Sprinkled across the depths of the Indian Ocean, neighbouring India and Sri Lanka, is a nation of islands known by luxury travellers and Explorers alike as the Maldives.


  • Hopping from stunning island to stunning island
  • Some of the world’s best scuba diving and snorkelling
  • Meeting locals during a stay at a guest house
  • Surfing unique island breaks


Comprised of 1192 islands, the Maldives covers an area of 90,000 square kilometres, and only 298 of those are dry land. 

With twinkling turquoise water twisting between white sanded, palm tree-dotted beaches and rainbow reefs raring to be explored, the Maldives is a dream destination gracing everyone’s bucket list.

A trip to the Maldives will involve some serious relaxing, but it’s also an epic adventure destination with more water-based activities than you can pull a pair of goggles over.


Maldives – Finding Unique Adventures in Paradise, photo by Alexa Hohenberg, beach, ocean, sign

Mainland Male & Cultural Experiences

Known for its mosques and colourful buildings, there’s lots to do and see in Male, the capital of the Maldives. 

Old Friday Mosque 

The stunning structure was made from coral stone and dates back to 1656. It’s the oldest mosque in the country, intricately chiselled and decorated with Quranic script.

Non-Muslims need permission from an official of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs before they’re allowed inside. But as most of the staff are officials, you might get permission on the spot.


Male Walking Tours

Wander the roads of Male with a local guide and discover the history, religion, and culture of the Maldivian capital. 



Produce Market

For visitors searching for an authentic cultural experience, the produce market is great to check out. It’s here where Maldivians gather to sell home-grown and imported vegetables.


Fish Market

The fish market is considered the soul of Male. Travellers will witness the fresh catch being brought in from the adjacent fishing harbour to be sold. 

Exploring Local Islands

The Maldives is home to lots of local islands waiting to be explored. With incredible reefs to explore, gnarly surf breaks to carve up and historical hotspots to discover, you won’t be bored for a second.

Here are a few to tick off the bucket list.


Located in the South Ari Atoll, Dhigurah (meaning Long Island) is considered one of the most beautiful islands in the Maldives, with its spectacular blue lagoon and never-ending sandbank. The island’s a great snorkelling and diving base, with opportunities to swim with manta rays and whale sharks. It also boasts a bikini beach, cafes, and souvenir shops. 

How To Get There: Choose between a speed boat transfer (approximately $83 per adult and $42 per child, one way) or a short domestic flight.




Thulusdhoo has traditionally been known as an industrious island, located northeast of Male, in the North Male Atoll. Over the past few years, it’s become a tourist hotspot and is now home to approximately 30 guest houses. There are great surf beaches (Cokes, Chickens, Ninjas, and Sultans), a bikini beach, and a bridge link to a small island.

How To Get There: Regular speed boats cost around $42 for a 30-minute ride from Male’s Fishing Harbour and Velana International Airport. Otherwise, take a public ferry from Male’s New Harbour.



Perched in the North Male Atoll, Himmafushi is home to one of the best Maldivian surf spots, Jailbreaks. The right hander is best surfed between June and August, and got its name from the prison that stands on the island.

How To Get There: Daily private speedboat services are approximately $40 for the 45-minute ride from Male with Atoll Transfer.

Guest Houses

While the Maldives is applauded for its unique natural landscape and luxury resorts, there are options for more budget-conscious travellers, adventure-seekers, and culture-inspired wanderers.

Since the relaxation of tourism rules which restricted tourism to resorts on uninhabited islands, the guest house industry has boomed. 

A guest house stay allows tourists to experience the Maldivian culture like a local and meet new people, while visiting historical attractions and taking part in activities, water sports, and excursions. 

While staying at a guest house tourists must remember to respect the local community, its customs, and traditions (check out the full run down below).

Adventures in the Maldives

There’s loads to do in the Maldives for those who love a little exploration and adrenaline. From canoe rides and windsurfing, to snorkelling and diving, jet ski spins and catamaran sails. 


If you’re partial to taking the board for a spin on a line-up of uncrowded waves, a great way to see and experience multiple Atolls is to take a boat trip. Despite filling up months in advance, surf charters are well worth the money. Grab your crew, it’s going to be a wild ride!

The Northern Atolls have a variety of waves to choose from, including the likes of Cokes, Chickens, Saltans, Jails, and some private waves like Lohis and Pasta Point, where to indulge, you have to stay at the resorts.


Globetrotters come far and wide to explore the magical underwater world of the Maldives.

Home to approximately 5% of the planet’s reefs, there’s more beneath the surface than what meets the eye, with 1000 species of fish, Manta rays and Whale sharks residing in the Maldivian waters.

On most islands, guests can wade from the beach to the reef for a leisurely snorkel. Just be aware of your bearings and the currents and bring a buddy along with you! Resorts and guest houses also organise their own snorkelling excursions.



The Maldives boasts some of the world’s best diving, with exciting wildlife experiences (Manta rays, Hammerhead sharks, and Whale sharks), spectacular shipwrecks, caves and tunnels for you to explore. 

It’s best to visit the dive school on the island as soon as you arrive, so the dive instructors can work out a schedule to suit. The schools also offer beginner to advanced courses.

Noteworthy shipwreck diving locations include; North Male Atoll, Keyodhoo in Vaavu Atoll, Kudhimaa Wreck on the South Ari Atoll, and The Shipyard on Lhaviyani Atoll.



A liveaboard boat trip is a great way to enjoy a variety of activities including scuba diving, snorkelling, surfing, fishing, and cruising. The Maldives is home to an expansive number and variety of liveaboards, so there’s sure to be something to match your personal tastes, interests and budget. 



Enjoy 5 Star Luxury on a Budget

If you want to enjoy a five-star luxury experience, while sticking to your budget, a day pass to the resorts and resort islands is the way to go! 

Those staying at the local islands can buy a day pass which costs, on average between $130 and $275 per person and includes a return speedboat transfer, entrance fees and access to the resort’s facilities. Some packages may include lavish food and drinks, as well as snorkelling gear.

Resort day passes can be bought directly from the resort you wish to visit and are usually coordinated by a tour provider on a local island.

Basecamp: Where to Stay in the Maldives

You might be surprised to know that the turquoise-watered oasis of islands is not just a luxury destination for the affluent traveller. There are heaps of accommodation options for budget travellers and backpackers too.



Luxury, tick. Ocean villa, tick. Instagram-worthy content, tick. Though, get ready to empty your pockets, because a slice of this island paradise doesn’t come cheap.

But if luxury is what you’re chasing for that once-in-a-lifetime experience or romantic getaway, a stay in one of the resorts is a great option.  



Guest Houses

Maybe you’re the adventurous, thrill-seeking type, more focused on experiences than where you’re resting your head at night. A stay in a guest house may be a better option for you. You’ll stay in a local town, where you’ll mingle with the locals and experience the true culture of the region.



Whether you’re making the most of water-based adventures or indulging in some maxo relaxo time, liveaboard boats will give you a place to sleep and 360-degree water views all day, every day baby!

Location, Location, Location

When choosing your accommodation, keep in mind that location is directly correlated to price. Resorts are often found on the dreamy private islands; most hotels are situated in urban centres and guest houses are positioned on inhabited islands.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit the Maldives is during the dry season from December to April. Keep in mind, this is also peak season, so prices will be higher.

The number of rainy days per month in June can be as many as 18 in the north, compared to only 10 in the south. No one wants to spend their days in paradise inside! 

For those desperate to escape winter in the Southern Hemisphere, choose to explore the southern atolls, where the rain’s less frequent during the wet season.

Budget Travel Tips

  • Travel outside of peak times – avoid the dry season from December to April.
  • Stay in a guest house, rather than one of the private resorts, and then experience a taste of luxury with a day tour to a resort island.
  • Shop around and choose a guest house that includes breakfast and extras. 
  • Shop around to find cheap excursions and experiences
  • If your heart’s set on diving, the cheapest option is to do a liveaboard trip.
  • Budgeters, stick to spending $100 a day and you’ll still have an exceptional time.

Hot Travel Tips

It’s very important for travellers to be considerate of cultural and religious traditions and sensitivities in the Maldives. Here are a few hot travel tips to get the very best out of your Maldivian getaway:

  • Religion & Alcohol: As Islam is the major religion in the Maldives, alcohol and pork is not widely available on the mainland. However, resorts and liveaboards have a special license to serve alcohol
  • Dress: Tourists are expected to respect the local culture and dress appropriately and modestly when visiting or staying on inhabited islands. While swimming at the beaches on the mainland, travellers must be fully clothed, unless it’s a designated bikini beach. Cotton clothing and sandals are recommended


There are different rules for resort islands and inhabited islands


  • Tourism Goods & Services Tax (TGST): Keep in mind that a 12% Tourism Goods & Services Tax is levied on all goods and services at tourist establishments. A Green Tax of $6USD per person per day is owed by guests staying at tourist accommodation (resorts, hotels & tourist vessels) and $3USD at guest houses
  • ATMs: Make sure to get cash out at the airport or in Male or else you might get stuck trying to trade your surfboard for a meal. ATMs are rarely found off the mainland. Get yourself some US dollars (it’s a major currency used here) and also some Maldivian Rufiyaa for when you head to the local islands
  • Embrace the culture: Say yes to cultural tours, learn about the Maldivian history and culture, ask questions and be open to new experiences
  • BYO Bottle: Bring a reusable water bottle so you can refill it rather than buying plastic bottles


Yikes! Let’s avoid this!

Essential Gear

  • Reusable water bottle! 
  • Swimmers 
  • Wetsuit 
  • Diving gear 
  • Surfboard
  • Some conservative clothes 

If you don’t have much luggage space, don’t fear, as all of this gear can be rented on the islands. Keep in mind, you’ll have to pay some extra tax on the products.

Leave No Trace

Rubbish is a big issue in the Maldives, so it’s important for visitors to do their bit to ensure we keep the Maldives beautiful for generations to come.

Explorers to the Maldives are asked to follow the principles of Leave No Trace when they visit.


Photos thanks to @still_stoked, @beyondthebreakphotography, @lena_stoffel