The Maldives is the daydream worthy spot on every traveler’s bucket list, and if you’re a Clyde with a savvy-ass Bonnie, chances are that she’s already started hinting at this getaway. She’s not-so-subtly shown you Instagram photos and viral videos of turquoise blue waters, decadent villas and pearlescent beaches.
If you’re a little lost on how to plan the most epic baecation ever, CASSIUS is here to help. This quick and dirty guide will give you all the basics you need to earn points with babe’s crew, stunt on your friends and score yourselves a spot on Soul Society’s #relationshipgoals.
THE CHEAT SHEET
1 Where to Fly
Malé (pronounced Mar-lay) is the capital of the Maldives, a prime vacation destination. It’s where the main airport, Velana International Airport (MLE), is located. Though there are no direct flights to the Maldives from the U.S., most, if not all, major airlines fly to destination. Just expect to make at least one stop in countries like the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) and Sri Lanka. If you have time and money, make the most out of your trip by extending your layover a few nights—it’s like getting two trips for the price of one.
2 Weather Report
The best time to visit the Maldives would be December through February— unfortunately for your pockets, it is also high season which means rates at hotels can get higher than Pookie under the bridge. Shoulder season (the period between peak and off peak travel times) is generally March and April when the temperatures are at their highest. Low season, May through November, is rainy season in the Maldives. Looking for a deal? Late November, the end of rainy season, is the best time to enjoy great weather, and lodging prices are still fairly low.
3 Passports and Paperwork
If you’re traveling on a U.S. passport you don’t need a visa for stays of 30 days or less. All other travelers should check the passport requirements before heading out.
The local currency is Rufiyaa (MVR) and while credit cards are accepted in many shops, having a few local dollars on hand never hurts. The current exchange rate on XE.com has 1 Dollar equaling 15.4552 Rufiyaa.
5 Talk That Talk
The national language of the Maldives is Dhivehi, which is basically a mashup that borrows from languages like Arabic, Persian, French and even English. Three helpful Maldivian phrases: Hello (Assalaa mu alaikum), What island is that? (E-ee kon rasheh?) and Where is the restroom? (Faahanaa kobaitha?)
6 Pour it Up
The Maldives is a Muslim country, and adheres to a strict no alcohol policy. It is illegal to bring alcohol into the country, even in your checked luggage, and there is no duty free at the airport. Your only options are to partake in a booze cruise that floats off shore near Maafushi, or to cough up money on pricey drinks at the resorts.
The Maldives is comprised of 26 natural atolls consisting of dual island chains, and is located on top of a vast underwater mountain range with around 1190 islands and sandbanks. Its unique geography makes it home to the most diverse marine life in the world, which is perfect for snorkeling and diving. The views are gorgeous no matter where you are. Basically, the entire country is a hot spot. Stay camera ready.
Unless you’re staying on Malé, getting around the Maldives is going to cost a few coins. Since each resort is on its own island, the only way to get to there from Malé is by speedboat or seaplane, which can cost around $300 and up per person. There are no deals to be found in this area. Trans Maldivian Airways is basically the air mafia and provides seaplane service to all resorts. The resorts tend to own speedboats, so that’s pretty non-negotiable as well. Basically, if you’re trying to be about that resort life, be prepared to pay. The bright side? You don’t have to worry about arranging it all since the hotel typically takes care of this for you.
WHERE TO STAY
Contrary to popular belief, the Maldives is not just for hood ballers and can be reasonably affordable. But let’s face it, your girl is not on Pinterest looking for affordable spots. To come out looking like her personal Luke Cage and give her the IG photoshoot of her dreams, you’re going to have to splurge. Choose wisely.
If you’re looking to save a few coins, Airbnb is your savior. You can find guest houses, inns and villas for as little as $35 a night. It won’t come with all the fancy bells and whistles, but the spectacular views will still wow you without breaking the bank.
If you want a bit of flash on a budget, opt for staying on a more local island like Maafushi and booking a room at Kaani Village & Spa for as little as $67 a night. Then check with concierge and book all-inclusive day trips to resorts like Centara Ras Fushi. For $100 per person you can spend an entire day throwing back unlimited cocktails, snorkeling and getting your tan on.
Staying at one of the big resorts is just how players play, all day every day, word to B.I.G. If you’re going to take your lady on the vacation of her dreams, it’s only right you go hard or go home—at least for a night. Top resorts like Soneva Jani (their rooms have waterslides), Niyama (eat and party underwater) and St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort (Butler service anyone?) can cost close to $1000 per night and up. Ease your chest pains by using credit card or hotel loyalty points to book rooms and lower out of pocket costs.
Because the majority of hotels and resorts are self-contained, your activities are pretty much limited to what your property has on site. The good news is for the most part both will offer spa treatments, culinary lessons, snorkeling, diving, sunset cruises and bucket list activities like swimming with whale sharks and stingrays. Once you’re done with all that, grab a spot on the beach for a quick dip and simply enjoy the view.
The only thing Danielle loves more than traveling is getting things popping. She does both all over the world. Follow her at @hotelwhisperer.