9 Mistakes to Avoid in the Maldives

A collection of over a thousand islands in the Indian Ocean, Maldives is famous 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 a beautiful sanctuary where guests can snorkel, scuba dive, swim and enjoy some truly unforgettable sunsets. Apart from being one of the world’s most stunning island getaways, the Maldives is a great choice for travelers visiting the grand cities of South Asia or the capitals of the Middle East.

Those planning to visit the Maldives should keep a few things in mind. To be fully prepared for your trip — whether you’re in the planning stages or already lounging by your infinity pool in Ba Atoll — avoid nine mistakes 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 in the archipelago.

 Geographically this makes sense considering that the Maldives has at least 1,192 uninhabited and 200 inhabited islands. 

Whether you’re staying at more than one resort and touring multiple islands during your vacation, or you’re renting a boat or taking a day trip to a nearby atoll, be sure to island hop while visiting a destination.

2. Assuming Maldives may not be budget-friendly

The Maldives has a reputation as an exclusive, ultra-divine destination. But it’s actually possible to visit the Maldives on a budget — airfare isn’t prohibitively expensive either, if you’re looking for a connecting flight via Europe or Asia. To keep costs down, stay at a local guest house or an affordable hotel like the Holiday Inn Resort Kanduma.

 For attractions on a budget, life in the Maldives isn’t all about chartering a yacht 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 Maldivian reefs through several ongoing initiatives, many of which have been set up by affordable resorts such as Summer Island, where guests can participate in planting 3D-printed pieces of reef. 

And while those staying at the resort can snorkel at the property’s house reefs, those choosing to rent a home can easily snorkel at select public beaches instead.

3. Not going until your honeymoon

Thanks to its dreamy overwater bungalows and romantic sunsets, the Maldives will always be a top honeymoon destination. But this is not a place you need to save for your honeymoon or a romantic getaway with your partner. Maldives is equally suitable for a girls trip or a family getaway.

 In fact, many island resorts in the Maldives cater specifically to families. And more than just a destination for couples, the Maldives is a place where you can relax and leave your real-life worries at home — and not just reserve that luxury for the honeymoon.

4. Not considering liveaboards for part of your trip

The Maldives has liveaboards — also known locally as cruise ships, houseboats and the like — that offer sea safaris around pristine waters and coral reefs. Liveaboards come with a wide range of accommodations and amenities, including personal chefs, dive and surf instructors, and other staff members depending on the type of liveaboard you book. 

Travelers can charter an entire yacht, houseboat or small cruise ship and then customize the staff to their needs – perhaps adding an on-site masseuse or sommelier. 

Renting an entire liveaboard vessel can also make for a perfect getaway — you have the space to yourself and can tailor your vacation in such a way that, aside from the crew and other guests in your party, you won’t see another soul.

5. Avoiding local culture

Because the Maldives is known as a beach destination, its South Asian influences are often overlooked – a situation that is often the case with the South Pacific islands. 

The culture here is a unique melting pot of Sri Lankan, Malaysian, Middle Eastern, Indonesian and African influences. This cool combination can really only be experienced in the Maldives. 

Rather than just sticking to resort food, you can witness Maldivian culture firsthand by attending music and dance performances or sampling local cuisine. You can also organize a day trip to nearby Gaon Island to learn more about the traditional lifestyle.

6. Forgetting reef-safe sunscreen at home

The Maldives sits on the equator, which means the sun’s rays fall at a 90-degree angle. In other words, the sun is exceptionally strong and your sunscreen should be waterproof, packed with SPF, and reapplied constantly. 

Also, be sure to pack sun protection like hats, visors (they’re making a comeback), and light, breathable, full-sleeve shirts and long pants when you need extra coverage. When visiting any destination where native reefs are the main attraction, reef-safe sunscreen is crucial.

 To support ongoing environmental initiatives to preserve the Maldives reef, purchase reef-safe sunscreen before visiting the islands.

7. Not considering an all-inclusive resort

When it comes to accommodation in the Maldives, don’t forget that food and alcohol are expensive. You are on an island in the middle of the ocean, so it costs a lot to transport your favorite spirits.

 For this reason, many tourists choose all-inclusive resorts — although the nightly rates and resort fees may be higher than some budget hotels, it adds food and drink costs to the cost of your stay.

8. Not combining the Maldives with a trip to Southeast Asia or the Middle East

Nestled in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives is a remote tropical paradise that is very accessible from major Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian hubs such as Dubai (a four-hour direct flight from the Maldives) and Sri Lanka (a three-hour flight from the Maldives). ). With an extraordinary range of flight deals in partnership with airlines and carriers such as Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Etihad, Emirates and Qatar Airways, Maldives is easily accessible on a trip to Dubai, Sri Lanka or any destination with direct flights. At either port (think: Singapore, Malaysia, Abu Dhabi, or Doha).

9. Exclusion of bioluminescent scenes

Did you know the Maldives is known for its beaches that light up at night, illuminated by bioluminescent plankton? In addition to boasting a diverse marine 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 the plankton peak season (mid-summer to mid-winter), when bioluminescent organisms are ashore and create a glow-in-the-dark effect on the water’s edge.

9 Mistakes to Avoid in the Maldives

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