A helpful article where you can learn about all the activities and excursions in Maldives, what to do on the islands, what to see, and if there are any attractions (spoiler: there aren’t any). I’ll tell you how much the excursions cost, how to get to a luxurious private island resort with alcohol, where to buy everything, and much more.
It will be difficult for you to plan your dream trip to Maldives without these websites
Table of Contents
Excursions in Maldives: general information
For those who are flying to the Maldives for the first time, I’ll try to describe the overall picture of activities and entertainment in the country:
- The Maldives is a thousand islands. All the islands are tiny, 1-2-3 sq. km. There are no attractions on the islands at all.
- The only place where you can find a walking tour of the attractions is in the capital city of Male, but more on that later.
- There are no mountains, rivers, or lakes in the country, and therefore activities such as trekking and hiking are not available. The highest peak in the country is less than 3 meters!!!
- Bicycle rides are only available on a few islands that can be counted on one hand. And even there, you can ride around the entire island on a bicycle in 40-50 minutes.
- One of these islands, popular with tourists, is Thoddoo Island – a comprehensive island overview can be found at the link.
Good to know:In fact, the entertainment on the Maldives is centered around beach relaxation and all water-related activities, from banana boats to sport fishing, diving, and yacht sunset cruises.
There aren’t many activities to do on land, I would say very few. But with the desire, one can find something to their liking here.
Water sports and excursions: prices, where to buy
Let’s start with water activities. Almost any activity such as banana boat rides, jet skis, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding can be found on any beach, local island, or resort. They are cheaper on local islands and more expensive at resorts. Below are the average prices for local islands. If you are staying at a 5-star resort, double the prices 🙂
- Kayak rental for 2 hours – $20
- Stand-up paddleboarding for 2 hours – $40
- Jet ski rental for 1 hour – $100
- Banana boat ride – $15 per person
Now, here’s a list of the most popular water activities and excursions in Maldives. Actually, most tourists come here specifically for them:
- Snorkeling on the reef with sharks, manta rays, and turtles. You can do it for free on the beach or as part of an excursion – it’s available on any island. Excursion prices start at $15 per person for a reef that’s nearby and can go up to $100 if you have to travel far.
- Everything you need to know about snorkeling in the Maldives, from A to Z.
- Diving – the most popular water activity after snorkeling. While snorkeling doesn’t require training and is often free, diving is more complicated. You need equipment and training, but the experience is entirely different. The average price for one dive in the Maldives is $50-$70. There are diving centers on every island where you can take a course (3-5 dives) and get a PADI certificate.
- Learn more about diving in the Maldives.
- Fishing. The waters of the Maldives are very rich, and tuna is considered a commercial fish here. Fishing in the Maldives is popular among both tourists and locals. You can catch fish from the shore or rent a yacht for this purpose.
- For novice enthusiasts, fishing near the nearest reef is popular, and costs around $25-$50. You can catch “small” fish weighing up to 1-2kg and cook it on the grill.
- For professionals, there are tours for deep-sea fishing for marlin or trophy sailfish with professional equipment. This type of fishing is called big game fishing, and prices start at $700-$800 per person.
- Read all about fishing in the Maldives here.
In addition, each local island and resort island has its own set of individual excursion programs. The content and prices vary, but for a general idea:
- Night snorkeling: from $30.
- Sunset yacht cruises: from $25.
- All possible picnics and barbecue parties on neighboring uninhabited islands, which are almost everywhere. Prices start at $25.
- You can find tours for snorkeling specifically with whale sharks and manta rays, where you are taken to a neighboring atoll and specifically search for whale sharks. The results are not guaranteed, these day trip tours can cost $120-$150 per person, including food. Here’s an example of such a program.
Good to know:All water excursions in Maldives, activities and entertainment such as diving, snorkeling, banana boat rides, fishing can be found and purchased at diving centers. They are available on any island and often there are several on popular local islands, sometimes four or more.
Activities on land or what to do in the Maldives
As I have already mentioned, the choice of entertainment on land is quite limited. On top of that, there is practically no nightlife in the Maldives: there are no nightclubs, discos, shopping streets or entertainment venues. By midnight, everything is already asleep. Shopping is also non-existent here as a class. There are no shopping centers or hypermarkets on the islands, only 2-3 small shops on the entire island with ice cream and snacks.
The main entertainment on land in the Maldives is beach relaxation. If you can lie on the beach all day without moving, then you will find it to your liking. There’s no shortage of that in the Maldives.
But for those who are bored, here are some activities that are available on almost any island:
- Yoga on the beach
- Beach volleyball
- For girls, there are various aerobics and stretching classes on the beach.
- That’s basically it.
For tourists whose island is relatively close to Male, there is an opportunity to go here for a day to explore the capital. And in the evening, return to the hotel on their own island. Here’s what you need to know about it:
- Arrange transfers to and from Male with your hotel (if you are on a resort) or take a public ferry (if you are on a local island).
- In Male, it’s enough to spend 4-6 hours to see the whole city. There’s nothing much to do for an overnight stay. You can arrive in the morning and return after lunch – that’s the most optimal plan.
- An overview of Male: what to visit, where to buy souvenirs, and how to get there. By the way, in Male you can and should buy all your souvenirs, as it will be cheaper than anywhere else and the selection is excellent.
- You can walk around Male by yourself, or you can find a local guide for a tour. Look for all walking tours of Male here, you won’t find them on site, as it is not a tourist city and there are no physical tour agencies here.
A walking tour of Male is perhaps the only possible land excursion in the Maldives.
Resort island day pass
A full-day visit to a resort island is also available for budget travelers who come to the Maldives to vacation on local islands. For those who cannot afford a luxurious private island resort, where a package tour costs $7-10,000 per week, there is an excellent opportunity to taste this type of vacation.
Almost any resort offers a day pass that includes access to all beaches, meals, alcohol, and loungers. Typically, such a pass allows you to stay on the resort during daylight hours. You will be brought to the resort in the morning by boat and taken back to your local island at sunset. Here’s what you need to know:
- The standard price of such a day pass is $100-150 per person, which already includes transportation.
- Always clarify if unlimited alcohol is included in this price, as sometimes it is not. And since there is no alcohol on local islands, it is an essential point for most people.
- The list of hotel resorts where you can spend a whole day can be obtained from any diving center on your island. Usually, these are resorts located within 10km of your local island.
Yes, it’s about $300 for a couple for a full day trip, which is not cheap, but on the other hand, tourists who stay there pay much more. Typically, only the price of a villa or bungalow at such resorts starts at $400-500 per day.
But here you can come, try what it’s like to relax on a private 5-star island resort, and decide for yourself if you need to take on another job in the future to stay at a resort like this in the Maldives.
- Here is a list of the top 10 villas and bungalows in the Maldives.
In conclusion, excursions in Maldives may not offer a huge list of activities, as in neighboring tourist countries. But for those who love the beach and water sports, there is plenty to do here. Water-based activities are more than sufficient, and daily snorkeling with turtles, sharks, and manta rays overrides all the cons of limited excursion variety in the Maldives.
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
- Hotels and guesthouses on any island:
- 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.