A comprehensive article on prices in Maldives for all categories of goods and services that may be of interest to tourists. There is a common belief that the Maldives is very expensive, but in reality, this is only true for tourists who stay on luxurious private resort islands. There is nothing on those islands, and what is available is priced as high as airplane tickets. However, on the local islands where the majority of tourists stay and where the local population resides, prices are quite reasonable.
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Table of Contents
Prices in Maldives: general information
To better understand the prices in Maldives, here are some key points:
- The national currency of the country is the Maldivian Rufiyaa.
- However, almost everywhere, even in grocery stores, US dollars are accepted alongside Rufiyaa.
- As of mid-2023, the exchange rate is as follows:
- The best exchange rate of 1 USD = 17.5 Rufiyaa is offered by only a few banks in Male.
- On local islands, resort islands, and all establishments that accept dollars, prices are calculated at a rate of 15 to 16.5 Rufiyaa per 1 USD. For convenience, in this article, I will use the minimum rate: 1 USD = 15 Rufiyaa. And since almost everywhere accepts dollars, all prices will be in dollars.
In the article about currency in the Maldives, you will learn a lot of interesting things about paying with cards, which year of dollars they won’t accept, and what they give as change.
Important to know:All prices in this article are for those traveling to local islands. Resort island vacations usually include an “all-inclusive” package, and there are no other shops or facilities on such islands, so writing about resort prices is not appropriate or necessary. However, where it is necessary, I will definitely indicate prices and make a note of it.
About GST in the Maldives and how this tax affects the price of everything.
GST stands for Goods and Services Tax. If you look at the situation globally, it is analogous to VAT. And everything would be fine, but the way GST is calculated is not the most comfortable for tourists.
Today there are two types of GST and two corresponding rates:
- GST 8% – for all business sectors on local islands
- GST 16% – for resort islands
It’s important to understand thatthis tax is levied on absolutely everything, from magnets in souvenir shops and cups of tea in cafes to transfers between islands on seaplanes, speedboats, etc. If you want to take a tour or go diving, GST will be included in the price.
Here’s an interesting point: the 16% rate is for tourism-related businesses. But if a business is registered on a local island, such as a local restaurant or diving center, their tax will be 8%, even if they primarily serve tourists.
- Useful article: how and where to book accommodation in the Maldives, what the room inventory is like, and about another tax, the Green Tax, for accommodation. By the way, GST is also included in the price of accommodation. It’s one thing to rent a room on a local island for $40 a day and pay GST 8% + Green Tax, and another to rent a bungalow on a resort for $500 a day and pay an additional tax of 16% + Green Tax.
It’s important to know that:the most unpleasant moment you can face is finding out in a restaurant or diving center that GST was not included in the price when you have already booked a tour or ordered dinner. Always clarify or pay attention to this; it is usually indicated.
If GST is not included in the price, and you bought, say, a diving trip to see whale sharks for $120 per person, and there are two of you, then it’s $240. And then it may suddenly turn out that you need to pay an additional 16% or 8% to this amount. Just be attentive and ask about GST in advance. It’s often listed in restaurant menus.
- You can find detailed information about GST on the official website of the government through the link.
Prices in Maldives for food and fruits
For information on shops in the Maldives, their opening hours, and product range, please refer to the article “Shops in the Maldives“. In summary, there are no hypermarkets or supermarkets in the local islands, and the shops usually range in size from 20 to 50 square meters and only sell basic necessities.
|Name||Weight/volume||Price in $|
|Canned peas||400 g||1,2|
|Pringles snack||big tube||2|
|Canned tuna||200 g||1,2|
|Beer (alc free)||0,33 l||2|
|Ice cream||1 pc||1,5|
|Instant noodles||1 pc||1|
|Passion fruit||1 kg||6|
Note that fruits are often sold individually on the islands, and the selection is quite limited. Alcohol is not sold everywhere (almost), but this will be discussed further in the article.
Water in the Maldives: price
To clarify the situation, it is often written online that there are no fresh water sources in the Maldives, such as rivers or lakes, and that water is very expensive here, and only the wealthy can afford fresh water.
The truth is that there are no fresh water sources like rivers, lakes, or groundwater in the country, but I don’t know where people get the rest of their water from. It seems like people write about it, but they haven’t actually been here.
Fresh water in the Maldives:Today, each island has its own desalination plant. Water for the population is readily available and very cheap. Fresh water is used daily to water all the streets to reduce dust. It is not conserved or saved. It is available 24/7 in every hotel and house.
Tap water can be used to wash fruits and brush teeth. However, it is better to drink bottled water, which is available in every shop and not more expensive than in our country.
In conclusion, there is no problem with fresh water on the islands. There is more than enough here.
Prices in Maldives for transportation between islands
There are many articles on this topic in this guidebook, here are two useful ones for you:
|Transportation mode||Distance*||Price, $||Description|
|Taxi||up to 3 km||2||Only in Male|
|Buses||up to 3 km||1||Only in Male|
|Ferry||50 km||3||Routes between islands|
|Public speedboat||50 km||35||Price per seat|
|Private speedboat||50 km||200-300||Price for entire boat for your group|
|Plane||200 km||100||Propeller planes that fly between airports on the islands|
|Seaplane||200 km||200-300||Price per seat|
|Private seaplane||200 km||from 1000||Price for entire plane for your group|
The most popular mode of transportation between islands for all tourists is speedboats. They have a wide network of routes, a relatively convenient schedule, and offer the optimal balance of price and speed. While ferries are cheaper, they are very slow and operate only 2-3 times a week on many routes.
Prices in cafes and restaurants
In this section, we will provide prices for restaurants specifically on local islands in the Maldives. Since almost all tourists staying on resorts opt for all-inclusive packages, for those planning to purchase a package tour to a resort and hoping to save some money by choosing “breakfast only,” I must disappoint you. It’s better to go for the all-inclusive option as it will ultimately be cheaper for you.
- You can read about local cuisine, dining options, what to try, and tipping etiquette in the article: Maldivian cuisine.
|Second course served with side dish (beef, chicken or tuna with rice or noodles)||7-12|
|Lobster, per pc||50|
|Grilled prawns, per kilo||20-30|
|Grilled fish, per kilo||15|
|Tea or coffee||1-2|
|Dinner for two at local island, average||30|
|Dinner for two at resort island, average||100-200|
All the prices for food and drinks on local islands in the Maldives were given, with the last line being for resorts to show you the price difference. Prices on resorts can be up to 3 or even 10 times higher, but that’s where the wealthy vacationers tend to stay.
Souvenirs: all about magnets for $25.
Main tip:Try to buy all your souvenirs before you reach the airport. It’s better to do this in Malé or on local islands, as souvenirs at the airport are very expensive. A magnet can cost $25.
The prices below in the table are for souvenir shops in Male.
|Magnet in airport duty free store||10-25|
|Wooden figures: mantas or sharks||10|
|Clothing with Maldivian prints: T-shirts, shorts||from 7|
|Bondi (national sweet), by pc||1-3|
|Dried tuna, kg||6-10|
|Shells and corals||50-100|
|Any souvenirs from the turtle shell – FORBIDDEN to buy and export|
Accommodation prices in Maldives
The prices for hotels and guesthouses are average for the market, per room for two people. It’s hard to find something cheaper than the prices listed, but it’s easy to find something more expensive.
|Accommodation type||Price $ per night|
|Guesthouse room on local island||40-100|
|3* hotel room on local island||from 100|
|3-4* hotel room on resort island||from 400|
|5* hotel room on resort island||from 600|
|Overwater bungalow or villa with private pool||from 1000|
- Top 10 4-star resort hotels in the Maldives. Luxurious vacation for reasonable prices, but not guaranteed.
Excursions: options and prices.
The Maldives is not known for its wide variety of activities and excursions. After all, there are no man-made attractions, mountains, rivers, or lakes here. The islands are tiny and there is even nowhere to walk around. All excursions are somehow related to the ocean and the list is not very long:
All prices in the table below are average for the local islands market. Prices on resorts are usually higher. And don’t forget to clarify whether GST is included in the price. In my table, it is included, but it can vary 🙂
|Kayak rental, 2 hours||20|
|SUP rental, 2 hours||40|
|Kite rental, whole day||100|
|Jet ski, 1 hour||100|
|Snorkeling on closest reef||15-30|
|Snorkeling with mantas, turtles, sharks||20-60|
|Diving, 1 dive||50|
|Diving, 3-4 dives + PADI certification||from 200|
|Resort island day tour + meal + alcohol||from 100|
|Whale sharks snorkeling tour||from 70|
Prices in Maldives for cigarettes and alcohol
There is not much to write about here.
- Cigarettes are available and there is a small selection, sold in many places for an average of $5-7 per pack.
- If you use vapes, iQOS, and other similar products :), bring everything with you as you won’t find any supplies here.
- Alcohol is completely banned in the country. You can’t even buy it on local islands with money. The import limit is 0 liters. Anything you bring will be confiscated. On many resorts, prices start at $100 for the simplest alcoholic drink. For everything about alcohol, where to buy it, and how to bring it in, read the link.
Useful article for budget travelers: traveling to the Maldives independently or how to vacation cheaply.
In conclusion, prices for all categories of goods and services in the Maldives are reasonable. Unless we are talking about luxurious, private resort hotels, where prices and the world are their own, on local islands, you can have a budget vacation without sacrificing anything.
Resources to help you plan your dream trip to the Maldives