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25 Maldives Alternatives: The BEST Cheaper Dream Vacation Spots

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Looking for the top Maldives alternatives around the world? We’ve got you covered!

The Maldives are truly a tropical paradise, but these lush private resorts sometimes come with shocking price tags. Located in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives are an incredible place to visit. The average cost for two people to visit the Maldives for a week ranges from $5,700 to $11,500.

Fortunately, there are alternatives to the Maldives all around the world. Many of these tropical paradises can be visited without the hefty price tag you’ll find in the Maldives.

Whether they’re off the beaten path like Banana Island or just offer a slightly different type of trip like Fiji, there’s bound to be a perfect alternative destination for your trip on this list.

25 BEST Maldives Alternatives

Looking for the top alternatives to staying in the Maldives? Here are the best options to consider for your tropical island getaway.

From French Polynesia to the Caribbean to Africa, there are plenty of destinations around the world that are worthy of a visit if you can’t make it to the Maldives.

1. Fiji

Fiji, located in the South Pacific Ocean, is a stunning tropical paradise known for its breathtaking natural beauty, vibrant culture, luxury resorts, and warm hospitality.

As a top diving and snorkeling destination, you can explore Fiji’s colorful coral reefs teeming with marine life, including sharks, turtles, and tropical fish. The nearby Great Astrolabe Reef is one of the largest barrier reefs globally and offers exceptional diving experiences.

Fiji is an archipelago of over 300 islands, each with its own unique charm. You can explore neighboring islands on day trips or extended stays to experience diverse landscapes and cultures.

2. Moorea

Moorea is one of the most incredible spots in French Polynesia. It boasts clear, turquoise waters, pristine sandy beaches, and iconic green mountains. You can hike to picturesque waterfalls, such as Afareaitu Waterfall and nearby Vaipahi Waterfall, where you can swim in natural pools.

Overwater Bungalows At The Sofitel Kia Ora Moorea.

There are spectacular, luxurious overwater bungalows in Moorea. Staying in an overwater bungalow is a signature experience in French Polynesia. These accommodations offer direct access to the lagoon and breathtaking views of the surrounding turquoise waters.

3. Tahiti

Tahiti is the largest island in French Polynesia. It is known for its dramatic landscapes, including lush rainforests, volcanic peaks, waterfalls, and pristine beaches. Tahiti is also home to Mount Orohena, the highest peak in French Polynesia.

While staying in Tahiti, you can explore the island or vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life, including sharks, rays, and colorful fish. Dive sites like Fakarava Atoll and Rangiroa are renowned among divers.

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    Staying in luxurious overwater bungalows is a quintessential Tahitian experience. There, you can immerse yourself in crystal-clear lagoons and enjoy direct access to the water.

    4. Bora Bora

    Bora Bora is a small island located in French Polynesia in the South Pacific Ocean. It is often referred to as the “Pearl of the Pacific” and is celebrated for its breathtaking natural beauty, overwater bungalows, and romantic atmosphere.

    Bora Bora boasts one of the world’s most beautiful lagoons with crystal-clear turquoise waters, surrounded by a barrier reef. The lagoon is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and water sports.

    5. Cook Islands

    The Cook Islands are nestled in the South Pacific Ocean. They offer a remote and unspoiled tropical paradise with stunning natural beauty and warm Polynesian culture. You can choose from a range of activities, like turtle snorkeling, for travelers seeking relaxation, adventure, or a blend of both.

    cook island ocean view with palm trees.

    The Cook Islands boast some of the world’s most beautiful beaches with soft white sand and crystal-clear waters. Muri Beach, Aroa Beach, and Titikaveka Beach are just a few examples of the idyllic shorelines.

    6. Gili Islands, Indonesia

    The Gili Islands are a group of three small islands off the northwest coast of Lombok in Indonesia. They offer travelers a serene and idyllic tropical paradise with a unique blend of natural beauty, vibrant marine life, and a laid-back atmosphere.

    The islands have a no-motorized vehicle policy, creating a peaceful and eco-friendly environment. Explore the islands on foot, by bicycle, or via horse-drawn carts known as cidomos.

    7. Whitsunday Islands, Australia

    The Whitsunday Islands, located in the heart of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, are a spectacular and renowned destination offering a unique blend of natural beauty, marine life, and outdoor adventures.

    The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s most iconic natural wonders. Dive or snorkel to explore vibrant coral reefs, home to an array of marine life, including colorful fish, turtles, and reef sharks.

    Aerial view of Whitsunday Islands, Australia

    When you’re not exploring the water, you can experience the island’s beauty from above or visit the islands’ lush rainforests and scenic trails on foot. The Ngaro Sea Trail and Whitsunday Great Walk Trail offer opportunities to spot unique flora and fauna.

    8. Koh Yao Noi, Thailand

    Koh Yao Noi is a serene and less developed island located in Thailand’s Phang Nga Bay, offering travelers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of more popular tourist destinations.

    The island is known for its stunning natural landscapes, including lush jungles, scenic hills, and pristine beaches, which you can explore by bicycle.

    Many accommodations in Koh Yao Noi prioritize sustainability and eco-friendly practices, making it an environmentally conscious destination.

    Additionally, the island is home to wellness retreats and yoga centers where you can rejuvenate your mind and body with holistic practices and spa treatments.

    9. Boracay, Philippines

    Boracay, located in the Philippines, is a world-renowned tropical paradise known for its stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife. This island offers a wide range of accommodations, from budget-friendly hostels to luxury resorts, ensuring there’s something for every traveler.

    Thrill-seekers will love Ariel’s Point, which offers cliff diving from various heights into the crystal-clear waters below.

    Boracay is renowned for its breathtaking sunsets. For an unforgettable experience, we recommend taking a sunset cruise or heading to White Beach’s Station 2 to watch the sun dip below the horizon while enjoying a cocktail or a romantic beachside dinner.

    10. Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

    The Perhentian Islands are a stunning tropical paradise located off the northeastern coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Comprising two main islands, Perhentian Besar (Big Island) and Perhentian Kecil (Small Island), this destination is known for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant marine life.

    Resort overlooking water in Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

    The Perhentian Islands are a nesting ground for green and hawksbill sea turtles. You can join turtle conservation efforts and have the chance to witness turtle hatchlings being released into the sea.

    11. Banana Island, Qatar

    Banana Island, a luxurious private island resort in Qatar, offers a unique and exclusive destination for travelers seeking relaxation and indulgence. The island is located a short 20-minute ferry ride from Doha.

    The accommodations on Banana Island are elaborately decorated in Arabic designs, and the property features unparalleled views of the Arabian Sea.

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    12. Mauritius

    Mauritius, like the Maldives, is located in the Indian Ocean. It is a multicultural society with influences from India, Africa, China, and Europe. You can experience this rich blend of cultures through music, dance, and cuisine.

    The island features a range of luxurious accommodations, including beachfront villas and all-inclusive resorts, perfect for a romantic or indulgent getaway. It is also surrounded by vibrant coral reefs, making it a haven for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving enthusiasts.

    13. Seychelles

    Seychelles is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean. It is a tropical paradise known for its stunning natural beauty, rich biodiversity, and unique cultural experiences. Seychellois are known for their warm hospitality and welcoming attitude toward tourists.

    Seychelles boasts some of the world’s most beautiful beaches with soft white sand and crystal-clear waters. Anse Lazio, Anse Source d’Argent, and Beau Vallon Beach are just a few examples of idyllic beach destinations.

    14. Zanzibar, Tanzania

    Zanzibar is an archipelago off the coast of Tanzania in East Africa. While you’re in Zanzibar, you can explore Stone Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site. There, you can wander through narrow alleys, visit historic buildings, and learn about Zanzibar’s rich history and Arab, Persian, Indian, and Swahili influences.

    hidden beach in Zanzibar, Tanzania

    Zanzibar is often called the “Spice Island” because of its history as a major spice producer. Take a spice tour to discover the fragrant spices like black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg grown on the island.

    15. Mozambique

    ​​Mozambique is a stunning and diverse destination in southeastern Africa. The country is known for its pristine beaches along its extensive coastline but also offers an array of wildlife.

    The clear, turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean provide excellent opportunities for swimming, snorkeling, diving, and water sports. Destinations like Tofo Beach and Bazaruto Archipelago are particularly popular.

    Maldives Alternatives In Europe

    Looking for a Maldivian-style vacation in Europe? If so, we’ve curated a list of some of our top recommendations that capture the essence of a luxurious getaway inspired by the Maldives.

    16. Fethiye, Turkey

    Fethiye, located on the southwestern coast of Turkey, is a captivating destination with a rich blend of natural beauty, historical sites, and a vibrant local culture.

    Aerial view of Fethiye, Turkiye

    Fethiye boasts a variety of beautiful beaches, including Oludeniz Beach, which is known for being a popular vacation destination for Turks and Europeans. Calis Beach is another popular spot for sunbathing, paragliding, and water sports.

    17. Formentera, Spain

    Formentera is a small island located in the Balearic archipelago of Spain. It is a hidden gem in the Mediterranean known for its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and laid-back atmosphere.

    Watching the sun dip below the horizon from the beach is a serene and unforgettable experience as Formentera offers some of the most breathtaking sunsets in the Mediterranean.

    Formentera also boasts wonderful local cuisine. You can savor the flavors of Balearic cuisine, which includes fresh seafood, ensaimada pastries, and local wines. Be sure to visit traditional tavernas for authentic dining experiences.

    18. Cyclades, Greece

    The Cyclades are a group of islands in the Aegean Sea, and it is a popular destination for travelers seeking the quintessential Greek experience.

    Santorini is arguably the most famous of the Cyclades islands. It is known for its iconic sunsets, dramatic caldera views, and romantic atmosphere and offers wine tasting, archaeological sites, and beautiful beaches.

    Laura sitting on ledge Cyclades, Greece

    The islands offer hiking trails that lead to scenic viewpoints, hidden coves, and many archaeological sites. However, Mount Zeus on Naxos has the more popular hiking trails.

    Places Like Maldives Closer To US

    Looking to stay closer to the United States and avoid the long journey to the Maldives? Here are some great options without the lengthy plane ride.

    19. Belize

    Belize is a captivating Central American destination known for its diverse natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and a wide range of activities and experiences.

    It boasts the second-largest barrier reef in the world, making it a premier destination for snorkeling and scuba diving. You can also explore underwater caves, colorful coral formations, and a stunning array of marine life.

    20. St. Lucia

    St. Lucia is located in the eastern Caribbean Sea, in the Windward group in the Lesser Antilles. It is famous for its dramatic landscapes, featuring lush rainforests, volcanic peaks, and the iconic twin Pitons, which are UNESCO World Heritage listed volcanic spires that rise dramatically from the sea.

    Island view of St. Lucia

    The island offers a variety of beaches, from golden sands to volcanic black sand. Some popular beaches include Reduit Beach, Anse Chastanet, and Marigot Bay Beach. You can also explore the island’s lush rainforests through hiking trails, full-day tours, and ziplining experiences.

    21. Curaçao

    Curaçao is a Caribbean island located just off the coast of Venezuela. Curaçao is home to several intriguing limestone caves, such as Hato Caves, which feature stalactites and ancient Amerindian drawings.

    Explore the island’s historic capital, Willemstad, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its colorful Dutch colonial architecture. Curaçao also has multiple museums, such as the Kura Hulanda Museum, where you can learn about the island’s history and culture.

    The island is surrounded by some of the best coral reefs in the Caribbean, making it a top destination for snorkeling, an aquafari, and scuba diving. You can also explore underwater caves, colorful coral gardens, and a rich diversity of marine life.

    22. Turks & Caicos

    Turks & Caicos boasts world-class beaches, fabulous snorkeling, diving and other water activities, and a collection of luxurious resorts that are more affordable than the private islands of the Maldives.

    The islands of Turks & Caicos are considered a biodiversity hotspot, with over 200 species of birds, migratory humpback whales, and marine life like barracudas and sharks.

    ocean view in Turks & Caicos

    Cuisine in the Turks and Caicos is mostly Caribbean, with dishes featuring fish, Johnny cakes, and seafood. The national dish is Cracked Conch, a battered and fried conch shellfish, often paired with peas and rice.

    23. Riviera Maya, Mexico

    The Riviera Maya boasts some of Mexico’s most stunning beaches with soft white sand and clear turquoise waters. It’s a beach lover’s paradise, perfect for swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, and water sports.

    There are many flights directly to Cancun from around the United States, so it can be much easier to reach, and it is a more affordable destination.

    You can visit Mayan ruins, incredible cenotes, and eco-parks while in the Riviera Maya. The area is quite large, so there are activities for groups of all ages and activity levels to enjoy, as well as a number of beautiful beaches.

    If you’re willing to drive to the beach, you can save a lot of money by staying in a hotel outside of walking distance to the water.

    24. Aruba

    Aruba is a popular Caribbean destination known for its stunning beaches, warm climate, and a range of attractions and activities. You can find nearly year-round sunshine, a variety of watersports, and even a vibrant casino and nightlife scene.

    One advantage of visiting Aruba is its diverse population, which includes influences from the Netherlands, South America, and the Caribbean. This diversity is reflected in the island’s culture, cuisine, and festivals.

    25. Palm Island, St Vincent & the Grenadines

    Sometimes described as “castaway chic,” Palm Island in St Vincent and the Grenadines is a great alternative to traveling to the Maldives. Palm Island is a tropical paradise known for its natural beauty, tranquility, and luxurious accommodations.

    ocean and island view of Palm Island, St Vincent & the Grenadines

    Palm Island is a more affordable alternative to the Maldives, but it is frequently visited by day trippers, and the beaches can get crowded. For that reason, it’s nice to have a private beach available when you stay in a resort.


    If you’re still trying to decide between the Maldives and one of its alternatives, here’s some additional information that might help.

    Which Is Better: The Maldives Or The Caribbean?

    The Maldives and the Caribbean are both beautiful tropical vacation spots. The best destination for you will depend on your budget and the type of trip you’re planning. If luxurious resorts and relaxing activities appeal to you, the Maldives could be a great choice.

    On the other hand, if you’re more interested in adventure or traveling on a budget, you might find more options in the Caribbean.

    Are The Maldives Really Worth It?

    The Maldives are an incredible travel destination, but their luxury destinations come at a rather high price tag.

    Still, the luxury and exclusivity of the Maldives’ private islands can’t be beaten. If you’re looking for a luxurious tropical getaway, the Maldives are definitely worth it, and we do offer a guide on traveling the Maldives on a budget.

    Aerial view of bandos maldives resort

    What Is Similar To Maldives But Cheaper?

    Bora Bora, Fiji, and Moorea are similar to the Maldives but cheaper. Between these destinations, Bora Bora is the most similar, with exclusive resorts that you can visit near its famous lagoon.

    The Wrap-Up: Maldives Alternatives

    You can still enjoy an incredible tropical vacation, even if you can’t afford the expenses of a trip to the Maldives. From the Caribbean to the Middle East to Africa, there are incredible resorts around the world that offer overwater villas, world-class amenities, and luxurious getaways.

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