Maldives First Timer’s Guide
Here are the Top 5 Things to consider before booking your first trip to the Maldives.
I clearly remember booking our first trip to the Maldives. It was for our honeymoon back in 2015; we were deciding between the Seychelles, Maldives, and Fiji as a honeymoon destination. It wasn’t the right season for the Seychelles and Fiji was out of budget as soon as we factored in the flight costs. We finally selected the Maldives based on great recommendations from friends who had been to the Maldives twice already.
If you’re thinking of visiting the Maldives for your next holiday or honeymoon destination, here are 5 things consider before booking your trip.
1. TRANSPORT COST
We’re not talking about the cost of flying to the Maldives from your home country. We’re talking about the cost of getting to/from your resort. Once you’ve landed in Male, there are two main ways that you will travel to your resort: seaplane or speedboat. Depending on your original budget, the cost of transfer could greatly impact where you choose to stay. During our first trip to the Maldives, we paid $350 USD per person for a round-trip seaplane transfer to our resort. Our second time to the Maldives, we stayed at a resort that was a 20-minute boat ride away from the airport in Male. Roundtrip boat transfers only cost $130 USD per person. All-in-all $700 vs $260 is a significant difference. Remember to take this cost into consideration especially if you are on a budget.
2. ALL-INCLUSIVE OPTION
Most of the resorts in the Maldives will be all-inclusive which means that accommodation, food, drink (soft and alcohol), and some activities are included. Regardless of which site you use to book your resort, make sure to check out the resort website to understand the ins and outs of your exact plan. While ‘a la carte’ may seem like a cheaper option, if you plan on eating 3 full meals a day and having alcoholic drinks, all-inclusive may end up saving you more money. Many all-inclusive plans also offer extra meals and snacks during the day such as afternoon tea and evening canapés. We selected the all-inclusive option for both of our trips to the Maldives. It truly is a great feeling not to have to worry about paying for a single thing during the entirety of your stay!
3. WATER VILLA VS. BEACH VILLA
Depending on where you choose to stay, your resort may offer several options for accommodation. The two most common are water villa and beach villa. The difference is all in the name. Water villas are the iconic villas that sit on stilts on top of water. You’ll have direct access to the ocean and snorkeling right outside your door. We loved the feeling of isolation and having a slice of paradise all to ourselves. We literally would wake up, put on our fins, and snorkel to the reef. Amenities in water villas tend to be on the higher end compared to beach villas as well. For example, we had a private lounge pool and jacuzzi in our water villa.
While staying in a water villa may be the ultimate thing to do during your first trip to the Maldives, the cost can be significantly more than staying in a beach villa. If you do have a tighter budget for your first trip to the Maldives, you can consider staying in a beach villa. The advantage is that you could easily save up to $1,000 during a 5-night stay. You’ll still have access to the same beaches and ocean – you just might need to swim a bit further to get to the reef. Instead of having direct access to the ocean at your doorstep (literally), you may need to walk a few meters to access the beach. Sounds horrible right? Either way you really can’t go wrong! Just bare in mind that the meal plans and restaurants may differ for some resorts should you stay in a beach villa vs. an ocean villa.
Contrary to what you may think, there is more to the Maldives than lounging around a beach chair all day – although that doesn’t seem so terrible does it. During our honeymoon, we were really surprised by how many activities you could do during the day. Bear in mind that most of these activities will revolve around water. We spent most of our days enjoying the underwater world while snorkeling around the resort island. In the afternoon, we would pick up a windsurf or standup paddle. After enjoying an afternoon snack and cocktail, then next thing you know it would be time for dinner!
If you really enjoy water sports, our advice would be to check out your resort page to see what kind of activities they offer as this could heavily influencer your decision making. Many have paragliding, snorkeling, fishing, and jet skiing. For those of you who are avid surfers, the Maldives also happens to be known for world-class waves. Resorts such as the Four Season and Adaaran Hudhuranfushi offer access to these waves.
Depending on the time that you arrive in the Maldives, you may not be able to travel directly to your resort island. If this is the case for you, simply know that this is very common. Must tourist will end up spending at least one night in nearby Hulumale. You can either take a short taxi ride or a bus like we did for less than $2 USD. The good news is that there are tons of restaurants and hotels to suit all budgets. Make sure to plan ahead and you’ll be fine.
We hope you found our 5 tips on visiting the Maldives for the first timers helpful. If you have any questions or need more inspiration, feel free to check out our instagram page and send us a direct message! Look forward to seeing you there 🙂