escape to paradise
What is the best way to travel Maldives? Do you want to wake up in the eternal tranquility of the Indian Ocean? and be surrounded by turquoise waters and sink into the magnificence of the islands? or live with the locals and experience the real Maldives?
There are many ways to experience Maldives. Many come to relax at luxurious resorts. You can stay in 3 to 5 star deluxe resorts (or 7 star by the local rating system). Sleep in over-water villas and have your meals catered by some of the finest international chefs (and the finest ingredients flown in too).
This is the image many have when think of the Maldives. Though there are many sides to this island nation. There are over 1200 islands here and only 105 are resort islands. Since a few years you can now stay at a guest house on the “local islands” and experience the real Maldives. Also you could stay on a liveaboard cruise. Some of these boat cruises are dedicated to diving, while on others are more orientated to surfers and travelers.
local guest houses
The best way to travel Maldives if you are on a budget, is to stay at a guest house on the village islands. This is a relatively new thing. In the past one could only stay at Malé, or one of the 105 resort islands. Prices start at 30-50$ depending on the season. Some of them are on big islands, where you can find a few guest houses and even some small dive operators.
One of these is the Liberty Guest house, on Mahibadhoo island in the South Ari Atoll. One of the best dive destinations in the Maldives. Another great option is the Acqua Blue Rashdhoo. This island is the best place to see hammerhead sharks in the Maldives. Others are on quieter islands where you will need to hire a local fisherman to go out on a snorkeling adventure.
holiday on water
If you love the water, this is the best way to travel Maldives. There are many kinds of cruises that have different itineraries and routes. Some are for a few days while others can last 2 weeks.
If you are a diver or avid snorkeler the best way to see the Maldives is by Liveaboard. You go to all the best dive sites, but before anyone else gets there. Also it is the most economic way to experience its rich underwater life. You don’t need a local flight or boat, since you will depart from Malé. Also the trips are fully inclusive…all you need to do is dive, eat, sleep and repeat!!!!
Trips start at 1000 euro for 5 to 8 days depending on the season. If you are staying at a resort single dives cost about $50 (up to $150) a dive, on these trips you make 3-4 dives a day.
You can find a list of the best liveaboards in the Maldives in our blog best Liveaboards in Asia 2019-20.
If you love to relax and surround yourself with eternal bliss, then staying at a resort is best way to travel Maldives for you. There are many beautiful resorts to choose from here. So the choice can be difficult. I have worked in the Maldives, so I have seen many resorts there. Most offer similar things: a tranquil surreal setting, over-water villas, and water-sports & diving. Though they don’t all have the same level of service, quality & price.
There are many fantastic luxury resorts to choose from. One of my favorite resorts is Anantara Kihava in Baa Atoll. A beautiful resort with 5 restaurants, including one of which is underwater. The island has a wonderful house-reef and many dive spots in the area. Also its located near the UNESCO Biosphere reserve Hanifaru Bay, where you can sometimes see hundreds of manta rays feeding on the plankton (July to October).
Others that come to mind are Huvafenfushi with a stunning house reef for diving and snorkeling right of the beach. This resort is located in the North Male atoll not to far from the capital. Then there is Anantara Dhigu, a spectacular resort spread over 3 islands. This area offers some of the best diving in the Maldives. Deep pinnacles with strong currents and many sharks.
If you are looking for some of the most exclusive resorts, two come to mind. First there is W Resort & Spa, a very exclusive resort where no children are aloud. The other is Velaa Private Island, so exclusive you can only go on private trips from the island. So if you have lots of $$$, then this is the place to be.
diver resorts and budget resorts
If your budget is tight but still want to be able to stay on an island resort, there are a few options. You could stay at the Reethi Beach Resort or Fihalhohi Island Resort. Perfect service, lovely staff, and a stunning island paradise. All at a reasonable price. In the low season (May-Oct), can start at $120-150 per night including breakfast.
Though if you are more into diving rather than just relaxing on a beautiful beach and surrounded by immense luxury. Then there are some resort islands that are more dedicated to diving. One of these is Sun-Island Resort located in South Ari Atoll. This where you have some of the most famous dive sites in the Maldives. Sharks, turtles, manta rays, eagle rays, and even whale sharks are easily to be found here. In the same atoll you have Euro Divers at the LUX* resort. In the North Male Atoll you can find the resort Bandos. This is another dedicated diver island. The island has the only hyperbaric-chamber in the Maldives. That’s why by law you cant dive deeper than 30m here.