A Budget Guide to Maldives

This post may contain affiliate links. That simply means that I may receive a commission at zero cost to you when you choose to use the links I provided. Thank you for your continued support and for reading my site.

If you have a budget you want to stick to, you can still visit the paradise of Maldives. The luxurious resorts may give you the impression that they are all $X,XXXX but that is not the case. Don’t write off Maldives because you think it’s too expensive and that you can’t afford it. You can!


Here are some tips on how to visit Maldives on a budget:

Score a Flight Deal

You can save on half of your travel costs just by getting a cheap round-trip flight. Yes, you might see prices in the $2,000 range at first, but Emirates has deals that for $900 roundtrip! If you are close to Sri Lanka, you can find deals for $100 per one way or $300 roundtrip from Bangkok. If you have any miles or points you can use, apply those!

Split Your Stay in Malé

If your budget is super tight, the best option for you is to pick accommodations in the capital city of Malé for a portion of your trip. Let this be maybe 1 or 2 nights there and then stay at an island resort for 1 or 2 nights. There are many inns and hotels to choose from in Malé that are priced at $100 or less. Guesthouses are the new “thing” (book them on Airbnb) and leave you being able to communicate directly with your host. During your time in Malé, you can venture around the city, nearby beaches, and still experience the culture of the people.

Eat Locally

You can find local meals for $1-$20 in Malé.  Coffee houses are open late and they offer sandwiches, snacks, and even noodles for a low price. Coffee goes for about $1.50 while snacks and sandwiches can be found for under $10.  Check if breakfast is included in your accommodations.

Go on Excursions with Local Fishermen

If staying in Malé, ask your host, neighbors, and fellow people who offers excursions on their boats. You can negotiate and not have to go to an island resort to partake in water activities. Sometimes a boat ride has been negotiated for about $60 for snorkeling included by budget travelers.  Many guesthouses will arrange for fishing trips, sand banks, trips to attolls, or day trips to another island. The day trips are on average priced at $60-90 per person. Majority of the price is the entrance fee and use of the facilities.

Visit the Local Islands from Malé

There are several ferries that are available for day trips from the capital city. You can visit Maafushi, Fulidhoo, and Guraidhoo for less than $6 per ferry ride. Be sure to check the ferry schedules in town and be prepared for the boat to not be on time. They’re on island time.

If you want everything at your feet, choose a liveaboard. You will see more and have all your meals on the boat.

Choose an All-Inclusive

To make spending easier, and getting more bang for your buck, go with the All-Inclusive Plan at an island resort. When it came to comparing the plan with paying menu prices one item at a time, it was almost 50% off! It make sense to do it and you can find All-Inclusive rates in the low $100’s per person per day. Book for a few days instead of a full week. Even 2 days in such a beautiful destination will feel like a lot!

Do you want to visit Maldives? How much would you pay?