An incredibly useful article for those who are planning a vacation here. You’ll learn everything about alcohol in the Maldives. I’ll tell you about the situation with alcoholic beverages in the country, where to buy alcoholic drinks on the islands, how much it costs, and most importantly, how to bring alcohol to the Maldives in your luggage. A complete guide to action in this article.
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Table of Contents
Alcohol in the Maldives: general information
Here are some general facts about alcohol in the Maldives that will immediately answer some of your questions:
- The Maldives is an Islamic republic. 100% of the population is Muslim. Alcohol is completely prohibited in the country. More information about religion in the Maldives can be found in the link.
- There are no homemade spirits and alcohol-based drinks in the country, as in many countries of the world. I am talking about moonshine, various herbal tinctures, such as mamajuana in the Dominican Republic and so on. Almost every nation has something in its cuisine that contains alcohol, but not in the Maldives.
- The import limit of alcohol to the Maldives is 0 liters!!! Anything you bring with you will be confiscated at the airport. Penalties are not provided, they simply take everything. But more about that later. And in the article by the link, everything about the visa and entry rules into the country.
Inportant:It is forbidden to import alcohol to the Maldives in any volume, even 50ml.
In contrast to other Islamic countries, where alcohol can be purchased, albeit expensively, in specialized stores or departments, this is not the case on the Maldives. Here, you won’t be able to buy alcohol anywhere. Such stores simply do not exist. Even if you have a lot of money, they won’t help you, you’ll drink tea or juice.
The only thing that can be purchased in stores on the Maldives is non-alcoholic beer in 0.33 volumes. And the choice is very limited.
However strict the law may be, there’s always a loophole. And it’s the same on the Maldives. Read on to find out where you can actually purchase alcohol on the Maldives, but be prepared to loosen your purse strings.
An interesting article about the Maldives on the world map: learn that the Maldives is part of the Laccadive Sea and much more.
Where to buy alcohol in the Maldives: duty free, alcohol boat (or safari boat), island resorts
People often ask me about the duty-free in Male International Airport and if you can buy alcohol there. The answer is yes, you can, but only on your departure from the country. There is no duty-free area upon arrival in Male. Read more about Male International Airport and local airports on other islands.
Now, let’s delve deeper into where to buy alcohol on the Maldives. There are only two options:
- Resort Islands
- The alcohol boat or safari boat, which sails between local islands.
Read on for more details about each option:
Alcohol on the Maldives resort islands
Islands-resorts have been granted an exception for the purpose of promoting tourism. They are only permitted to sell alcohol on their own island.
- Find out more about what an island-resort is and how it differs from local islands in the article linked above.
In brief, these are private and secluded islands without a local population. Each island-resort is home to exactly one hotel, where package tourists arrive.
Important information to know:
- All-inclusive package tours (with alcohol) on resort islands cost as much as a cruise. A comprehensive article about all-inclusive tours to the Maldives can be found at the link.
- On many of the resort islands, there are tours available where alcohol is not included and must be purchased for an additional fee. The price list can be found below in the article. To put it into perspective, the cheapest bottle of vodka will cost around 100$.
- Many resorts also offer what’s known as a day pass. You can visit them from neighboring local islands without staying overnight and enjoy all the resort amenities such as the pool, beach, lounge chairs, and sometimes meals. On average, this pass costs around 100-150$ with transfer from your local island per person per day on the Maldives. Sometimes, one alcoholic cocktail is included in this amount, and sometimes an unlimited alcohol package, always check this in advance.
Important:Taking alcohol from resorts is not allowed. It’s a law and strictly enforced. Nothing will be sold in a bottle. Everything you buy at the resort must be consumed there. You can’t take it to your own local island.
Safari boat in the Maldives
According to the law, the sale of alcohol on land is prohibited, with resort islands being the exception. However, the ban on local islands is total. Don’t even attempt to purchase it under the table. But the law says nothing about the sale of alcohol on water.
And so, local “entrepreneurs” came up with the idea of an alcohol-boat. This is a large yacht that sails between local islands and where you can buy alcohol. But there are a few things to keep in mind:
- The Alcohol Boat in the Maldives doesn’t have a schedule. It can arrive at any local island on any day. If there is demand, it can stay at the shore for a month. If there is no demand, it sets sail for another island.
- The boat never docks in a port and is typically moored about 300 meters from the shore, across from a bikini beach, which can be found on every local island. To learn more about what a bikini beach is and all about beach vacationing, see the link in the article.
- A small boat circulates between the alcohol boat and the beach, transporting tourists to the yacht.
Keep in mind, this is not a store where you can buy alcohol to take with you; it’s more of a bar. You can buy and drink here, but taking it with you is not possible as no one will allow it. Alcohol prices in the Maldives are approximately the same as at the resorts.
Here, music is playing, there are tables and a bar, a inflatable water slide, darts, and several other entertainment options for guests. It is often seen near the local island of Thoddoo, in the Alif Alif Atoll.
- A comprehensive guide to the island of Thoddoo: beaches, where to stay, how to get there
Tip:If you’re flying to the local island for a vacation and can’t bring alcohol with you, don’t fret. The Alco-Boat adds a fun twist to your evening plans. Be prepared to spend a few hundred dollars, but keep in mind that it’s your only option. However, don’t rely on it too much, as it may not even show up throughout your entire stay.
How to bring alcohol to the Maldives in your luggage
I must clarify that I do not encourage nor recommend engaging in such actions. Drinking alcohol in public places, especially on the beach or in other communal areas, is deeply offensive to the local residents. If you have brought alcohol with you, kindly consume it in the privacy of your room in the evening, without disturbing others and drawing attention to yourself. Please be mindful of your behavior at all times.
Here are a few general points on how to bring alcohol to the Maldives:
- When your luggage is unloaded from the plane and before you retrieve it from the baggage belt, it will be scanned. If there are bottles in your luggage, they will be stamped with a red sticker. Sometimes many such stickers are applied.
- If you notice such stickers on your luggage, try to quickly and unnoticed by airport staff remove them. As the sticker means that you will be sent for a manual baggage inspection.
- Recently (in 2023), an additional baggage scanner has been installed in the green corridor at the airport exit. And randomly selected passengers are sent there even if there is no sticker on the luggage.
- They are especially attentive to the passengers from CIS and Europe. Because many tourists bring alcohol. Flights from Malaysia and other Asian countries are almost never checked.
- If you have alcohol in glass bottles in your luggage, the chance of it being confiscated is 99%. It is unlikely that you will be able to get through.
Important to know:The best option is to pour the alcohol into wine bags (as in the photo below). You can also buy bags for liquid in advance on the Internet.
In conclusion: I hope this article was useful for you. As for alcohol on the Maldives, it’s better to find out beforehand before your vacation starts. As during your vacation, it’s already too late to search for alcohol on the Maldives. Most of the time, you can’t even buy it here for a lot of money.
Have a great vacation! Be polite and don’t drink too much!
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