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How to travel between islands in the Maldives – 5 ways to get around

Exploring the magical beauty of the Maldives is an unforgettable experience. With over 1,200 islands scattered across 26 atolls, you can easily get lost in its stunning white-sand beaches and turquoise waters. But how do you make your way around this paradise? Well, I wondered the same before I went there and used both a private ferry and a private speedboat to get to the islands. But hey, at least now I know and can help you as well.

How to travel between islands in the Maldives? From ferries to seaplanes and speedboats, there are many ways to travel between the different islands – each one offering unique experiences that will stay with you long after your trip ends. Read on for all you need to know about transportation in the Maldives!

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Table of Contents

A bit about the maldives.

The Maldives is made up of 26 atolls, which are giant coral formations that have fragmented into countless islands. Each atoll has a traditional Dhivehi name as well as a code name like Baa (which is just an abbreviation of the Dhivehi alphabet) and an easy name for tourists to remember.

The specificity of the country will, of course, affect the means of transportation available. As everything happens on the water, there are just a few options available for most situations. It’s not like you can just walk, you know?

Now let’s get business and find out how you can get around the Maldives.

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Maldives transportation from the airport

Getting to the Maldives is pretty much done by air, as the area cannot be easily covered by boats. If you’re flying into the country, the main gateway to the island nation is Velana International Airport in Male. From here, you need to find a solution to get to your final accommodation, and this will depend greatly on where you’re staying. Check out each item below to see what would be your best option to travel between islands in the Maldives.

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Getting around in the maldives.

If we don’t take into account how you get here (by plane, most probably, as most boats cannot get close enough) or how you can get around on islands where there’s road infrastructure, you have these options travel around in the Maldives.

  • Internal flights
  • Scheduled speedboat

Private ferry

Public ferry.

Internal flights: For the more remote islands or atolls, internal flights are a great option. There is an extensive network of domestic airlines that make it easy to explore even the furthest corners of the country.

Seaplanes: If you’re looking for something a bit more luxurious and romantic, seaplanes are an amazing way to get from one island to another. They offer spectacular views of the islands as you fly by, and it’s a great way to enjoy your journey. Plus, they will take you straight to your resort so you can enjoy your vacation right away.

Scheduled speedboats: How about a fast and exciting ride? Scheduled speedboats are an excellent way to get from one island to another at a fairly reasonable price. The downside is that they can get a bit cramped, so it’s best to book your tickets well in advance. Read below how you can do this.

Private ferry: For bigger groups or those who want more privacy, private ferries are an excellent option. You can either rent the entire boat or just charter one for a few hours and enjoy being on the water with your own group of friends or family.

Public ferry: Finally, there is the public ferry system which offers a cheap and easy way to get around. The downside is that it can be slow and uncomfortable, but this also means you have plenty of time to appreciate your surroundings and mingle with the locals.

No matter how you’re traveling between islands in the Maldives, you’re sure to enjoy the experience. Whether it’s hopping on a seaplane for some aerial views or taking a leisurely ride on a public ferry to appreciate the beauty of this magical land, there are plenty of options available. So don’t wait any longer and start planning your visit!

And remember – with careful planning and a bit of research, you can make the most of your trip and experience the best that the Maldives has to offer, and maybe even come back home with both your kidneys.

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Internal flights in the Maldives

There are just a few companies that run internal flights in the Maldives, namely Maldivian Airlines, Trans Maldivian Airways, FlyMe, and Manta Air. You can book your tickets using Skyscanner , or straight from each company’s website.

If you’re going to stay in a resort, they will most probably handle everything for you, and you’ll pay at departure. If you have booked your Maldives trip with a travel agency, you’ll just receive all the reservation details from them.

Airports in the Maldives

The main international airport in the Maldives is Velana International Airport (also known as Male International Airport). As mentioned before, it’s the main gateway to the country, and it’s most probably your airport of arrival and departure.

Other international airports are Gan Airport (GAN), Hanimaadhoo International Airport (HAQ), Maafaru International Airport (NMF), Maamigili International Airport (VAM), and Kadhdhoo International Airport (KDO). You can use these airports if coming from Sri Lanka or India.

As far as domestic airports go, they’re scattered all around the country so you can easily get to any part of it. Check out the list below and the very helpful map, to have an idea of how good the coverage is.

  • Hoarafushi airport
  • Huvarafushi airport
  • Kulhudhuffushi airport
  • Funadhoo airport
  • Ifuru airport
  • Madivaru airport
  • Dharavandhoo airport
  • Dhaalu airport
  • Thimarafushi airport
  • Kooddoo airport
  • Kaadedhdhoo airport
  • Maavarulu airport
  • Fuvahmulah airport

The picture contains an insulated water bottle and a few shells on a sandy beach in The Maldives. A Chilly bottle is a must have travel item you need to add to your ultimate Maldives packing list, not having it is one of the worse mistakes to avoid in the Maldives. There are also some gorgeous shells on the white sand, and they should remain here, on this beach.

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The most exciting way to get from one island to another in the Maldives is by seaplane! There are three main companies that offer this service: Trans Maldivian Airways , Maldivian Seaplane , and Manta Air , the latter being the newest company, flying since 2019.

These seaplanes leave from the TMA terminals at Velana International Airport and usually take around 20 to 45 minutes. The prices vary depending on the distance between islands, so make sure to check before booking your tickets. As a rough idea, the price is usually at least $200 per person per leg, and oftentimes it’s even higher than that.

Seaplane transfers are usually taken care of by the resort or the travel agency you booked your trip with, so you shouldn’t need to book them yourself. If you’re traveling DIY, you can book the flights yourself on their website, but please be aware that your inbound flight might be delayed and you’ll miss your booking, so plan for this as well.

Unfortunately, seaplanes cannot operate once the sun goes down, so if you arrive at the airport after sunset, it’s best to spend the night in Malé City, Hulhumalé, or a hotel in Hulhule. To avoid this, you can book a private transfer from your hotel, which is more expensive but much faster and more convenient. In any case, take this into account if you’re going to need late-night or early-morning transportation from Male.

Scheduled speed boats

For those who are looking for a more affordable way to travel between islands, there are scheduled speed boats operated by several companies in the Maldives. Atoll Transfer and ICom Tours , offer transfers from Velana International Airport to various resorts and islands around the country.

They also provide day trips to nearby islands for people staying on local islands but wanting to taste a bit of the luxury from nearby resorts. ICom Tours has a wide list of day trips you can try, all of them having a starting point in Maafushi.

Again, if you’re going to a resort island, this will be taken care of for you. If you’re booking everything yourself, you can easily book the transfers online from their website or buy them at the ticket desks at the airport, if you’re brave enough. The prices vary depending on the destination, so make sure to check before you buy. A rough estimation of the cost is between $50 and $150 per person per leg, so a bit cheaper than a seaplane, but still not an amount to ignore.

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Charter speedboats.

If you need to get anywhere, anytime, charter speed boats are the way to go. They are much faster than public ferries and they’ll leave when they’re full. This is how you will need to get around if visiting any resort islands.

Charter speedboats come in all shapes and sizes depending on the quality of the resort you stay in. The more luxurious resorts can have large enclosed motor cruisers with drinks and food, while the lesser resorts may have open-sided boats.

The booking is handled by the resort, as it’s basically the resort’s boat you’re getting on. You cannot book this yourself so communicate efficiently with them before you arrive (you have to tell them your scheduled flight number and planned date and time of arrival).

As an alternative to speedboats, there are private ferries that run from Malé to Maafushi and other nearby islands. This is a great option if you want to save some money and don’t mind a slower journey. The ferries usually leave once they are full, so you may need to wait a while before they depart.

Getting information on these ferries is a challenge as they are run by and for locals, and hence their little need to put any information on the internet. The best way to find out more about them is to ask locals at the jetty directly – they will be able to tell you when they depart and how many people they can take.

The booking process is not easy either. The only website I could find where there’s an available ferry schedule is this one , but even they say they cannot know for sure what is going to happen as they all depend on the weather and various other factors. This means of transportation is perfect for laid-back travelers who don’t care that much about being on time or have a busy schedule.

Finally, there are public ferries operated by the Maldives Transport and Contracting Company (MTCC). These are ideal for those on a budget, as they tend to be cheaper than speed boats, the price being about $1-$5 per way. However, these services can be very slow, so it is best to check the schedule before you commit. Getting to the further atolls and islands can take up to a day, as they also stop at various places along the way, so be prepared to enjoy a long ride.

Public ferries only run 3-6 times weekly, with no service on Friday. This means that if you are trying to travel over the weekend (Saturday and Sunday), you may need to look for other transport options as the public ferries will not run. You can find here the most up-to-date ferry schedule .

Since these ferries are extremely irregular and the information available online is not very up-to-date (they are aimed at local transportation so even if there is information online, it’s not in English), using them for island-hopping can be a challenge, but not at all impossible. The major difficulty is to move from one atoll to the other by ferry, as the ones that spread across multiple atolls are few and far between.

If you’re planning to use public ferries to do island hopping in the Maldives, start by booking your guesthouses (even with free cancelation, if it suits you best). Then, ask the owners how can you get there, and they will tell you all the options. The next step then is to connect the dots by discussing with all the guesthouse hosts who will gladly help you.

Some resorts even allow you to get there by public transportation (sort of). You can, for example, reach Olhuveli Resort from the airport by public ferry until Maafushi ($2 per person) and then get a speedboat transfer with ICom. You will save some money like this, and maybe get to know a bit of the local culture as well.

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Most people reach this tropical paradise by transcontinental flight to the Velana International Airport. Some smaller airlines also use one of the other 5 international airports located all around the archipelago, but these are mostly coming in from Sri Lanka or India.

How many airports are in The Maldives?

There are 6 International airports in the Maldives, and the most important one is known as Male Airport. The islands also have 13 domestic airports where both normal planes and seaplane land and depart.

How much does it cost to travel between islands in the Maldives?

This will depend greatly on the means of transportation available. If you’re using a seaplane transfer, this can cost even more than $500 per person. A private speedboat can cost anything between $50 and $150, and a local ferry ticket is usually around $1-$3 per way. Of course, not all options will be available between every two islands, so keep this in mind when planning your trip.

Can we do island hopping in the Maldives?

Definitely, with proper planning. While it is not as easy as in other countries, island hopping in the Maldives can be done, especially between inhabited islands. If you want to reach resort islands as well, you’ll have to book one of the pricier options though, so keep this in mind when budget planning.

Can you travel between resorts in the Maldives?

Unfortunately, no. Most resorts will only provide you with transportation to and from Male. So if you want to change resorts, you’ll have to use Male as your hub, even if the two resort islands are close to each other. The only other hub that you might make it work with is Maafushi, a local island that’s been intensively visited by tourists lately.

How to travel between islands in the Maldives – The takeaway

Navigating the Maldives can be tricky, but with a bit of research and planning it is possible to find ways to island hop without breaking your budget. From using private ferries operated by locals, to public ferries run by MTCC, or speedboats from resorts – there are plenty of options available depending on what you need.

With this guide in mind and some help from local guesthouse owners, you should have no problem getting around the islands at an affordable price. I hope that now you know how to travel between islands in the Maldives and that it doesn’t feel complicated anymore. Just remember that each option has its advantages and disadvantages so make sure you choose one that best suits your needs!

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I love “How To” posts, they are so helpful! You’ve really simplified the process, so thank you

A great article full of useful info travelling around the Maldives! Hope to visit one day 🙂

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travel between islands in maldives

INDULGE MALDIVES

GUIDE TO ISLAND HOPPING MALDIVES

INDULGE MALDIVES

Want to find out about island hopping Maldives? Wondering how to plan island hopping in Maldives?  Looking for a Maldives island hopping itinerary? Here is our complete guide to all things Maldives island hopping!

At Indulge Maldives we are industry experts in island hopping Maldives. We specialise in creating unique and one-off Maldives island hopping itinerary for our clients, including for Insta-famous Aussie-German Travel Couple  Marie & Jake (1 mil Instagram) and ‘The World’s Most Influential Island Influencer of 2020’ Salty Luxe (425K Instagram).   Island hopping in Maldives is remarkable – everyone should experience once in their lifetime if they can, whether it be on a special honeymoon vacation , family holiday, solo trip or on one of our incredible Maldives island hopping retreats  which we’ve been operating since 2017. Below is our complete guide to Maldives island hopping and moving between tropical isles.  

CAN YOU ISLAND HOP IN MALDIVES?

Yes! Island hopping in Maldives is one of the best ways to truly experience the spectacular natural beauty of the Maldives. You just need a little know how as moving between islands needs to be planned in advance.

WHAT IS ISLAND HOPPING MALDIVES?

travel between islands in maldives

As Maldives has 1,190 islands, it can be hard to choose just one island to visit. Tourists generally like to island hop Maldives and split their precious vacation time over multiple islands. Every island offers a unique holiday experience so combining multiple islands really ensures you get to experience the most of Maldives.

There are four different ways to experience island hopping in Maldives.

1. Staying at multiple budget friendly local islands

2.  Staying at multiple luxury resorts

3. Sailing between islands on board a liveaboard vessel

4. Combining the above ways of island hopping Maldives to really help stretch the holiday budget, maximise travel days and experience all this beautiful tropical nation has to offer.

HOW DO YOU TRAVEL BETWEEN ISLANDS IN MALDIVES?

To travel between islands in Maldives, we would suggest reading our most popular post on how to book Maldives island transfers . It outlines the best methods of island hopping Maldives – how to travel between islands, and the cost of speedboat, domestic flight or seaplane transfers. The mode of transport you need to take for island hopping or resort hopping in Maldives will depend on the distance of your intended holiday island from Malé Airport.

ISLAND HOPPING IN MALDIVES COST

Most people don’t realise how widespread Maldives is  and that the island hopping in Maldives cost can be expensive, with some transfers costing up to $900pp for a return 30min journey. That’s at the extreme end however it is important to take into consideration the cost of expensive transfers when planning to island hop Maldives. You should start with selecting your   local island or resort accommodation   and consider the cost of transfers to each particular island before making your accommodation reservation. The last thing you want to do is end up paying more for transfers than your accommodation itself. Staying at islands close together is also a great tip to reduce cost of Maldives island hopping and will also mean less travel time transiting to the airport and moving between islands, if you can co-ordinate this.

MALDIVES ISLAND HOPPING ITINERARY

travel between islands in maldives

Here at Indulge Maldives we are experts in island hopping Maldives, we have been doing it for years and have been refining our Maldives island hopping itineraries as tourism continues to develop. As travel experts living here in Maldives, we are updated daily with current speedboat, domestic flight & seaplane timings. Did you know it’s not possible to arrive at the airport in Maldives & take a speedboat or ferry? Unfortunately Maldives does’t work this way – all transfers between islands must be pre-booked in advance, accordingly to the limited daily transfer schedules. Let Indulge Maldives help plan your own special and unique Maldives island hopping itinerary, to ensure a smooth, worry-free and unforgettable holiday experience! We don’t charge you anything, simply all our fees are covered in commissions we receive from the hotels, and by booking with us, your are helping to support the economy of Maldives and local Maldivian families. We also donate 1% of each Maldives island hopping itinerary to help feed Maldivian families in need.

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ISLAND HOPPING EXCURSIONS MALDIVES

When it comes to island hopping excursions in Maldives, many locals islands offer the exact same excursions as the luxury resorts, however at a fraction of the price. If you plan to split your Maldives island hopping across both resorts & local islands, our best advice would be to save the excursions for the budget island part of your stay. You will visit the very same dive sites, surfing points, sandbanks etc.

ISLAND HOPPING IN MALDIVES DURING COVID-19

At Indulge Maldives, we understand booking future travels during COVID-19 can bring uncertainty, that’s why we are here to re-assure and support you in making booking your future Maldives travels as easy & flexible as possible. Our COVID-19 policies ensure you won’t lose out on your precious holiday savings. Over the past year and a half, we have successfully been assisting our clients who are unable to travel to Maldives due to COVID-19 factors, by offering free re-schedule of their travel dates, by working closely with our partner hotels and resorts. We’ve also lowered the deposit rate to just 10% & offer free cancellation on some packages. Read more here about our COVID Cancellation Policy & here for the latest up to date COVID travel info & requirements for Maldives.

ISLAND HOPPING PACKAGES IN MALDIVES

3N: WHALE SHARK & MANTA PACKAGE – US$450p.p.
4N: MALDIVES ADVENTURE US$399p.p.

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INDULGE MALDIVES

INDULGE MALDIVES

Indulge Maldives Holidays is an exclusive Maldives Travel Agency. We specialise in both affordable & luxury vacations to Maldives, group style island hopping retreats & surfing holidays. Our Australian Founder & Travel Specialist Kristie has lived in Maldives for almost 8 years & has travelled to over 50 Maldives islands. She works alongside Maldivian locals & takes exceptional care of her clients'​ needs, from planning to departure. Indulge Maldives proudly partners with over 30 local island hotels & 60 Maldives resorts. Our holiday packages start from as little as US$50 per night. Contact Kristie today & let her help you create your dream Maldives vacation, no matter your budget!

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The best ways to get around the Maldives

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travel between islands in maldives

From seaplane to speedboat, here's what you need to know about traveling around in the Maldives © Thomas Barwick / Getty Images © © Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

Velana International Airport in Male  is the gateway for most visitors to the island-nation of the Maldives . As you disembark, take in a delicious blast of salty sea air and glimpse the tantalizing turquoise waters.

The small arrivals hall is almost always packed with representatives from the various resorts, who’ll be holding signs bearing guests’ names, ready to whisk you away via internal flight, seaplane or speedboat. 

The Maldives has 26 atolls and over 1000 islands, so visitors need to consider not only which island they’re heading to, but how they’ll get there and get around. Here’s our guide to help you figure out all things transportation.

A small seaplane beside a wooden dock

Hop on a seaplane

For many visitors to the Maldives, a flight in a seaplane is one of the most spectacular modes of transport when it comes to getting around the islands (although some resorts will require you to hop on a scheduled flight).

The seaplane terminal at Velana International Airport is in a separate building to the international arrivals and departures halls. You’ll be transferred to and from this area by shuttle bus. It’s seriously swanky – it was constructed in 2022 and the four-storey building has private lounges for the majority of resorts requiring seaplane transfers.

Typically, seaplanes have room for around 10 people. Luggage is placed at the rear and passengers will be able to see straight into the cockpit, where the captain will almost certainly be piloting the plane barefoot. Seaplanes are cramped, hot and noisy (you’ll be provided with earplugs), but since they fly at a lower altitude than scheduled routes – the stunning views make these minor discomforts worthwhile.

Bear in mind that seaplanes can’t fly at night. If your resort is near an island with a domestic airport you’ll be transferred onto a scheduled flight to the nearest domestic airport free of charge (you’ll then hop on a speedboat for the remainder of your journey). Depending on the location of your resort, expect to pay between $290 and $700 for a roundtrip seaplane flight. The operator you’re most likely to fly with is Trans Maldivian Airways , which owns the world’s largest seaplane fleet.

A small speedboat departs from a tiny island where people are gathered

Take a speedboat

If your resort refers to a speedboat transfer (which will always be included in the nightly resort rate) erase any images of tiny boats bouncing across the waves as you struggle to stay upright. The majority of these vessels bear more resemblance to yachts, with large, covered areas, kitted out with sofas, a television and food and drink stations. You’ll likely be presented with a welcome drink and cold towel upon boarding. And bonus: many resorts use the journey as an opportunity to get the check-in paperwork out the way!

Transfer times vary depending on your resort’s location, but can be between 20 minutes and one hour. Make sure you soak up the view from the deck – it’s highly likely you’ll spot various marine creatures, including the dolphins often seen frolicking in the waves close to Velana International Airport.

Book a scheduled inter-island flight

As an island nation, the Maldives has several (13, at the last count) domestic airports. The airlines which fly to these islands – many of which are in remote areas – are lifelines for locals and allow tourists to reach resorts inaccessible by speedboat. Although seaplanes are an option to reach remote resorts, scheduled flights are often cheaper – especially when it comes to getting around the Maldives with a family .

Popular regional airlines in the Maldives include Maldivian Airlines and Manta Air . Scheduled flights are cheaper than seaplane flights, with an average cost of between $150 to $550, depending on your destination, and flight times for both scheduled and seaplane flights range from 20 minutes to 90 minutes. Transportation costs in the Maldives are generally higher on account of a small number of airlines operating in the country and the smaller size of planes (scheduled flights will typically be on planes which carry  a maximum of around 70 people).

Two adults ride two bicycles with children on the back on a path through a green space lined with palm trees

Hop on a bike or a golf buggy

Although most Maldives resorts are on islands you can easily walk around in under an hour, some resorts will have a fleet of bicycles for guests to ride, and the golf buggies used by staff to take luggage to villas can also be summoned by guests. Typically, buggy pick-ups can be arranged by telephoning reception, although guests can also hail passing buggies they spot driving around the island.

Explore further afield via yachts, boats and liveaboards

Once you’re on your chosen resort island, don't think you’re stuck there! A growing number of resorts offer excursions to nearby islands, including trips to local community islands designed to provide a deeper insight into the region. Some resorts even have yachts for guests to charter for multi-night excursions to other atolls.

If you’ve got cash to splash, consider a private charter. The Soneva in Aqua , for example, is a yacht mostly used for short excursions booked by guests staying at the Soneva Fushi and Soneva Jani resorts, two sister resorts which are just a few miles apart. However, like other resort-owned yachts, it can also be privately chartered for multi-night jaunts around the Maldives, not just to local islands but to atolls hundreds of miles away.

Additionally, several small cruise lines also offer trips around the Maldives, allowing passengers to spend a few hours each day on some of the region’s more luxurious resorts (most of which offer day passes). Some cruise lines to check out include Intrepid , Ponant and Explora Journeys .

A great way to explore the islands is via liveaboard – a boat with onboard accommodation. Divers often opt to spend a week or two on these, exploring remote atolls where there are few resorts.

Accessible travel is lacking in the Maldives

The Maldives has a long way to go when it comes to accessibility. Guide dogs are banned (as is private ownership of dogs throughout the country) and there are only a few air bridges at the airport, which means disembarking via the stairs is the most common option. However, special assistance is available at Male airport (contact your airline in advance).

Public ferries are harder for those in wheelchairs with no staff on hand to help or ramps for wheelchair users. Always let your resort know about your accessibility needs in advance, but be aware the Maldives – a place consisting of thousands of sandy islands, most of which have no roads or paved footpaths – can be a tricky destination for travelers in wheelchairs.

This article was first published Dec 14, 2021 and updated Feb 24, 2024.

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Best Time to Visit

Weather & Climate

Male International Airport Guide

Top Romantic Resorts

Sustainable Resorts

Top Things to Do

Best Beaches

Snorkeling & Diving

Nature Experiences

Food to Try

Best Restaurants

Your Trip to the Maldives: The Complete Guide

travel between islands in maldives

Made up of nearly 1,200 coral islands strung north to south in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is one of the most popular beach destinations on the planet. Known for world-class diving, miles of empty white-sand beaches, and resorts oozing with luxury, the Maldives isn’t always the most budget-friendly destination (though bargains can be found). But if you’re looking for mind-blowing sunsets, sugary sand, and the most turquoise water you’ve ever seen, break out your credit card and book a flight. Read on for our complete Maldives visitor’s guide, and learn the best places to stay, eat, dive, and explore in this spectacular tropical locale.

Planning Your Trip

Best Time To Visit: In true tropical island style, temperatures in the Maldives average 83 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius) year-round, and there are only two main seasons; dry and wet. The dry season comes in fall and winter, from November through April, with temperatures ranging from 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) to 89 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius). The low, monsoon season runs from May through October, with the wettest month usually falling in June. Temperatures in the rainy season range from 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 degrees Celsius) to 87 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius).

Getting Around: As an island nation spread across hundreds of miles of the ocean, it’s only natural that boats are the country’s transport mainstay, so prepare your sea legs (or Dramamine). For those staying near the capital or attempting a more budget holiday, ferries are offered between some of the more populated islands in the Malé Atoll capital area. Speedboat taxis can be hired for short-distance island hopping, and private resort speedboats whisk guests away to properties in the immediate vicinity. For resorts set in distant atolls, further transport will be via seaplane or a domestic flight to one of the more far-flung airports followed by speedboat transfer to the resort.

Travel Tip: Many visitors to the Maldives must travel by seaplane to reach their final destination, so it’s important to note that seaplanes only operate during daylight hours. If your flight arrives after dark, consider staying at a nearby hotel on either Hulhulé Island or in nearby Malé city.

Things to Do

This is a country surrounded by water, water, and more water, so it's only natural that water sports have emerged as the leading activity in the Maldives. Landlubbers can bask in the sun on deserted sandbanks, or perhaps spend the day in one of the dozens of spas dotted at upmarket resorts throughout the nation.

  • Diving: Some of the world's best diving can be found in the Maldives' coral atolls. Spot whale sharks and manta rays from May through November in the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, or dive deep with octopi and reef sharks to explore some of the area's famed shipwrecks.
  • Water sports: Snorkeling, stand-up paddle, surfing, windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, and every other water sport imaginable are available year-round. Most resorts include access to non-motorized water sports equipment, and the larger populated islands generally have water sports rental facilities.
  • Spa experiences: The Maldives is home to some of the most indulgent hotel spas in the world. These havens of tranquility offer everything from Thai massages set in overwater villas, to underwater treatment rooms, to complete detox, rejuvenation, or restoration packages. Most resorts have a spa on the property, so it's only a matter of choosing which will best suit your budget and relaxation desires.
  • Nothing: Perhaps the ultimate activity of all in the Maldives is doing absolutely nothing. This definition of "nothing" means laying on a sun lounger on one of the country's best beaches , staring into the sea-green distance while sipping ice-cold coconut water and reading a novel.

What to Eat and Drink

Maldivian cuisine borrows mainly from India and Sri Lanka, which both highlight hot, spicy flavors. But in the Maldives, what you’ll eat largely depends on where you stay. High-end resorts offer a variety of a la carte local and international fare in a host of luxurious settings, including in overwater and underwater restaurants .

Budget resorts are more likely to provide buffet meals with both Western and Asian options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are also small local eateries and cafes on many of the inhabited islands, purveying specialties such as fish cakes, soups, and curries.

Alcohol is prohibited in the Maldives (except for tourists at licensed hotels and resorts), so don’t expect to wash down your curry with a beer in any of the local establishments. Many of the more upmarket resorts, however, have full bars, and even wine cellars with hundreds of vintages to choose from.

Where to Stay

If visitors stay in the city of Malé, it’s rarely for more than one night, as there’s not much going on in the capital other than commerce, a few restaurants, and a museum or two. Most visitors stay in one of the dozens of resorts, which are often set on private islands in one of the country’s myriad coral atolls.

Accommodations vary widely in the Maldives, from rustic local guesthouses to some of the world’s most expensive resorts. If you’re on a budget, there are a handful of guesthouses and small hotels in many of the inhabited islands, such as in the North Malé Atoll or Ari Atoll.

There are also a variety of all-inclusive resorts, which range widely in quality. Check out Adaaran Prestige Vadoo , which is only 20 minutes by speedboat from the airport and has overwater villas with private pools, or the chic design and five restaurants at LUX* South Ari Atoll .

The Maldives’ lineup of five-star resorts are the stuff holiday dreams are made of. Postcard-perfect beaches, overwater villas, serene spas, and private butlers are only a taste of what to expect should you choose to splurge. Some of the most popular (and expensive) options include chains such as the Four Seasons , St. Regis , and the Six Senses , plus properties like Soneva Jani , which features massive overwater villas with private pools and waterslides, or Huvafen Fushi Maldives which has the world’s first and only underwater spa.

Getting There

The gateway to the Maldives is Velana International Airport (MLE), formerly Malé International Airport, which is set on an island adjacent to the capital city of Malé. Upon arrival, the best transport mode depends on where you’re staying. A bridge connects the airport (on Hulhulé Island) to adjacent Malé city, or there are taxis, speedboat taxis, and regularly scheduled (though not always on time) ferries.

The Maldives’ seafaring past and Indian Ocean location means the remote country has been heavily influenced by its closest neighbors, India and Sri Lanka, as well as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Africa. Many visitors will only see the surroundings of their chosen resort, but the Maldives possesses cultural treasures on the local islands and in Malé that are also worth exploring.

  • One of the oldest mosques in the Maldives is the Malé Hukuru Miskiy, or Old Friday Mosque, which was built from ornately carved coral in 1658. The mosque is set on Hulhulé Island, an easy taxi ride from the airport.
  • The Maldives National Museum in Malé is a compact yet illuminating repository for the country’s prized artifacts. Displays range from ancient to modern times and contain everything from religious carvings to whale skeletons to lacquered wood boxes handmade by Maldivian craftspeople.
  • Across Sultan Park from The Maldives National Museum is The National Art Gallery. Established in 1999, this relatively new museum houses collections of Maldivian art from both past and present.

Money-Saving Tips

  • May through October is monsoon season in much of Southeast Asia, and the Maldives is no exception. Although summer can sometimes bring heavy rainfall and severe storms, most often there are only afternoon showers, and risking a visit during these monsoon months (particularly June, considered the wettest month) means deep discounts compared to visiting the country during the peak season.
  • Since alcohol is heavily taxed and marked-up in the Maldives, a drinks bill at the end of your trip can pose a hefty surprise. To keep the holiday stress-free and the umbrella drinks coming, consider choosing an all-inclusive package if you plan to indulge in adult libations during your stay.

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Maldives Itinerary: The Ultimate Guide to Local Islands and Resort Islands

Maldives itinerary.

Maldives Itinerary

Close your eyes and imagine a tropical paradise. What do you see? White sand beaches, crystal clear waters and swaying palm trees? Well we found Paradise – Maldives! I had the impression that it’s an overhyped and overpriced destination but I was wrong. The hype is totally worth it. We’ve island hopped in the Mediterranean, Indonesia and Thailand but Maldives has hands down the clearest waters we’ve seen. The marine life in particular is unbelievable. With over 200 islands to choose from, narrowing down on a few islands was a struggle. Even more since we wanted to combine both local islands and a resort island. Are you planning to visit Maldives and not sure which island to visit? Don’t worry, we’ve been there. We hope this Maldives itinerary helps you plan an ultimate trip to the Maldives whether it’s locals islands, a resort island or a combination of both.

Table of Contents

Our 10 day Maldives Itinerary

Maldives itinerary day 1 – hulhumale.

Although we could have taken a speedboat to a far away local island, we decided to spend the night in Hulhumalé after landing in Male airport.

We purchased a local sim card and some local currency (Maldivian Rufiyaa) from Velana International Airport. The Dhiraagu Traveller Plus sim card cost USD 35. It gave 150 mins local calls and SMS and 17 GB data, valid for 30 days. Basically this was the cheapest option and as all the guest houses and resorts have wifi, this was sufficient. By and large, Maldives is an expensive country so do bear that in mind.

Hulhumale is an artificial island located near Malé, the capital city of the Maldives. It’s worth visiting if you’re interested in seeing another side of the country, as it offers a unique blend of modern city life and traditional Maldivian culture.

We pretty much walked around the city the whole day, explored the sights, and got a feel of the local Maldivian life. This is something we enjoy doing and even more so on the first day. After all, it’s an excellent way to get an immersive experience of a new city.

travel between islands in maldives

How to reach Hulhumale?

We booked an airport pick up via our hotel as we wanted the first bit of our trip to be seamless. Though this tends to be pricey, we always opt for this option on our first day in a country we aren’t familiar with. We started doing this after a few unpleasant experiences in South East Asia. It cost us USD 20 from Male airport to our hotel in Hulhumale. However if you take a taxi from outside the airport it will cost you around USD 10.

Things to do in Hulhumale

  • Hulhumale Beach: Hulhumale has a picturesque beach. Surprisingly the water was clear despite it being a city beach.
  • Explore the Hulhumale Mosque: The Hulhumale Mosque is a beautiful and historic mosque located in the heart of the island. Also, it is one of the largest mosques in the Maldives and is known for its beautiful architecture and design.
  • Central Park: Hulhumale’s Central Park is a lush green space in the centre of the island, offering a perfect spot for picnics and relaxation. Additionally it has the largest musical fountain ever built in the Maldives. Visit it during sunset for a leisurely stroll like the locals. Children especially will have a gala time.
  • Cafe / Restaurant hopping: Hulhumale has several restaurants offering a variety of local and international cuisine. We had dinner at the Amber Beach Hotel . The food was average but the rooftop restaurant had splendid sea views.
  • Water sports: Finally water activities. There are several operators offering snorkelling, diving, island visits and so on. We wouldn’t recommend you to do these in Hulhumale as the local islands are way more scenic.

Where to stay in Hulhumale?

Choose any hotel on the beach road. It was just a night stay for us therefore we chose a budget option at Chen Beach Hotel . It amounted to USD 75 with breakfast. Overall we were happy with the room, service and breakfast. Furthermore the airport pick up was smooth and they arranged for a local taxi back to Male. The other hotels that we were considering were Season Holidays and H78 Maldives .

Average price per night: USD 75 – USD 150

Is it worth going to Hulhumale?

Summing up, we enjoyed our time in Hulhumale. It’s not the classic Maldives that you think of, so if you have limited time, don’t include it in your Maldives itinerary. All in all, it’s good for a wee stop-over near the airport to get an insight about the local life in Maldives.

Maldives Itinerary Day 2 to Day 4 – Ukulhas

Our final Maldives itinerary took months of research to finalise. Chiefly because we wanted to explore 2 local islands, 1 resort island along with Hulhumale and Male. As for the local islands, our main criteria was – it should be scenic, quiet and have an excellent beach. Additionally, it shouldn’t be too far from Male. Given these points and after reading 100’s of blogs and watching several youtube videos, we chose Ukulhas.

Bikini beach at Ukulhas, Maldives

Why choose Ukulhas?

  • Beautiful beach – It has one of the largest and undeniably the most beautiful bikini beaches on a local island in Maldives. The beach is over 1 km long and there are plenty of sun beds and umbrellas. Moreover the beach is regularly cleaned and didn’t feel crowded even in peak season. In fact lot of secluded spots that will make it feel like your own private beach.
  • Excellent house reef – Meanwhile the house reef is excellent for snorkelling. We saw huge schools of a wide variety of fish.
  • Quiet island – By and large it had the typical laidback, quiet island feeling.
  • Sustainable tourism – It is one of the most environmental friendly islands in the Maldives. For instance single use plastic is banned so you won’t find any plastic waste on the island.
  • Hotels with beach access – Several hotels have direct access to the beach but only a few have sea view. Given that, a direct beach access from our guest house was fantastic.
  • Local culture – Ukulhas is not as developed as some of the other more touristy islands in the Maldives so still pretty much a hidden paradise.
  • Great island for families – All in all this island is a perfect place for young families as the distance from the beach to hotels is a maximum of 100 m and the waters are shallow.
  • Clean island – We walked all around the island and didn’t see any garbage. Certainly one of the cleanest local islands in the Maldives.

How to reach Ukulhas?

We took a speedboat from Male airport to Ukulhas. It costs USD 50 per head and takes around 2 hours. They run everyday.

There timing are as follows:

  • Velana International Airport to Ukulhas : 10:30 ​
  • Velana International Airport to Ukulhas : 16:30 
  • Ukulhas / Rasdhoo / Airport : 07:00 
  • Ukulhas / Rasdhoo / Airport : 13:00

Your guesthouse / hotel will arrange your speedboat transfer if you inform them about your arrival time at least a few days before your trip. You need to pay the speedboat captain directly.

There are public ferries operating as well, although they run only twice every week. It takes 4 hours instead of 2.

Male to Ukulhas – Every Monday and Thursday – at 9:00 am from Hulhumale Ferry Terminal in Male. Tickets can be purchased for 5 USD from Hulhumale Ferry Terminal.

Ukulhas to Male – Every Sunday and Wednesday – 9:45 am from Ukulhas Jetty. Tickets can be purchased inside the Ferry. No pre-reservation is required.

Additionally, you can check out the Atoll Transfer website to check and book ferries and speedboats to chalk your Maldives itinerary.

Maldives itinerary

Where to stay in Ukulhas?

  • SeaLaVie Inn – We stayed at SeaLaVie, a small 5 bedroom guest house in the quiet part of Ukulhas. The room was spacious and sparkling clean. Best part of course was the location, just a minute walk to the bikini beach. We took the half board package which overall was a good deal. Breakfast was served at SeaLaVie and dinner was at Fisherman’s boat restaurant. We loved the traditional Maldivian breakfast as well as the buffet dinner. You can book your stay here – Book SeaLavie Price: USD 320 for a couple for 3 nights including breakfast and dinner.
  • Ranthari Hotel and Spa – If you are looking for a luxury hotel with a pool then consider Ranthari. This is especially amazing if you want to get a slice of luxury on a local island. Since we had a resort island booked we preferred a more local guest house experience. You can book your stay here – Book Ranthari

Ukulhas is surely not the cheapest local island. You’d find hotels and activities at a fraction of this cost in islands like Maafushi but after reading about over tourism there, we thought its best to avoid them.

Where to eat in Ukulhas?

  • Fisherman’s Boat – We had all our dinners here as it was part of our half board plan. The buffet spread was great with cut fruits, breads, meat, veg and desserts. Moreover there was a decent vegetarian spread as well.
  • Sapore Restaurant & Pizzeria – Another wonderful option in case you are bored of rice and noodles everyday.

To sum up we loved Ukulhas and it is undoubtedly our favourite local island. We highly recommend you to add this to your Maldives itinerary.

Maldives Itinerary Day 5 and 6 – Rasdhoo

We hopped on a 15 minute speed boat from Ukulhas to Rasdhoo. We chose Rasdhoo as it was on the same atoll and easy to get to from Ukulhas.

travel between islands in maldives

Why choose Rasdhoo?

  • Accessibility – Situated in North Ari Atoll, 60 km west of Male, it’s just an hour and half speedboat ride away which in particular makes it convenient travel wise.
  • Good budget option – In general we found the accommodation and food options to be cheaper than Ukulhas.
  • Snorkeling – Rasdhoo is excellent for snorkelling around the house reef even though we preferred the bikini beach at Ukulhas.
  • Sandbank and uninhabited islands nearby – A 5 minute boat ride from Rasdhoo island, lies silky white sandbank surrounded by turquoise waters at Madivaru Finolhu. In essence this is the main draw of Rashdoo and can be a unique experience.
  • Dolphin safari – Between Rasdhoo and Thoddoo there is a place where a group of dolphins gather in the evenings. Certainly worth doing this as well.

How to reach Rasdhoo?

We took a 10 min speedboat from Ukulhas to Rasdhoo at 7:00 am. Price is USD 10 per head.

The speedboat timings are as follows. They run everyday.

  • Velana International Airport to Rasdhoo : 10:30 ​
  • Velana International Airport to Rasdhoo : 16:00
  • Rasdhoo / Airport : 07:30 
  • Rasdhoo / Airport : 13:30

Male to Rasdhoo – Every Monday and Thursday – at 9:00 am from Hulhumale Ferry Terminal in Male. Tickets can be purchased for 3.50 USD from Hulhumale Ferry Terminal.

Rasdhoo to Male – Every Sunday and Wednesday – 9:45 am from Ukulhas Jetty. Tickets can be purchased inside the Ferry. No pre-reservation is required.

Your guest house / hotel will arrange your transfer.

Where to stay in Rasdhoo?

  • Acqua Blu Rasdhoo – Clean budget guesthouse with friendly staff. Great location and they offer several activities as well.
  • Holiday Garden Rasdhoo – Another hotel with good reviews that you could consider.

Where to eat in Rasdhoo?

  • Lemon Drop – Quiet restaurant with a lovely vibe. We had pizzas and some refreshments.
  • Alimente – Cool spot for coffee and cakes

To summarise, Rasdhoo ticks all the boxes for a budget Maldivian getaway with superb excursions and activities. A fab option for your Maldives itinerary.

Maldives Itinerary Day 7 to 10 – Centara Grand Island Resort and Spa

Centara Grand Island Resort and Spa, Maldives

A 5 star resort island, an overwater villa, endless views of crystal clear turquoise waters, high quality food and a taste of ultimate luxury – this is the quintessential Maldivian holiday of dreams. Our Maldives itinerary felt truly complete with this experience. To clarify we are not luxury travellers but decided to splurge for this experience. Was it worth it?

Read our detailed blog post about resort islands here – Coming soon! Watch this space.

Best resort islands in the Maldives

Check out all the details here – Coming soon!

Maldives Itinerary Day 11 – Male

We spent our final day in Male before flying back home the next afternoon. Male is the capital and the biggest city of Maldives. It’s a wonderful way to understand how real life in Maldives looks like.

Male capital city of Maldives

Things to do in Male

  • Visit the mosques – Visit the Hukuru Miskiy and King Salman mosques to get a glimpse of Maldivian architecture.
  • Tsunami Monument – The memorial was built to pay homage to the victims of a tsunami that hit Maldives in 2004. It was peaceful during sunset.
  • National Museum – This museum has a collection of artefacts dating back to the pre-Islamic period of the Maldives.
  • Local Market – Walk around the bustling local markets to experience the local culture.
  • Try local cuisine – Try the delicious seafood, coconut-based dishes, and traditional curries.
  • Relax on the beach – Go for a leisurely walk on the 2 artificial beaches in Male. It’s definitely not as pretty as the ones in faraway islands but worth visiting nonetheless.

Is it worth visiting Male?

You could definitely spend a day to understand the local culture if you have the time. If you are visiting for less than a week, then skip it from your Maldives itinerary. It’s good for an overnight pit-stop before or after your trip to the local / resort islands.

Where to stay in Male?

Since we just had a night we chose a budget hotel The Grand View . Small, basic clean room, no complaints. Other hotels that we considered were Manhattan Business Hotel and The Somerset Hotel .

Hope you find our Maldives itinerary helpful to plan your holiday. Read along for more tips for Maldives.

Maldives FAQ’s

Best local islands in the maldives.

If you have around 10-12 days in the Maldives, you can include 2-3 islands in your Maldives itinerary. Our top picks for local islands are Ukulhas, Rasdhoo, Fulidhoo, Dhigurah, Hanimaadhoo and Vaadhoo. Then again, Dhigurah, Vaadhoo and Hanimaadhoo are very far from Male so choose wisely. The following tips will help you select the islands of your choice.

How to choose a local island in Maldives?

Choosing a local island can be a unique way to experience the Maldives. But with over a 100 local islands to choose from, narrowing down to 2 was not easy. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a local island:

Best local island in Maldives

  • Distance from Male: Consider the location of the island in relation to the capital city of Male and other islands you may want to visit. Distances can be large so this will affect the travel time as well as budget.
  • Accommodation options: Choose an island based on the accommodation options available to suit your budget and preferences. Some local islands may have guesthouses, hotels, or resorts, while others may only have a few basic options. Some islands are more expensive than others so compare before booking.
  • Activities: Consider the activities available on the island and nearby areas. Some local islands are famous for snorkelling, diving, surfing, or other water sports, while others may have more cultural or historical attractions to explore.
  • Accessibility: Check the transportation options to the island, including ferries, speedboats, and domestic flights. Some islands may be more difficult to access than others.
  • Budget: Finally, consider your budget as it has to cover the costs for island transfer, accommodation, food and activities. Local islands are more affordable than staying at a resorts, but the costs are not uniform across islands.

We enjoyed Ukulhas and Rasdhoo and strongly suggest to include at least 1 local island in your Maldives itinerary.

How to do Maldives on a budget?

The first image that comes to mind while thinking of Maldives is that of ultimate luxury – sipping champagne in an infinity pool from an over water villa. Of course this experience is unique and wonderful but it’s not the only way to explore Maldives. Most important, luxury resorts are insanely expensive. Since we stayed in both local and resort islands, we can vouch that both were equally special. But if budget is the constraint, then the following tips will help to plan a trip to the Maldives without breaking the bank.

Maldives on a budget

1) Choose local island / islands

The local islands in the Maldives officially opened for tourism in 2009, when the Maldivian government introduced a guesthouse program to promote tourism outside of the resort islands. Stay in a guesthouses on local islands instead of expensive resort islands.

2) Travel cheaper

Opt for local transport: Instead of taking seaplanes or speedboats to get around, consider taking the public ferry. While they may be slower, they are much more affordable than private transfers. For example: A speedboat cost USD 10 from Ukulhas to Rasdhoo whereas the local ferry cost just USD 1. Although keep in mind that public ferries do not run everyday so plan your trip accordingly.

3) Eat local

Eat at local restaurants: Instead of dining at fancy restaurants, try local cafes and restaurants, which offer delicious food at affordable prices.

4) Research activities and compare prices

Book excursions and activities directly with local providers: Scout for local providers for activities. Booking through hotels can be more expensive. If your main reason for traveling to Maldives is diving then hunt around for the best diving package deal in advance of your trip. Many guesthouses offer deals for stay and dive packages.

5) Choose your island wisely

The Maldives is made up of 26 natural atolls and each atoll has several islands. Some atolls are very far from Male so a speedboat transfer will be more expensive. Local ferry can take over 5-6 hrs and if you choose local islands in different atolls, you will have to come back to Male and take another speedboat / ferry. There are no direct transfers. From what we researched, the activities in the faraway islands like Dhigurah were more expensive than the others so factor this in as well. Lastly some islands like Maafushi, Fulidhoo have a better tourism infrastructure so tend to be cheaper.

6) Bring your own snorkelling gear

Most resorts and guesthouses offer masks, snorkels, fins and other motorised water-sports equipment to guests free of cost but for hygiene reasons it’s best to take your own snorkeling masks. We highly recommend getting the Easybreath Dive mask from Decathlon . This was one of our best purchases for sure.

7) Visit in low season

Some people suggest visiting Maldives in the off-season. This would certainly cut down your budget like anything. The resort island offer wonderful deals and are almost half price. But we read some awful experiences of storms and rains for the entire duration if the trip so it’s definitely a risk.

Best resorts in Maldives

When is the best time to visit Maldives?

November to April tends to be the best time for Maldives.

We visited in February and it was perfect – February and March are the driest months, with warm temperatures, low humidity and great visibility for diving and snorkelling. However this is peak season so the priciest months too. Book in advance to get a fair deal.

What is the cheapest month to visit Maldives?

May to September is the rainy season so high chances of cloudy days and storms but the cheapest time to visit Maldives. Resorts have amazing deals during this period and you can save a lot of money but bear in mind that the weather can be terrible and ruin your idea of a sunny beach vacay.

Do you need a visa to visit the Maldives?

Tourist visa is granted for all nationalities on arrival to the Maldives including Indian citizens. All you need is your passport, hotel reservations and a copy of traveller declaration on IMUGA .

Is vegetarian food available in the Maldives?

Plant based cuisine may sound like an anomaly in an island know for fresh sea food but certainly things are better now. If you decide to book a vegan luxury escape to the Maldives it’s best to contact your resort in advance to tell them you are vegan. Most local islands have vegetarian options as well.

Which island in Maldives has Bioluminescence?

Maldives trip

After sunset the turquoise waters of Maldives transformed into glittering sea of stars. It was a surreal display of light and motion with the whole ocean dancing and sparkling. This magical effect is caused by bioluminescent plankton that often appear in warm coastal waters. We were extremely lucky to witness this phenomenon in February in Ukulhas island.

They are notoriously difficult to predict, and mainly occur most often far out in the ocean so seeing them on the beach was other worldly. They say the best time to see bioluminescence is in between June and November but it’s difficult to plan a Maldives itinerary around this.

Top 10 things to do in the Maldives

1) free activities like snorkelling, swimming, walking along the wonderful beaches.

Maldives is one of the most amazing places for snorkelling with some of the best reefs in the world. Best part is that you don’t need to go deep to see the marine life which is especially fantastic for non-swimmers.

The Maldives has an abundance of marine life and the crystal clear waters offer incredible visibility. It’s one of the top scuba diving destinations with many affordable PADI dive centers where you can take a discovery dive if you are not certified. Scuba Diving cost in Maldives (approx): $70 to $150 per dive. Some of you probably would want to plan your whole Maldives itinerary around diving so best to check islands and operators offering good deals.

3) Sandbank visit

Most guesthouses and resorts offer sandbank excursions, which can include a picnic lunch, snorkelling gear, and a guide. It costs around $60-$120 depending on the group size and island you do it from.

4) Dolphin tours / sunset tours

You can go on a dolphin watching tour to see friendly dolphins. Cost around $100 per head. Even if you don’t go on a tour, do not miss the sunset. The sunsets are to die for.

5) Island hopping

You can hop around different islands as part of your Maldives itinerary especially if it’s a longer trip.

Maldives sunset

When you think of the Maldives, it’s probably the white sand beaches, turquoise waters and a relaxing holiday. You’ll find a spa in almost every island even the local ones. All resort islands have wellness centres with stunning views of the ocean. We did it in Male as the prices were affordable.

7) Over Water bungalow

As the name suggests, overwater bungalows are standalone bungalows positioned over the water. This is what the most people dream of when they think of a dream vacation. It’s insanely expensive but surely worth splurging for the once-in -a-lifetime kind of experience. Most packages are for a 3 nights stay so if you can afford it, add it to your Maldives itinerary.

Maldives is known to have some of the best beaches in the world. It’s the perfect tropical getaway.

9) Cultural Experiences

Resorts often organise tours to the local islands for experiencing local culture, food and the Maldivian way of life. However, you don’t need this if you stay in a local island.

10) Water sports

Lastly, Maldives is an incredible destination for indulging in some fun water activities. After all it has the most inviting waters and there is something for everyone – from peaceful kayaking to the adrenalin pumping flyboarding.

What to pack for the Maldives?

Maldives itinerary

Maldives is a Muslim country and the local islands (including Male) have a dress code therefore it’s offensive to reveal your shoulders and knees for both men and women. Men and Women can wear knee length shorts and t-shirts. You can wear swimwear and bikinis only in the designated bikini beaches in the local islands. Resort islands have no dress code so you can wear anything.

We went to a couple of local stores in Male and the islands. The swimwear and snorkelling gear were very expensive. With this in mind, do get clothes and swimwear before getting here.

  • Summer Dresses
  • Beach cover-ups
  • Shorts and T-shirts
  • Resort wear
  • Snorkeling gear
  • Scarf to cover up for the conservative local islands
  • Motion sickness tablets (speedboats can get very bumpy)
  • Flip flops and Dive shoes

What not to take in the Maldives?

Alcohol – Sale and consumption of alcohol is prohibited in local islands and it is strictly forbidden to bring alcohol into the Maldives. All bags are scanned at the airport so do not purchase from duty free when flying into Maldives. Alcoholic drinks are only available on resort islands.

Our Maldives trip budget breakdown

  • Do note that we didn’t dive or do any motorised activities. This will considerably increase the budget.

In conclusion, we hope you enjoyed reading our Maldives itinerary and guide. We’d love to hear from you so if you have any questions, leave us a comment below. Do share our guide with family and friends 🙂

Looking for a beach destination in India, check out our blog post from Goa . Do follow our travels on instagram too 🙂

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15 Best Islands In The Maldives + Maldives Travel Guide

Disclaimer: Some posts on Tourism Teacher may contain affiliate links. If you appreciate this content, you can show your support by making a purchase through these links or by buying me a coffee . Thank you for your support!

What are the best islands in the Maldives for snorkelling? How about diving? Which are the best areas for families to head for? What about if you are travelling to the Maldives on a budget? And of course there are the many people who head to the Maldives each year for their honeymoon! The Maldives is a dream destination for many and is a very well-known honeymoon destination for couples. If you’re lucky enough to be visiting the Maldives, then read on to find out about the best islands in the Maldives to visit!

Tourism in the Maldives

Where are the maldives, how many islands are there in the maldives, map of the maldives, the best time of year to visit the maldives, the best places to stay in the maldives, essential items to pack for your trip to the maldives, kandolhu island, vilamendhoo, maaya thila, kandooma thila, mushimasmingili thila, bandos island, hulhumale island, machchafushi island, thulusdhoo island, dhigurah island, dhiffushi island, fihalhohi , biyadhoo island, villingili island, best islands in the maldives – further reading.

Best islands in the Maldives

The Maldives are one of the best-known luxury destinations in the world, and many people dream of visiting it. In fact, in 2019, the Maldives had 1.7 million tourists visit, according to the official tourism board of the Maldives – the Ministry of Tourism . The average length of stay was six days, and the top 5 countries inbound tourists were from were: China , Italy , India , Russia and the UK . 52.34% of tourists were female, and 47.66% were males, which is about an equal amount of tourists. This is most likely due to the Maldives being best known as a honeymoon destination, so therefore most of the couples would be heterosexual as, unfortunately, homosexuality is illegal in the Maldives .

Best islands in the Maldives

If you want to travel somewhere safe, then the Maldives is for you as it’s one of the safest destinations in the world. The island resorts are specifically the safest as they are isolated from elsewhere and have very good security. Additionally, if you hate walking up hills, then the Maldives is a great choice as it holds the record for being the flattest country in the world – so biking here is perfect.

There are three main ways to get between islands in the Maldives; these are by seaplane, domestic flight or by boat. The main airport in the Maldives is Velana International Airport (VIA), which flies to 18 domestic and international airports in the country. Most flights to Velana International Airport are from India , Sri Lanka, Doha, Dubai, Singapore and Istanbul. The airport is located near the capital of the Maldives, Malé, and can be accessed by bridge or by ferry.

Where are the Maldives? The Maldives is located in South Asia, in the Indian Ocean . It is about 430 miles away from the mainland of India and Sri Lanka. It is the smallest country in South Asia, and all of the islands in the Maldives make up about 115 sq miles in total.

Best islands in the Maldives

How many islands are there in the Maldives? There are a whopping 1,192 islands in the Maldives; however, only 187 are inhabited. An inhabited island is counted as an island with a town, village, fishing or farming community, an island office, and an island chief. In the Maldives, an uninhabited island can be counted as an island with no humans permanently living there. Although, an uninhabited island can be used for tourist resorts or for agricultural and industrial purposes.

Some islands in the Maldives have also disappeared due to natural causes, usually rising sea levels or from being eroded away. Over 100 islands have disappeared in total.

The biggest islands in the Maldives are: Gan-Maandhoo, Hithadhoo, Fuvahmulah, Hulhumalé and Hulhumeedhoo.

Best islands in the Maldives

What is the best time of the year to visit the Maldives? Luckily, the Maldives is a year-round destination as the weather is relatively always good. For instance, the hottest month is usually April, where the temperature is around 28-31°C, and there is only 6.9cm of rainfall. The wettest month is generally August, as rainfall is around 23.87cm due to the summer months also being monsoon season in the Maldives. The coldest months are August – January, where temperatures are around 27-29°C – so as you can see, it’s not really too cold!

Best islands in the Maldives

Due to all of this, to same a more specific best time of year to visit the Maldives, then it would be recommended to visit between November and April, as this is when the weather will be warm, and there will be fewer rainy days.

Best islands in the Maldives

Where are the best places to stay in the Maldives? The Maldives has so many unique places to stay, but here are some of the most exceptional places to stay that will guarantee you the getaway of a lifetime:

  • Holiday Village Retreat – This stunning retreat is located in Bodufolhudhoo, so you will be surrounded by beauty! It offers beachfront views, a restaurant serving the finest foods, and a 24-hour reception. Each room comes with a well-equipped ensuite with complimentary luxury amenities, an HD TV, comfortable beds and a seating area to relax in.
  • Dhigali Maldives – A stay here is one that you will be sure to remember for a lifetime. The resort has plenty to offer to guests, such as a spa for guests to unwind in, a tropical garden, and plenty of activities such as snorkelling and windsurfing. Every room at the resort comes with drinks-making facilities, a powerful shower and a big bath for you to soak in, and a seating area to relax in. It’s one of the best places to stay in the Maldives!
  • Ellaidhoo Maldives by Cinnamon – Located on Alifu Alifu Atoll, this island paradise will make you never want to leave! Guests here can enjoy a modern and cosy guest house all to themselves, an infinity pool, fitness centre, spa and a restaurant with delicious cuisine to suit every taste! Each guest house comes with beautiful ocean views, a flat-screen TV, and semi-outdoor bathrooms – you will have never stayed in such an amazing place before.
  • Kuredu Island Resort & Spa – Offering outstanding facilities for guests to enjoy, such as a private beach and water sports facilities, a stay at this resort is one of the best places to stay in the Maldives. Every room has a mini bar, seating area, en-suite with a hot tub and luxury amenities to pamper yourself with. There are lots of activities that guests can partake in also, like golfing, snorkelling, fishing and biking.

If you’ve decided to stay at some or just one of the best islands in the Maldives, then don’t forget to pack these essential items:

  • Heliocare 360 Mineral Sunscreen – This fabulous mineral sunscreen is ideal if you’re looking for a natural but effective way to protect your skin from the sun in the Maldives. It offers lasting protection from harmful UVA and UVB rays and will keep your skin moisturised all day long.
  • AKASO EK7000 4k Underwater Camera – The sea in the Maldives is beautiful, so of course, you’re going to want to take photos of it – the only thing that’s stopping you is destroying your phone; luckily, this underwater camera comes in handy! It lets you take amazing photos underwater, and you don’t have to worry about it getting wet!
  • Gumbies Slingback Women’s Recycled Flip-flops – These recycled flip-flops are perfect for those lazy beach days as they’re so comfortable that you won’t need to worry about getting any blisters. They are also great as the sole is very flexible, so it feels like you’re walking on nothing!
  • Hibluco Women Swimsuit Cover-up – This swimsuit cover-up is ideal if you’re going to be doing spontaneous things and don’t want to waste time always getting changed. It’s made of high-quality material and looks very stylish!
  • Lealinga Snorkel Set – Explore underwater with this fantastic snorkel set that lets you have fun for longer. It is very sturdy and durable, so it’s safe for everyone to use. It’s a must-have when visiting the best islands in the Maldives!

Best islands in the Maldives for snorkelling

Snorkelling is a very popular thing to do in the Maldives, so what are the best islands in the Maldives for snorkelling?

Best islands in the Maldives

This tiny island is known as being one of the best-kept secrets in the Indian Ocean . A walk around this island takes less than 5 minutes in total, and it’s very quiet as there are less than 30 villas in total. In order to get to Kandolhu Island, visitors must take a short seaplane ride which takes around 20 minutes, and then go on a speedboat.

It is well known for snorkelling as it’s very accessible, and the reef is twice the size of the island! Here you’ll be able to spot lots of different species that live and swim among the coal reef, such as turtles and rays!

Best islands in the Maldives

Located in South Ari Atoll, Vilamendhoo is perfect for snorkelers of all abilities. The island is narrow but about 900m long and there is a very popular resort on it, with 184 rooms in total.

The best part of the island for snorkelling is the northern section as this is where most of the coral reef is. It is perfect for beginners as there are lots of shallow areas in order to help you get used to snorkelling – just remember that coral reefs are sharp, so try and avoid getting cut!

Best islands in the Maldives

Banana reef, located in Kuda Kalhi is a stunning place to go snorkelling. The reef is in a banana shape, which is where its name originated from, so that’s one great reason to see it alone, as it’s such a unique shape! There is so much exquisite marine life that you can spot at this reef and all over the island, such as Palette Surgeonfish, bannerfish, barracuda, sharks, soldierfish and rays.

The best time to go snorkelling here is from late May to July, as this is when there is most marine life in the reef is spotted!

Best islands in the Maldives for diving

Many people will choose to dive in the Maldives. Whether you want to try out diving for the first time, do a PADI course or you are an experienced diver, you will want surely want to know which are the best islands in the Maldives for diving.

Best islands in the Maldives

Maaya Thila is one of the most well-known and popular places to dive in the Maldives, as it is often featured as one of the world’s top ten places to dive. Here, you can spot plenty of marine life, such as turtles, sharks and frogfish! The coral reef is around 80m in length and starts at 20ft deep, making it great for beginner and advanced divers!

What makes Maaya Thila special is that there are often white-tip reef sharks swimming around the reef. In fact, sometimes there are as many as 20 at one time! So if you’re a shark lover, then this is definitely worth a visit to go diving.

Best islands in the Maldives

Considered to be one of the best dives in the Maldives, Kandooma Thila is around 300m long and around 12m under the surface, so there is plenty to explore! There is a very well-known cave, known as Jack’s Corner, which is covered in corals and makes a great place to explore. This dive is better for advanced and experienced divers as the sea’s currents can be very strong.

There are plenty of turtles floating that you can spot at this location, as well as some sharks and manta rays. It’s a great place if you want to see fabulous sea creatures.

Best islands in the Maldives

Mushimasmingili Thila is also known as Fish Head and Shark Point – as it is infamous for being one of the best shark dives in the entire Maldives. Even though it is quite a small dive at just 36m, there are plenty of beautiful coral and natural wonders to see here. What’s more, is that because sharks were once fed here, there are now lots of them to be spotted in this area.

Other than sharks, there are other creatures to be spotted here, such as anemone, barracuda and Napoleon wrasse! It’s a diver’s paradise!

Best islands in the Maldives for families

Believe it or not, the Maldives is a great family travel destination. But which are the best islands in the Maldives for families?

Best islands in the Maldives

Bandos Island has plenty of family-friendly resorts specially designed to cater to families in the best way possible. They are equipped with plenty of outdoor pools, hot tubs, restaurants serving meals to suit all tastes and dietary requirements, bars, and entertainment for the whole family.

Bandos Island is just a 10-minute speed boat ride from Velana International Airport, making it the perfect location as after a long day of travelling, you can get there quickly and just relax.

Best islands in the Maldives

This island is one of the best islands in the Maldives to visit with a family. The island is a short distance from Velana International Airport, making it easy to get to by seaplane or speedboat. Around the island, there are plenty of things to do, such as bars, restaurants, BBQ spots, shops and other attractions for the whole family to enjoy.

It is one of the best islands in the Maldives for families due to the number of things to do that the whole family can participate in – and many of the resorts also have great facilities to help cater to families.

Best islands in the Maldives

Machchafushi Island is one of the most beautiful islands in the entire Maldives due to what it has to offer. There are stunning golden sand beaches that are practically empty from tourists, as well as many activities for families to participate in. Some of the activities on offer include: cruises, fishing trips, island hopping, banana boats and kayaking.

It is a must-visit if you are travelling to the Maldives with your family, especially if you have young children, as there is plenty to do with them!

Best islands in the Maldives for budget travellers

And to many peoples’ surprise, the Maldives can be a budget travel destination- it is not all super luxury and high prices! But which are the best islands in the Maldives for budget travellers?

Best islands in the Maldives

Thulusdhoo Island is a great budget island in the Maldives as it has so much to offer! It is located about 30 minutes from Velana International Airport by speedboat, meaning that it doesn’t cost much to get to.

There are many great activities available at Thulisdhoo Island, such as snorkelling, diving, swimming or even paddle boarding! If you’re in the mood for something a bit more relaxing, then there are plenty of hammocks under shaded palm trees, which are great to unwind on. You could even take a trip to sandbank island to sunbathe for a few hours.

Best islands in the Maldives

Dhigurah Island is a nature lover’s paradise, as there is so much natural beauty to be seen and experienced here. It is also known as ‘Long Island’ by locals because it is 3km in length and is only 250m wide! It is perfect for watching the sunset from, as there is so much nature and palm trees that make the atmosphere feel perfect.

There is so much sea life to be enjoyed here, and you can even swim with whale sharks all throughout the year, spot manta rays and turtles, as well as interesting fish in the corals. It is 2 hours from Malé Airport via speedboat.

Best islands in the Maldives

Dhiffushi Island is located in north Male Atoll, about 45 minutes north of the Velana International Airport. It is relatively small, as it is only 1.2km long and only 200m wide, and it’s even possible to see the other side of the island if you’re standing on one side. It’s the most inhabited island in the east Maldives, making it one of the cheapest. 

 There are plenty of natural wonders to see here, such as lagoons, coral reefs and beaches to relax on. It is definitely one of the best islands in the Maldives!

Best islands in the Maldives for honeymoon

And last but not least, which are the best islands in the Maldives for those going on their honeymoon?

Best islands in the Maldives

Fihalhohi is the perfect location for honeymooners, as many of the resorts here are very romantic and offer first-class service you wouldn’t find elsewhere. The large majority of the resorts also offer special packages for people on their honeymoon, so you will get extra special treatment and help you remember it for a lifetime.

There are lots of activities to do on Fihalhohi, such as snorkelling and paddleboarding. Additionally, there are plenty of high-end restaurants serving only the finest, freshest food in very romantic settings.

Best islands in the Maldives

Biyadhoo Island is perfect for couples on their honeymoon who would like a peaceful, relaxing honeymoon with gorgeous surroundings. It is just a short speedboat ride from Velana International Airport, so it’s great if you don’t want to travel for long or if you’re on a budget. There are plenty of interesting activities to do on this island, such as swimming with turtles or learning how to cook traditional food.

Unfortunately for some, the resorts on Biyadhoo Island are not water villas, but this doesn’t mean that they are bad at all – as every resort on the island offers high-quality services that you will be happy that you had your honeymoon at.

Best islands in the Maldives

Villingili Island is perfect for honeymooners who would like a luxurious yet tranquil getaway. The island boasts stunning golden beaches that look amazing in photographs, as well as stunning palm trees all over. It promises a truly unique experience for all.

Some activities that couples can participate in at Villingili Island are: Tai Chi, going to the spa, hiking through the tropical forest or simply just relaxing in a comfortable hammock on the beach. It is definitely one of the best islands in the Maldives for a honeymoon!

After reading this post on the best islands in the Maldives, hopefully, you’ve learnt something new about the best islands in the Maldives! Which island in the Maldives do you want to visit the most? Have you ever been to the Maldives? If you liked this post, then here is some further reading I’d recommend:

  • The 6 best islands in Italy + essential travel tips
  • How to get to the Gili Islands from Bali
  • Zakynthos in Greece best things to see and do

By the way- do you have any recommendations for the best islands in the Maldives? Which do you think are the best islands in the Maldives and why?

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THE ULTIMATE MALDIVES ITINERARY

23 May 2023   ||    THE MALDIVES

Honestly, designing an itinerary across the local islands of the Maldives is a nightmare. There are hundreds of inhabited islands across 26 atolls; some are closer to the capital than others, some have nightmarish ferry schedules, all with varying levels of tourist infrastructure. So, how do you choose which ones are perfect for you?

With so many island combinations, everything depends on the time you have available for your trip. Here, we detail three different atoll routes, of which you could easily spend one to two weeks on each (or less if you’re in a rush!). If you are feeling ambitious, you could take on multiple atolls in one trip. Below we detail how.

IN THIS GUIDE //

Maldives Itinerary

Arriving in the Maldives

THE MALDIVES ATOLLS

BEST TIME TO VISIT THE MALDIVES

MALDIVES ITINERARY MAP

PLANNING A MALDIVES ITINERARY

MALDIVES ITINERARY 1: SOUTH MALÉ/VAAVU ATOLLS

MALDIVES ITINERARY 2: NORTHERN ARI ATOLL

MALDIVES ITINERARY 3: NORTH MALÉ ATOLL

OUR MALDIVES ITINERARY

Final Thoughts

ARriving in the Maldives

Almost everyone travelling to the Maldives islands arrives via air and lands at Velana International Airport in Malé.

We use Skyscanner to book our flights, all over the world. It’s the cheapest and most flexible flight comparison website on the market. Skyscanner has the most routes which combine multiple airlines, including budget ones, to find the cheapest possible way to reach your destination. 

Check below for flights from wherever you are!

THE MALDIVES ATOLLS AND WHY THEY MATTER

The Maldives is a nation made of atolls, which are rings of islands and sandbanks. These can be clearly viewed and recognised by using Google Maps satellite view (take a look at the Google Map on this post). Logically, public ferry and speedboat routes follow the strings of islands, making it simpler to plan a trip along one or two of these directions.

All the ferries and speedboats for the Maldives itinerary options below originate in Malé, meaning that if you choose to transit between atolls, you’ll likely need to return to the capital city to change boat. Check out our detailed guide on the Maldives public ferries for more information.

BEST TIME OF YEAR TO VISIT THE MALDIVES

Overall, the best time to visit the Maldives is the dry season between January and March. However, the best time to visit the Maldives actually depends on what you plan to do.

The average day time temperature in the Maldives is above 25 Celsius (77 F), all year round, it’s always hot! The wet season is between May to November and the driest months are between January and March. Accommodation and flight prices in the Maldives in general are lower during the rainy season.

For surfing, better conditions in the Maldives can be found between March and October. Divers will find conditions suitable all year round but may see an abundance of manta rays, reef sharks and hammerhead sharks in the wet season.

MALDIVES DURING RAMADAN

In 2024, Ramadan is between 10th March to 9th April, depending on the moon. This will affect shop, café and restaurant opening times on local islands and in the capital, Malé. Public speedboats and ferry services run a reduced service. We would recommend avoiding this time of year (we’ve spent Ramadan in four strict Muslim countries so far and have no issue with it but feel that the Maldives would be particularly difficult if you are not observing). Personally, we wouldn’t recommend going to a resort during Ramadan either as the staff serving you food and drinks will likely be Muslim and I don’t feel great about that.

RELATED POST   |    THE MALDIVES DRESS CODE

MAldives ITINERARY MAP

Below is a saveable Google Map with all the islands included on these itineraries marked in distinct colours. Itinerary one is yellow, itinerary two is purple and itinerary three is red. All commence in  Malé, marked in green.

To save the map to your Google Maps, click on the star icon by the title.

Click on the screen icon in the top left to show or hide the breakdown of sections for the Maldives itineraries.

Click on a tick box to hide/show a section.

It’s a tricky one, designing a Maldives itinerary.

There are a handful of obvious island combinations that originate in Malé, so here, we’ll detail three of those multi-island itineraries across different atolls. It is possible to spend 1-2 weeks per itinerary or choose selected bits from each and have a bit of an adventure. It all depends on how chill you want your trip to be. We wanted an adventure so transited between four atolls and all the routes we write about!

Each itinerary has the relevant ferry schedule listed, suggested islands on the route, transit times and what each circuit is best for. If a speedboat makes more sense for any part of a route, we mention that too. It is also possible to change up the island orders with minimal difficulty on these itineraries if your arrival and departure dates fit less well with the ferry schedules.

Do not plan to travel on a Friday between any islands by ferry. This is a holy day and there are minimal (read: zero) public transport choices operating.

A speedboat on the beach of Maafushi in the Maldives.

MALDIVES ITINERARY 1: SOUTH Malé/VAAVU ATOLLs

〈 maafushi → gulhi → guraidhoo → fulidhoo 〉.

proximity to Malé, tourist infrastructure, frequency of ferries, variety

WHY THIS ROUTE:

This is one of the most obvious choices for a Maldives itinerary and provides a little slice of everything that the island nation has to offer. As Maafushi is the most popular and one of the larger local islands in the Maldives, it provides excellent tourist infrastructure. Fulidhoo on the other end of the scale is a sleepy island paradise, perfect for sitting in a hammock with a book. Gulhi and Guraidhoo, sitting either side of Maafushi, are both excellent instances of small communities in the Maldives with beautiful beaches.

RELATED POST   |    MAAFUSHI PHOTO GUIDE

⋅ Maldives Itinerary 1: Transport Timetables ⋅

For this itinerary, you could visit these four islands in any order really, but we think it makes sense to start in Maafushi . It’s the easiest to reach via public transport and the most established local island. From here, it is possible to overnight-trip to Gulhi and/or Guraidhoo, depending on the amount of time available. The ferries for the route that connects all three islands is the number 309 and runs daily (apart from Friday).

Fulidhoo is in a separate atoll, far to the south, but is a favourite amongst visitors to the Maldives. The ferry (number 306) takes just under two hours, heading south from Malé and Maafushi on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. From Fulidhoo, the ferry back to Malé operates on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday. If your schedule doesn’t fit this, speedboats run daily but are very expensive, at around $50 a pop.

Below is a map of the route options and copies of the MTCC public ferry schedules. For more information on how to read them, check out our dedicated Maldives ferry guide .

A map showing the ferries running within the South Malé and Vaavu Atolls in the Maldives.

⋅ Maldives Itinerary 1: the Islands ⋅

This combination of islands provide a lot of diversity.

Maafushi : is great for decent hotels, water sports and community. We enjoyed Maafushi, despite it being pretty touristy (we didn’t like the quietest islands!). It has one bikini beach on the northern coast and lots of shops and restaurants. Check out our Maafushi photo guide if you want to see if it’s your cup of tea.

Gulhi and Guraidhoo : we didn’t visit these two islands but would definitely do so if we came along this route again. They’re small communities with a bikini beach on each island and a few restaurants and guesthouses. 

Fulidhoo : this is the perfect little island utopia (in most people’s eyes). There are around 500 people living there, two beautiful bikini beaches, and that’s pretty much it! It wasn’t our favourite island, but we apparently hate the quiet. And reading books. And doing nothing.

travel between islands in maldives

〈 Route: Rasdhoo → Ukulhas → Thoddoo 〉

perfect beaches, sand banks, agriculture, community

This itinerary combination is a little further from Malé and, accordingly, feels a little more isolated. Located around 60 kilometres to the west of the capital, these islands have a somewhat less conveniently timed ferry route which necessitates a little more planning. We visited Ukulhas and Thoddoo (our ferry also stopped at Rasdhoo but we did not have time to stay overnight!).

These islands had the most beautiful beaches in our opinion, with powder white sand and some great tourist infrastructure (including the best food we’ve eaten in the Maldives). Ukulhas is a tiny, one kilometre stretch of sand, whereas Thoddoo is a large, populated agricultural island (and our favourite). This itinerary provides a good variety across the three islands and is probably our top choice from the ones listed here.

UKULHAS PHOTO GUIDE    |    THODDOO PHOTO GUIDE

⋅ Maldives Itinerary 2: Transport Timetables ⋅

If you want to utilise public ferries for the entirety of this route, it’ll take some effective time management. The below instructions look a bit complicated, but they’re not. Only two ferries are applicable to this itinerary (303 and 301), but they take a less than linear route!

TO REACH NORTHERN ARI ATOLL:

The islands of Rasdhoo, Ukulhas and Thoddoo are serviced by the MTCC 303 which leaves Malé at 09:00 every Monday and Thursday. To get to Rasdhoo, the first stop, it takes 3 hours and 10 minutes. This means that for this itinerary it would be best to arrive in Malé on a Sunday or Wednesday (we recommend staying in Hulhumalé).

TRAVELLING BETWEEN ISLANDS:

To transit from Rasdhoo to Ukulhas, the MTCC 301 ferry departs at 13.00 daily except Friday and takes around an hour. In the opposite direction, from Ukulhas to Thoddoo, the ferry departs at 10:00 daily apart from Fridays.  An alternative route from Rasdhoo to Ukulhas is the MTCC 303 service which runs on Monday and Thursday at 07:45, taking 50 minutes.

Between Ukulhas and Thoddoo, the MTCC 303 ferry runs on Mondays and Thursdays at 14.00 and takes 2 hours and 20 minutes (via Rasdhoo).

On Saturdays and Tuesdays, the MTCC 303 route runs at 15:10 between Rasdhoo and Thoddoo only. This gives an option of a different route through the atoll depending on your dates.

RETURNING TO  MALÉ :

On Sundays and Wednesdays, the MTCC 303 ferry at 06:30 runs from Thoddoo back to Malé via Rasdhoo and Ukulhas, arriving back at the capital at 14:10.

Why we chose this direction

Obviously, you can transit the three islands in any order. However, it makes sense to begin this itinerary in Rasdhoo as it is the first island on the ferry route. Consider the alternative; beginning in Thoddoo first means an extra four hours on the ferry and having to transit the port of Rasdhoo twice! 

Also, as the MTCC 301 ferry runs every day (except Friday) this adds in more flexibility in Rasdhoo – it is possible to travel to Ukulhas on any day but Friday. 

Another point to consider is the need for speedboats. If your schedule is tight and there are no ferries running, you’ll need a speedboat. A Maldives public speedboat from Thoddoo to Malé is 35 USD per person; the Ukulhas to Malé equivalent is 50 USD.

A map showing the ferries running within the North Ari Atoll in the Maldives.

⋅ Maldives Itinerary 2: the Islands ⋅

This is our favourite of the island combinations on this post. They’re varied, beautiful and genuinely interesting. 

Rasdhoo: we didn’t stay overnight on Rasdhoo (we only had time for two islands on this atoll). However, it is on its own little mini atoll with a stunning sandbank right next door and some beautiful beaches, including a bikini beach on the southern shore with shallow waters. It has a nice busy feel to it.

Ukulhas: known as one of the cleanest islands on the Maldives, Ukulhas benefits from a number of colourful beach bars along the southern shore of the island, a bikini beach and a good range of restaurants around the island. We thought this island had one of the best beaches we experienced in the Maldives.

Thoddoo: don’t be put off when I tell you this is an agricultural island; it has some of the best beaches we saw anywhere in the Maldives. Thoddoo has a wonderful sense of community, lots of fascinating farmland and plenty of shops and restaurants. It’s also big enough to cycle around!

travel between islands in maldives

MALDIVES ITINERARY 3: NORTH Malé ATOLL

〈 himmafushi → huraa → thulusdhoo → dhiffushi 〉.

frequent ferries, surfing and surf vibes, proximity to Malé, day trips

The North Malé Atoll is, by far, the simplest choice when it comes to ferries. The journey between the four islands is along one linear, frequent route which takes a lot of stress out of planning. Unless travelling on a Friday is essential, it would be rare to need a speedboat.

These islands themselves are known to be surfing hotspots, especially Himmafushi and Thulusdhoo. The latter having some of the best breaks in the Maldives (so we are told, anyway!). We are not surfers, but Thulusdhoo had real, chilled out surfer vibes going on and we loved it. Check out our Thulusdhoo photo guide to see if you fancy it!

We have yet to visit the other islands, but they are on our list for a return trip (Thulusdhoo was absolutely wonderful; we spent the greatest number of days here). The ferries along this atoll are particularly affordable and straightforward, making this route an amazing choice if you are a little tighter on time.

RELATED POST   |    THULUSDHOO PHOTO GUIDE

⋅ Maldives Itinerary 3: Transport Timetables ⋅

The North Malé Atoll is the nearest to Malé. Dhiffushi, the furthest outlier on this itinerary is only 40 kilometres from Malé, making the longest ferry journey only 2 hours and 10 minutes. This is the best choice to avoid time on ferries (especially if you get seasick).

The MTCC 308 ferry operates along this set of islands every day (except Friday). It travels towards Malé in the mornings, arriving in at 08:40 and away from Malé in the afternoon at 14.30. This makes hopping from island to island in the North Malé Atoll very easy. Morning enthusiasts can even catch the early ferry towards Malé and spend most of a day exploring another island before coming back in the afternoon. This is particularly useful on a shorter timeframe or using one island as a home base. 

Option 1: the outward route. This means visiting Himmafushi, Huraa, Thulusdhoo and Dhiffushi in this order. This allows for plenty of time to explore in the morning of your travel day before the afternoon ferry (and no early mornings!).

Option 2: the backward route. Travel to Dhiffushi first and work back towards Malé via Thulusdhoo, Huraa and Himmafushi. This option means always getting a morning ferry which frees up the rest of each day to explore (plus the morning ferries are cooler).

Option 3: the island-hopping route. For a time-strapped itinerary, this would cut down the total nights by day-tripping some of the islands on the North Malé Atoll.  Catching the early ferry inbound towards Malé and hopping off at any of the islands means you can get the outbound one back in the afternoon. There are lots of possibilities; any route backwards in the morning will give you half a day to explore an island (or even Malé) before catching the outbound ferry.

For all the options above, the ferry arrives at Malé before 09:00, giving plenty of time to get to Velana International Airport for an afternoon or evening flight, or to take a ferry to another atoll.

A map showing the ferries running within the North Malé Atoll in the Maldives.

⋅ Maldives Itinerary 3: the Islands ⋅

Himmafushi: this small community was one of the first locally inhabited islands to open to tourists in the Maldives. It is known for its surfing spot at Jailbreaks, as well as scuba diving options. It also has a tuna processing plant and dhoni manufacturing. 

Huraa: is a tiny island known for mangrove swamps to the north, epic white sand beaches (including a bikini beach) and for being the home of the last royal dynasty of the Maldives. Also, it has a mosque from the 1750s which was restored in 1994.

Thulusdhoo: is most famous for its two surf breaks called Cokes and Chickens. It also hosts a wide diversity of marine life in its house reef including corals, colourful fish, dolphins, turtles and manta rays to name a few. We absolutely loved the beach and the beachfront restaurants on this island. It had a low-key resort vibe.

Dhiffushi: this island’s claim to fame is that it’s the most eastern local island in the whole of the Maldives, so it has the earliest sunrise! It also hosts a famous snorkelling spot called Turtle Point and is well-known for water sports.

Palm tree wall art on a building in Thulusdhoo.

On our trip, we visited islands on all the above itinerary routes! We stayed in Hulhumalé, before transiting between Fulidhoo, Maafushi, Thulusdhoo, Ukulhas and Thoddoo, in that order.

Our route involved quite a lot of ferries (and a couple of speedboats when we messed up our schedules/dates). It’s a great combination of islands if you fancy a higher paced trip (we’d recommend three weeks). You can easily combine the information on the itineraries above to design it. To check out how much we paid, have a look at our Maldives trip cost post.

When we next return to the Maldives, our choice of islands will depend on how much energy we have (and how ambitious we’re feeling!). For a relaxed trip, we really enjoyed Thulusdhoo, so would love to check out a few more islands along the North Malé Atoll, especially Huraa. For an ambitious route, our aim is to visit more distant islands that came recommended to us, but this will involve multiple ferry connections. When we take this trip, we’ll write about how it goes! We’ve mentioned a list of these recommended islands at the end of our Maldives local islands post.

FINAL THOUGHTS - MALDIVES ITINERARY

A trip to the local islands of the Maldives is a complicated trip to plan independently via public transport. Here, we’ve put together three options that are relatively simple and give a great taste of this fascinating and unique little country. It’s also not that difficult when you get to grips with the schedules and where the various boats leave from! If in doubt, check out our Maldives ferry guide as it goes into more specifics than in this post.

Hopping around on the ferries, trying the distinctive food and checking out the different communities on each of the six islands we visited was an absolute highlight of our year so far. We hope you have an amazing time!

Have we missed any local islands that you would recommend?

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9 Mistakes to Avoid in the Maldives

What you need to know before heading to the idyllic collection of more than a thousand islands.

travel between islands in maldives

The Maldives, a collection of more than a thousand islands in the Indian Ocean, is known for its clear emerald waters, beautiful beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see, and of course, luxurious overwater bungalows. With features like these, the archipelago makes for an idyllic sanctuary where guests can snorkel, scuba dive, swim, and savor some truly unforgettable sunsets. Aside from being one of the most stunning island getaways in the world, the Maldives is also a perfect addition to an itinerary for travelers visiting magnificent South Asian cities or Middle Eastern capitals.

For those planning to visit the Maldives, there are certain things to keep in mind. To be fully prepared for your trip — whether you're in the planning stages or are already lounging by your infinity pool in the Baa Atoll — here are nine mistakes to avoid in the Maldives.

1. Visiting Only One Island

The first thing to know about the Maldives is that most resorts are situated on their own private island — in fact, one island, one resort is the typical approach for hotels within the archipelago. This makes sense geographically, considering the Maldives is home to at least 1,192 uninhabited and 200 inhabited islands. Whether you tour multiple islands by staying at more than one resort over the course of your vacation, or you charter a boat or take a day tour to an adjacent atoll, make sure to island hop while visiting the destination.

2. Assuming the Maldives Can’t Be Budget-friendly

The Maldives has a reputation for being an exclusive, ultra-lavish destination. But it's actually quite possible to visit the Maldives on a budget — even the airfare isn't prohibitively expensive, if you scout out connecting flights through Europe or Asia. To cut down on expenses, stay at a local guest house or affordable hotel, like the Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma . As for attractions on a budget, life in the Maldives doesn't have to be all about chartering yachts and diving off the deck of an overwater bungalow. There are many ways to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Maldives: You can plant coral to help conserve the Maldivian reefs through a number of ongoing initiatives, many of which are set up by affordable resorts, like Summer Island , where guests can take part in planting pieces of a 3D-printed reef. And while folks staying at a resort may be able to snorkel along the property's house reefs, those opting for a rental home can easily snorkel on select public beaches instead.

3. Not Going Until Your Honeymoon

Thanks to its dreamy overwater bungalows and romantic sunsets, the Maldives will always rank as a top honeymoon destination. But this isn't a place you need to save for your honeymoon or a romantic getaway with a partner. The Maldives is just as well-suited for a girls' trip or family escape. In fact, many island resorts in the Maldives cater specifically to families. And more than being a spot for couples, the Maldives is a place where you can relax and leave your real-life worries at home — and that luxury shouldn't be reserved solely for honeymooners.

4. Not Considering a Liveaboard for Part of Your Trip

The Maldives has liveaboards — also known as localized cruise ships, houseboats, and the like — that offer sea safaris around the pristine waters and coral reefs. The liveaboards come with a wide range of accommodations and facilities, including personal chefs, dive and surf instructors, and other staff members depending on the type of liveaboard you book. Travelers can even rent out the entirety of a yacht, houseboat, or small cruising vessel, and then customize the staff to their requirements — perhaps adding an on-site masseuse or sommelier. Renting an entire liveaboard vessel can also make for a perfect distanced vacation — you have the space all to yourself and can tailor your vacation such that, apart from the staff and the other guests in your party, you won't see another soul.

5. Avoiding the Local Culture

Because the Maldives is known as a beach destination, its South Asian influences are often overlooked — a plight that often befalls many South Pacific islands as well. The culture here is a unique melting pot of Sri Lankan, Malaysian, Middle Eastern, Indonesian, and African influences. This heady blend can really only be experienced here in the Maldives. You can witness the Maldivian culture firsthand by attending music and dance performances or sampling the local cuisine rather than just sticking to resort food. You can also arrange a day trip to a nearby village island to learn more about the traditional way of life.

6. Forgetting the Reef-safe Sunscreen at Home

The Maldivian islands sit on the equator, which means the sun's rays beat down at a 90-degree angle. In other words, the sun is exceptionally strong and your sunscreen should be waterproof, packed with SPF, and constantly reapplied. Also, be sure to pack sun protection like hats, visors (they're making a comeback), and light, breathable, full-sleeve shirts and long pants for when you need extra coverage. When visiting any destination where the native reef is a main attraction, reef-safe sunscreen is crucial. To support the ongoing environmental initiatives to preserve the Maldivian reefs, purchase reef-safe sunscreen before traveling to the islands.

7. Not Considering an All-inclusive Resort

When scoping out accommodations in the Maldives, don't forget that food and alcohol are expensive. You're on an island in the middle of the sea, so it costs a lot to transport your favorite spirits. For this reason, many tourists choose an all-inclusive resort — even though the nightly rate and resort fees may be higher than some of the budget hotels, it bundles the cost of food and drink into the price of your stay.

8. Not Combining the Maldives With a Trip to Southeast Asia or the Middle East

Located in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is a remote tropical paradise that's actually quite accessible from major Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian hubs like Dubai (a four-hour direct flight from the Maldives) and Sri Lanka (a three-hour flight from the Maldives). Thanks to a fantastic range of flight deals in partnership with airlines and carriers like Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Emirates, and Qatar Airways, the Maldives can be easily tacked on to a trip to Dubai, Sri Lanka, or any destination that flies directly to either port (think: Singapore, Malaysia, Abu Dhabi, or Doha).

9. Skipping the Bioluminescent Views

Did you know the Maldives is known for having shores that illuminate at night, lit up by bioluminescent plankton? In addition to boasting diverse sea life, including manta rays, whale sharks, and more than 2,000 species of fish, most islands are visited by bioluminescent plankton at certain points throughout the year. To experience this magical light show, you'll want to visit during plankton high season (mid-summer to mid-winter), when the bioluminescent organisms line the shores and create a glow-in-the-dark effect at the water's edge.

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Maldives. How to visit two islands in one trip

The so-called split stays are very popular in the Maldives. They allow you to combine your stay on different islands. Tour companies provide such an opportunity - in this case, the tour will be called “split-stays”. Nevertheless, you can also independently plan your stay on several islands in the Maldives. It is not difficult at all.

In connection with the coronavirus pandemic, the Maldives in 2020 introduced new rules for tourists that affected the freedom of movement between the islands. How to travel around the paradise islands now? This question will be discussed further in the article.

Islands of the Maldives

There are three types of islands in the Maldives:

  • Island-resorts, where luxury hotels are located.
  • Local islands where locals live. Mostly they have inexpensive guesthouses.
  • Uninhabited islands, which tourists often include in the excursion program.

Asad Photo Maldives

Why go to another island

Sitting all your vacation on one small island, even in the coziest bungalow, can seem a little tedious. Therefore, tourists are offered travel to different islands in the Maldives.

  • Combined tours. They make it possible to stay in several hotels at once, located on different islands. You can organize such a tour yourself. More on this below.
  • Visiting resort islands. Tourists visiting the local islands can go on an excursion to the resort islands just like on a beach holiday.
  • All-inclusive. Many island-resorts offer to stay with them for tourists vacationing on other islands of the Maldives. For an additional fee, you can use the All-inclusive system.

Hurawalhi Island Resort

How to move between islands

In the Maldives, water transport dominates: this is the best way to travel between the islands.

  • The most affordable way to get from one island to another is by state ferries. The fare is from $ 2. However, ferries do not go to all the islands, and sometimes it takes several days to wait for them it all depends on the timetable.
  • These are high-speed boats that run on order between the islands. Such a trip will cost from $ 25 per person.
  • The fastest way to travel between the islands and the only way to get to the remote corners of the Maldives. The cost of a one-way flight starts at $ 250.

Meeru Island Resort & Spa

How to plan your visit to multiple islands in the Maldives

The principle of booking a villa on the resort islands is quite simple: choose the villa you like and book . What to look out for when booking yourself:

  • The most important point is the movement between the islands. Be sure to check with the hotel you like if they have transfers to islands other than Male and its’ Velana International Airport. Otherwise, you will simply have nothing to get to the second hotel. The option to return to Male, and from there take a transfer to a second hotel. This is unlikely to suit you since it can take about a day, depending on the distance between the islands.
  • Usually two islands are chosen depending on which services and opportunities they offer. For example, Jumeirah Vittaveli (now Ozen Reserve)  has an outdoor ice skating rink, while Hurawalhi Maldives Resort  has an underwater 5.8 Undersea Restaurant. Alternatively, you can combine your stay in the Maldives with one of the islands of Baa Atoll, which is located in the Hanifaru Biosphere Reserve . This place is considered one of the best for snorkeling in the Maldives.

Hurawalhi Island Resort

Features of movement between the islands during the coronavirus period

Previously, tourists could travel freely to all types of islands. However, due to the spread of COVID-19, the authorities of the Maldives have introduced some restrictions. Upon arrival in the Maldives, the tourist shows a QR code, which contains information about the PCR test and the declaration of health. The declaration indicates the hotel where the tourist is going to stay in the Maldives. If a tourist plans to visit several islands, including local ones, there are nuances for visiting. We described them in the article on coronavirus in the Maldives , where we constantly update the information.

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Alcohol in the Maldives: where it is allowed, importing alcohol into the country and other nuances

Alcohol in the Maldives: where it is allowed, importing alcohol into the country and other nuances

Maldives transfer: speed boats, ferries, seaplanes

Maldives transfer: speed boats, ferries, seaplanes

Maldives: prices and cost of an island vacation

Maldives: prices and cost of an island vacation

Maldives   Travel Guide

Courtesy of levente bodo | Getty Images

travel between islands in maldives

Getting Around Maldives

The best way to get around the Maldives depends on what kind of island you're on, although most visitors will stick to their chosen resort island. The majority of islands in the Maldives range in size between 0.3 and 0.7 square miles, which means they don't take long to navigate. Many resorts offer bicycles or chauffeured golf buggies to make getting around in the humidity easier, while if you're in a local town, your guesthouse might offer you a bicycle. In the capital city of Malé and in Hulhumalé , walking, buses or taxis are the main transportation options.

Note that if you have mobility issues, you may find this country can be trickier to get around due to the speedboat/seaplane transfers, large areas of sand and (normally) unpaved paths at resorts and on many inhabited islands. There's no air bridge at the international airport, but if you inform your airline in advance, it can make arrangements for a lifting device. A few resorts, such as Baros, Kuramathi and Adaaran Select Meedhupparu, have been recommended by travelers with mobility issues. Amilla Fushi is the only resort in the Maldives that has been officially designated an IncluCare-certified resort (even the dive center teams are trained to assist travelers with disabilities). IncluCare is a U.K.-based tourism organization specializing in inclusive and accessible travel training, assessment and accreditation.

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5 Days in the Maldives: The Ultimate Short-Stay Itinerary

5 days in the maldives

An independent island country in the north-central Indian Ocean, the Maldives comprises 1,200 small coral islets sprawling with greenery, marine life, and culture. With crystal clear waters and pristine beaches, the 200 inhabited islands make a blissful vacation spot for any traveler. But how long do you need in the country to get a real taste of Maldivian culture? 

Aside from the fascinating landmarks and underwater scenery, the Maldives are a hotspot for water sports and adventure. Still, the islands are well-suited for a short stay and with a Maldives five-day itinerary you can get an exciting snippet of what the country has to offer. 

Our guide looks at all the must-see sights in the Maldives, from the underwater fauna to the aquatic hotels, complete with the best places to eat and stay. These spots deserve a place on your holiday bucket list, and we’re going to show you how to squeeze it all into five days. Let’s get started.  

Table of Contents

Day 1: Male City Sights and Baros Island 

maldives harbour

Male or Malé is the island capital of the Maldives, which lies on the Male Atoll 400 miles southwest of Sri Lanka. Start your Maldives five-day itinerary by heading straight to Male. This shouldn’t be too hard as most international flights enter the country through Velana International Airport in North Male.  

A short ferry ride from Velana will drop you off right in the vibrant center of the small city island. Stop off at the Royal Garden Café , adjacent to the Male Presidential Jetty, for a black ice tea and reset in the cool, air-conditioned interior. If you have luggage, they’ll even store it for you here in their secure locker room while you explore the city. 

The dense city is easy to get around on foot, and the smells and sights will ignite all your senses. Male will give you a taste of the Muslim culture in the Maldives that can get easily silenced by the first-world luxuries on the quieter islands. Check out the Hukuru Miskiiy and the Tomb of Abu-Al-Barakaath to learn about the importance of Islam to Male. Just remember to wear modest clothing when visiting any of Male’s religious monuments as a sign of respect. 

Finish in the early afternoon at the local food market that adjoins the November 3rd Memorial monument and enjoy a street food snack of Bis Keemiya, the Maldivian samosas, or Huni Roshi, the local chapati from any of the stalls. Then, make your way back to the central jetty and jump on a local speedboat to Baros Island. You can buy the ticket at the port, and they depart multiple times a day depending on demand. The journey is 25-minutes and will give you your first taste of the Maldives from the sea. Enjoy the wind in your hair and the sea spray on your face as your dart through the emerald waters to the private boutique island resort. 

Baros Island Resort is a great place to stay, but you can spend the evening leisurely and catch a late speedboat out if your accommodation is elsewhere. If you are staying at the exclusive resort, now is the perfect time to check-in, freshen up and head out just in time for sunset. 

Check out the Lighthouse Lounge Bar for champagne, jazz, and views of the sun disappearing behind the ocean. Then head to Piano for a unique dining experience in the middle of a lagoon. After chowing down on a superb local fusion dish like reef fish cutlets or fragrant fish curry, retire to a daybed to stargaze with your loved one and mark the end of your first day in the Maldives. 

Day 2: Mirihi Island Snorkeling and Sunset Cruise

snorkelling in the maldives

Mirihi Island is another picturesque private island resort that is easy to fall in love with. World-class luxury, pristine white sands, and many dining options are set on the edge of lush palm forest. Mirihi is about an hour by speed boat from Male and Baros but can be reached by seaplane if you’re coming from the airport. The Mirihi Island Resort provides several island hopping and evening entertainment packages, but you don’t have to be a guest to soak up all this hotel has to offer. 

Whether you are waking up on Mirihi or arriving from elsewhere, start the day with a mid-morning boat trip around the coral atolls for a chance to snorkel with whale sharks and manta rays. The crew knows the best spots to find these gentle ocean giants, and you’ll work up an appetite visiting the various reef swimming spots. Enjoy a locally caught seafood meal aboard your vessel, or head back to Mirihi for lunch. 

The Dhonveli Restaurant in the resort serves a buffet lunch and dinner, and you can dip in and out of the ocean after eating, soaking up the sun, and enjoying an afternoon on the beach loungers fueled by fresh coconuts or craft cocktails from the restaurant bar. Finish the afternoon by setting sail on the Mirihi Sunset Cruise , where you’ll glide across the Indian Ocean on a luxury catamaran and, if you’re lucky, accompanied by a pod of dolphins. Listen to the sounds of live onboard music and take in panoramic views of the pink and golden sky. 

Conclude the evening with dinner at the Muraka Restaurant on Mirihi, elevated on decking over the ocean, where you can enjoy a contemporary menu of wagyu beef and Maldivian lobster, complemented by imported wines.    

Day 3: Huvanhendhoo Island Diving and Lily Beach Spa

water bungalow in the maldives

Like Mirihi, Huvanhendoo Island is situated on the South Ari Atoll and is renowned for its marine life. Huvanhendho occupies 600 by 100 meters of sandbanks and is surrounded by transparent lagoon waters set on powdery white sands. The island is even better known for the award-winning Lily Beach Resort , with a leading spa and established reputation for diving getaways and luxury honeymoons.

Huvanhedhoo is strategically located with its house reef just ten meters offshore. You won’t need a boat trip to explore the exceptional marine flora and fauna here. Still, Huvanhedhoo is the perfect location for your bucket list scuba dive. Whether you’re an avid diver or a first-timer, don your fins and grab an instructor for the best underwater vistas of the island and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

After exploring Huvanhedhoo’s marine life, it’s time to relax and visit the world-renowned Tamara Spa at Lily Beach . Enjoy some you time in the sanctuary’s open rooms, welcoming the ocean breeze and reveling in the sights of Huvanhendhoo’s underwater world through the glass floors. Indulge in the local practices with a full-body Ayurvedic Shirodhara Oil soak or enjoy a couples’ hot stone massage before taking in the ocean views from a petal-filled tub after your treatment. 

After a few hours of pure relaxation, it’s time to shake off that lethargy and hit the nearby beach bars and trial some of the Maldives’ elusive nightlife. Check out Bikini Beach or Maafushivaru Island beach, both minutes from Lily Beach Resort by boat, to dance the night away under the stars.   

Day 4: Rangali Island, Underwater Restaurant and Outdoor Cinema 

Underwater restaurant Rangali Island

Twice voted the Best Hotel in the World , the 151 room Conrad Maldives on Rangali Island is definitely worth visiting. There are endless water and land adventures to be had on Rangali Island and the Conrad makes excellent use of the island’s unique landscape. 

Located in the Alifu Dhaalu Atoll, Rangali is only 10-minutes by speed boat from Lily Beach Resort and about an hour from Male. The island’s lush tropical sandbanks extend with branches of luxury water bungalows, but the Conrad’s underwater suites and Ithaa Restaurant are the resort’s highlights.

Start your adventure to Rangali with a sunrise deep sea fishing trip or glass-bottom boat tour. Continue your day on the ocean with a private jetski rental or offshore snorkeling. The marine life is colorful and diverse in Rangali’s pristine waters. Yet, for unmatched underwater vistas, treat yourself to lunch at Ithaa, the first and only 5-star undersea restaurant. 

Set within a glass tunnel five meters below the ocean’s surface, enjoy panoramic coral garden views and an exquisite fusion menu. You’ll be more likely to grab a reservation if you avoid peak evening hours, while daylight provides the best underwater visibility. Finish your day cooling off by the infinity pool and catch a flick in the open-air cinema, the Picture of Conrad , to the backdrop of the Maldivian sunset and a sky full of stars. For a real end-of-trip treat, book a night in one of the Conrad’s floating bungalows for a fraction of the price of the underwater suites and enjoy all these amenities free of charge.   

Day 5: Veligandu Island Shopping

Maldives 5 Day Itinerary

After four days of remote island luxury, it’s time to draw your Maldivian adventure to a close. But not before another taste of bustling island life and picking up some souvenirs on Veligandu Island. 

Veligandu is only a slight detour west on your way back up to Male and an hour by speedboat from Rangali Island. Veligandu is a posh island escape with luxury resorts and beach activities, but it is also home to several small shopping centers and market areas. Find bright shell jewelry, ocean-pearl accessories, and local trinkets to commemorate your trip. 

The elusive Veligandu Island Resort at the northern end of the lagoon atoll has an especially lavish Gift Shop & Tailor’s Atelier . Browse high-end designer clothing, get a tailor-made Maldivian garment or treat yourself to some handmade nick-nacks. Stop for lunch at the resort’s four-star seafront Madivaru Restaurant , and bury your feet into the Maldivian sand for the last time from a beachside table.  

For your last adventure, take to your skies as you journey back to Male on a 20-minute seaplane ride. Male is easily reachable by public ferry , but a seaplane voyage is a must-do for your Maldivian itinerary. Revel in the stunning birds-eye views of Veligandu’s tropical swaying palms and clear shallow waters, and enjoy the overhead vistas of the northwest Male atolls before you come into land.  

Depending on your flight schedule, you can spend the final hours or last evening of your trip checking out some of Male’s other attractions. Drop by The Fish Market and the National Museum of the Maldives , or explore the vibrant café scene and any of the religious sites you might have missed on your first visit. Then, it’s time to head to Velana International airport where you’ll likely depart, marking the end of your Maldives five-day itinerary.

Which month is best to visit the Maldives?

Book your trip to the Maldives between November and April for the best weather. This is the high season where the days will be predominantly sunny with averages highs of 86 degrees Fahrenheit and plenty of blue skies. The monsoon season falls between May and October and peaks in June. Still, the weather varies by region, with the highest rainfall in the northern atolls from May to November but from November to March in the south. For seasonal discounts and fewer crowds, visit in the low season and stick to the southern atolls. 

How expensive is a trip to the Maldives?

The Maldives is an exclusive luxury getaway , and even shoestring travelers should budget at least $50 per day to spend in the Maldives, not inclusive of accommodation. Hotels offer great package deals with island-hopping excursions and Male transfers included. Still, you will struggle to find a double occupancy room for less than $200 a night, and five-star resorts can charge more than $1,000 nightly.

What is there to do in the Maldives with the family?

There are tons of family-friendly resorts in the Maldives with quadruple-occupancy rooms, private water playgrounds, kids clubs, and creative activities. Children can join in on snorkeling excursions or be entertained by hotel staff with handicraft classes, water sports lessons, and evening performances. Most resorts will also have lots of facilities for the whole family to enjoy together, like outdoor cinemas, beach bonfires, and aquatic shows.

Can you drink alcohol?

Although the Maldives is a predominantly Islamic country, you can buy and drink alcohol legally if you’re over the age of 18, and not a practicing Muslim. Alcohol is effectively banned from the local population and you can’t consume it in public places. Still, the resorts cater to a western demographic and nearly all are licensed to serve liquor but with a steep importation markup. 

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Reece is the creator and editor of Travel Snippet. He has visited more than 38 countries over a 10-year period. His travels have taken him through the majestic mountains of Italy, into the cities of central Europe, across the islands of Indonesia, and to the beaches of Thailand, where he is currently living. He is passionate about travel and shares his expertise by providing the best travel tips and tricks to help you plan your next adventure.

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ferries in maldives

Local Transportation in Maldives

A comprehensive article on all types of transportation in Maldives, both budget-friendly and not so much. Being an island nation, there are no buses, metros, trains, or even cars for getting around. The transportation between islands can even confuse experienced travelers and cause a lot of problems. In this small series of articles, I will explain how to move between islands, where to find schedules, and buy tickets.

It will be difficult for you to plan your dream trip to Maldives without these websites

cheap tickets direct flights maldives

Table of Contents

General information about transportation in Maldives

The topic is quite complex. On my first trip to the Maldives, my mind was a mess, everything was very unclear and confusing. After all, we are used to being able to travel on a huge variety of modes of transportation at home, across the country, and within cities. The Maldives are not like other countries in this regard. There is no subway, trolleybuses, trams, intercity buses, or cars that can take you far.

And the transportation in Maldives that does exist has a very specific schedule. You won’t find 20 flights a day to popular resorts from the capital. If there is one flight in the schedule, that’s not bad :).

air transport in maldives

Good to know: For example, in Montenegro, more than 20 intercity buses and minibusses run daily between the capital and the resort town of Budva. You can go in the right direction literally every 30 minutes. This simply does not exist in the Maldives with any mode of transportation.

Next, I will try to create a complete picture in your head. And let’s start with general information:

  • The Maldives is an island nation. A population of 500,000 people live on more than 1200 islands. Moreover, most of them are uninhabited.
  • An important point is that the islands are grouped into atolls, of which there are 26 here. And if it is still possible to move cheaply and regularly within one atoll, the distances between neighboring atolls range from 100 to 800 km, and transportation turn into hell.
  • All islands, the entire country, are of completely coral origin. In simple terms, they are located on fossilized corals. And the highest peak above sea level is only 2 meters 40 centimeters. It is not possible to dig a subway here. Even houses are built without basements. Any hole more than a meter deep is already filled with ocean water.
  • An island measuring 2 by 3 km, such as Male, is among the ten largest islands in the country. And the standard size of most islands is 500 by 1000 meters, and there is no public transportation on them at all. Only rare scooters.

All these facts have influenced the development of transportation in Maldives. For more interesting facts about the country for tourists, read the link.

Transportation in Maldives: how to move between the islands

You have a general idea, but now here are some important facts about transportation in Maldives that everyone should know before planning their trip:

  • All Maldives transportation between islands only operates during daylight hours. If you arrive in Male after 4 pm, be prepared to stay overnight. There is a high likelihood that you won’t be able to sail/fly anywhere from the island.
  • All transportation in Maldives is highly weather-dependent. Routes can be canceled at any moment, whether it be by ferry or seaplane.
  • The country is Islamic, and Friday is a day off! Nothing works, not even ferries between islands. If you don’t plan on buying a private transfer for $500-1000, you are unlikely to go anywhere from Male on Friday. If you arrive in the Maldives on Thursday evening, there is a chance you’ll be stuck in the capital until Saturday. Exception: Speedboats to Guraidhoo operate almost daily at 10 PM, costing $40 one way.
  • Useful article about resort islands and local islands , how they differ, top island ratings, and many tips on how to choose an island for your vacation.

ferry and maldives transportation

Important point: If you want to change atolls, for example, to move from Ukulhas Island to Dhigurah Island (both local islands are like a fairytale and a piece of paradise), there are no routes between them. The only transportation option is to go through Male with a transfer.

Considering that the frequency of ferries, speedboats, and seaplanes is only 1-2 times a day and not every day, there is a chance of spending more than a day on the road, even though the islands are only 100 km apart. Alternatively, you can order a private transfer, where prices range from around $500 – $1000.

Buses and taxi

In summary, there is simply no inter-island transportation of this type. Buses and taxis are only available in Male, the only city in the Maldives. They run frequently, there are many routes, and they are cheap, but there isn’t much use for them since you can walk the entire island in 30-40 minutes.

Transportation in Maldives

For example, a taxi costs $2-3 to any point in the capital, and this is the price for tourists. Locals pay $1.

  • You can find detailed information about bus routes, how to call a taxi, and how to get around the capital in the article “ Overview of Male. ” You will also find out what to see in the city and how much time to plan for your visit to Male.

Planes are perhaps the most predictable and reliable means of transportation between atolls, and the only mode of transportation in Maldives that operates during the night and is not heavily dependent on the weather.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • All tourists arrive in the Maldives at Velana International Airport, located in Male. This airport has a 3,000-meter runway, allowing it to accommodate planes of any size.
  • In addition to this airport, there are 16 local airports in the Maldives, where local airlines regularly fly. However, the runway length there is smaller. Smaller planes, with a capacity of 30-60 passengers, usually fly on these routes. They are typically twin-engine ATR-72 or Dash8.

local maldivian transport

Good to know: The observant reader may have noticed that there are 16 local airports, but 26 atolls. Yes, not every atoll has an airport yet. Airports exist on all atolls that are far from Male, but on the nearest atolls, up to 100 km from the capital, there are no airports. These planes do not fly to nearby atolls, only seaplanes or sea transport do.

Prices for such flights for tourists start from $100 one way (rates are cheaper for local residents). It is important to understand that this mode of transportation in Maldives will only take you to the central island of a specific atoll, which is almost always non-touristic. To reach your resort island/local island, you will need to take a ferry or speedboat.

The link to all local airlines, where you can find schedules, prices, and buy tickets, will be provided in the next section.

This is not just a flight; it is a whole adventure. I’m sure you haven’t flown on a seaplane very often in your life. Here are some general things you need to know about this type of transportation in Maldives:

  • They only fly in good weather and during daylight hours.
  • There are two local companies with their own route network.
  • They have their own separate hydro terminal at the main airport in Male.
  • Private transfer, when the plane is reserved only for you according to your individual route. This is expensive, from $700 and up to several thousand dollars.
  • A shuttle, where 10-15 tourists are seated in such a plane, which then flies around resorts and drops off tourists. If you are “lucky” and your resort is the farthest away, you can expect 3-4 stops on the way :). This is cheaper, and often this type of transfer is already included in a package tour when purchased. And your hotel will arrange everything for you. You only need to find the right counter at the airport upon arrival in Male, and then you can relax.

speedboat maldives

This was general information about air transportation in Maldives between the islands. Here are detailed guides to help you navigate this topic:

  • All airports in the Maldives or where you can arrive by plane
  • Air transportation in Maldives: planes and seaplanes . Carriers, prices, official websites.
  • Package tours to the Maldives , where to look, what to pay attention to.

Speedboats are perhaps the most popular means of transportation in Maldives between the islands for tourists. It combines two important advantages: relatively high speed compared to ferries, and not high cost compared to seaplanes.

Here’s what you need to know about speedboats in the Maldives:

  • Speed Boat is really fast. Typically, it has 4 engines of 250-350 horsepower each.

transport in the maldives between the islands

  • All speedboats belong to private carriers. Some resorts have their own speedboats that pick up their tourists directly from the airport.
  • There is a route network to local islands that runs on a schedule.
  • If you are traveling with a group of 6-8-10 people, it makes sense to rent a speedboat specifically for your group. Then you will sail as soon as you arrive in Male.
  • Speedboats do not run on Fridays, although it has been running for the last year, but there are fewer trips! This does not apply to individual transfers and speedboats from resorts.
Important: Speedboats only operate within 100-150km from Male. Speedboats do not sail to distant atolls from the capital, 400-600km away. Only by plane or seaplane.

In fact, if you buy an “all-inclusive” package tour, your resort hotel will organize everything for you, you just need to find the right counter at the airport upon arrival. If you fly independently to a local island, you also need to find the right route, and book a place in advance.

  • In the article: speedboats and private transfer are the best means of transportation in Maldives, you will find prices, schedules, carrier websites, where and how to book, and what to pay attention to.

If you buy a ticket for a speedboat to a local island, here’s what else you need to know:

  • The average speed is about 60km/h. It takes almost 2 hours to sail to the islands 100km from Male.
  • 15 to 40 people can be accommodated depending on the size of the speedboats. There are no standing places, only sitting ones, so it is better to book tickets in advance, as there may not be enough seats for everyone during peak season.
  • Travel time ultimately depends heavily on wind, waves, and weather. Sometimes it can even be twice as long as advertised.
  • It can be canceled at any time due to weather conditions. But this is the case with any form of transportation in Maldives.
  • The most popular routes have only 2-3 flights per day, sometimes just one.
  • Prices range from $25 one way to the nearby islands of Maafushi, Gulhi, and Guraidhoo, to $100 for remote islands like Dhigurah that are far from Male.

maldives speedboats

Due to their high speed, speedboats often experience stronger waves that can lift them up several meters. Ferries usually have less motion, but the travel time is much longer. As a result, tourists may experience motion sickness on both ferries and speedboats.

Public ferry

Ferries are the cheapest and most popular mode of transportation in Maldives for locals and budget travelers. Ferries operate at best once a day, and sometimes not even daily. If you miss your ferry, you may have to wait a day. If you want to change atolls, you will have to go through Male.

Here are a few things to keep in mind about ferries in the Maldives:

  • They are very cheap, ranging from $1 to $7.
  • They are very slow. For example, a popular local island called Thoddoo can be reached in 1.5 hours for about $40 on a speedboat, but on a ferry, it takes about 6 hours and costs $3.50.

transport in the maldives ferries between the islands

  • The ferry network is extremely limited, serving only the atolls closest to Male, which is only 3-4 atolls out of the 26 in the Maldives. For the rest of the atolls, there are no passenger ferries, only air travel.
  • The ferries run strictly on schedule and even depart when speedboats and seaplanes are grounded due to bad weather.
  • No ferries run on Fridays!
  • For more information about ferries in the Maldives , including where to find the ports (there are more than one), how to check the schedules, how to determine whether a ferry goes to your island, how to read the schedules correctly, and other tips and tricks, check out this comprehensive article.

Travel tips

The topic of public transportation in Maldives is very complex and confusing. If you have purchased a package tour, everything will be arranged for you. The only thing to fear is cancellations due to bad weather. However, if you are traveling to the islands independently, there are many things to consider and figure out on your own.

Here are the main points that will greatly help you save time, money, and nerves:

  • Choose islands for your vacation within 100 km of Male. There are many private resorts where package tourists go, as well as cool local islands for independent travelers.
  • The most convenient option is a speedboat. If you have booked a specific trip, you can arrive at your island in an hour and a half and start your vacation. It is more expensive than a ferry, but it is worth it.
  • Do not buy tickets to the Maldives for evening flights. It is also better not to arrive here on a Friday. Ideally, you should arrive in the Maldives before 10 am on any day of the week except Friday. Then it is quite easy to find the necessary transportation to your island. If you arrive in the evening, you cannot leave Male for any amount of money.
Good to know: This applies to those who want to save money. If your name includes words like “Elon” or “Musk”, or you have found your surname in Forbes magazine, it is better to book an individual transfer by seaplane. It is fast, expensive, and comfortable. Message to your hotel manager, they will arrange everything for you in no time.

There is also a so-called “night fruit ferry” only to Thoddoo island, but this is a very narrow topic and transportation for the strong-willed. It has its advantages. Read all about this ferry in the review of the local Thoddoo island .

transport on the islands fruit ferry

In conclusion: transportation in Maldives, and between islands, is very different from what we are used to at home in our countries. For those who want to save money, this question needs to be studied in advance. If you are willing to spend an extra $200-500-1000 on transfers, there will be no special difficulties. All hotels and guesthouses can help with the organization of private transfers from Male, you just need to message to them.

If you enjoyed the article and the content in this guide, you can buy me a coffee ^_^

Resources to help you plan your dream trip to the Maldives

  • Flight tickets and the best deals
  • Tour packages (from budget to luxury): Expedia
  • Hotellook compares prices among a dozen other services and platforms and offers to choose the best one.
  • Booking – the most popular service for booking accommodation.
  • Agoda – the main competitor of Booking.
  • 12go is the largest Asian transfer service. It gathers all Maldivian carriers, even the small ones that operate between local islands.
  • Tours and excursions : Viator – a limited selection of excursions, but convenient and reliable.
  • Comprehensive insurance : EKTA
  • eSIM at the same price as in telecom office in Male.

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MALDIVES ISLANDS FAQ'S

The main airport of the Maldives is the Velana International Airport located on Hulhule Island, next to the capital city of Male. Once visitors arrive at the airport in order to reach other Maldives islands, and atolls you will need to take a ferry, seaplane, or speedboat to reach your final destination. The airport serves as the main gateway to the Maldives islands and no location is more than 90 minutes by plane from Male.

If you have not booked a private transfer through us then you have a few options to reach your final destination. The resort counters can be found just outside the terminal, if you are traveling to a guesthouse or hotel on a local island, you will have received information with your booking regarding your hotel transfer from the airport. Most likely you will be greeted by a representative that will take you to your speedboat or seaplane transfer.

If you are visiting Male the capital city, you can take a ferry from the ferry jetty outside the airport. You can buy a ticket from the ticketing counter and board the ferry. Ferry services are regular with services every 10 minutes from 6:00 am until 11:59 pm, and every 30 minutes from midnight to 6:00 am. The cost of a ticket is around MVR10 for the 10 minute journey across the channel to Male.

The airport hosts the largest seaplane operations in the entire world, with Trans Maldivian Airways and Maldivina Air Taxi. These flights will connect you to your island/resort and are the fastest option, but also the most expensive.

Speedboat transfers can take as long as two hours to reach the location of some islands/resorts. Speedboat transfers operate 24 hours a day. Booking in advance is highly recommended as this is one of the most popular forms of transportation and they often fill up quickly. Prices vary depending on the final destination and total distance traveled.

There are only a few ways to travel between the Maldives Islands including public ferry, speed boats, seaplane, domestic flights, or private yachts. Once on the islands many don’t offer public transportation or even allow cars on the islands. So getting around is done by walking, golf carts, bicycles, or by water.

The national public ferry network was established in 2010 connecting all inhabited islands in the country. The ferry may only run a few times a week to another island or atoll.

Getting around by boat is one of the only ways to connect to these remote islands. There are four options for water travel in the Maldives; Public ferries (only run 3-6 times a week), private ferries (Male to Maafushi), scheduled speedboats (most popular tourist geared), and charter speedboats (high cost).

Many resorts, hotels, and guesthouses in the Maldives collect guests from Male or regional airstrips by speedboat. The public ferry system can be slow and infrequent, and also does not connect to every island and atoll.

The only islands that allow vehicles are the capital city of Male, Fuvahmulah, and Hulhumale, and connecting between the islands of Laamu, and Addu Atoll by causeways.

Taxis are more prevalent on the bigger islands like Male, not many other islands or atolls even allow vehicles.

Yes, walking around the islands and atolls is one of the only ways to explore the resorts, hotels, beaches, shops, restaurants, and other attractions.

A bicycle is an excellent way to get around the island, bikes are often offered to guests at the larger resorts and some guesthouses free of charge. Renting bikes is easy on most of the islands and atolls and a glorious way to explore the tropical paradise.

Maldives Island is an extremely safe place to visit, most visitors stay in “resort hotels” where crime levels are relatively low. Use your street smarts when exploring busy tourist areas, keep your wits about you and keep your personal items close. Petty crime including theft of goods unattended on the beach or in hotel rooms does occur, use a safe deposit box in the hotels and resorts to take care of your valuables.

The island nation of the Maldives offers some great places to pick up souvenirs and mementos from your trip. There are many popular local street markets found throughout the Maldives, small scale souvenirs shops, and high end boutiques to browse. Mahe, the capital of the Maldives offers many shopping opportunities such as the Male Local Market, a huge, popular street market located on the waterfront, a favorite amongst locals with numerous stalls selling handicrafts, mementos, and gift items along with snacks. Majeedhee Magu is the main road in Male, which runs the entire length of the island from east to west. The road offers some great shopping options including clothing, electronics, cosmetics, accessories, perfume, shoes, and watches along with restaurants. Many resorts and hotels have shops on site but many are limited as to what they sell and the prices might be inflated.

The magical island nation of the Maldives is made up of a chain of 1,200 islands in the gorgeous Indian Ocean. There are many picture perfect beaches sprinkled throughout the archipelago offering visitors some of the most serene, and wildly scenic stretches of sand. Some of the most beautiful beaches in the world can be found in the Maldives;

Reethi Beach is located on a tiny island in the Baa Atoll, the beaches here are the type you dream of. This is said to be the best beach in the Maldives covered in blinding white sands that meet sparkling turquoise waters and palm fringed shores, creating a slice of tropical paradise.

Cocoa Island is a luxurious hideaway on the South Male Atoll, home to the stunning and spectacular COMO Cocoa Island Resort (the only resort on the island). The beach here is famous and known for being quite exotic, fine white sugar sand, lapping crystal blue waters teeming with vibrant coral reefs and magnificent marine life blend to create this ravishing beach.

Landaa Giraavaru is home to the fabulous Four Seasons Resort and the idyllic beach on one of the most coveted private islands in the Maldives. A long sandbank slopes into the blue azure waters, backed by verdant jungles, a true slice of paradise.

The official language spoken of the Maldives is Dhivehi, many people speak English especially in the service industry at hotels and restaurants. Most of the island's inhabitants have a good comprehension of the English language. We recommend you get a good English-Dhivehi guidebook and learn the common phrases such as hello, goodbye, please, thank you, and numbers 1-10.

The Maldives enjoys a warm tropical climate with plenty of sunshine and daily average temperatures between 79-88 degrees. There is quite a bit of rain during the months of April to October with the southwest monsoon season, especially June to November. This is the time of year visitors can find some of the best travel deals including cheaper flights and discounted accommodation. November through April offers visitors the best weather throughout the island nation with warm temperatures and little precipitation.

The currency of the Maldives is the Maldivian rufiyaa (Rf or MVR). US dollars are widely accepted and in most resorts prices are posted in USD. It is recommended to exchange some rufiyaa for the other inhabited islands and on Male. There are exchange desks at the airport.

The cuisine in the Maldives revolves heavily around fish (mas) tuna in particular and other ingredients from the region including coconut and starches featured in many dishes. The cuisine is a mixture of Sri Lankan and South Indian traditions, especially Kerala with hot and spicy flavors and flavored with coconut. A traditional meal would consist of rice, a clear fish broth, and a side dish of lime, chili and onions. Curries (riha) are also very popular

The restaurant scene in the Maldives is mostly self contained in the hotels, resorts and guesthouses. Most offer breakfast included which is typically a modern European or generic Asian type of cuisine, some offer lunch and dinner buffets with a mixture of dishes, and ingredients. Male city has a thriving restaurant scene with many eateries aimed towards tourists and the rest aimed toward the Maldivian elite.

Nightlife in the Maldives is usually limited to your resort or hotel where drinks, dinner, music, and live entertainment are usually offered. Outside of Male City there is not much to the nightlife in the Maldives.

In case of an emergency dial 1-1-9 in the Maldives, a direct dial free emergency phone number that connects the caller to the national police.

Tree Top Hospital - Male - tel. 960-335-1610

Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital - Male - tel. 960-333-5335

Adk Hospital - Male - tel. 960-331-3553

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Maldives Public Ferry Guide

How to Use the Maldives Public Ferry [Maldives Transport]

One of the absolute delights of visiting the Maldives is using the public transit system here.  And in this nation of 1,192 islands, you can bet your bottom dollar that the vast majority of your transport is going to be by boat.  The Maldives has a fantastic public ferry system.  It connects many of the 187  inhabited islands, but it is, at first (and second) glance a little complicated.  You’ll just need a little time to work it out, and then a plan of where you want to go.  You might even want to use the Maldives public ferries in conjunction with some of the speedboats available, just to get a taste for the different types of transport and transfers available here.  Here’s our guide to the Maldives Public Ferries system, the timetables, costs, and how to use them.

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN COMPENSATED AND AFFILIATE LINKS MORE INFORMATION IN  OUR DISCLAIMER

I often say that trains are my favorite mode of transport.  But actually, I prefer sailing.  However, traveling the world on a sailboat is a very different proposition.  So, whenever I get the chance to use water transport I do.  And in the Maldives, there’s little other option, certainly for the route that we were taking on our Maldives itinerary.  The Maldives public ferry system can be a little daunting to start with, but actually, once you sit down, work out where you’d like to go, and then plan your travel (remember that Friday is the important day here in the Maldives) then it’s a great way to travel!

In order to plan our 2 weeks in the Maldives we studied the Maldives Public Ferry system extensively and worked our this itinerary around it.

Maldives Public Ferry Guide

The public ferry system in the Maldives is run by the MTCC – the Maldives Transport and Contracting Company – they were set up in 1980 and is the longest-running public company in the Maldives.  They run marine and land transport and they also provide marine and civil construction in the Maldives.  They’re generally known as the MTCC and they also run the buses in Male city (yes, there are buses in the Maldives!   (You know I’d never even considered it!!)

The biggest question that we had when first looking at the public ferries in the Maldives was when they were running, and then where to catch them from.  There are two islands where you need to know the answer to where to catch them from. That’s Hulhulé – the island that the airport is on and Male, where the public ferries to the local islands go from.

Interior of a Maldives Public Ferry

In terms of when the public ferries run.  There’s only one public ferry that runs on a Friday and that’s the airport ferry that ONLY goes to the island of Male.  I wrote about that here .  No other public ferries run on a Friday in the Maldives.  The rest of the detail, I’ll cover shortly.  Keep reading.

This guide to traveling the Maldives on the public ferry is augmented by our tips on traveling the Maldives on a budget.

Maldives Public Ferry Schedules & Routes

The 1,192 islands of the Maldives cover a land area of 298 square kilometers (115 square miles).  It is the smallest country in Asia.  However, those islands cover a total length of 871 kilometers and a total area (including the Indian Ocean in which they are located) of 90,000 square kilometers (34,749 square miles).

The islands are divided into 20 administrative atolls, although there are 26 naturally occurring atolls.  Atolls are circular groups of islands with a lagoon in the center.  Some are sand islands, some are coral islands.

The public ferry system in the Maldives is organized around the atolls.  So normally if you want to travel using the public ferry system, from one atoll to another you need to return to Male, the capital city, to travel to another atoll. 

The Maldives ferry timetable is a 55 page monster.  You can download it here.

The schedule for the Maldives public ferries, is, at first complicated.  There’s more on how to read it and use it in a moment.

Using the Public Ferries in the Maldives

Here’s some of the routes that we took and wrote up in the Maldives

How to go from Male to Maafushi

How to go from Male to Dhiffushi

Going from Male to Thulusdhoo

Take the airport ferry to Male

How to go from Maafushi to Fulidhoo

Maldives Ferry Map

The MTCC breaks the ferry system down into different zones.  There are 6 zones in the Maldives public ferry system.  They have a great map, which although it dates from 2021 is a really good resource.  You can download it here .

Here are screenshots of the different zones of the Maldives Public Ferry System

MTCC Maldives Public Ferries Map Zone 1

Maldives Public Ferry Booking

You can only book some of the public ferries in the Maldives ahead of time.     You can see which ones these are on Bookaway here – look for “Standard Ferry” – most of the tickets for the public ferry bought online will be US$12.

Note that there is a premium for booking online, but it does allow you to pay by card.

Simply turn up before the ferry departure time and buy a ticket if you’re in Male, or rock up at the jetty if you’re on one of the islands and buy the ticket on the ferry.

Maldives Public Ferry v Maldives Speedboats

As tourism on the local islands of the Maldives opens up further,  so too do alternative ways to get to the islands.  Privately owned speedboats now run between Male and many of the islands, so you can travel on a Friday or outside of the public ferry timetables.

We used a speedboat to go from Male to Maafushi when our Saudia Airlines flight from Jeddah landed on a Friday.  We knew that the ferries would not be running, and had prebooked a speedboat to get us to Maafushi.

Speedboats in the Maldives differ in 4 ways to the public ferries.

Speedboats are much faster than Maldives Public ferries

The boats go a lot quicker than the ferries.  That’s not, always, by the way, a good thing.  In bad weather, you’ll bounce off a lot of waves, and it’s distinctly uncomfortable.  But then I guess you’ve been uncomfortable for a shorter period of time, so there is that.

Speedboats run on Friday

Speed boats in the Maldives are run by private companies and therefore are free to set what hours and days they run.  So they run on Fridays, which is both a day of prayer in this 100% Muslim country and also a public holiday.  It’s the weekend.

You can book many of the speedboats in the Maldives online with Bookaway or with 12goAsia

Speedboats set a timetable to coordinate with flights.

The vast majority of the users of speedboats are either international tourists or international business visitors.  They have the money to pay for the speed boats and so you’ll find the timetable of speedboats to the islands is set to accommodate these people.  Locals don’t use speedboats for their everyday travel, as they’re a lot more expensive than the local ferries

Speedboats are a LOT more expensive than the Maldives Public Ferries

If you’ve come from South East Asia and you’ve been island hopping then you’ll be used to paying the US$40 for the Koh Lipe to Langkawi Ferry. (yeah, I wrote about that here ). And you shouldn’t be surprised that a speedboat from Male to Maafushi costs US$25.  That journey to Koh Lipe takes about the same time as the Male to Maafushi speed boat.  And that all sounds ok right?  Until you realize that the public ferry costs US$2.41.    Yes, you read that right – US$2.41.

However.  Speedboats are no more comfortable than the public ferry.  You won’t get any more room on the speed boat than you would on the public ferry.

Maldives Public Ferry from the Airport

Yes, that’s right there’s even a public ferry in the Maldives that picks up and drops off at the airport.  That’s because the airport is also on an island and it wasn’t until September 2018 that it was connected to the capital city of Male by a bridge.  The public ferry still runs to and from the airport and is a great, quick, efficient, and cost-effective way to go to and from the airport in the Maldives.  Here’s our guide to going to and from the airport in Male .

The Maldives Public Ferry Terminal in Male

The Maldives’ capital city of Male is on the island of Male.  And if you check out Google Maps, then you’ll find several ferry terminals.  The ONLY ferry terminal that you’re interested in on the island of Male, is marked on OUR map of the Male ferry terminals (you can see it below in this article).   Since the pandemic, the MTCC changed all the ferry departures to leaving from the main MTCC terminal, opposite the Maagiri Hotel.

At this ferry terminal, there are places to eat on the second floor (although there are lots of much better places nearby – I recommend the Ebb & Flow Café about 5 minutes walk away along the front road.  It has great coffee and super Maldivian breakfasts).  A little further away (along the same road) is City Garden, go upstairs for great views and a better breeze.  I’ve marked both of those on the map for you too.

There’s a waiting area here at the MTCC Public Ferry Terminal, with lots of seating and fans, but no A/C.

Male Ferry Terminal Waiting Area

How to use the Public Ferries in the Maldives

Public ferries are EASY to use in the Maldives, you simply buy a ticket on-board, after boarding the ferry (apart from when you’re catching the ferries in Male or at the airport).  In Male and at the airport you buy a ticket from the booth in the MTCC building or on the ferry jetty at the airport.  The ferries are cheap, relatively comfortable and it’s a great slow travel way to see this island nation.

Understand the timetable for the Maldives Public Ferries

Now this is the hardest bit about using the Maldives Public Ferry.  The timetable. The airport ferry is the only Maldives ferry to run 7 days a week.  None of the other Maldives ferries run on a Friday, which is the day of prayer, rest, and the weekend here.

How to read the Maldives Public Ferry Timetable

  • The departure times are on the RIGHT, so you need to read it RIGHT TO LEFT.
  • The easiest way to figure out the timetable for the islands you want to go to is to search in the document for the island you want to go to.
  • Most ferries do NOT run every day, so make a note of the specific days that the ferry runs.
  • Each of the ferries is numbered (but the only thing you’ll really need this for figuring is out which ferry timetables to look at).  The number of the ferry will also tell you what zone the ferry is in (for instance the 306 is in zone 3)

Here are the timetables for the main islands that independent travelers visit in the Maldives.  Please check here with the MTCC for any timetable changes

  • Male to Maafushi (ferries 306 and 309) – the 306 also goes to Fulidhoo (read about going from Maafushi to Fulidhoo here )

Maldives 306 Ferry Schedule - Male to Maafushi

Our guide to why you should visit Maafushi is here.

  • Male to Dhiffushi (ferry 308) – also goes to Himmafushi, Huraa and Thulusdhoo . Read our guide to Dhiffushi here

Maldives 308 Ferry Schedule - Male to Dhuffushi

  • Male to Rasdhoo (ferry 303) – also goes to Ukulhas and Thodoo

Maldives 303 Ferry Schedule - Male to Rasdhoo

How to buy tickets for the Maldives Public Ferries

Buying tickets for the public ferries in the Maldives is simple.  You’ll need cash – i.e. Maldivian Rufiyaa.  And the process differs slightly depending on where you’re buying your tickets.

Buying a ticket for the Male Airport Ferry

To buy tickets for the Maldives airport ferry you’ll need to go to the ticket booth at the airport and buy your ticket before you board the ferry.  I’ve covered this and its location in our guide to getting to and from the airport . If you’re on the island of Male, and heading towards the airport, then you also need to buy a ticket before boarding.  The ticket booth is in the MTCC building, in the waiting area, round the corner from the main ticket booth buying area.

Buying tickets for the Maldives ferries in Male

If you’re on the island of Male, then you buy your tickets from the ticket booth in the MTCC building.  It’s easy to spot.  The ticket sellers sit behind a glassed-in area and speak English, just say where you’re going, and hand over the money.

Buying tickets for Maldives public ferries on the islands

Getting a ticket for the public ferries while you’re on the island is even easier.  Your host will most likely take you (or your luggage) to the ferry jetty on the island in time to catch the ferry.  Line up, allow the people to get off first, and then hop on board.  Stow your larger bags where you are instructed, and then take a seat.  Luggage storage on some ferries is right at the front and on other ferries, it’s at the back. Sometimes bags are separated by which island you’re going to – just follow the advice of the crew.

One of the MTCC crew will come round and sell you a ticket.  It’s cash only.  And the ticket will have the cost of the fare printed on it.

How to board the Maldives Public Ferries

Boarding the Maldives public ferries is easy.  The ferries drive straight in and moor bow (front) onto the jetty.  If there’s no one getting off, then the crew will just wave you on.  There are usually some steps if the jetty is lower than the bow of the ferry.  You’ll walk over the bow of the boat, and step down into the interior area.  Simple.

Where to sit on the Maldives Public Ferries

We always like to try and get seats on the side of the boat away from the sun.  It tends to be cooler. On some of the boats the seats may have windows next to them that open.  Other ferries have open sides, with roll-down rain/sun covers.

If you’re on one of the ferries with roll-down covers and want to sit on the edge seats, then just be aware that the sun is super, super strong here and you should wear sunblock.

Other than that, it’s free seating, so help yourself.

There’s very little in the way of interference with mobile signals, so you’re likely to get a data signal for pretty all the journeys you’ll do on the Maldives public ferries, so get yourself an eSIM and catch up on what you need to while you’re traveling.

Where to store bags on the Maldives Public Ferries

Most of the Maldives public ferries have bag storage at the rear of the boat, or right in the center as you get on – it’s just an area where all the larger bags are stored.  You’ll be directed by the crew as to where to put your bags.

Map of the Ferry Jetties for Malé

You can also see full map for the ferry jetties here

Map of How to Use the Maldives Public Ferry

FAQs about the Maldives Public Ferries

Oh, we had so many questions about these ferries and how to build them into our Maldives itinerary .  We also tried several speedboats, to see what the difference was and we also took a transfer (included with our hotel in Male – the UMET Seaview , which we recommend). Anyways, here are the questions and answers about ferries in the Maldives.

How much do public ferries cost in the Maldives?

The Maldives Public Ferries don’t cost very much at all.  Here’s some sample prices

  • Male to Male Airport:  20 Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR)
  • Fulidhoo to Maafushi:  53 MVR ( our guide to Fulidhoo and why you should go is here )
  • Male to Thulusdhoo 22 MVR

Do Maldives Public Ferries run on Fridays?

The airport ferry to and from Male runs on a Friday.  No other public ferries run in the Maldives on a Friday.

Who runs the Maldives Public Ferries?

The public ferries in the Maldives are run by the MTCC – the Maldives Transport and Contracting Company.  The MTCC has been running since 1980 – and also manages the buses in Male city, as well as marine and civil construction in the Maldives.

How to pay for tickets on Maldives Public Ferries?

You’ll pay for your Maldives ferry tickets in cash, in local (Rufiyaa) currency.  Read my guide to currency, ATMs, and payment in the Maldives to understand about cash here .

Can I book tickets on Maldives Public Ferries?

No, you can’t book tickets on the public ferries in the Maldives.  If you’re on one of the islands and it’s holiday season and you’re concerned that you won’t get a seat on the ferry, just speak to your hotel or guest house owner and they’ll make sure you get on it.

Can you use Maldives Public Ferries to go to resort islands?

No.  It’s not possible to use Maldives public ferries to travel to the resort islands.  Most of the resort islands have specific rules about which boats can use their jetties – and this tends to mean only the ones that they own or have a commercial relationship with.  So if you’re going to a resort island, then you’ll have to pay the speed boat transfer fee that they quote to you.  Our speedboat transfer fee to get to the Malahini Kuda Bandos Resort was US$85 per person round trip. 

You can read our review of the Malahini resort here.

How do you go between islands in the Maldives?

There are options for how to go between various islands in the Maldives.  There are public ferries, speed boats, private speedboats, and seaplanes to go between Maldives islands.

How much is a boat transfer in the Maldives?

The cost of a Maldives boat transfer depends on the boat that you’re taking, and the distance that you’re going.  A public ferry can cost as little as 20 MVR, a speedboat is usually upwards of US$25.

Are there toilets on public ferries in the Maldives?

Yes.  There are basic toilets on the Maldives public ferries.

How big are the Maldives Public Ferries?

Most of the ferries in the Maldives will seat from 50-100 people. 

Is there power on the Maldvies Public Ferries?

If there is power, then its going to be for the staff only. Make sure you’re charged before you leave your hotel – our guide to what you need for power in the Maldives is here.

How fast do the Maldives Public Ferries go?

It depends on where they are.  As the ferries come into the jetties, they’re pretty slow and they also have to navigate some rather shallow areas, so they go slow.  You can see how long it takes to go between islands in the timetable.  But don’t worry, you’re not going to bounce off the waves on the local ferries.  They chug along quite nicely.

Tips for Traveling the Maldives

  • Considering travel insurance for your trip? World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 adventure activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation, and more.
  • Looking for an affordable Maldives Resort? Read our review here.
  • Read about ATMs, cash and payments in the Maldives
  • Get the right power adapter for the Maldives – this is what you need
  • Get an eSim for the Maldives to make life MUCH easier.
  • Wondering about mosquitoes in the Maldives?
  • Book Speedboats between the local islands with 12GoAsia
  • Save money in the Maldives with a Wise debit card
  • Book accommodation in the Maldives with Booking

Final Words on Using the Maldives Public Ferries

The public ferries in the Maldives are a glorious way to travel around this island nation.  The ferries are run for the locals to travel on, they’re cheap and a great way to get between the islands.  If you’re lucky enough to visit the Maldives and travel on the ferry system, then I hope you’ll have as much fun traveling on the ferries as we did.

We receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using our affiliate links. We do not represent World Nomads. This is not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.

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Maldives Travel: Days Needed

  • Last updated Jun 17, 2024
  • Difficulty Intemediate

Alain Brady

  • Category Travel

how many days to travel in maldives

The Maldives is a small archipelago near Sri Lanka, known for its crystalline waters, secluded accommodations, and remote beaches. For those short on time, a few days of snorkelling, swimming, and relaxing on the beach is enough. However, most people recommend spending at least one week in the archipelago to fully enjoy the variety of experiences on offer, including cruising and scuba diving. With ten days in the Maldives, you can choose multiple islands and really immerse yourself in the local culture. A two-week trip would allow you to add even more islands to your itinerary and include some time for island-hopping and cruising.

What You'll Learn

How many days are enough for a maldives trip, how many days in the maldives for a honeymoon, what is there to do in the maldives, how much does a maldives trip cost, what is the best time to visit the maldives.

quartzmountain

The Maldives is a small archipelago, so there is a limitation on things to do. If you are short on time, a few days of snorkelling, swimming and relaxing on the beach is enough. However, most people recommend spending at least a week in the archipelago to truly enjoy the variety of experiences on offer, from cruising to scuba diving. With seven days, you can sail in azure waters, visit different islands and find the best snorkelling spots.

If you are planning a longer trip, you could combine the Maldives with Sri Lanka. While the Maldives is all about sun, sand and sea, Sri Lanka is known for its greenery and wildlife.

If you are staying in the Maldives for a week, your trip can be on land or at sea, but it will usually start and finish in Malé, the capital city. You can explore the capital, try the local cuisine and visit the popular Artificial Beach, which offers numerous water sport options. You can also hop between the islands of Rasdhoo, Maafushi, Gulhi and Ukulhas for a comprehensive experience.

With ten days in the Maldives, you can choose multiple islands and really tap into the local culture. Given the small size of Malé, you can easily cover the capital by foot. Secret Paradise, located to the north of the capital’s airport, is worth exploring if you want to experience the local culture. You can also head out to explore far-flung islands and remote villages.

A two-week Maldives vacation could be an extension of the ten-day itinerary with some minor changes. You could add Alimatha Island, located in the Felidhe Atoll, to your trip. This island is well known for its beaches and scuba diving. Thulusdhoo, which is barely 28 kilometres away from the capital, is popular among surfing enthusiasts.

In summary, most people recommend spending at least a week in the Maldives, with some suggesting that ten days to two weeks is ideal if you want to truly experience the culture and see everything the islands have to offer.

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The Maldives is a popular honeymoon destination, known for its tranquil charm and luxurious resorts. But how long should you go for?

The ideal duration for a honeymoon in the Maldives is generally considered to be around 5 to 7 days. This gives you enough time to experience the inland beauty and vibrant underwater life of the islands. However, some people suggest that 10-14 days is preferable for a honeymoon, as it can take a couple of days to get over the travelling and adjust to the Maldivian way of life. If you are planning to do a lot of diving, 14 days might be a better option.

The best time to visit the Maldives for a honeymoon is from November to April, when the weather is dry and there are fewer showers. April is a particularly good month to visit if you plan on indulging in water activities, as the waters are especially calm. If you are planning a last-minute honeymoon, the Maldives is a good choice as there is no prior visa required to enter the country.

The Maldives offers a range of romantic experiences for honeymooners, from snorkelling and scuba diving to candlelit dinners on the beach and couple's massages. With its pristine beaches and charming attractions, the Maldives is the perfect place to start your life with your partner.

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The Maldives is an archipelago of 1,190 islands scattered across 26 atolls in the Indian Ocean, with nearly 200 resort islands and 200 inhabited islands. It is a unique destination with plenty of places to explore and things to do. Here is a detailed list of what you can do in the Maldives:

Relax on the Beach

The Maldives is known for its sugar white sand and turquoise water, making it the perfect beach vacation destination. Every resort island has at least one beach with lounge chairs or salas to relax on. Most also have a "house reef" where you can snorkel and admire the marine life. Some resorts that boast notably beautiful beaches include Veligandu Island Beach and Bikini Beach.

Scuba Diving and Snorkelling

The Maldives offers exceptionally clear visibility of up to 131 feet and an average sea temperature of 85.5 degrees Fahrenheit, making it an ideal destination for scuba diving and snorkelling. Most resorts feature a house reef, while many also offer snorkelling excursions to more vibrant reefs around the atoll. There are also dive centres on many resorts and inhabited islands, offering dive trips to stunning "giris" (shallow submerged reefs), drop-offs, "thilas" (pinnacles), channels, caves and shipwrecks. With a medium to strong current, most dives in the Maldives are drift dives from boats.

Water Sports

As the official territory of the Maldives is 99% water, there are plenty of water sports to enjoy beyond snorkelling and diving. You can try wreck dives, reef walls, channel dives and more. You can also swim with nurse sharks in Fulidhoo, whale sharks at Maamigili and tiger sharks in Fuvahmulah, or explore incredible shipwrecks such as Kuda Giri.

Authentic Cultural Experiences

The Maldives is a melting pot of cultures, influenced by sailors, traders and explorers from India, Sri Lanka, the Middle East, Africa, Malaysia, Indonesia and beyond over a period of more than 2,500 years. Prior to its official conversion to Islam in AD 1153, the Maldives was Buddhist and Hindu. You can explore this fascinating history through authentic cultural experiences, such as visiting the Hukuru Miskiiy Mosque, the Grand Friday Mosque, or the National Museum. You can also find local crafts and souvenirs, such as thundu kunaa woven mats, striped feyli sarongs, lacquerware from Baa Atoll and wooden miniature dhonis (boats).

Island Hopping

With so many islands to explore, island hopping is a popular activity in the Maldives. You can visit "local islands" like Maafushi, where you can mingle with the average Maldivian and get a sense of real island life. Resorts often offer excursions to nearby islands, and you can also book private island-hopping tours.

Other Activities

In addition to the above, the Maldives offers a range of other activities to suit different interests. You can try jet boat rentals, historical tours, fishing charters, sports camps, dining experiences, and more. Skydiving is also a new activity in the Maldives, with the country's first permanent skydiving facility located at Ifuru Island Maldives resort.

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The cost of a trip to the Maldives varies depending on the traveller's preferences and budget. Here is a breakdown of the expected costs for a trip to the Maldives:

Round-trip flight prices to the Maldives vary depending on your location and cabin class. For example, flights from Los Angeles to the Maldives range from $1,088 in Economy Class to $5,036 in Business Class. Flights from New York City can start from $820 in Economy Class and go up to $4,268 for Business Class.

Accommodation

Accommodation costs in the Maldives can range from $50 a night at a simple guest house to over $34,000 for a room at a luxury resort. All-inclusive resort options start at $540, while overwater bungalows can be found from $825 per night.

Food in the Maldives can be moderately expensive. A meal at a decent restaurant can cost around MVR386, with daily food expenses averaging MVR964. However, cheaper options are available at local eateries, with meals costing between $15 and $30.

Attractions

Attractions in the Maldives can vary in price, with some starting as low as $25 per person. Scuba diving typically costs around $100, while a day pass to a resort can be up to $200.

Transportation

Getting around the Maldives can be done by ferry, speedboat, or seaplane, with prices depending on the distance travelled and the mode of transportation chosen. Ferry rides can cost between $0.65 and $5, while speedboat rides can be up to $35 for a trip from Male to nearby islands. Seaplane rides, often used for longer distances, can cost around $500.

Other Expenses

When planning a trip to the Maldives, don't forget to factor in taxes, fees, and travel insurance. Accommodations typically charge a 10% service fee, a 12% Goods and Services Tax (GST), and a $6 Green Tax per person, per night. Credit card transactions may also incur additional fees of 3.5% to 5%. Travel insurance for an 8-day trip to the region starts at $25 and can go up to $76.

Maldives tour packages are available at various price points, with options to suit different budgets and preferences. MakeMyTrip, for example, offers packages starting at ₹67,486, while Yatra has packages ranging from ₹24,990 to ₹2,49,990 per person on a twin-sharing basis. These packages often include flights, hotels, and holiday bookings, and can be tailored for families, couples, or solo travellers.

So, whether you're looking for a budget-friendly trip or a luxurious escape, the Maldives has something to offer. Keep in mind that prices may change, and it's always a good idea to check for updates and look for deals and discounts when planning your trip.

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The best time to visit the Maldives depends on what you want to do there. The island nation is warm and sunny year-round, but it has a dry season and a wet, rainy season. The dry season, from November to April, is considered the best time to visit, and it is also the peak season.

If you want to go diving, the best time is from November to April, as this is the manta season, when manta rays and other fish gather at the North Channel, a popular dive spot on Rasdhoo Island.

If you want to avoid the crowds, the low season is from May to November, and the wettest months are June, July, and August. However, even during the rainy season, there are plenty of clear days, and the rain usually comes in short, heavy bursts.

If you are looking for a bargain, July and August are the cheapest months for resorts in the Maldives, so it is a popular time for European holidaymakers.

For those short on time, a few days of snorkelling, swimming, and sunbathing might be enough, but if you want to explore the islands and experience the local culture, it is recommended to spend at least a week in the Maldives. With seven days, you can visit multiple islands, go scuba diving, and try other water sports like jet-skiing, windsurfing, and parasailing.

If you are planning a longer trip, you can combine the Maldives with a visit to Sri Lanka, which is known for its greenery and wildlife.

The Impact of Travel on Hair Texture: Exploring the Changes and Possible Causes

Frequently asked questions.

4 to 5 days is usually sufficient if staying in one hotel and perhaps 7 days if 2 hotels.

The Maldives is a small archipelago, so there is a limitation on things to do. However, if you are into specific activities that require time, such as diving and deep-sea fishing, you can stay longer.

It depends on where you are travelling from. Most visitors will arrive at Malé, the capital of the Maldives. From there, you will need to take a speedboat or seaplane to your hotel, which can be expensive.

The Maldives is known for its sun-kissed beaches, luxurious hotels, crystal clear turquoise sea, colourful fishes and reefs. You can enjoy a variety of water sports, including snorkelling, fishing, stand-up paddleboarding and cruising.

The Maldives is warm and sunny year-round, but the best time to visit is from November to April, which is the dry season. July and August tend to be the cheapest months for resorts.

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Green Paradise: Top 10 Sustainable Island Getaways

Posted: March 25, 2024 | Last updated: March 25, 2024

<p><strong>In a world increasingly conscious of the environmental footprint left by travel, sustainable island getaways offer a harmonious balance between indulging in the beauty of paradise and preserving it for future generations. These destinations across the globe highlight eco-consciousness, where luxury coexists with sustainability.</strong></p>

In a world increasingly conscious of the environmental footprint left by travel, sustainable island getaways offer a harmonious balance between indulging in the beauty of paradise and preserving it for future generations. These destinations across the globe highlight eco-consciousness, where luxury coexists with sustainability.

<p><span>The Maldives, a tropical paradise in the Indian Ocean, is renowned for its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and luxurious overwater bungalows. Amidst its natural beauty, the Maldives is also a leader in sustainable tourism, with many resorts utilizing solar energy, water conservation systems, and coral reef restoration projects.</span></p>

1. The Maldives

The Maldives, a tropical paradise in the Indian Ocean, is renowned for its crystal-clear waters, vibrant coral reefs, and luxurious overwater bungalows. Amidst its natural beauty, the Maldives is also a leader in sustainable tourism, with many resorts utilizing solar energy, water conservation systems, and coral reef restoration projects.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / R.M. Nunes</p>  <p><span>Palawan, an archipelagic province in the Philippines, is a haven of biodiversity, with lush jungles, towering limestone cliffs, and pristine beaches. Recognized for its commitment to eco-tourism, Palawan offers a range of sustainable travel experiences, from community-based tours to eco-friendly accommodations nestled in nature.</span></p>

2. Palawan, Philippines

Image Credit: Shutterstock / R.M. Nunes

Palawan, an archipelagic province in the Philippines, is a haven of biodiversity, with lush jungles, towering limestone cliffs, and pristine beaches. Recognized for its commitment to eco-tourism, Palawan offers a range of sustainable travel experiences, from community-based tours to eco-friendly accommodations nestled in nature.

<p><span>The Galápagos Islands, an archipelago of volcanic islands straddling the equator in the Pacific Ocean, are a living museum of evolutionary biology. This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to an array of unique wildlife species, many of which are found nowhere else on Earth. </span></p> <p><span>The islands offer an unparalleled opportunity to observe and study wildlife in an environment relatively untouched by human influence. From giant tortoises and marine iguanas to blue-footed boobies and Darwin’s finches, the Galápagos Islands provide a unique window into the natural world.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Snorkeling with playful sea lions is a must-do experience in the Galápagos.</span></p> <p><b>When To Travel: </b><span>Visit from December to May for warmer weather and calmer seas, ideal for snorkeling and diving.</span></p> <p><b>How To Get There: </b><span>Fly to Quito or Guayaquil in Ecuador, followed by a flight to one of the islands’ airports.</span></p>

3. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Image Credit: Shutterstock / FOTOGRIN

The Galápagos Islands, a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, are a living museum of evolutionary changes, with a vast number of endemic species inspiring Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. The islands’ approach to tourism is highly regulated, ensuring that visits have minimal impact on the delicate ecosystems.

<p><span>The Seychelles, an archipelago in the Indian Ocean, is a leader in environmental conservation. The islands offer stunning beaches, coral reefs, and nature reserves. Sustainable tourism practices here include eco-lodges, marine conservation projects, and guided nature tours. The Seychelles’ commitment to preserving its natural and cultural heritage makes it an ideal destination for responsible travelers.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Visit Vallee de Mai on Praslin Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to see the rare Coco de Mer palm.</span></p> <p><b>When To Travel: </b><span>April to May and October to November offer calm seas and pleasant weather.</span></p> <p><b>How To Get There: </b><span>Fly to Seychelles International Airport on Mahé Island from major international hubs.</span></p>

4. Seychelles

Image Credit: Shutterstock / fokke baarssen

The Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, is a pioneer in environmental conservation, dedicating a significant portion of its territory to nature reserves and marine parks. The islands’ commitment to sustainable tourism is evident in their eco-friendly resorts, marine conservation projects, and initiatives to protect endemic species.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / haspil</p>  <p><span>Known as the “Nature Island,” Dominica stands out for its lush rainforests, abundant waterfalls, and hot springs, all part of a concerted effort to promote eco-tourism and sustainability. The island’s commitment to preserving its natural environment is matched by its development of renewable energy sources and community-based tourism initiatives.</span></p>

5. Dominica

Image Credit: Shutterstock / haspil

Known as the “Nature Island,” Dominica stands out for its lush rainforests, abundant waterfalls, and hot springs, all part of a concerted effort to promote eco-tourism and sustainability. The island’s commitment to preserving its natural environment is matched by its development of renewable energy sources and community-based tourism initiatives.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / Aspects and Angles</p>  <p><span>Maui, the second-largest of the Hawaiian islands, is celebrated for its stunning landscapes, from the summit of Haleakal? to the beaches of Wailea. The island’s dedication to sustainability is seen in its protection of natural resources, promoting local agriculture, and developing renewable energy.</span></p>

6. Maui, Hawaii

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Aspects and Angles

Maui, the second-largest of the Hawaiian islands, is celebrated for its stunning landscapes, from the summit of Haleakal? to the beaches of Wailea. The island’s dedication to sustainability is seen in its protection of natural resources, promoting local agriculture, and developing renewable energy.

<p><span>The GR20 in Corsica, France, presents a formidable challenge for even seasoned hikers. Stretching approximately 112 miles across the island, it traverses the rugged terrain of Corsica’s mountainous spine. This trail, often regarded as one of the toughest in Europe, demands physical stamina and mental resilience.</span></p> <p><span>Depending on the season, you will navigate steep ascents and descents, rocky paths, and, occasionally, snow-covered trails. The landscape along the GR20 is as challenging as it is breathtaking. From towering granite peaks to lush forests and serene mountain lakes, the trail offers a constantly changing backdrop that captivates and inspires. </span><span>Each day’s hike brings a new set of challenges and rewards, making the journey an achievement in itself.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Pack light but include essential gear for sudden weather changes.</span></p> <p><b>When To Travel: </b><span>June to September, with July and August being the busiest.</span></p> <p><b>How To Get There: </b><span>Access is usually from Bastia or Ajaccio in Corsica, which has airports and ferry connections.</span></p>

7. Corsica, France

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Ondrej Prochazka

Corsica, a mountainous Mediterranean island, boasts a rugged landscape, pristine beaches, and dense forests, all protected under the island’s commitment to environmental preservation. The Corsican people’s dedication to sustainable living is evident in their promotion of local products, protection of natural sites, and development of eco-tourism.

<p><span>The Azores, a group of nine volcanic islands in the North Atlantic, are a model for sustainable tourism. The islands’ stunning landscapes, from green pastures to thermal springs, are complemented by eco-friendly accommodations and activities. Whale watching, hiking, and diving in the Azores not only offer incredible experiences but also support conservation efforts. The islands’ commitment to sustainability includes renewable energy initiatives and the protection of marine life.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Try geothermal cooking, a unique culinary experience on the islands.</span></p> <p><b>When To Travel: </b><span>Visit from April to October for the best weather and whale-watching opportunities.</span></p> <p><b>How To Get There: </b><span>Fly to Ponta Delgada on São Miguel Island from Lisbon or other European cities.</span></p>

8. Azores, Portugal

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Angelina Dobreva

The Azores, a group of nine volcanic islands in the mid-Atlantic, are a prime example of sustainable island living, with a strong emphasis on renewable energy, waste reduction, and marine conservation. The islands offer a wealth of eco-friendly activities, from whale watching and birding to hiking and thermal baths, set against a backdrop of dramatic landscapes and vibrant communities.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / Anne Coatesy</p>  <p><span>The Isle of Eigg, part of the Inner Hebrides, is a community-owned island known for its innovative approach to sustainable living and renewable energy. Eigg’s residents have created a self-sufficient community that relies on solar, wind, and hydropower, setting an example for renewable energy usage worldwide.</span></p>

9. Isle of Eigg, Scotland

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Anne Coatesy

The Isle of Eigg, part of the Inner Hebrides, is a community-owned island known for its innovative approach to sustainable living and renewable energy. Eigg’s residents have created a self-sufficient community that relies on solar, wind, and hydropower, setting an example for renewable energy usage worldwide.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / Rasmus Kleis</p>  <p><span>Samso, an island in the Kattegat Sea, is renowned as Denmark’s renewable energy island, achieving carbon-negative status through wind, biomass, and solar power. The island’s sustainable model extends to organic farming, green transportation, and eco-friendly tourism, with opportunities for visitors to learn about renewable energy, enjoy locally sourced meals, and explore the island’s natural and cultural sites by bike or on foot.</span></p>

10. Samso, Denmark

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Rasmus Kleis

Samso, an island in the Kattegat Sea, is renowned as Denmark’s renewable energy island, achieving carbon-negative status through wind, biomass, and solar power. The island’s sustainable model extends to organic farming, green transportation, and eco-friendly tourism, with opportunities for visitors to learn about renewable energy, enjoy locally sourced meals, and explore the island’s natural and cultural sites by bike or on foot.

<p class="wp-caption-text">Image Credit: Shutterstock / Maridav</p>  <p><span>Exploring sustainable island getaways allows you to immerse yourself in paradise while contributing positively to preserving these unique ecosystems and cultures. From the renewable energy innovations of Samso to the marine conservation efforts of the Azores, each destination offers a glimpse into a future where travel and sustainability are intertwined.</span></p> <p><span>More Articles Like This…</span></p> <p><a href="https://thegreenvoyage.com/barcelona-discover-the-top-10-beach-clubs/"><span>Barcelona: Discover the Top 10 Beach Clubs</span></a></p> <p><a href="https://thegreenvoyage.com/top-destination-cities-to-visit/"><span>2024 Global City Travel Guide – Your Passport to the World’s Top Destination Cities</span></a></p> <p><a href="https://thegreenvoyage.com/exploring-khao-yai-a-hidden-gem-of-thailand/"><span>Exploring Khao Yai 2024 – A Hidden Gem of Thailand</span></a></p> <p><span>The post <a href="https://passingthru.com/sustainable-island-getaways/">Green Paradise: Top 10 Sustainable Island Getaways</a> republished on </span><a href="https://passingthru.com/"><span>Passing Thru</span></a><span> with permission from </span><a href="https://thegreenvoyage.com/"><span>The Green Voyage</span></a><span>.</span></p> <p><span>Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Damian Lugowski.</span></p> <p><span>For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.</span></p>

The Bottom Line

Image Credit: Shutterstock / Maridav

Exploring sustainable island getaways allows you to immerse yourself in paradise while contributing positively to preserving these unique ecosystems and cultures. From the renewable energy innovations of Samso to the marine conservation efforts of the Azores, each destination offers a glimpse into a future where travel and sustainability are intertwined.

More Articles Like This…

Barcelona: Discover the Top 10 Beach Clubs

2024 Global City Travel Guide – Your Passport to the World’s Top Destination Cities

Exploring Khao Yai 2024 – A Hidden Gem of Thailand

The post Green Paradise: Top 10 Sustainable Island Getaways republished on Passing Thru with permission from The Green Voyage .

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Damian Lugowski.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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IMAGES

  1. How to Travel Between Islands in the Maldives

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  2. Maldives Travel Guide

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  3. Maldives. How to visit two islands in one trip

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  4. How to Travel Between Islands in the Maldives? [With Infographic]

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  5. 28 Best Islands In Maldives For Honeymoon(2023)

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  6. How to Travel Between Islands in the Maldives

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  1. Amazing view from one of the Maldives island🇲🇻 #Islands #travel #maldives #resort #ocean #amazing

  2. Maldives

COMMENTS

  1. How to travel between islands in the Maldives

    Getting around in the Maldives. Internal flights in the Maldives. Airports in the Maldives. Seaplane transfer in the Maldives. Scheduled speed boats. Charter speedboats. Private ferry. Public ferry. FAQ about traveling between islands in the Maldives.

  2. How to Travel Between Islands in the Maldives

    The fastest ways to travel are by seaplane and speedboat. With the Maldives spanning 500 miles, the longest a seaplane would take to travel between the furthest islands is around two hours. Although a speedboat wouldn't cover this distance, they are great for traveling shorter distances between islands at high speeds.

  3. How to choose an island in the Maldives

    Fancy a spot of island-hopping? Traveling between islands in the Maldives can be expensive, but Patina Maldives is just a short shuttle-boat service from the Fari Islands' Ritz-Carlton resort, so there's no chance of claustrophobia setting in. The Capella Maldives, which will be the third and final Fari Islands resort, is due to open in 2025.

  4. Island Hopping Maldives 2021

    Indulge Maldives Holidays is an exclusive Maldives Travel Agency. We specialise in both affordable & luxury vacations to Maldives, group style island hopping retreats & surfing holidays. Our Australian Founder & Travel Specialist Kristie has lived in Maldives for almost 8 years & has travelled to over 50 Maldives islands.

  5. 13 things to know before going to the Maldives

    You can also take a domestic flight to another atoll in the Maldives and a speedboat to the resort. 3. Island-hopping is doable (and encouraged) Many travelers spend weeks poring over which private island resort is the best for them, but you don't have to choose one. Beach bums can split their time between resorts.

  6. Getting around in the Maldives

    Scheduled flights are cheaper than seaplane flights, with an average cost of between $150 to $550, depending on your destination, and flight times for both scheduled and seaplane flights range from 20 minutes to 90 minutes. Transportation costs in the Maldives are generally higher on account of a small number of airlines operating in the ...

  7. Your Guide to the Perfect Maldives Vacation

    December through April is the dry season and the most popular time to visit the Maldives. This can make hotels slightly more expensive, but it's also when you can enjoy a near-guaranteed streak of ...

  8. Getting Around the Maldives: Best Way to Travel Between Islands

    Uncover the secrets of getting around the Maldives and make the most of your island hopping adventures with our expert travel guide.

  9. How to Plan a Maldives Itinerary [Islands, Transport & Budget]

    As travel has opened up since the beginning of the pandemic, these islands are a lot easier to visit for the independent traveler. Our Maldives itinerary takes in 6 islands, and a resort island and uses a variety of transport - public ferries, shared speedboats between islands, and a resort island speedboat too.

  10. Your Trip to the Maldives: The Complete Guide

    Planning Your Trip. Best Time To Visit: In true tropical island style, temperatures in the Maldives average 83 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius) year-round, and there are only two main seasons; dry and wet. The dry season comes in fall and winter, from November through April, with temperatures ranging from 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 ...

  11. Maldives Itinerary: The Ultimate Guide to Local Islands and Resort

    Maldives Itinerary Day 2 to Day 4 - Ukulhas. Our final Maldives itinerary took months of research to finalise. Chiefly because we wanted to explore 2 local islands, 1 resort island along with Hulhumale and Male. As for the local islands, our main criteria was - it should be scenic, quiet and have an excellent beach.

  12. 15 Best Islands In The Maldives + Maldives Travel Guide

    The Maldives are one of the best-known luxury destinations in the world, and many people dream of visiting it. In fact, in 2019, the Maldives had 1.7 million tourists visit, according to the official tourism board of the Maldives - the Ministry of Tourism.The average length of stay was six days, and the top 5 countries inbound tourists were from were: China, Italy, India, Russia and the UK ...

  13. A Guide To Getting Around The Maldives

    Boats take the place of cars when it comes to travel within the Maldives, with most locals opting for inexpensive public ferries or semi-private speedboats. Many visitors also use private charter speedboats which provide a fast, direct service between the various islands, although the convenience does come at a greater cost.

  14. The Ultimate Maldives Itinerary (With Maps)

    MAldives ITINERARY MAP. Below is a saveable Google Map with all the islands included on these itineraries marked in distinct colours. Itinerary one is yellow, itinerary two is purple and itinerary three is red. All commence in Malé, marked in green. To save the map to your Google Maps, click on the star icon by the title.

  15. 9 Mistakes to Avoid in the Maldives

    To support the ongoing environmental initiatives to preserve the Maldivian reefs, purchase reef-safe sunscreen before traveling to the islands. 7. Not Considering an All-inclusive Resort. When ...

  16. Maldives. How to visit two islands in one trip

    How to move between islands. In the Maldives, water transport dominates: this is the best way to travel between the islands. The most affordable way to get from one island to another is by state ferries. The fare is from $ 2. However, ferries do not go to all the islands, and sometimes it takes several days to wait for them it all depends on ...

  17. Maldives Transportation

    The majority of islands in the Maldives range in size between 0.3 and 0.7 square miles, which means they don't take long to navigate. Many resorts offer bicycles or chauffeured golf buggies to ...

  18. Top 10 Best Maldives Islands to Visit Now

    A trip to the Maldives often involves excursions between islands, offering an all-encompassing Maldives itinerary. You can voyage across the Maldives islands on yachts, speedboats, and seaplanes. Whether you yearn for action-packed family holidays in the Maldives or want to enjoy a more remote, relaxing honeymoon, these islands promise ...

  19. 5 Days in the Maldives: The Ultimate Short-Stay Itinerary

    An independent island country in the north-central Indian Ocean, the Maldives comprises 1,200 small coral islets sprawling with greenery, marine life, and culture. With crystal clear waters and pristine beaches, the 200 inhabited islands make a blissful vacation spot for any traveler. But how long do you need in the country to get a real

  20. Traveling between islands

    24 reviews. 82 helpful votes. 1. Re: Traveling between islands. 18 years ago. Travel between islands is always via Male - they transfer you the same time as other guests who are returning to catch their flights. However, if you can afford it you can charter a boat for a private transfer. Report inappropriate content. Roman1.

  21. Transportation in Maldives: how to move between the islands

    For example, a popular local island called Thoddoo can be reached in 1.5 hours for about $40 on a speedboat, but on a ferry, it takes about 6 hours and costs $3.50. Public ferry. The ferry network is extremely limited, serving only the atolls closest to Male, which is only 3-4 atolls out of the 26 in the Maldives.

  22. Maldvies Islands FAQ

    There are only a few ways to travel between the Maldives Islands including public ferry, speed boats, seaplane, domestic flights, or private yachts. Once on the islands many don't offer public transportation or even allow cars on the islands. ... Maldives Island is an extremely safe place to visit, most visitors stay in "resort hotels ...

  23. How to Use the Maldives Public Ferry [Maldives Transport]

    The public ferries in the Maldives are a glorious way to travel around this island nation. The ferries are run for the locals to travel on, they're cheap and a great way to get between the islands. If you're lucky enough to visit the Maldives and travel on the ferry system, then I hope you'll have as much fun traveling on the ferries as ...

  24. Maldives Travel: Days Needed

    Round-trip flight prices to the Maldives vary depending on your location and cabin class. For example, flights from Los Angeles to the Maldives range from $1,088 in Economy Class to $5,036 in Business Class. Flights from New York City can start from $820 in Economy Class and go up to $4,268 for Business Class.

  25. Green Paradise: Top 10 Sustainable Island Getaways

    3. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. Image Credit: Shutterstock / FOTOGRIN. The Galápagos Islands, a volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, are a living museum of evolutionary changes, with a vast ...