Maldives: Choosing an Island for a Dream Vacation. Points to Consider

Sand Bank, Maldives

If you are looking for a dream vacation in paradise, the Maldives is a top destination for many. With its pristine waters, tranquil atmosphere, and breathtaking views, the Maldives offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. But with so many islands to choose from, how do you pick the perfect one for your trip? In this guide, we’ll explore what to consider when choosing the best island for your Maldives vacation.

Travelling to Maldives is like entering a dream. The turquoise waters glistening in the sun and the palm-fringed beaches are nothing short of breathtaking. It is a place where you can immerse yourself in the tranquillity of nature, indulge in thrilling water sports, or simply relax under the swaying palms.

I remember when I finally made the decision to visit Maldives during the holiday season. The excitement of exploring this exotic destination was beyond words, and as soon as I found a good deal on flights, I began to plan my stay. Accommodation was the next step, and being on a budget, I considered skipping the luxury resorts and opting for something simpler. However, I soon realized that choosing the right island is crucial to experiencing the true beauty of Maldives.

As I arrived on the island, I was struck by the beauty of the coral reefs, the warm white sands and the lush tropical vegetation. The island had everything I needed, from comfortable accommodation to a variety of water sports activities. The crystal clear waters offered a glimpse into the fascinating world of marine life, and I found myself spending hours snorkelling. I was amazed by the incredible diversity of marine species, and the vibrant colours of the fish and corals were truly mesmerizing.

One of the most important things I learned during my trip was that choosing the right island is key to having a memorable Maldivian vacation. Each island has its own unique features and attractions, and selecting one that matches your interests and preferences is crucial.

Brief Introductory Information

The Maldives is a tropical paradise made up of over 1,000 coral islands grouped into 26 atolls. The country is known for its picturesque islands, crystal-clear waters, and diverse marine life, making it a popular destination for travellers looking for a tropical paradise.

In recent years, the Maldives has undergone rapid development to accommodate the growing tourism industry. Luxury resorts and villas have been built on many of the islands, offering an all-inclusive experience to guests. However, this development has also had a negative impact on the environment, with concerns over coral bleaching and the loss of marine habitats.

Despite these concerns, the Maldives remains a sought-after travel destination. The popularity of the Maldives can be attributed to its stunning natural beauty and the unique experiences it offers. From swimming with whale sharks to exploring the vibrant coral reefs, there is something for everyone on these idyllic islands.

As the Maldives continues to grow as a tourist destination, there are efforts to promote sustainable tourism practices and protect the environment. The government has implemented policies to reduce plastic waste and has designated several protected marine areas. Additionally, many resorts are now incorporating eco-friendly practices into their operations, such as using solar power and implementing waste reduction programs.

Points to Consider While Choosing an Island

Stopping in Malé Before Travelling to Your Final Destination

While the islands themselves offer a wide range of activities and amenities, there are certain things that are simply not available on many of the smaller or more remote islands. This is why it is so important to spend some time in Malé, ideally before your island stay. Here, you can take care of any necessary tasks such as visiting a bank, exchanging currency, or doing some shopping.

When it comes to shopping in Malé, there are many different options to choose from. You can visit a local market to sample a wide range of foods and snacks that may not be available on the islands. Here, you can also purchase souvenirs, photo and video equipment, and even snorkelling or diving gear. Besides, you may also be willing to stop at a local restaurant for variety of fresh seafood, as fishermen are bringing in their daily catch each morning.

While it is certainly possible to spend some time in Malé and explore the city and its surroundings, it is important to remember that this is not the main attraction of the Maldives. Instead, it is the islands themselves that offer the true magic of this destination.

Hotels in Malé and Hulhumalé for a short stayover can be found on the map

Island Location and Proximity to the Airport

The Maldives is a place where transportation options are limited and choosing the right mode of transport can make or break your vacation experience. After all, getting to your dream island paradise should be as seamless and stress-free as possible.

When it comes to transportation options, the proximity of your chosen island to the airport is a crucial factor to consider. If you’re staying on a remote island, taking a public scheduled boat might not be the best option, as these boats only connect Malé with main, not-too-remote islands, and they run on a limited schedule. However, if you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, public scheduled boats are perfect, as they only cost a few dollars one way.

Transport Maldives

Speed boat transfers, on the other hand, offer a faster and more convenient way to reach your island. These transfers can be arranged either privately or in a group, with pricing starting from around $50 USD one way. While group transfers may have a few stops at nearby islands, private transfers provide the freedom to travel directly to your island without any delays or detours.

If you want to make your transportation experience a memorable one, charter plane transfers are the way to go. This is the most romantic and picturesque way to reach your dream destination, especially if you’re travelling in a group of at least four people to share the cost. However, charter plane transfers can be quite expensive, and pricing is usually available on the respective hotel’s information page.

Ultimately, the transportation option you choose will depend on your budget, travel preferences, and proximity of your chosen island to the airport. It’s important to research and compare your options before making a decision to ensure a smooth and enjoyable vacation experience.

Inhabited vs. Uninhabited Islands

The Maldives is an archipelago consisting of over a thousand coral islands, some of which are inhabited while others are not. When it comes to accommodation options, these islands offer a unique choice between inhabited and uninhabited islands. While staying on an inhabited island, you will have the opportunity to experience the authentic lifestyle and traditions of the local population. On the other hand, uninhabited islands offer a more secluded and luxurious experience, but almost with no chance to interact with locals.

Guest houses are a popular option for those looking to stay on an inhabited island. These guest houses are typically run by local families and offer a glimpse into the daily lives of Maldivians. On smaller islands with fewer inhabitants, guest houses are the only available option for tourists. During my stay on a small island with only 250 inhabitants, I had the chance to interact with the hosting family and learned about their culture and traditions. It was truly an immersive experience that I will never forget.

In contrast, resort islands are located on uninhabited islands and offer a luxurious stay for tourists. These resorts are designed to provide the ultimate vacation experience with high-end amenities and exclusive services. You can expect to enjoy water sports, fine dining, and spa treatments while staying on a resort island. Resort islands are a great option for those seeking a peaceful, relaxing and luxurious vacation, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Alcohol Restrictions and Food Availability

Maldives, being a Muslim country, has a strict policy regarding alcohol consumption. It is entirely prohibited, with the exception of the resort islands where hotels offer alcoholic beverages to their guests. For tourists who enjoy a drink or two, staying in a resort is the best option to enjoy a relaxed vacation. But, for those who wish to explore the local lifestyle, it might be a bit more complicated. It is important to note that alcohol is not available outside the resort islands, and even though you might find it being sold by locals, it is highly illegal and not recommended.

When it comes to food, Maldives has limited options due to the geographical location of the country. It is a collection of small islands that have no agricultural resources, so the supply of fresh fruits and vegetables is very limited. Most of the food is imported from other countries, and local stores offer products that can be stored longer, such as canned food, grains, and processed food. However, despite the limited availability of fresh produce, the local cuisine is a delightful mix of flavours that you should not miss.

Tourists staying in bigger and more populated islands have a variety of options when it comes to food. There are food stores, cafes, and restaurants where one can experience local dishes or international cuisine.

Many guest houses on smaller islands offer half or full-board options, which means that you will have all your meals at the guest house. While the food is freshly cooked and delicious, the variety may be limited due to the lack of supplies.

Scuba Diving, Maldives

However, if you are an adventurous foodie, you can enjoy the fresh seafood and local dishes that the guest house has to offer. The Maldivian cuisine is mainly based on seafood, coconuts, and rice. Imagine going on a fishing or octopus hunting excursion during the day and then having the catch on your table for dinner. It is a unique and authentic experience that you cannot find in resorts.

Suppose you have dietary restrictions or prefer certain types of food. In that case, you can pre-arrange your meals with the guest house owners. They will be happy to accommodate your requests and even order and transport specific food items from Malé. However, keep in mind that the supply of fresh food is limited, and certain items may not be available. It is advisable to discuss your requirements with the host in advance and check if a fridge will be available to store your food.

The Maldives has different food and beverage options based on where you are staying. Resort islands offer a wide range of dining and drinking options, while guest houses and local islands have limited choices. However, staying in a guest house or a local island can give you a more authentic experience of the Maldivian culture and lifestyle.

Dress Code

As a Muslim country, it is also strict in terms of dressing code, but there are exceptions for tourists. For example, while bikini may be forbidden in certain areas, some islands provide separate “tourist” beaches where you can enjoy wearing a bikini without offending locals. This helps to create a harmonious environment where both tourists and locals can coexist happily. On the resort islands, there are no such restrictions, so guests can enjoy their stay without feeling any cultural differences.


Paddling Maldives

One of the best things about Maldives is its underwater world, which is perfect for diving and snorkelling. Some islands have better diving conditions than others, and some have amazing house reefs located as close as solely 50 meters from the shore. However, it’s important to note that some house reefs have been damaged by transportation and negligence, so it’s best to research which islands have the best conditions for marine life viewing.

There are plenty of activities to do in Maldives, ranging from yoga classes to animal watching excursions, and diving. It’s best to research which islands offer the activities you’re interested in and plan accordingly. Whatever your plan may be, whether it’s to simply relax on the beach or be as active and sporty as possible, you can find it all on the islands of Maldives.

Garbage Issue

Despite its natural beauty, Maldives faces a garbage issue due to the mass amounts of garbage washed up on the beaches from the mainland’s coastal areas. However, locals and resort staff make great efforts to clean up the beaches, although sometimes there may be uncleaned areas. Nonetheless, many locals take pride in preserving their land and marine life, making it a great destination for eco-tourists.


The Maldives is known for its luxury resorts, but there are budget-friendly options available, particularly on inhabited islands. Guest houses and homestays offer an affordable way to experience the Maldives while staying among locals.

Time of Year

The Maldives has two distinct seasons: the dry season (December to April) and the wet season (May to November). The dry season is the most popular time to visit, with sunny weather and calm seas, but prices can be higher. The wet season is less crowded, and prices are more affordable, but it may rain more often.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the perfect island for your Maldives vacation can be a daunting task, but by considering the factors above, you can narrow down your options and find the best island to meet your expectations.

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