Tiny islands in the Indian Ocean, surrounded by turquoise lagoons, vivid reefs and lonely sandbanks. This is the picture we all have in our heads, when we think about the Maldives. And no matter if you’re traveling to this paradise to escape the wintertime or to celebrate a special occasion – the Maldives are a bucket list destination, everyone wants to visit at least once in a lifetime. The Maldives Travel Guide will help you to plan your trip and gives you useful travel tips for the Maldives!
The Maldives Travel Guide
Entry & Exit Requirements for the Maldives
Due to the current situation, a few requirements to travel to the Maldives have changed. This is a checklist of everything you need to enter the Maldives:
- your passport that is still valid from 6 months of estimated departure date
- a negative PCR test result which has been taken not more than 96 hours prior your departure from the first port of embarkation on the way to the Maldives, regardless of your vaccination status.
- your personal QR-Code of the Traveller Health Declaration which has to be filled online within 24 hrs before your flight to the Maldives via IMUGA. This means you can still do it last minute on the way to the airport via your smartphone, in case you forgot it!
- a booking confirmation for your whole stay which has to be presented at the check in counter at the airport
For your return flight make sure to check the entry requirements of the country your traveling to and the requirements your airline might have! When we’ve been to the Maldives at the end of 2021 we met a few travelers on their way back home to Germany which did not have a PCR test. Germany doesn’t require it for fully vaccinated passengers, but the airline Emirates wanted to see a negative PCR test result for all their flights during that time!
You also need to fill the online Traveller Health Declaration again, within 24 hrs before your return flight.
When is the best time to travel to the Maldives?
Yes, there is a wet and dry season in the Maldives which means that you have a high and low season for tourists! Dry season is between November and April. These months are high season in the Maldives since most travelers use the Christmas, New Years and Easter Holidays to flee from the cold weather.
But even after April, when the “wet season” starts, you can still travel to the Maldives and have incredible weather! The weather in the Maldives is very unpredictable due to the changing winds. So far we traveled to the Maldives during all times of the year and mostly had sunny weather – regardless of the month! Rain showers usually happen at night or early in the morning and normally they just last for a short time until the sky clears up again. We also visited the Maldives during dry season a few times already and still experienced rain showers! There is simply no chance for 100% sun or 100% rain in a tropical destination like the Maldives.
Traveling outside of the peak season, during the winter months, also means skipping the highest room rates of the year! Many resorts are fully booked during high season which results in higher prices!
Between May and November you have the once in a lifetime chance to swim with hundreds of wild Manta rays and even whale sharks at Hanifaru Bay in the Baa Atoll. The best time to visit Hanifaru Bay is between June and early October.
How many days are ideal for the Maldives?
To fully immerse into the island life and recharge your batteries in the warm sunshine, I would recommend to stay at least 7 nights in the Maldives! Since all islands in the Maldives are unique and different from each other, I highly recommend island hopping during your trip. It is ideal to visit two or three different resorts or/and local islands and stay three to four nights on each of them!
To make the transfer between the islands less expensive and time consuming, choose different islands within one atoll for a direct transfer via boat or seaplane.
What are the best resorts and islands in the Maldives?
This question has a different answer for everyone! It all depends on your personal preferences, what you like to do during your stay and with whom you’re traveling to the Maldives. Find the perfect resort for you in my Best Resorts in the Maldives Blog Post!
How to get around in the Maldives?
As a nation with around 1,200 islands, the only way to get around in the Maldives is either by speed boat, sea plane or domestic flight. The mode of transportation varies with the distance you need to travel. Traveling within one atoll usually happens with a speed boat which is normally less expensive than flying. If you’re traveling between several atolls than you will most likely take the most scenic way of traveling: a sea plane flight over the Maldives.
To reach atolls far in the South or North like Gaafu Alifu Atoll, you need to take a longer domestic flight from the international airport in Male to a small domestic airport from where you’ll take an additional speed boat to your final resort or island.
Seaplane flights with TMA
The most beautiful perspective to see the Maldives is from up in the air! Seaplanes fly relatively low which offer the most beautiful view over the islands, reefs and sometimes even Mantas from above!
If your resort requires a seaplane transfer, your hotel representatives will pick you up after landing from your International flight and guide you to the check in of TMA (Trans Maldivian Airlines). Usually you have to wait 30 minutes until max. 2 hours for your flight with the seaplane! But no worries, you can relax in the TMA lounge until boarding. The seaplanes have their own boarding area at the Velana International Airport, with the only difference, that the runway is on the water!
The planes are quite small, with mostly window seats. Passengers don’t get a seat number on their ticket so make sure to board the plane early and save yourself a good spot in the front. The other amazing thing about seaplanes in the Maldives: The cockpit has no door and you’re sitting directly behind the barefoot pilots, watching the flight from their perspective.
When booking your stay with a resort, keep in mind that the price for the transfer is not included in the room rate and will be added during the last step of the booking process. The rate depends on your resort and the mode of transportation. Seaplane transfers cost up to 350,- USD per person and direction. However speed boat transfers are usually less expensive. But you will be surprised that the most expensive transfer in the Maldives is actually by water: The private yacht of the Waldorf Astoria Maldives costs around 800,- USD per person and direction!
Culture & Tradition in the Maldives
The Maldives are an Islamic nation for 900 years already which you can feel in their culture! In the capital Male and on the local islands you’ll see mosques and conservatively dressed locals. That’s why it is important to dress properly when you’re visiting one of these islands. Nevertheless the local islands have “bikini beaches” where it is allowed to take a sunbath in your regular bathing suit! At the resorts the rules are way more loose. Which means that you can wear summery dresses or bikinis and buy alcohol!
Due to the Islamic tradition, alcohol is forbidden outside of the resorts and it is strictly forbidden to bring any alcoholic drinks to the Maldives or carry them from the resorts to local islands or Male. Once we received a bottle of champagne as a welcome drink in a resort but didn’t drink it so we decided to place it in our luggage and drink it in the second resort. We completely forgot about the alcohol prohibition! During the luggage screening at the local airport, the staff noticed the bottle on the screen and we had to leave it at the airport. After we explained the staff that we didn’t do it on purpose and thanks to the fact that they were really kind, they luckily let us go without a fine!
The Maldivian locals are extremely kind and kids friendly! They love to connect with tourists, show them their beautiful islands, which they are so proud of and serve them their local dishes. The traditional food in the Maldives has influences from the Asian continent and mostly India. Many of the local ingredients are fish and seafood, coconut, tropical fruits and spices. Some of their main dishes are fish curries and Samosas (small pastries filled with spicy vegetables, fish or potatoes).
What to pack for a trip to the Maldives:
When you’re planning a trip to the Maldives there are a few things you should definitely put on your packing list to make your stay even more memorable:
- Mosquito repellent: At tropical places like the Maldives you will naturally find insects like mosquitos. Especially in the evening and when you’re staying in a Beach Villa. That’s why bringing a mosquito repellent spray will make your evenings on the verandah itch-free!
- Sun blocker: This may sound obvious but packing enough sun blocker for your Maldives vacation is very important! Use a reef friendly SPF50 sun blocker free from Octocrylene to stay safe while snorkeling without harming the wild life and don’t forget to pack a hat and sun glasses as well!
- Universal charger: The Maldives used to be a British Colony so the power plugs and sockets are mostly type G like in the UK. Newer resorts usually have at least one International power outlet in the room or villa but to be sure I would suggest to pack a universal adapter!
- Watersports gear: If you like to snorkel or get active on the water make sure to pack your own gear! Snorkels and goggles can usually be rented for free at the resorts but we prefer to take our own ones with us during our trips. Additionally you might like to pack a GoPro to capture underwater photos, a waterproof bag to keep your belongings dry while kayaking or water shoes for snorkeling.
- Beach cover ups: While staying in the Maldives, you will spend most of your time in bathing suits. But to quickly cover up to go to the pool bar or get some lunch, the easiest way is putting on a loose dress or kimono!
Can I bring a drone to the Maldives?
Drones are a great way to capture beautiful photos from the Maldivian islands, seen from above! From this perspective the islands and turquoise lagoons look even more magical. It is allowed to fly your drone in the Maldives but most resorts restrict them on the island to secure the privacy of their guests. But if you ask for permission the resort might allow you to fly it at specific places.
If you take a boat trip to a lonely sandbank or visit a beach on a local island, then flying a drone is no problem at all! Just make sure you’re not close to an airport or in an area where aircrafts are operating. Additionally it is forbidden to fly at biosphere reserve areas like Hanifaru Bay.
The Maldives are paradise on earth
The Maldives truly are the ultimate paradise you imagine it to be and a trip to these tiny islands will be romantic, unforgettable and can be adventurous as well! If you plan your trip according to my Maldives travel guide your vacation will surely be unforgettable!
If you have any other questions or need more Maldives travel tips, simply put them in the comments below or send me a direct message via Instagram!