Maldives is open. Is it safe to book a holiday package now?

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Is Maldives dangerous to visit for post lockdown vacation?
Is Maldives dangerous to visit for post lockdown vacation?

In this article, you’ll find almost everything you need to know before booking a Maldives holiday package. Read about India-Maldives air bubble, the latest travel advice, how to get there, cost of Maldives holiday packages, what is the food like and which activities to do.

Very few things have been left unscathed with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. One thing that the covid19 failed to change is – the love for the Maldives amongst luxury travellers. People might have postponed their dream trip to paradise, but they haven’t stopped dreaming about it. A recent global survey by Official-Esta.com reveals the Maldives as the second ‘Most Googled Destination’ for post-lockdown holidays. According to Google, “flights to Maldives” and “trips to Maldives” were among the most searched for topics during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Most searched countries in the world as per Google Trends in August 2020
Most searched countries in the world as per Google Trends in August 2020

On 15th July in an official statement on travel protocols, the Maldivian authorities announced that the Maldives is now open for tourism. But is it safe to visit?

Here is everything you need to know before planning a trip to Maldives along with specially curated tips to have an unforgettable post-lockdown holiday: 

India-Maldives Air bubble

As close and friendly neighbours, India and Maldives share ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious and commercial relations steeped in mutual respect. In this hour of crisis, the two countries decided to help each other and hence, set up an Air Bubble, which is first of its kind in South Asia that allows the citizens of both the countries to visit each other without undergoing quarantine. This arrangement is made primarily for two reasons – to boost tourism in the Maldives and to allow the medical tourists in India. Maldives economy is heavily dependent on tourism – 80% of Maldives GDP comes from Tourism – and India is the second-largest market for the island nation. So, it’s a win-win situation for both the countries to have this ‘Air Bubble’ arrangement.

India-Maldives Air bubble is one of its kind in South Asia
India-Maldives Air bubble is one of its kind in South Asia

Tip: With effect from 10th September, all tourists and short term visitors are required to carry a Negative PCR certificate on arrival in the Maldives. Rules keep changing with changing situation. So, check the latest travel advisory on New Normal’ Measures for visiting the Maldives (for tourists). 

Is Maldives dangerous to visit now? 

No, Maldives is one of the safest countries in the world to visit post-lockdown and has earned the WTTC Safe Travels stamp for adopting health and hygiene global standardised protocols. So, you need not worry before booking a holiday to Maldives.

Maldives has earned the WTTC Safe Travels stamp for adopting health and hygiene global standardised protocols
Maldives has earned the WTTC Safe Travels stamp for adopting health and hygiene global standardised protocols

As per the official records, Maldives has only 1,346 active cases, and those too are restricted to the capital, Male. And, when you arrive in the Maldives as a tourist, you don’t spend much time at the capital. You are directly escorted from the Male Airport to your resort either through a speedboat or a seaplane. The Maldives has been able to restrict the transmission of the covid19 transmission because of its One Island One Resort philosophy. The island nation is geographically scattered and distanced, making the destination safest for a post-pandemic holiday, said Thoyyib Mohamed, Managing Director of Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation (MMPRC).

Also, Maldives has been very proactive when it comes to safety and hygiene. When I visited the country in February 2020, that time only they had initiated thermal scanning, health declaration form filling and social distancing practices. Now they are following even more stringent measures as per the international and local guidelines. 

As per Badhiya Gunatilake, the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Adaaran Resorts, Maldives, it’s a normal holiday in Maldives where they welcome all guests. There is no quarantine requirement, but all the resorts have to follow strict safety guidelines. When guests go into a restaurant, their tables and chairs are thoroughly sanitised. There are in-house doctors and nurses along with an emergency response medical team. Moreover, every resort has isolation centers to isolate guests, in case of a suspected case. All the resorts have electrostatic spray machines, which cleans the island every six hours. To have contactless experience, they have also created QR codes, which allows the guests to have all the details regarding food and beverages menu, spa treatments, excursions on their phone.

Here is a detailed video of whether it is safe to visit Maldives or not

Tip: Download app Trace Ekee app (like our Aarogya Setu app) prescribed by the Maldives Ministry of tourism.

When is the best time to visit Maldives?

The island nation is warm and sunny year-round but consists of two main seasons – a dry season that’s best for visitors and a wet, rainy season that is usually a lean season. The best weather – and the best time to visit the Maldives – is between November and April. Usually, the peak season is between December and March and May to October is the monsoon season.

Maldives Travel: The island nation is warm and sunny year-round
Maldives Travel: The island nation is warm and sunny year-round

How much does a trip to Maldives cost? 

Maldives is more affordable now. Perhaps it is the best time ever to book a trip to the island nation as the ongoing Maldives holiday packages are available at rock bottom prices. Resorts are offering as much as 50% discount on regular rates. Now 3N4D package (inclusive of return flight, accommodation, meals and activities) starts as low as INR 40,968 ($556) per person.

https://holidayz.makemytrip.com/holidays/india/search?dest=Maldives

And, the best part is some of the hotels such as Adaaran Resorts are offering Maldives holiday packages with additional features such as Flexi cancellation that allows cancelling or rescheduling your booking up to 24 hours before your arrival. However, if you are taking a seaplane, make it 72 hours. Also, it is advisable to book an all-inclusive package that covers your accommodation, food, drinks and excursions. Works out to be a cheaper deal than booking separately. 

Tip: check out deals on travel websites such as MakeMyTrip or any other aggregator website.

How to get to the Maldives

The Maldives is geographically well connected with Asia, Europe, Africa and America. And, it doesn’t take long to get to the Maldives from the Indian subcontinent. Earlier Delhi, Mumbai, Kochi were the main airports to board an India-Maldives flight. It takes around 7-11 hours to get to the Maldives depending on the layover. Now the situation has changed. Starting August Air India started flying a direct flight from India and other airlines such as indigo are soon to start flying again to Male. In India, you can currently fly from Kerala. But soon, like before you can fly from Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Karnataka as well. I flew via Colombo with Sri Lankan Airlines in February. 

TMA Seaplane ride from Male to Meedhupparu
TMA Seaplane ride from Male to Meedhupparu

Tip: If your resort is far away from Male, you’ll need to take a seaplane ride. So, keep the arrival and departure day free. 

Where are the Maldives islands?

The Maldives is a small island nation in South Asia, scattered in the Arabian Sea of the Indian Ocean. It lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India, about 700 kilometres from the Asian continent’s mainland. The Maldives is 99% water and only one per cent land. And, that’s why the archipelago nation is so blessed with postcard beauty of powdery white sand beaches lined with turquoise blue lagoons. Out of the 1,200 islands of the country, only 200 islands are inhabited. The reefs in the Maldives are extremely rich and constitute almost 5% of the world’s reef. The marine life here is so rich that you can find over a thousand species of fishes and over two hundred kinds of corals.

Where are the Maldives islands?
Where are the Maldives islands?
Maldives island map number of 26 atolls, 1200 islands in the Maldives
Maldives island is made up of 26 atolls consisting of 1200 islands

Tip: Seaplane ride is a great way to see the unique geography of the Maldives from above

How are the Maldives island hotels?

Maldives is synonymous to luxury. Imagine waking up to a perfectly laid out breakfast on your sundeck and then enjoying the water therapy of the Indian ocean. You swim with colourful baby sharks and manta rays as the waves gently cradle your ocean villa. And, when you are done with your swimming session, you take off with your personal butler in an electric car to enjoy the action on the island. What is more, you can experience the hospitality of garden and beach villas. The resort nation provides you with luxury, which you can only dream.

I stayed at a mid-luxury hotel, Adaaran Hudhuranfushi, as a part of my Maldives Holiday Package
I stayed at a mid-luxury hotel, Adaaran Hudhuranfushi, as a part of my Maldives Holiday Package

As far as accommodation is concerned, the options are many starting from an uber posh resort such as SONEVA JANI starting at Rs 912,503 ($12,403) to a local guesthouse coming at as low as $50 a night. But the charm of Maldives is in staying at its luxury resorts.

Tip: As per the Maldives Government you can only stay at one resort Have a mix of stay – water villa and beach villa

What is the food like in Maldives 

Since Maldives is almost 99% sea, it is not surprising that fish (mainly tuna) is the crucial staple of the Maldivian diet. The local cuisine is a mix of Arabic, Indian, Sri Lankan and Oriental influences. But once you are in the resort you can have whatever cuisine you crave for – be it Continental, Mediterranean, Mexican, Indian, Chinese, Arabic or any other food you are in the mood to have.

Drinks in Maldives are best enjoyed with a sunset
Drinks in Maldives are best enjoyed with a sunset

Each resort has five to seven restaurants and bars with speciality chefs, who can cook as per your liking, as per your taste. The cocktails are to die for in Maldives. Even after seven months, I can’t forget the taste of the wood-fired oven pizza I had at Lohi’s in Adaaran Select Hudhuranfushi. One of the best pizzas I ever had and the icing on the cake was the setting sun on the wild surfing waves. All food and drinks were included in my all-inclusive package except for special dinner or breakfast at the beach.

Maldives Holiday Packages: different kinds of food you get to relish in an all-inclusive package
Maldives Holiday Packages: different kinds of food you get to relish in an all-inclusive package

Tip: Have one special meal at the beach or on a sand bar.

What activities can you do in Maldives 

While Maldives is like a postcard to look from overland, the real magic lies under the waves. Therefore, it would be blasphemous to visit Maldives and not experience its marine life. When I went diving, I felt I was in a world of Nemo with 1000’s of fishes, corals, turtles, damselfish, baby sharks and many more of different colours, different varieties swimming all around me. It is an experience that you must have. 

Maldives is amongst the top two diving sites in the world
Maldives is amongst the top two diving sites in the world

Besides scuba diving, there are many other activities you can do at the resort that are usually included in your package, such as snorkelling, paddleboarding, and non-motorised activities.

What activities to do in Maldives - snorkelling is a must do.
What activities to do in Maldives – snorkelling is a must do but make sure to go in pairs

Plus, there is no shortage of land activities such as football, Tennis, Aerobic, Yoga and a lot more. If you want a massage then go to a spa where you can enjoy massages of different kinds like Balinese, Chinese, Indonesian or whatever you want, you can get it.

Tip: you could get seasick on the boat after scuba diving or during a sunset cruise, so carry medicine to avoid sea-sickness

Is Maldives an eco-friendly destination?

Being one of the lowest-lying countries in the world, Maldives grapples with sea storms, and sea swells several times a year. Maldives has already lost twenty islands in the last twenty years. The fear is increasing by the day. If we don’t bring our carbon emissions down, the whole of Maldives can be drowned in the next thirty to fifty years. 

Secret Paradise volunteers doing coral restoration in Maldives
Secret Paradise volunteers doing coral restoration in Maldives

Therefore, the Maldivian government and the local resorts are putting a lot of efforts to make travel more sustainable for tourists by using ecotourism activities such as employing green and clean energy options, group transfers instead of individual transfers, no motorised vehicles on the island, installing solar energy panels, water recycling, growing vegetables and fruits, making islands plastic-free, beach cleaning, and coral restoration.

Travel requirements for Maldives

  • VISA: Free visa on arrival like before by providing a confirmed hotel booking, sufficient funds and confirmed return ticket and Health Declaration Form x 2 (on arrival and before departure). Check the official website for details.
  • Traveller Health Declaration Form: The Traveller Health Declaration form (THD) has to be submitted on http://imuga.immigration.gov.mv by all visitors twice – 24 hours before you fly into the Maldives and a second time before you depart from the Maldives. 
  • COVID test: All visitors to present a negative COVID-19 test on arrival at Velana International Airport. The test must be conducted within a maximum duration of 72 hours before departure from the country of origin. 
  • Quarantine: You are not required for any quarantine if you have a negative PCR test result certificate. But if your COVID-19 test result is positive, you have to undergo a 14-day quarantine at your own cost.
  • Resorts COVID ready: All tourist facilities operating during this phase will have access to medical services, full PPE kits and a COVID-19 safety manager. Travel to other islands or the capital, Male’ City is not permitted during your entire stay.

I hope I have been able to answer all your queries regarding Maldives Travel. When are you going to experience the sunny side of life in Maldives? 

Maldives Vacation: should you visit the paradise?
Maldives Vacation: should you visit the paradise?

Further Reading

Below links will provide you with the updated and correct information on the COVID-19 scenario in the Maldives.

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Maldives Holiday Packages: Is Maldives safe to visit for post lockdown holiday?
Maldives Holiday Packages: Is Maldives safe to visit for post lockdown holiday?
Maldives Travel: Things to know before planning your travel
Looking for Maldives Holiday Packages? But is it safe to visit now
Looking for Maldives Holiday Packages? But is it safe to visit now?

19 Comments

  • Keerti Bhatnagar says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience along with such useful information.
    I never know that Maldives has earned the WTTC Safe Travels stamp.
    Maldives is such a beautiful place to visit. Gonna visit!

    • Prajakta says:

      Maldives is such a beautiful place. It’s good to know that it is much safer travelling to this country. Those safety measures are fantastic, making the trip so easy. Thanks for sharing.

  • Ramil Hinolan says:

    Maldives is paradise. I like your underwater pic and that wine glass with the sea as background – great photos.

  • Agnes says:

    Everything about Maldives is spectacular. One of the places a traveller should visit and conquer. Still on my bucket list!

  • aisasami says:

    Malvdives is one of my dream destinations to go because I love tropical oceans and beautiful landscapes. I also love to swim and love the beaches! I would love to go someday!

  • Lyosha says:

    I like Maldives and it is opened for my country as well. I don’t plan on booking a trip there though. It’s not about safety, it just… after the pandemic I want something more active to have a vacation

  • Renata says:

    It looks very nice. However, after what I’ve experienced since the pandemic, I’m really careful. Even not because I’m so very afraid of the virus. It’s rather the insecurity and constant change of the situation and the consequences. However, I’m happy having been able to take two trips this summer – although the Maledives were not among those destinations 😉

  • Cynthia Mackintosh says:

    The Maldives looks like a dream! I hope to get there one day. It looks gorgeous!

  • Michele says:

    OMG, it looks so relaxing there. I need a vacation soon.

  • Krista says:

    Great post about visiting the Maldives right now!

  • Phil says:

    Thank you for the nice summary, very helpful in these difficult times!

  • Bjha says:

    Great article on Maldives and safety during this COVID times. Maldives is beautiful and I have it in my “to visit” list too, your writing will be very handy for sure!

  • Hannah says:

    Oooh the Maldives has been on my travel list for as long as I can remember. It’s absolute spectacular looking and now I’m wondering whether I should get a holiday package for the near future? It’s good to know that the Maldive government is taking precautious steps and measure and making travel more sustainable.

  • Larch says:

    I am checking now if the UK can visit, the would be such a lovely break from England at the moment. I am very impressed that they are so careful to protect everyone, locals and tourists alike. I hope to get there one day soon.

  • Shannon says:

    You have got me wanting to go to the Maldives! I love how the hotels are over the water and I’d love to go diving there!

  • Kevine says:

    Maldives is definitely a bucket list destination for us and it’s great that you’ve highlight the measures they’ve taken to ensure safety.

  • Kelly Francois says:

    It is so good to hear that there are places opening up for tourism. It will take a long time for most places to rebound. I love the fact that you don’t have to quarantine if you have a negative COVID test. So many places still have a mandatory 14 day quarantine which doesn’t do much to encourage people to travel.

  • Kavita Favelle says:

    At least an aspect of luxury travel is that properties are more spacious making it easier to implement distancing, and there are more staff per customer, so that hopefully makes it easier for them to do the extra hygiene steps needed. Looking at the latest information, I think you are right that Maldives is a safe place to visit, if you are allowed in! The accommodation and food are both so appealing, I love the photos of the over-water bungalows.

  • Ranveer says:

    Thank you Archana for the useful information!

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