Maldives is a bucket-list destination for many people; however it is also an incredibly unique destination to travel to for your first time. There are so many considerations when traveling to the Maldives for the first time, which is why we put together this Maldives Travel Guide.
Whether you are planning a dream honeymoon or destination wedding, or looking for a tropical getaway, this Maldives Travel Guide has all the tips and answers you need for your first trip to the Maldives.
Disclaimer: Please note that our travel on Trans Maldivian Airways was provided complimentary. Some of the links in the below article are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. All opinions on our Maldives travel guide are our own. Click here for the full disclosure statement.
Maldives Travel Guide
Everyone has questions about traveling to the Maldives, especially if it is for the first time. From seaplanes to resorts to room types, we cover the most popular questions surrounding travel to the Maldives for your first time in this Maldives Travel Guide.
Maldives Arrival and Seaplane Transfers
One of the most unique aspects of the Maldives is that all of the resorts are located on private islands, and you need to transfer to those islands either by speedboat or seaplane. It’s not always clear how these transfers work, but we’ve got all of the information that you need in this Maldives travel guide so you don’t need to worry. In fact, traveling by seaplane to reach your resort is one of the great unique experiences of the Maldives.
International Arrival to Trans Maldivian Airways Transfer
First of all, there’s generally no need to make a separate reservation with Trans Maldivian Airways. That is something we were not aware of when we traveled to the Maldives for the first time. You will provide your incoming flight information to your resort, and they will schedule the seaplane transfer with Trans Maldivian Airways. The cost of the seaplane transfer will also be included in your hotel bill.
When you arrive at Male International Airport, you’ll pass through immigration, collect your bags, and then head outside the airport. As soon as you exit the airport you will see hundreds of people holding signs for each of the individual resorts in the Maldives. Look for someone holding a sign for your resort, and if you don’t immediately find them, no need to worry. You can ask around as everybody seems to know everybody and you’ll soon find the representative for your hotel.
They will take you to a small booth, confirm your reservation and how many bags you have, and then they will escort you over to the Trans Maldivian Airways counter for check-in to your seaplane transfer. Your bags will be weighed and checked in to Trans Maldivian Airways, and then you will transfer to the seaplane terminal. Some resorts have their own private vans or cars for transfer, and some use the Trans Maldivian Airways bus service to get you to the seaplane terminal.
If your arriving flight into Male International Airport is delayed, there’s really no need to worry about missing your seaplane flight to your resort. Trans Maldivian Airways has a constantly moving flight schedule which adjusts to the arriving passengers. It’s extremely common to have your seaplane flight time adjusted for additional passengers, or to make an additional stop along the way to your resort. One thing that you can be sure is that Trans Maldivian Airways and your resort representative will make sure that you get to your resort!
Arrival Experience with Trans Maldivian Airways
When you arrive at the seaplane terminal, you will either be taken to your resort’s specific arrivals lounge (if they have one), or you will be taken to the Trans Maldivian Airways VIP lounge if you are a VIP guest, or you will be taken to the common lounge at Terminal C. We visited the Trans Maldivian VIP lounge which had everything we need to relax during our short stay, including complimentary coffee, tea, and water as well as a few snacks.
As there are generally multiple seaplane flights per day to all resorts, you won’t have to wait too long in the arrivals lounge until your seaplane transfer is ready, however you may be waiting on a few additional guests of your resort to arrive from different international flights.
When your flight is ready to depart, you will be taken down to the check-in area for the flight where your boarding pass will be scanned, you will be provided with a flight safety kit (complete with a face mask, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing wipes) and then you will be taken out onto the docks to your seaplane. Your checked bags will be loaded onto the back of the plane, and you can then climb aboard and get ready for some amazing views!
Flying with Trans Maldivian Airways: The Best Views in the World
If you haven’t flown on a seaplane before, you’re in for a real treat! Flying Trans Maldivian is a fantastic way to experience the Maldives and to gain a real appreciation for the uniqueness of this amazing destination.
Trans Maldivian Airways flies all de Havilland Canada Twin Otters, which seat 15 passengers, two pilots, and another Trans Maldivian Airways crewmember responsible for docking the seaplane and the baggage. The planes are small, but perfectly comfortable for the short flights. Take-off and landing is surprisingly smooth, and along the way you will have stunning views of the many atolls and other resorts in the Maldives.
Departure Experience with Trans Maldivian Airways
The Trans Maldivian Airways flight schedules are created for the following day, each afternoon. The day before you check out, your resort will notify you of your Trans Maldivian Airways flight time. Note that it’s not uncommon for the flight schedules to fluctuate throughout the day.
The seaplane will arrive at your resort, and you’ll quickly be back onboard and heading toward Male. Once you arrive by seaplane in Male, the transfer process back to the international airport is quick and easy. You’ll be greeted by your resort representatives again and driven back to the airport. Your bags will arrive a few minutes later, and with that you’re free to check-in to your international flight.
How to Pick the Right Maldives Resort for Your First Maldives Trip
Deciding which resort is best for you isn’t an easy endeavour. The websites of every resort feature incredible blue waters, overwater villas, and delicious looking food. How do you choose which one is right for you?
We’ve got the answers for you below in our Maldives travel guide to help you choose the best resort for your first trip to the Maldives.
Seaplane or Speedboat Transfer
Most resorts in the Maldives offer either a seaplane or speedboat transfer. The resorts that are closer to Male International Airport will have speedboat transfers only, and those further out require seaplane transfer. Generally speaking, you won’t have a choice of which option is needed to get to your resort, however there are a few resorts that do offer the option.
Room Types in the Maldives
The Maldives are hands-down most well known for their overwater villas. Nearly every resort features some form of overwater villas, and it is an incredible experience to sleep out over the water, listening to the waves, and to have the option to jump right in the water and swim or snorkel anytime you like. Plus, many overwater villas have distinctive features such as overwater nets, glass floors, and more. For your first time to the Maldives you may want to go for the iconic experience of an overwater villa, as there are few places in the world that are comparable.
If you don’t feel like splurging for an overwater villa, many of the beachfront rooms are just as luxurious, sometimes larger in size, and of course offer direct access to the beach. They also have the benefit of being closer to the restaurants and other amenities.
No matter which type of room you choose for your stay in the Maldives, you really can’t go wrong. You still get to experience all of the bright blue turquoise water and views that the Maldives is famous for.
Dining in the Maldives
It pays to do some research on the dining options available at your selected Maldives resort beforehand, and incorporate that information into your decision of where to stay in the Maldives. When staying on a private island you don’t have the option to pop out and visit a different restaurant! Naturally, getting food and drinks to all of the private islands is not cheap, so except fairly high prices no matter where you go. Many of the resorts offer meal packages such as breakfast-only, half-board (typically breakfast and dinner), full-board (all meals, though generally not at the exclusive restaurants), and all-inclusive.
Many of these meal packages offer a far better value than paying a la carte for every meal. Don’t forget that as you’re stuck on the island you also can’t easily get more water, snacks, or anything else without paying the Maldives resort prices. Some Maldives first-timers make the mistake of forgetting to pack all of these essentials, and end up over-paying for sunscreen, make-up, or other items.
Resort Amenities in the Maldives
Given that during your trip to the Maldives you will be on your resort the whole time, choosing a resort with enough activities and amenities important. There is no neighborhood to explore, nearby theme park, or crazy hiking trails you can visit, so you better pay attention to the rest of this Maldives travel guide to pick the best resort for your trip!
That being said, nearly early every resort will offer snorkeling and other water activities. Some have a selection of non-motorized water activities included complimentary, and others will charge you extra so keep that in mind. Depending on the location of you resort, there may also be great diving or fishing opportunities nearby. If this is something that interests you, it pays to do a little bit more research ahead of time to ensure that your Maldives trip lives up to your expectations.
In terms of land-based activities, what each resort offers can also differ greatly. Some have fantastic fitness facilities, including tennis courts, and others may not have as many options. If traveling as a family, the kids centers on certain islands can be hugely beneficial. Lastly, consider the options of cooking classes, learning activities, types of spa treatments, and more – basically, if there is something you are passionate about make sure to check that your selected resort has that instead of assuming so before arriving!
Maldives Resorts for First Time Visitors
For our first time in the Maldives we made the unique decision to stay at three different resorts, and wanted to include them all here in our Maldives Travel Guide. What we learned is that each resort has unique features that sets them apart from the others. Read more about each of these fantastic resorts to find the best resort for your first trip to the Maldives!
Le Meridien Maldives Resort & Spa
The Le Meridien Maldives is a fantastic choice for those looking to experience a seaplane transfer, amazing overwater villas, great food, and fantastic service. This is a great Maldives first time resort for couples looking for a romantic getaway. Read our full review of the Le Meridien Maldives Resort!
The Velassaru Maldives Resort is located relatively close to Male compared to many other resorts, but it feels worlds away with some of the clearest water in the Maldives and stunning white sand beaches. Those crystal-clear waters make this the best Maldives resort for snorkeling. Read our full review of the Velassaru Maldives!
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Resort & Spa
The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is one of the premiere resorts in the Maldives with stand-out jaw-dropping features such as Ithaa Underwater Restaurant and the uber-luxurious Muraka Residence. However, it is also down to earth with friendly and welcoming staff, a fantastic kids club for families, and relaxation at every turn. Read our full review of the Conrad Maldives!
Maldives Frequently Asked Questions
Traveling to the Maldives can be a bit of a mystery before you arrive, however we have answers to some of the most frequently asked questions in our Maldives travel guide when visiting the Maldives for the first time.
Is Maldives Safe to Visit?
Yes, Maldives is an incredibly safe country to visit for tourists. Nearly everyone visiting the Maldives stays on a specific island resort, which means that you are on a private island with only other guests and staff. There are very low rates of crime in Maldives, however petty crimes can occur in the capital city, Male. As a tourist though, the chance of experiencing any sort of crime in the Maldives is exceedingly low and less likely than nearly any other destination.
How Expensive is Maldives?
Visiting the Maldives is not cheap. There’s really no way around it with expensive flights to the remote islands, seaplane or speedboat transfers, staying at a resort, and paying resort prices for food, drinks, and other incidentals. Of course, the cost of running a resort and feeding guests in the middle of the ocean is not cheap, so there is good reason as to why the costs are significant. That being said, there are definitely ways to make your trip more affordable. Your best bet to save money is visiting during shoulder or off-peak season to take advantage of room rate specials.
What Are the Hidden Costs of the Maldives?
There are quite a few hidden costs when visiting the Maldives, that are especially hard to know about when visiting the Maldives for the first time. In addition to higher-than-average flight prices and room rates, you also have to consider the cost of a seaplane or speedboat transfer to your resort, which can be an additional amount of up to $500 USD per person. Next, you have much higher-than-average food and beverage costs. If you really like to eat and drink, most resorts offer packages of half-board or full-board, which can definitely be worth while if you fully utilize the package. Finally, incremental costs for sunscreen, water activities, spa treatments, etc. will all be more than you are used to. Part of that is due to the high cost of getting products to each of the individual island resorts.
When is the Best Time to Visit the Maldives?
The tropical islands of the Maldives are warm and sunny year-round, but do have distinctive dry and wet seasons. November to April is generally considered the dry season, and also happens to be the most popular time to visit. May to October is the wetter season, with the shoulder months being April/May and September/October.
In our Maldives Travel Guide we recommend the shoulder season months for potentially significant savings. Weather moves through quickly in the Maldives and you can easily have fantastic weather in the offseason and lots of rain during the dry season. One thing you can generally rely on is that if you had bad weather, it should pass through fairly quickly.
Are Unmarried Couples Allowed to Visit the Maldives?
Yes, and it is no problem sharing a room. While Islam is the state religion of Maldives, and there is a legal requirement of adherence for residents, there are no such requirements for tourists. The Maldives is incredibly popular with married and unmarried couples around the world as a romantic destination or for a honeymoon.
How Long Should I Stay in the Maldives?
Most people choose to stay in the Maldives for 7- 10 days. A week is a great time to fully explore the resort you are staying at, participate in all the activities which are offered, as well as relax and do your favorite water sport activities. If you are wanting to stay longer, consider staying at 2 different resorts so you can get a different experience for the second half of your trip.
Is 2 Weeks Too Long in the Maldives?
When planning your trip to the Maldives for the first time, it is important to know what you want your trip to be like. If you are looking for a long, relaxing vacation with lots of beach time, and lots of water sports, 2 weeks is a great amount of time. However, if you are an avid hiker, love exploring local culture, doing city trips and love to wander the streets of a busy town, 2 weeks might be too long for you as the destination is really designed to relax. If you end up staying for 2 weeks, consider planning to stay at different resorts so you can get a different experience. You can also plan to spend a few days on the main island in Male.
Maldives Travel Guide Summary
Hopefully you found this Maldives Travel Guide perfect for planning your first trip to the Maldives! If there is anything that we missed or that you have questions about, let us know in the comments! Pin this blog post for all of essential details for your first time in the Maldives!