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Maldives is a fascinating country to travel on your own, especially since it has only been possible to do it for five years.
The first tourist complex opened in 1973 and for thirty years, the only way to visit the country as a tourist was through these expensive resorts. However, five years ago the government changed the regulations to allow the opening of pensions in the islands of the area.
Since then, Guesthouses are being created at astonishing speed on local islands, offering budget travelers an affordable way to explore the country, stay with the locals and experience real life in Maldives.
In many ways, Traveling around Maldives on a budget is much better than staying in one of the luxury resorts. Each complex is built on its own island, completely cut off from the rest of the country, so tourists never have the opportunity to experience local life.
Nowadays, Most travelers are still not aware that it is possible to travel to Maldives on a budget, but things are changing fast. The number of guesthouses on some of the most popular islands is doubling every year, as more and more travelers decide to take a cheap trip to this paradise.
Even so, it may still be the case of being the only tourists on some of the islands and having the whole beach to ourselves. However, this is likely not to be as common five years from now, so now is the ideal time to travel to the Maldives.
The first thing to keep in mind is that there is no super cheap accommodation option. In the Maldives there are no dorms with many beds or crappy $ 5 a night beach bungalows like in Southeast Asia. However, there are many cheap pensions and surprisingly good quality / price ratio.
For $ 30-60 per nightWe will have a clean, modern and spacious room, with air conditioning, hot shower, free breakfasts, snorkeling equipment, a bottle of water a day, room cleaning twice a day and Wi-Fi at good speed. The rooms are really nice, with a quality far superior to those found, for example, in Eastern Europe for the same price.
Airbnb offers the best accommodation options on the islands in the area. On his list there are 150 guesthouses on the islands; 100 of them with a price of less than 100 dollars per night and another 25, of less than 50 dollars per night. And for those who have never used Airbnb before, there is a discount of 25 dollars in the first accommodation.
There are also accommodation options for about $ 40 a night, so you could travel even cheaper.
Transportation in Maldives is also cheap. Ferries in the area run on infrequent and somewhat variable hours, but their price does not exceed $ 2-4 for a three-hour trip.
If we want to visit a tourist complex, we will have to pay for a speedboat, as local ferries do not stop at the resort islands. These boats are very expensive: about $ 280 per person for a 45 minute round trip; or about $ 200 per person for a ten minute round trip. One possibility could be to go by ferry to the nearest island and ask there, to see if a fisherman in the area will take us on their boat.
Seaplanes should be avoided if you want to travel cheaply; they typically cost around $ 500 for a 20-minute ride.
A meal costs around $ 10But since most pensions offer a huge free breakfast, we can skip the midday meal and just pay for dinner.
In general, the smaller the island, the fewer culinary options there are and the more likely it is that we will end up eating at the pension on many occasions. On Fulidhoo, one of the smaller islands, you can dine on fried chicken with rice, curry and rice or a gigantic fish barbecue and pay about $ 10.
On a busier island, like Maafushi, there are many culinary options. There will be about a dozen restaurants on the island and all of them offer dinners at reasonable prices. A meal with fish curry and rice, fish and chips and rice with fried tuna costs around $ 5-10.
The cheapest way to go on an excursion is to book through the pension we are staying in. However, it is always good to consult other prices, asking, for example, in four or five other pensions before making a decision. Also check what is included in the price; the prices of some pensions include lunch, water and a soft drink, while others do not include any extras.
It can Diving in Maldives for little money. If we decide to manage the diving excursion through the pension or to reach an agreement with a dive shop on one of the islands in the area, the price will be about $ 100 for two dives. However, The cheapest option for diving Maldives is to take a diving trip by boat.
Other excursion options include plenty of outings from snorkel. If it coincides that we travel in the season of the manta fish or the whale shark, we can organize a trip to see them. For around $ 50 we can enjoy amazing visibility, thousands of tropical fish and even some adorable sea turtles swimming by our side.
We can also organize excursions of fishing ($ 50 per person), day trips to resorts ($ 50 per person plus $ 30 entrance fee per person) or excursions to the sandbanks ($ 25 per person) and island hopping throughout the atoll ($ 50 per person).