The ultimate honeymoon destination has recently become more accessible for the plebs, after the government decided relax the rules for locals to welcome tourists. The Maldives are synonymous with most people’s idea of paradise: a string of small tropical islands with pristine beaches, fringed by coral reefs and turquoise waters, like pearls in a deep blue ocean.
Not so long ago you had to either book a room at an expensive resort on a private island, or a tour on a livaboard which hopped from one isle to the other in search of the best diving spots. Contact with the locals was kept to a minimum in order to prevent contamination of local traditions. That has changed, and now you can stay on inhabited islands a guesthouse and mingle with the natives. It saves you money and it provides an alternative form of income for the population. Most of all it gives you the opportunity to see what island life is like in the Maldives.
That is not to say the resorts are not around anymore, and for those who crave privacy, luxury, and their own piece of paradise there are still plenty of island resorts to choose from. For diving the best option is probably still a livaboard as it gets you to more places.
So whether you want to mingle with the locals, or want to laze on your own private island, or want to dive with manta rays and sharks, the Maldives is open for business and paradise has become a little easier to access for the lesser Gods amongst us.
Go, see, enjoy!
Highlights from Maldives
- As you will no doubt be arriving at Malé the capital, you might as well make use of the opportunity to delve in to Maldivian life for a few days, visit the Friday Mosque, the markets, and enjoy the hustle and bustle of the only city in the Atoll
- Dive with hammerhead sharks at Rasdhoo Atoll
- Feel like a king on your own island resort anywhere in the Maldives
- Cruise from diving spot to diving spot on a livaboard
- Visit Utheemu Ganduvaru, childhood home of the Maldives national hero who got rid of the Portuguese back in the day
- Stay in a guesthouse on one of the inhabited islands and get to know Maldivian island life
- Swim with whale sharks, hammerheads or manta rays at the Ari Atoll
Hints and Tips for Maldives
- While guesthouses are cheaper than the island resorts, the Maldives are still expensive, the cheapest guesthouse is probably around 50 to 60 dollars a night.
- Maafushi and nearby Guraidhoo are the centres of the independent traveller scene with plenty of guesthouses to choose from, they can be reached by public ferry.
- Private resorts are more expensive, but get you the privacy of a whole uninhabited island for yourself and all the luxury that goes with it.
- Entree stamps for 30 days are issued on arrival, but you do need to write down a guesthouse, resort or hotel on the arrival card, so if you haven’t got any, just pick one and write it down.