Useful article for those who are looking for tour packages to Maldives. There will be many pitfalls, peculiarities, and things to pay attention to when booking a tour, prices, and where to search. The topic is not difficult, but there is a lot to tell because searching for a tours to Maldives is very different from any popular destination, such as Turkey or Egypt.
It will be difficult for you to plan your dream trip to Maldives without these websites
Table of Contents
Tour packages to Maldives: general information
Let’s start with the most important point to know and understand:
Useful tip:There are two types of islands in the Maldives where package tours can be purchased: local islands and resort islands. The experience of vacationing on these islands is diametrically opposed.
- A local island is where the locas live. There are schools, shops, a mosque, a bank, and restaurants. Public ferries run here.
- A resort island is a private island with only one hotel. Apart from the hotel, there is nothing else on the island. The local population does not live here, only works here. Public transport does not run here, only private transfers that bring tourists.
More information about the differences between local islands and resorts and where the best islands for vacation are located can be found at the link.
If you have never been to the Maldives before and your idea of a tour to Maldives is a tiny island, directly over the water on stilts where you live in a villa with your own pool and dive into the Indian Ocean straight from your terrace, then this is only possible on resorts. Such accommodation options are not available on local islands.
However, tours to Maldives are sold for both resorts and local islands.
How to tell the difference? If you are choosing a tour for yourself on major travel resources online, there are three main criteria:
- The hotel name often includes the word “Resort,” and the hotels are usually 4 or 5 stars. This means it’s an island resort. There are no hotels above three stars on local islands.
- Price: tours to local islands cost 2-3 times less. For example, $2,500 for 10 days versus $6,000 for a resort. Details on prices can be found in the article “How Much Maldives Cost.” We consider both options, on a local island and on a resort.
- Any resort hotel offers a meal plan from “breakfast only” to “all-inclusive.” However, “all-inclusive” is not available on local islands.
Features to know and pay attention to:
It’s important to understand thatthere’s no point in buying a tour package to Maldives on a local island. Such a tour includes only flights and hotel reservations. It’s cheaper to book everything separately. Breakfast is included in the room rate in all hotels.
A useful article about accommodation in the Maldives and what to expect from a hotel/guesthouse on a local island and how to book it.
The main feature to pay attention to when booking a tour is alcohol. Alcohol is completely prohibited in the country, and it cannot be found on any local island.
However, it is allowed on resort islands. But keep in mind that even on resorts, you can buy a tour where alcohol is either unlimited or for an extra fee. It’s expensive here, with a bottle of basic hard liquor (vodka, whiskey, etc.) starting at $100. If this issue is important to you, always buy for the “all-inclusive” package.
Why it’s better to buy an all-inclusive package for your Maldives vacation
This is an important point for those who are purchasing a package tour to Maldives resort.
It’s clear that with an all-inclusive package, you’ll have everything included, even alcohol. However, there are some pitfalls to be aware of. There are three types of all-inclusive packages:
- SOFT AI (All Inclusive) – this is everything included except for alcohol. If you purchase this type of tour to Maldives, you’ll need to buy alcohol at the hotel bar. But the meals will be included.
- AI or All Inclusive – this is the standard all-inclusive package, including alcohol. There are often some restrictions, such as alcohol in the mini-bar in your bungalow for a fee, and alcohol in the restaurant or bar on your resort available from 12 pm to 12 am. Champagne for breakfast may not be included. Keep in mind that this isn’t always the case, but it’s possible.
- Ultra AI – this is the “ultra all-inclusive” package. Here, the mini-bar in your room is guaranteed to be free, and champagne is available for breakfast too. This option is only available with the Ultra AI package.
But it’s not just about alcohol. It’s about additional expenses in general. The resort islands are tiny, typically only 500 by 500 meters at best. There are no shops, banks, or anything else other than your hotel and its facilities.
Your tour operator may offer different meal plans for a single resort. Here’s a real-world example:
- 10 days of breakfast only for two persons – $6,000
- 10 days of all-inclusive for two persons – $7,500
At first glance, the $1,500 difference might seem like a lot, and you might think you’ll eat (lunches and dinners) for less than that amount on-site. But that’s not the case, and it’s not more cost-effective to buy a Maldives tour with only breakfast and pay for lunch and dinner at the restaurant’s menu prices on-site.
Important:On the island resort, there is nowhere else to eat except for the hotel restaurant. There are no alternatives, and all prices are set by the resort. A dinner for two without alcohol costs $100, and any hot dish is priced from $50.
Even if you are a non-drinking vegan, you will still end up spending more. Only those who fly to the Maldives for retreats and do not plan to eat more than once a day may find a breakfast package worthwhile. If you plan to snorkel and swim a lot on a regular vacation, it’s best to get an “all-inclusive” package. You’ll want to eat six times a day at sea 🙂
If you want to organize a budget trip to the Maldives, you should buy tickets yourself, choose a local island, and book accommodation there. Package tours to Maldives are for those who are willing to pay for 5-star service, unlimited alcohol, bungalows with pools, and other attributes of luxury vacation.
Below are links to the largest aggregators of package tours. There is round-the-clock support everywhere, all players on the market have been around for a long time, and they offer tours to Maldives with direct flights from European cities. Search everywhere and buy where it’s cheaper.
I also recommend two useful articles with ready-made selections of tours to good hotel resorts:
In conclusion, if you want a heavenly vacation in the Maldives as shown and told everywhere, with your own overwater villa, private pool, and hydroplane transfer, then look for all-inclusive tours to resort islands. If you want to save money, go for local islands. Yes, the vacation will be different, but the palms, beaches, ocean, and reefs are beautiful on any island in the Maldives.
Resources to help you plan your dream trip to the Maldives
- Flight tickets and the best deals
- Hotels and guesthouses on any island: Booking
- Tour packages (from budget to luxury): Expedia
- Comprehensive insurance: EKTA
- eSIM virtual SIM card with internet package at the same price as in telecom store in Male