visit than Bora Bora, Fiji, and Hawaii.
Some of the resorts in the Maldives regularly appear on lists of the most luxurious resorts in the world, with amenities like onsite fine dining and personal butlers.
Many visitors choose to stay in picturesque overwater bungalows, where they can watch tropical fish swim beneath their feet. To add to the expense of the Maldives, many of the resorts are set on private islands that are primarily accessible by seaplane.
In addition to the costs of accommodations, you’ll find that food and activities can also be quite expensive in the Maldives. The restaurants in Maldivian resorts typically import most of their ingredients, which contributes to the steep price tags.
Visitors who choose to eat off of the resort can sometimes save a lot of money by eating local dishes at a fraction of the cost.
However, it is possible to visit the Maldives on a budget, albeit a higher one than you’d find at other beach destinations around the world.
If you’re still dreaming of a trip to the Maldives, we have lots of tips for saving when you plan your trip to make it more accessible to budget travelers. From choosing the right time of year to considering the resort’s location, there are plenty of ways to save when planning your unforgettable trip to the Maldives.
How Much Does A Trip To The Maldives Cost For A Week?
Still interested in visiting the Maldives and wondering what it actually costs to visit for a week? Here are some specifics to help you budget for your trip to the Maldives. We included estimates from both our visit to the Maldives and our personal research for this article.
How Much Do Flights To The Maldives Cost?
Because it is a very remote destination in the Indian Ocean, flights to the Maldives tend to be pricier than other island destinations. There is one international airport, Velana International Airport. Most travelers will arrive at Velana and transfer directly to their resort.
The average price for a roundtrip flight to the Maldives from New York for a weeklong trip is $940 to $1,150. The prices are fairly consistent throughout the year, though prices are higher around the end of December and early January.
However, you can save a lot of money if you visit the Maldives when you’re already in Asia. We found flights to the Maldives from Kuala Lumpur for about $200 roundtrip. Round-trip flights from Chennai average around $300, and flights from Bangkok to Malé are typically $275 to $375 round trip.
We recommend that you fly on AirAsia because it is the cheapest and best airport in the region. Note that you’ll need to get to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore first. To find the cheapest flights from the US to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore, check out our post with our top Skyscanner tricks for booking cheap flights.
How Much Does It Cost to Stay In The Maldives?
There’s no one price tag that you can expect for a week in the Maldives. The price for a weeklong trip to the Maldives is impacted by which island you visit, the accommodation you pick, the activities you opt to try, and a number of other factors.
We estimate that the average cost for two people to visit the Maldives for a week is $5,700 – $11,500. However, you could spend an almost unlimited amount of money in the Maldives if you choose one of the ultra-exclusive resorts on a private island.
Accommodations = $4,000 – $8,000
Dining = $500 – $1000
Excursions = $500 – $800
Transportation = $500 – $1500
Other = $200 – $300
Generally speaking, prices are higher during the high season and discounted during the low season. The high season in the Maldives lasts from December to April, and May to November is the low season. The peak of the low season is June, the rainiest month in the Maldives.
When budgeting for the Maldives, be sure to take into account the transfer costs to actually reach your resort. If you choose a resort on a private island that is only accessible by seaplane, it can add anywhere from $290 to $700 to the price of your stay just to reach the island.
Many resorts also offer local speedboats, but these are not usually included in the price of your stay.
A ride on a speedboat from Malé typically costs about $100 to $130 per person, depending on the resort and the length of the ride. If there is an option to take a local ferry instead of a speedboat, you can usually save a significant amount of money.
How Much Does a Meal Cost In The Maldives?
The amount that you’ll spend on food and drinks in the Maldives depends largely on the type of restaurants you visit. On average, across the board, meals in the Maldives cost around 480 Maldivian Rufiyaa or $31 each.
The prices are similar for Maldivian and Western cuisine when eating in resorts, but Maldivian cuisine is typically cheaper off of the resort.
You can find cheaper meals in the capital of Malé, especially if you choose more local restaurants.
For example, the Cloud Restaurant is a popular hotel restaurant with dishes that range from 130 MVR (about $9) for fish and chips to 770 MVR (about $50) for lobster. A fish curry at The Maldive Kitchen, a more local spot, is 90 MVR (about $6).
Resorts offer much pricier fare. For example, a surf and turf dish at Moodhu Grill, a restaurant at the Outrigger Maldives Maafushivaru Resort, is $42, and an eggplant parmesan dish is $30. You can sometimes save money on meals by purchasing a meal plan or all-inclusive plan when you book your room.
Carefully read the fine print when you book your Maldivian accommodation because meals are sometimes included in the fare.
Are Activities Expensive In The Maldives
Activities in the Maldives tend to be pricey. We estimate that most travelers will spend between about $500 and $800 on excursions during their visit to the Maldives. Some resorts include activities and excursions in their packages, so you can potentially save money if you plan your tours through your accommodation.
You can take a full-day walking tour of Malé for $115 per person, take a snorkeling tour for $100 per person, or go scuba diving in Maafushi for $140 per person. There are other unique activities to try in Malé, like taking a submarine tour for $80 per person or going sunset fishing, which includes a barbecue dinner, for $60.
Note that the prices for activities are subject to availability, and prices may fluctuate throughout the year. You can potentially save money by booking your tours in advance.
Overwater Bungalows On A Budget
A stay in an overwater bungalow is unforgettable. Between the luxury of the bungalow, the incredible turquoise water below you, and the wonderful amenities, they’re the ultimate option for relaxation.
The resorts in the Maldives tend to be exceptionally luxurious and expensive, but there are still ways to visit on a budget. Here are some of the best resorts with overwater bungalows that you can visit while in the Maldives.
Villa Park is a five-star resort on Maamigili, located in the South Ari Atoll. It features overwater bungalows, which are iconic accommodations in the Maldives. These bungalows provide direct access to the crystal-clear waters and offer breathtaking views, creating a unique and romantic atmosphere.
The island of Maamigili has spectacular turquoise lagoons, dense jungle, and spectacular diving nearby. Guests described Villa Park as a paradise, with spectacular views, beautiful beaches, and friendly staff.
Prices for a night at Villa Park are highly seasonal. The average nightly rate for a room is about $280 in October, compared with $650 a night in late December and $375 in June.
The normal price for a week in an overwater villa in February is $6,600 for two people, though the hotel sometimes offers discounts of up to 50% when you book ahead.
Sun Siyam Olhuveli is an all-inclusive resort on the island of Olhuveli, one in a family of resorts in the Maldives and Sri Lanka. At Sun Siyam, you can experience modernized yet traditional Maldivian suites.
The rooms are beautifully furnished, and it has all of the amenities you’ll need to feel completely comfortable and at ease during your stay.
At Sun Siyam Olhuveli, there’s no need for a seaplane because the resort is only a 45-minute speed boat ride from Malé. You can choose from a collection of beach and overwater villas. The water villas are set over the aquamarine lagoon, where you can jump in for a quick swim whenever you feel like it.
Sun Siyam Olhuveli has a collection of exciting and relaxing experiences to choose from, including dinner on a floating platform at sunset and the chance to explore a local shipwreck.
There’s also an outing to swim with the manta rays at Manta Point when the rays eat their dinner. Watersports, kite surfing, and snorkeling excursions are also available.
Nightly prices at Sun Siyam range dramatically. The most basic room at Sun Siyam costs $160 per night in October, but prices reach $700 per night in early January. So, tracking the prices ahead of your stay is worthwhile in case you can find a deal.
The Meeru Maldives Resort Island is a tropical paradise in the Maldives, set on Meerufenfushi Island on the North Malé Atoll.
The Meeru Resort is the only resort on the island, which measures about 1,200 meters (0.75 miles) long and 350 meters (0.2 miles) across. You can reach the Meeru Resort by taking a scenic 55-minute speedboat transfer from Velana International Airport.
At Meeru Resort, everything is within walking distance. No matter which type of villa you choose, you can easily reach the beach, a watersports center, a kids area, and all of the resort’s restaurants. You can focus on relaxing, as there’s no hustle and bustle on this private island.
There are six types of rooms at Meeru Resort, including both beachfront villas and overwater villas. Some of the overwater villas are situated above a reef, attracting all sorts of marine life. Guests have reported seeing tropical fish, manta rays, and even sea turtles.
Nightly rates at the Meeru Resort typically range from about $320 to $380 per night, but during the peak season, they can reach $850 per night. During the low season, you can often find rooms for $280 per night. Those prices include meals but not alcoholic beverages.
The Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives is a kid-friendly resort in the Maldives located very close to a series of world-class diving sites and surf breaks. You can snorkel in the turquoise waters, relax on the white sand, and generally relax in the incredible setting on Kandooma.
The island of Kandooma Fushi is located in the Kaafu Atoll in the Maldives. The area is perfect for surfing, and the resort offers classes to those who don’t yet know how to surf.
Complimentary snorkeling, use of kayaks, and paddleboards are all included in your stay, so you can make the most of your visit and explore the incredible blue waters.
Prices at the Holiday Inn Kandooma start at $210 per night and reach $375 per night, and they’re less prone to surge pricing than some of the smaller resorts in the Maldives. During the low season in May and June, you can find rooms for about $190 per night. These prices include breakfast but not the services and other fees.
There is a roundtrip speedboat transfer fee of $130 per person to reach the island.
Fihalhohi Island Resort is located on the South Malé Atoll in the Maldives. The property is simply breathtaking, with vibrant blue waters, pristine beaches, and a collection of overwater bungalows and beachfront villas to choose from.
The Fihalhohi Resort makes everything easy, from your transfer from Velana International Airport to your return.
Fihalhohi Island is a private island that is only home to the resort, so you can wander freely during your stay. Visitors report that it only takes about 15 to 20 minutes to walk around the island.
There are live corals offshore, and you can enjoy incredible views of tropical fish, sea turtles, and possibly even manta rays while snorkeling.
A room at Fihalhohi Island Resort starts at around $170 per night in September and October, and is nearly $500 per night in December.
Prices average around $310 per night on the whole, though it’s good to be aware that they fluctuate quite a bit, likely due to dynamic pricing. Nightly prices include breakfast and dinner, and all-inclusive packages are also available.
The Maldives On A Budget: Tips
Although the Maldives are generally a very expensive place to visit, it is possible to save money if you plan carefully. Here are some of our top tips for visiting when you’re on a budget.
Travel In The Low Season
Our biggest tip for saving on your trip to the Maldives is to carefully choose when you plan to visit.
You can potentially find some great deals and enjoy significant savings by traveling to the Maldives during the low season when hotels discount prices to fill their rooms. The low season in the Maldives coincides with the rainy season and runs from May to November.
In the Maldives, the weather is consistently tropical, with a comfortable average temperature of 83 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. However, the peak of the low season is in June, making it an excellent time to book your travel at a lower cost. Note that June is the rainiest month, with about 14 days of rain.
The Maldives experience a dry season from November to April, which is the best time to visit for sunny weather but comes with higher peak season prices. Although dry weather is usually preferable, rainy days in the Maldives can still be very romantic and cozy.
Book In Advance
Even though they’re known for being exclusive and luxurious, most resorts in the Maldives want to avoid having empty rooms whenever possible.
For that reason, you can sometimes save serious money by booking your accommodation in advance. Some resorts have discounts of up to 50% off for travelers who book their rooms several months in advance.
Another advantage of booking in advance is the knowledge that your room is secured. Because the Maldives are a popular destination and prices fluctuate based on availability, there are many resorts that completely fill up. You can ensure that you’ll have the greatest variety of choices and prices when you book ahead.
If you’re looking in advance, you can occasionally save even more money by tracking the prices for a few weeks. Sometimes there are sudden sales or price drops that you can take advantage of if you already know more or less where you want to stay and when you’re planning to travel.
Avoid Seaplane Transfers
Many of the luxury resorts in the Maldives are located on private islands, some of which are primarily accessible by seaplanes. These planes are both expensive because they require pilots to operate but also because they don’t tend to have many competitors to drive prices down.
If possible, try to stay on or near Malé for the cheapest transfers. The capital of Malé has an international airport, so it’s accessible by commercial plane. From Malé, many islands are only a quick ferry or speedboat ride away, both of which are significantly cheaper than hiring a seaplane.
When we stayed on Maafushi, we took a local speedboat instead of pre-arranging a transfer. The speedboat cost $25 per person and took about 30 minutes, but it saved us a lot of money over booking a private boat. We loved this option because we were able to catch a speedboat directly from the airport in Malé.
Eat Off Of The Resort
The local meals in the Maldives are far cheaper than the options you’ll find in resorts. Many times, the difference in costs is significant.
While you may pay $30-40 for dinner at your resort’s restaurant, you can find meals for $9-20 at local spots. You can save even more money by shopping at the local grocery store and cooking your own meals.
Eating at resorts is more expensive because the properties have to import most of their ingredients from nearby land masses in continental Asia.
Although the food on the resorts is usually very tasty, it can often come with a commensurately high price tag. Of course, if you choose an all-inclusive resort, you’ve already paid for your meals.
Note that alcohol is not permitted on any public Maldivian island off of the resorts. So, if you want to have alcohol during your vacation, you’ll need to visit a resort or head to a private island. Some areas have floating alcohol bars that you can reach by taking a free local ferry just offshore.
Opt For Beachfront Accommodations
Although we absolutely love staying in overwater bungalows and accommodations, they inevitably come with a much higher price tag.
The good news is that you can still stay in some great rooms and accommodations if you’re willing to stay in a beachfront villa instead. Beachfront villas are typically located on the island instead of on platforms just offshore.
While you won’t have the incredible views of the water below from your porch, you can still stay only steps from the water. You can still enjoy all of the serenity and beauty of the private islands and landscapes of the Maldives, but you won’t have the unique experience of stepping out of your room and into the water.
Some travelers opt to stay in a mix of beachfront and overwater accommodations. This gives you the best of both worlds; you can try out staying in an overwater bungalow but without the steep weeklong price tags, or you can try booking a mix of rooms either at the same resort or checking out two different resorts.
Visiting The Maldives: FAQs
We’ve covered a lot so far, but here are some of the answers to the most frequently asked questions about visiting the Maldives. From costs to other destinations worth considering, here is some additional information about the Maldives.
Why Is The Maldives So Expensive?
There are a number of factors that drive up the prices in the Maldives, from the accommodations to the location.
The resorts in the Maldives are especially luxurious and exclusive, often located on private islands that are primarily accessible by seaplane. The resorts also pride themselves on providing an exceptionally high level of personalized service to travelers.
The Maldives is located in a remote spot in the Indian Ocean, far from major landmasses. This, combined with the relatively small amounts of land in the Maldives, means that most goods need to be shipped a great distance, contributing to the high price tag.
Is The Maldives More Expensive Than Hawaii?
Yes, the Maldives is generally more expensive than Hawaii. However, there are a number of factors that can influence the overall cost of your trip.
Depending on where you’re flying from, the accommodation you choose, and the activities you enjoy, it’s possible that a trip to the Maldives could be cheaper than a vacation in Hawaii.
If you’re flying from the US, flights to Hawaii are also much cheaper than flights to the Maldives.
Is The Maldives Expensive for a Honeymoon?
Yes, a honeymoon in the Maldives is expensive. However, there are ways that you can cut down on the costs, like booking in advance and choosing a more budget-friendly resort.
One of the biggest ways to save on your trip to the Maldives is to travel during the low season when accommodations are cheaper and more readily available.
How Much Does A Meal Cost In The Maldives?
A meal typically costs about $31 in the Maldives. In general, the food at the resort restaurants is much more expensive than what you’ll find in the local spots. A local meal will tend to average from $5 to $20, while a resort meal typically costs $25 to $55, depending on the restaurant.
When eating off of the resort in the Maldives, local Maldivian cuisine is typically more affordable.
Is Bali Or The Maldives Cheaper?
Bali is definitely a cheaper destination to visit than the Maldives. There are sometimes accommodations in Bali for as low as $20 per night, while it would be difficult to find a room for less than $100 per night in the Maldives. Food, activities, and transfers are also much cheaper in Bali.
The Wrap-Up: Is The Maldives Expensive?
The Maldives is an incredible destination for a luxury vacation, with incredible world-class resorts, exclusive overwater bungalows, and pristine beaches. Many people travel to the Maldives for an unforgettable honeymoon or family vacation.
If you’re planning your next trip and wondering if the Maldives is out of your price range, refer to the cost estimates we provided above.
Many of the luxurious and exclusive resorts in the Maldives are located on private islands, which are otherwise uninhabited.
These private islands are incredible because you can wander around freely, many of which you can walk across in under 20 minutes. However, it can be quite expensive to actually reach a private island once you’re in the Maldives.
One of the most commonly hidden costs when visiting the Maldives is the transfer from the capital of Malé to your resort. Many resorts are close enough to access by local ferry or speedboat, but some are only available by seaplane.
Taking a seaplane can significantly increase the costs of your trip to the Maldives, so we recommend taking the transfer costs into account when choosing a resort.
Despite being an expensive and luxurious place to travel, there are ways to visit on a budget.
We recommend that you choose a resort on Malé or accessible by boat, book during the off-season, and consider eating your meals off of the resort. With these tips, you can significantly cut down on the expenses of your trip to the Maldives.