Maldives: The best travel tips for your trip to paradise

Here’s a stunning honeymoon photo.

Powdery white beach. Find Nemo Reef. The holiday starts off like a James Bond movie, with guests traveling by speedboat and seaplane to the small but perfect Indian Ocean island. Overwater villas, infinity pools, a spectacular spa and 11am cocktails…what could go wrong?

Well, one or two things. The Maldives is made up of approximately 1,200 coral islands that jut out like a necklace into some of the world’s most stunning oceans. But choosing the right resort is only the beginning. Even Paradise has its pros and cons, and anyone thinking of spending thousands of euros on a trip should know what they’re getting into…hence our roundup of great Maldives travel tips.

In short, this stunning archipelago can be the vacation of a lifetime or a super-expensive boring workout.

Mirihi Island, Maldives.Photo: Marielle Ruiz

Mirihi Island… read about Sarah Siese’s visit here…

how so? First of all, the Maldives has no cities. In addition to the small capital Male, tourist centers are also concentrated in scattered small island resorts. Shopping, nightlife and local interaction are all in short supply (anyone looking for a city or cultural buzz should skip it, or add a stopover – like Dubai or Abu Dhabi).

Then there is the cost. There are relatively affordable resorts in the Maldives, but these can feel cheap and average. Luxury is the calling card, so my advice is to spend some money on shorter stays rather than saving money on longer stays.

Discuss resort options with your travel agent. How is the restaurant? Is there a house reef? How many guests will there be? How long does the transfer take? Does it have a spa? Is it near a famous dive or surf spot?

The Maldives can be paradise (I swam with whale sharks here and ate some of the best tuna of my life) or just another beach vacation.

Do your homework, pack smart, and you’ll be sure this is paradise.

when are we leaving

Seaplane transfers are common in the Maldives. Photo: Pól Ó Conghaile

Arrive by seaplane like James Bond…

The average temperature in the Maldives is fairly constant at 27 to 30 degrees, but there are distinct seasons. December-February is peak holiday season with the least rainfall, cloud cover and humidity…but with blue skies comes high prices.

March-April is mostly hot and sunny (you’ll find the best deals outside of the Easter holidays). May to November is the off-peak period – these months are more likely to rain, but instead, you’ll find your best break times.

Our tip? Seek advice from your travel agent, especially if you plan to see wildlife such as manta rays and whale sharks.

read more: Pol Kohel visits Maldives

Five things you need to know before you go

Hawksbill turtle in coral reef

A sea turtle swims among the countless coral reefs in the Maldives…

1. Flight fatigue

Traveling from Ireland to the Maldives can take up to three flights – typically a seven hour flight to Dubai or Abu Dhabi, followed by a four hour flight to Male before connecting to your resort. Don’t underestimate travel or jet lag, especially after a wedding. You need at least a week to visit.

2. Infiltrate…

A week in the Indian Ocean is an ideal opportunity to learn to dive or to dive in some of the world’s great locations. If you’re planning either of these, make sure your resort has a dive center and book any lessons before you arrive. Keep in mind that divers are advised not to fly for approximately 24 hours after their last dive (to reduce the risk of decompression sickness). Arrange accordingly!

3. Love and Money…

Vacationers are indulging in island resorts in the Maldives. Blissfully captive, but still captive. Prices for everything from catering to events are high, in dollars (plus tax). To keep costs in check, consider all-inclusive or half-board. “Continue to shop duty-free in Dubai or Abu Dhabi on the way home,” Pohl advises. “More choices, lower prices, and you don’t have to pay extra for the holidays.”

4. Early nights…

Don’t expect nightclubs or party bars in the Maldives. By 11pm or midnight, the resort is quiet, save for a few patrons whispering at the bar. Night owls need to manage expectations, or entertain themselves.

5. Local life…

Local experiences and immersion are often limited to stage shows at luxury Maldives resorts, catch-and-cook fishing trips and more. If you want cultural excursions and town visits on your honeymoon, you’re better off choosing a resort in Mauritius or the Seychelles.

Visas and Vaccinations

Escape: Jumeirah Dhevanafushi

Jumeirah Dhevanafushi… read Jillian Bolger’s review

Maldives No Visa Required – Citizens of all nationalities are granted a free 30-day visa on arrival as long as you hold a passport valid for at least six months. You also need to have a valid departure ticket.

No vaccinations or malaria measures are currently required. If you have questions about your travel health, please consult your GP beforehand.

did you know?

Whale sharks off Mirihi Island, Maldives.Photo: Marielle Ruiz

Whale sharks in the Maldives. Photo: Marielle Ruiz/Mirihi

The Maldives is a “shark sanctuary” and all types of shark fishing have been banned since 2010. That means some 30 species, including hammerhead and whale sharks, roam freely in its 90,000 square kilometers of Indian Ocean, creating a haven for divers and snorkelers and helping to maintain the local marine ecosystem. The import and export of shark fins is also banned.

Maldives: what to bring to heaven

Conrad Maldives

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. Check out more underwater hotels here…

1. Leave your heels at home

The island’s paths are paved with powdery white sand, and high heels are superfluous in paradise. “In any case, be sure to wear some flattering flats,” advises Gillian.

2. Smart casual attire is standard

Suits, ties and formal attire are not permitted in the Maldives. Dress code for dinner is smart casual, so please choose evening attire. “Bring your flowiest skirt and thinnest blouse,” suggests Sarah. “A tunic or loose beach dress can be layered over a bathing suit,” adds Jillian. “If housekeeping or housekeepers come to the villa, you can also cover it up before opening the door.”

3. Apply sunscreen

“The chances of sunburn are high near the equator, so pack sunglasses, a high SPF sunscreen, a hat and after-sun lotion,” advises Pól. “Sunscreen is available in the shops at high-end resorts (at a high-end price point, of course), but not all resorts offer it, so bring your own.” Avid snorkelers should pack a sun protection vest, too.

4. Books and Gadgets

Stock up on books or load up your Kindle. “With beach chairs, cabanas, and sunbeds by the pool, you’ll likely find yourself level for most of your vacation,” says Gillian. If you’re diving or snorkeling, don’t forget your waterproof camera, phone case, or GoPro. “These are supposed to have a lanyard that hangs around your wrist,” adds Pol.

5. Carry cash

Withdraw cash (USD or Rufia) at Male Airport. You can sign everything during your stay and even add a staff tip to your credit card statement at checkout, “but it’s good practice to leave dollars or lufia in the housekeeper’s hand when you leave,” advises Gillian.

6. Manage mosquitoes

Many high-end resorts spray the islands with pesticides, but these nasty critters love paradise as much as anyone else, so bring bug spray and anti-bite cream. Similar to bathroom products, these can be expensive to buy on-site – especially since almost everything in the resort is imported.

Can I travel to Maldives on a budget?

Paradise… Photo: Deposit

The shortest answer is no. Traveling to the Maldives doesn’t come cheap given the long-haul flights, connecting flights and the unique nature of island resorts. That’s not to say traveling on a budget is impossible, it just requires some preparation and patience.

Hotels do exist. Airbnb (Airbnb websiteFor example, a shared room in ) costs only €14 per person per night. The islands tend to be on islands inhabited by locals, so independent travelers get more of Maldives life than the idyllic luxury of island resorts.

But be aware that you’ll also see another side of Paradise – for example, beaches where relative poverty, coral bleaching and trash haven’t been magically cleared. The Maldives is also a muslim country – it’s okay to drink alcohol and swimwear in resorts, but you need to dress modestly among the locals.

Elsewhere, public ferries are much cheaper than seaplane and speedboat transportation (although you’ll need these to get into most luxury resorts). You can also save money on snorkeling trips by choosing islands with coral reefs closer to the coast. When traveling from Male, consider carrying cash in US dollars and Rafiya.

For more tips, Irish travel blogger Janet Newenham has a detailed introduction on her blog:

did you know?

Want a #MagicMonday vacation?

The Maldives is considered the flattest country on Earth, with nowhere higher than a streetlight. The average height of the islands is only 1.8m, so you can leave your hiking shoes at home.

reach there

The Maldives is widely available as Ireland’s honeymoon (and vacation) package. Try Travel Mood (Travel Mood Network),pioneer(Pioneer Network), Classic Resort (Classic, tropical sky (Tropical, top flight (top flight), monastery tours (Abbey Travel Network) and Sunway (Sunway Net) for starters.

see also Visit the Maldives website Get travel information.

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