The Maldives

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looking for some tips + tricks for your next adventure that don't break the bank (or your finally-developed self-care habits)?! i've compiled everything i found during my favorite trips around the globe so you don't have to! 


Wow - I honestly still can’t believe that D + I booked a spontaneous trip to the Maldives. It’s been on my bucket list for so long that when we were traveling around Southeast Asia this past winter we knew we had to fit it in! We saw some pretty affordable flights and boom - that was it.

In all honesty - I’m so glad + grateful we were able to make it there…but it didn’t necessarily live up to my expectations. Yes, it’s mind blowingly beautiful. Yes, it’s insanely relaxing. But, it feels like there’s something a little…off. It’s either crazy luxury resort-style or extremely local experience if you catch my drift.

We were actually able to experience both sides of the country, and agreed it was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime type of spot. Here’s my take on this crazy-beautiful spot!

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We spent about 7 days in the Maldives, and I’d say this might be a little too long. We decided to split our trip into two - luxury life + local experience.

We ended up scoring an amazing deal for a stay on a private 4-star resort island called Olhuveli Beach + Spa. It was the quintessential Maldives hotel - overwater bungalows, a private resort reef, and drinks all day. We ended up not doing the all-inclusive package, though most people staying on the island did.

It was definitely a beautiful spot, but the two main drags were the service + “requirements.” We figured since we were paying good $$, we’d get out-of-this-world service. But, we often found ourselves asking for items multiple times, and didn’t really see many of the staff going out of their way to make our stay great. Also, know that on private resort islands, you’re often required to use their transportation to and from the island (more on this soon). It’s insanely expensive and quite frustrating - just a heads up!

The last part of our trip was two days on Maafushi. This is a local island with burgeoning development - there are lots of little hotels + Airbnb’s popping up. Just know that drinking + sunbathing is considered “illegal” in the Maldives - so the entire island is alcohol free, and in order to wear a bathing suit (ladies!) you must do so on a specific beach. While it was great to see other aspects of the country, I’m glad we only had a short amount of time here, and spent most of it diving!

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This might be the most frustrating-but-beautiful part of the Maldives. Since the country is essentially made up of many, many little islands the main form of travel is by either boat or seaplane. These are typically extremely expensive even though the distance is short (think: anywhere from $250 - 500+). Be sure to add this in to your budget when planning your trip.

If you’re taking a more local approach, there are many cheap and easy ways to get around. There are lots of local ferries that only cost $1-2, but may take a couple of hours. If you splurge a teeny bit more, you can take a (very fast) speedboat between islands that usually only costs $20/pp.

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eat

To be honest, I don’t have too many recommendations here! We ate only at our hotel, and found tiny places in Maafushi that I wouldn’t highly recommend.

Depending on where you stay, there will be different food options - though I’d keep in mind that most don’t focus on healthy food. At our resort, there was fruits, veggies + seafood options but the menus were typically spattered with typical beach food. Remember this if you want to bring any snacks along from home!

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A lot of your time will be spent relaxing. Seriously - there’s not much else to do except read, swim and relax!

Bring a book (or 3 - Dupi and I went on a reading marathon that week!), kick back and tune out. There’s also amazing sea life everywhere in the Maldives - if you’re lucky enough to have a “resort reef” be sure to check it out (ours was filled with turtles, sharks, manta rays and others!).

Also, diving here is amazing. If you’re able to do so, definitely make time for it. Dupi and I finished our diving certification at Maafushi Dive, which I would highly, highly recommend. Their staff was amazing + they are some of the most kind, patient and fun teachers ever!

Katina Mountanos