MaldivesTravel Guide

Take it back to the beach with an idyllic getaway in the picture-perfect Maldives where white sands, leafy palm trees and colourful marine life await.

From island hopping and scuba diving, snorkelling and fun tubing to browsing street markets, the opportunities for a memorable vacation are practically endless. Throw in the chance of getting to know the locals, savour the island fare, laze on the beach or poolside with cocktail in hand and let this tropical paradise wow you. But before you land, dive into our Maldives travel guide for tips on how to make the most of your stay.

Maldives quick facts


National language



Bottle of Coke/Pepsi (330ml)

CAD $1.58

Local time




Maldivian rufiyaa

CAD $1.00 = MVR Rf11.23

Eating out

Restaurant meal (casual dining)

CAD $7.56


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3 pins • 230V

Explore Maldives

Where to stay in Maldives?

The Maldives is home to a sun-soaked string of islands and secluded sandbanks – over 1,200 in total. They’re grouped into small clusters and, of these islands, approximately 200 are uninhabited. In most cases, private resorts boast their own island, so it’s possible to savour a classic beach vacation without having to share the experience with hundreds of other beach-goers! In short, you can’t go wrong no matter where you stay in the Maldives. Having said that, here are some top picks.

Located in the Huvadhoo Atoll, Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa promises gorgeous overwater villas and 5-star hospitality. The resort’s 3-bedroom Overwater Reef Residence is particularly sought-after, teetering on the very tip of the house reef with panoramic views of the Indian Ocean.

Planning an escape with your partner and wondering where to stay in Maldives? Ayada Maldives is sure to tick all the boxes, serving up bucketloads of romance. Not only is it one of the best luxury hotels and resorts in the archipelago, but it’s also considered one of the top 25 in the world! Along with rooms that are nothing short of heavenly and a variety of adventures in store, there are also curated resort experiences for every type of traveller. Fishing at sunset, private house reef snorkelling, a deserted island picnic and a glass-bottomed boat tour are just a few to get excited about!

As most holidaymakers know, there’s more to the Maldives than the beach (although there needn’t be, if we’re being completely honest here!). If you’re keen to stick close to Male, the more densely populated capital city where you’ll find bright and bustling markets, museums and mesmerisingly beautiful mosques, then Champa Central Hotel, located close to shopping mecca Chaandhanee Magu, is sure to make for a blissful base. Along with its gorgeous rooms and views, the hotel is also known for its rooftop restaurant that dishes up mouth-watering Indian cuisine.

When it comes to Maldives vacations, Heritance Aarah is Insta-iconic. Featuring an overwater spa, easy access to various enthralling water activities (like fly boarding, diving, wind surfing and snorkelling) and offering a slew of restaurants catering to every palate and mood, there’s little wonder why it’s one of the most popular luxury hotels and resorts in the Maldives.

Vibrant thatched villas, (some of which have private pools), plenty of bars and restaurants and the opportunity to enjoy leisurely bike rides along the jetty are just a few reasons why you might opt to settle in at LUX South Ari Atoll. It’s a resort that welcomes couples and families alike (yes, there’s a kids club for the little ones so that tired parents can finally put their feet up for a bit – goodness knows you deserve it!). Plus, great news for the vegans and vegetarians: it was the first resort in the Maldives to be recognised as “vegan-friendly” by Vegan Welcome.

Believe us when we say, this is just the start. Book your accommodation today!

  • Male waiter carrying wine on dish in one hand walking along the beach
    • Large projected movie screen on beach front with large cushioned chairs at sunset
    • Half view of Female swimming under water with fish and half sky
  • Male waiter carrying wine on dish in one hand walking along the beach
    Male waiter carrying wine on dish in one hand walking along the beach
    Male waiter carrying wine on dish in one hand walking along the beach
  • Large projected movie screen on beach front with large cushioned chairs at sunset
    Large projected movie screen on beach front with large cushioned chairs at sunset
    Large projected movie screen on beach front with large cushioned chairs at sunset
  • Half view of Female swimming under water with fish and half sky
    Half view of Female swimming under water with fish and half sky
    Half view of Female swimming under water with fish and half sky

Things to do in Maldives

The Maldives has loads in store for you both on and off the pristine white sand beaches. Can’t seem to tear yourself away from that ultra-comfy spot on your towel? That’s fine, too. The main thing is to relax, de-stress and enjoy – whatever that means to you!

The only thing more famous than the windswept beach sand in the Maldives? The ocean itself! And there are so many ways to enjoy the lukewarm, azure waters. So, when you start to tire of simply splashing around in the waves and you’re ready to dive a bit deeper, you won’t need to look far for a treasure trove of options. Want to get a closer look at the fascinating marine life? Perhaps a spot of snorkelling or scuba diving? Looking for a burst of adrenalin? Give fly boarding a go. Want something that’s equally exciting and relaxing? Show off your surfing skills (or sign up to take a lesson if said skills are currently non-existent!) Just be mindful of the specific water sports you’re keen to try as certain resorts specialise in some and not in others, and a few of the lesser-known, more unique water sports are exclusive to specific resorts.

Why spend your entire vacation on just one of the islands when you can explore and experience a multitude of them? Island hopping is a popular activity for tourists, and it’s possible to take a DIY approach if you’d prefer, or to book an island-hopping tour to ensure you get the best bang for your buck (these tours usually include meals, drinks and worthwhile activities and excursions).

You can do lots of things on the beach. Other than building sandcastles, playing frisbee and being as lazy as you’d like, some resorts in the Maldives are equipped to let you watch a movie on the soft sands with the crashing waves of the Indian Ocean as soothing background noise. The Jungle Cinema at The St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort is legendary, as is the Open-Air Jungle Cinema at Gili Lankanfushi.

Sunsets in the Maldives are in the same calibre as those photos on old-school glossy postcards. And while you could relax on your hotel room balcony admiring them, a sunset cruise organised by your resort, or another operator will be money well spent. Depending on the provider you choose, these cruises often last an hour and can take place on a luxury yacht or on an authentic local dhoni (a small wooden boat). Some sunset cruises include dinner and drinks on the deck to further amplify the unmissable experience.

You can’t visit the Maldives without taking a star-lit stroll along the Glowing Beach on Vaadhoo Island (found within the Raa Atoll). Here, the beach and its waters emit a shimmering silver-blue glow thanks to the presence of plenty of phytoplankton, which are bioluminescent. The beach is simply beautiful and as romantic as it gets!

Looking for an immersive experience? Then a tour is the way to go.

Flights to Maldives

Maldives food and drink

With the countless palm trees scattered across the islands, it’s unsurprising to discover that coconuts are a staple food. Thanks to the plentiful Indian Ocean, you can also expect to tuck into your fair share of seafood during your stay. Now that you have an idea of what’s likely to be on the menu, here’s a breakdown of where to eat in Maldives.

There are plenty of restaurants on the islands that come with great food and magnificent views, and many of these eateries are located below the ocean’s surface. Niyama’s Subsix is one of the better-known options offering an underwater dining experience, reachable only by speedboat. Part of the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island resort, Ithaa Undersea Restaurant is another underwater restaurant (it was the world’s first!) and is celebrated for its spectacular fusion menu.

The food is always spectacular in the Maldives, which is why it’s less about what you eat and more about where you eat it! How does a romantic picnic on a deserted sandbank sound? If you’re keen, be sure to inquire as to whether your chosen resort offers this unforgettable experience before making a booking.

If you’d like to fry up some fresh fish for yourself and your hotel or resort has provided you with the facilities to do so, you can pick up one of the local fishermen’s ‘catch of the day’ at the Male Fish Market. Many refer to this bustling market as the heart and soul of the island’s capital city and it’s a great place to go for a glimpse into the nation’s most thriving industry. Make sure you arrive early in the morning or late in the afternoon for the best selection.

Get a real taste for the local cuisine by booking a tour.

Maldives through your eyes

Where to shop in Maldives?

While most travellers don’t head to this destination with shopping for international fashion brands at the top of their agenda, it’s true that there are loads of opportunities for enjoyable shopping in Maldives. Along with a few fancy boutique stores, you’re also spoilt for choice when it comes to street markets and souvenir shops (so there’s no excuse not to treat eager friends and relatives with something special upon returning home from your getaway!).

While you’re bound to find markets throughout the islands, you can’t visit the Maldives without spending the better part of at least one of your vacation days strolling through the Male Local Market, located on the northern waterfront. The bustling bazaar is chockful of stalls and vendors selling everything from handmade crafts to tasty street food and bottled or packaged snacks.

Another popular street market and one-stop shopping destination is Majeedhee Magu. Here, the prices on all items for sale are mere suggestions – so be sure practise your haggling skills leading up to your visit!

Finally, it’s always worthwhile stopping by Chaandhanee Magu – often referred to as the Singapore Bazaar – for a variety of both local and imported treasures (most of which come from, you guessed it – Singapore).

There are two main boutiques on which to set your sights when shopping for clothes in the Maldives. Nala Boutique is the first, specialising in elegant local-inspired dresses, beachwear, and accessories. Then there’s the Island Bazaar, offering up a broad selection of fashion must-haves, jewellery, homeware and locally made handicrafts.

Looking for a safe and simple way to bring your money when you travel? Our Travel Money Card has you covered!

When is the best time to travel to Maldives?

We’re guessing that, like most tourists visiting the Maldives, your goal is to soak up as much blissful sunshine as humanly possible (don’t forget the sunblock!)? If so, it’s best to plan your vacation outside of the monsoon season, which takes place from May – October. It’s a good idea to aim to book your flights any time between November and April. Unsurprisingly, high season usually extends from December to April, so if you’re looking to save a bit or avoid heavy crowds, try to get a head-start on everyone else and book your vacation for late October or November (if you don’t mind the risk of a shower here and there).

Luckily, since you’re likely going to be spending the vast majority of your vacation stationed at a resort on a secluded island, crowds shouldn’t be too much of a concern at any time of the year.

Don't miss out. Book your flight today!

How to get around Maldives

While a tiny country compared to others in Asia, the Maldives is the world’s most dispersed. In short, getting around in Maldives is a lot more complicated than simply hailing a taxi or hiring a car. As such, you’ll need to plan your transport carefully, especially if you intend to go island hopping. Alternatively, take a “fly and flop” approach, spending all your time in one spot, lazing around at your chosen resort. After all, you’ll have everything you could ever need within arm’s reach and an endless supply of sun, sea and sand, so who could blame you?

Hop on a public ferry for a small fee if you need to get from one inhabited island to another but be warned: these ferries are rarely on time. Great for travellers holidaying in the Maldives on a shoestring budget, but not worth the hassle if you can afford another form of transport.

Charter a luxury yacht to appreciate the ocean from a different perspective or hire a dhoni for an authentically local way of getting closer to the waves and island hopping. Keep in mind that prices will vary depending on how far you plan to sail and for how long.

If you’re headed to an exclusive resort, this is how you can expect to get there. Many of the five-star resorts boast their own seaplanes, which are responsible for picking up and dropping off their guests and are often available for use during the guests’ stay at an additional cost. If a resort doesn’t own a seaplane, the staff is usually happy to charter one on your behalf if your budget allows.

If you’re headed to an exclusive resort, this is how you can expect to get there. Many of the five-star resorts boast their own seaplanes, which are responsible for picking up and dropping off their guests and are often available for use during the guests’ stay at an additional cost. If a resort doesn’t own a seaplane, the staff is usually happy to charter one on your behalf if your budget allows.

Making time to explore Male? Then you’ll have a choice between renting a bicycle, motorcycle or using the local bus service to navigate your way across the busy capital.

Let us help you organize your own wheels for exploring. Hire a car today.

What are the best beaches in Maldives?

They’re the reason you came, right? So let’s break down where you’re going to find the best beaches in Maldives for a beach vacation that dreams are made of (honestly, they’re all awesome as long as you’ve picked a reputable resort!).

This island is nestled in the Baa Atoll and home to a Four Seasons resort with over a hundred villas. Its sandbank reaches out into the glistening waters and there’s a reef alive with marine creatures of all shapes and sizes, including adorable sea turtles and sprawling manta rays.

Just a stone’s throw away from Velana International Airport, Hulhumale Beach is a top choice for travellers on a budget. It’s in close proximity to various affordable hotels and a number of other attractions, like The Sea House Café (known for its breath-taking ocean views) and Hulhumale Central Park.

Bikini Beach is a massive beach that can be found on Rasdhoo Island. Note that there are plenty of other beautiful bikini beaches in the Maldives, which are essentially blocked-off beaches where beachgoers are ‘allowed’ to wear bikinis within the conservative Muslim local islands.

Cocoa Island houses bucketloads of exotic beaches, drawing in hordes of loved-up honeymoon holidaymakers each year. These beaches are ideal for diving and snorkelling (thanks to the resident coral reef) and promise silky soft beach sand all year round.


Maldives Frequently asked questions

When you're packing for your dream trip to the Maldives, don't forget the essentials like your passport, visa, phone, chargers, camera, sunblock, some USD and the correct power adaptor. From there, we recommend packing a towel, your swimwear of choice, a hat, flip flops, some walking shoes and a strong appetite for midday naps and sunset swims.  

A vacation to the Maldives allows you to take your pick from a bounty of beautiful islands. If you're keen to spend your days snorkelling and diving, consider heading to Baros, with a house reef and incredible diving hotspots just an hour's boat ride away. Those seeking unbridled luxury will not be disappointed with a stay at Milaidhoo, Huvafen Fushi and JOALI, while anyone wanting to spoil their taste buds should head to one of the biggest islands, Amilla, with offers a private paradise and seven world-class restaurants.  

Our latest info can be found in our Help Centre here  

Avoid the monsoon seasons and book your escape to the Maldives between November and April, where the weather is hot and dry – perfect for days spent enjoying leisurely bike rides and swims in crystal clear waters.  

Activities in the Maldives are generally centred around pristine views and stunning natural landscapes. Spend your days exploring the deep blue, swimming, snorkelling, fishing, diving, surfing and kayaking through the cerulean waters. Those looking to stay on land can enjoy nature walks, vibrant cultural experiences and day expeditions. Alternatively, pack a book or two and give yourself permission to completely bliss out on the beach or with a view of the ocean.  

 With years of experience under our belts, and a decent tan to show from our time spent relaxing on tropical beaches, the Flight Centre Travel Experts are the perfect people to ask about your vacation package to the Maldives. From family vacations to luxury romantic stays in over-water bungalows, we can easily curate a Maldives vacation package to make your travel dreams a reality.   

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