The Maldives are as close to paradise on earth as you can get.
Located in the crystal-clear waters of the Indian Ocean, this string of tropical islands is self-governed and has evolved into one of the world’s most luxurious travel destinations. Today, tourism accounts for around 40% of the country’s economy.
On average, two people should expect to spend on average about $8,000 USD on a vacation to the Maldives. This includes airfare, a week-long stay at a resort, and accounts for daily spending on food, drinks, and other activities.
Curious to learn more?
Keep on reading for an in-depth breakdown of how much a Maldives vacation costs.
If you’re going to visit the Maldives, you should plan on spending at least a week there. Flying to the Maldives is likely going to take close to 24 hours after accounting for connecting flights. Needless to say, you’re going to be very jet-lagged after your flight and will probably need a day to recover and stabilize your internal clock.
Most tourists to the Maldives plan on an 8-day, 7-night trip. For a week-long vacation, you’ll need to make sure that your expenses are in order and that you properly budget for your trip.
Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll need to budget for a one-week couples’ trip to the Maldives:
|Expense Item||Average Cost|
|Airfare (2 economy plane tickets)||$3,500 (around $1,750 each)|
|Hotel or resort stay||$2,100 (around $300 per night)|
|Tourist attractions and activities||$500|
|Food and drinks||$1,050|
|Total Cost:||$8,000 USD|
Of course, some of these costs are subjective. For example, you could book first-class plane tickets and pay triple the cost, or book a super-luxurious honeymoon suite for double the cost.
Conversely, you could lower costs by not eating at your hotel or resort (where food is most expensive) or eliminate tourist activities.
In my opinion, though, if you’re already spending thousands on a luxury vacation, trying to save a few hundred dollars won’t make that much of a difference.
Now, let’s take a few minutes to go through each of these expenses, look at cost variance and see how much you could save.
International plane tickets to the Maldives rarely come cheap. Assuming that you’re flying from a major US airport like LAX (Los Angeles International Airport), base economy tickets are going to cost at least $1,500 during the peak season between June and August.
There are only a few major airlines that fly directly to the Maldives, including:
- Qatar Airways
- Singapore Airlines
- British Airways
Total flight time typically ranges between 24 and 30 hours total, and very few airlines have planes big enough to accommodate massive trips like that. As a result, competition is sparse, and ticket prices are high.
Here’s a look at peak season rates in the middle of July based on data from Google Flights:
These prices also assume that you’re booking your flight months ahead of time. If you wait until the last minute to book your flight, the cost of two round-trip tickets could easily increase to $4,500 or $5,000.
If you go during the off-season (January through May), you can usually save a fair amount on plane tickets. For example, in mid-February, you could get two round-trip tickets for as low as $2,000:
When planning any international trip this expensive, planning your flight ahead of time can save you a significant amount of money.
If you are going to spend thousands on a plane ticket, though, I suggest using a travel credit card that offers good cashback deals. For example, if you use the AMEX Platinum card, you could earn 2% cashback on your flight.
Assuming a $3,500 flight, 2% cashback would get you $70 in cashback, which could help cover the cost of food and drinks on the flight.
I’d also recommend spending a little bit extra to purchase travel insurance on your flight. This will keep you from paying extra as a result of cancellations, delays, or last-minute changes. Some travel cards, like the AMEX Platinum card, offer travel insurance for free when you book your flight through their platform.
Once you get to the islands, you’ll need somewhere to stay. Of course, you should definitely book your stay ahead of time, as the island is packed full of tourists and hotel/resort availability is often limited.
Depending on your budget and how inclusive of a stay you want, accommodations can range between $185 per night and $500+ per night.
If you plan on spending most of your time outdoors and don’t need ultra-luxurious accommodations, then it’s quite possible to find a decent hotel stay for around $250 nightly. On the other hand, if you’re looking for the true “social media” experience on beautiful wooden boardwalks with private huts on the ocean, then expect to pay at least $500 per night.
Based on a quick Google Travel price search, here’s what you can expect to pay for a Maldives resort in the middle of the summer:
Male (the capital island) appears to have the cheapest hotels, as it’s closest to the Male Airport. Each island is home to varying levels of resorts, and you’ll even find rental houses on stilts by themselves in the middle of the ocean.
Kanifinolhu seems to be the most expensive resort island, with stays averaging $1,000 per night or more.
Just like booking flights, it pays to book your stay ahead of time. If you wait until the last minute during the peak busy season, you’re going to pay a premium price compared to purchasing your vacation tickets months ahead of time.
This can vary significantly as well, depending on the type of experience you’re looking for. Many tourists prefer to stay on their small island close to their resorts. In this case, you probably won’t pay much (if anything).
You can ride a bicycle across most of the small Maldives islands in less than 15 minutes, and most resorts rent bicycles for less than $50 per day.
On the other hand, if you’re staying on the capital island of Male, then you may need to hail a taxi cab or a bus to get from one side of the city to the other.
The islands in the Maldives are relatively spread apart. If you want to get from one island to another, you’ll need to charter a ferry, speedboat, or seaplane. These can be rather expensive and may cost upwards of $100 per person to board.
The cheapest way to stay in the Maldives is to stick to your island and rent a bicycle.
Tourism and activity costs can also vary significantly, depending on what you’re interested in doing. If you just want to sit on the beach, tan, and swim by the coast, you’ll pay next to nothing.
However, if you want to go deep-sea fishing, scuba diving, or snorkelling, you’ll need to charter a tour guide with a boat. These activities can cost anywhere between $150 and $500 per person, depending on how inclusive and luxurious the experience is.
Or, if you really want to live it up, you can rent a small yacht with a crew for $70,000 per week!
If you’re staying at your hotel or resort, you’ll likely have some free meals included as part of the package. For example, there might be a breakfast or dinner buffet. If you can make it in the time window, you can save a good bit of money by eating for free.
However, if you want room service, fresh-cooked meals, and cocktails at the bar, then you should budget at least $100 per day for food and drinks.
If you’re staying on the main island of Male, you can visit local grocery stores and save some money there (groceries are similar to what you’d pay in a major US city). However, if you’re on one of the more isolated islands, you’ll have to rely on purchasing food at your resort.
Last but not least, you should account for daily spending. This may include things like:
- Buying t-shirts or memorabilia
- Buying personal hygiene items
- Tipping local guides
Again, this can vary a lot, depending on what you’re doing and the lifestyle you’re trying to enjoy. As a rule of thumb, though, plan to budget around $50 to $75 per day to spend.
If you’re staying at a major resort or hotel in the Maldives, then you should be able to use your credit card for most purchases. However, it’s still a good idea to have some cash on hand if you plan on shopping at local stores or paying for local experiences.
ATMs are often hard to find on the island and may not always be functional, so I recommend packing some cash in your luggage and placing a lock and GPS tracker in your suitcase.
Before your trip, I recommend calling your bank and credit card companies to notify them of your travels. Often, card companies will temporarily freeze your card if they notice unexpected out-of-the-country charges. By notifying them of your travel plans ahead of time, you can prevent the embarrassment of your card being declined.
The Maldives’ currency is the Maldivian Rufiyaa. However, most stores and services in the Maldives accept US Dollars as a form of currency.
Canadian tourists aren’t very common in the Maldives. As a result, Canadian Dollars aren’t widely used or accepted. If you do bring Canadian Dollars, you’ll want to exchange them for Maldivian Rufiyaa at the airport or a local currency exchange service.
If you’re curious about foreign exchange rates, you can use XE’s currency converter calculator here.
The Maldives is known for its tropical climate. The monsoon season is between May and September. During this time, daily thunderstorms, rain, and cloudy weather can put a bit of a damper on your trip.
During the monsoon season, the cost of resorts and hotels may be a bit lower than usual. However, demand is still high, so you probably won’t save a lot.
The best weather is between November and April, when skies are mostly clear, the weather is warm, and the humidity is lower. Oddly enough, flights are cheaper during this period, while stays in the Maldives are more expensive.
Are The Maldives Expensive To Visit?
Before tourism, the Maldives was a small, relatively unknown string of islands in the Indian Ocean. Historians estimate that the island was first populated in the 5th Century BC by ancient Buddhists. During the age of colonialism, the island was overseen by the Dutch, the Portuguese, and, eventually, the British.
In 1965, the Maldives proclaimed independence from the British Empire and formed the Republic of Maldives.
Unlike other countries in Southeast Asia, the Maldives are quite expensive to visit.
In Thailand or Indonesia, for example, you can rent an entire beachside villa for less than $500 per week. This is why places like Bali have become popular destinations for expats and digital nomads.
In the Maldives, though, a week-long stay in a small resort can easily cost $1,000 or more. Some of the high-end resorts can even cost up to $500 per night, as seen in this Google search for accommodations below:
The most expensive part of travelling to the Maldives is, arguably, the cost of airfare. Whether you’re flying from the US or Canada, international flights to the Maldives don’t come cheap, as the location is quite remote. The Male Airport in the Maldives is so small that it’s an island in and of itself!
All in all, a couple should expect to budget around $8,000 USD for a typical vacation to the Maldives. If you’re going single, then expect to pay between $4,000 and $5,000 for your trip. This assumes that you book everything separately. However, you may be able to save a bit by purchasing a vacation bundle and planning your trip months in advance.
Not ready for a vacation this expensive yet?