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Everything You Need to Know about Planning a Maldives Guesthouse Stay

Guests sit on beautiful Maldives sandbank in a turquoise blue lagoon

With so many guesthouses to choose from it can be difficult to know which property is right for you and the style of holiday you are planning. Here at Secret Paradise, we carefully select and annually audit our partner properties to guarantee the best holiday experience for all our guests.

We ensure chosen guesthouses that are locally owned and tourism certified and provide a 100% guarentee that all our guests are greeted on arrival at the International Airport regardless of the time of day you may arrive!

We aim to ensure our guests experience a comfortable guesthouse stay, with the focus on service, safety, food, cleanliness and value for money. 

For more top tips on planning a local island guesthouse stay head over to this article:

DREAMING OF PARADISE? TAKE A GUEST HOUSE ISLAND ESCAPE IN THE MALDIVES.

TRAVELLING THE MALDIVES POST COVID

Maldives guesthouses located outside of the capital area of Greater Male re-opened on the 15th October, 2020, over 6 months after tourists were last exploring local Maldives islands. Guesthouses and hotels within the Greater Male area re-opened for long stay guests from 14 December, 2020.

As with resorts, it is likely that not all islands and guesthouses will open on the given dates and it is important that you take time to check with the property direct, or through their social media channels or book through a company such as Secret Paradise to ensure that the guesthouse or hotel is open for business and has been approved by the Ministry of Tourism to operate post COVID.

A word of caution, throughout the last 6 months guesthouse properties have been available to book on a number of online accommodation booking sites, even though the date period was prior to the reopening date of 15th October.  We even made online bookings ourselves and were unfortunately not contacted by the properties to even advise that they were not open for business due to government restrictions.

Therefore do not presume that if a property is featured online and is offering availability from 15th October, 2020 that it is open and operating.

On a previous post we detailed the guidelines that need to be followed by the local island and the guesthouse property to ensure the safety of both tourists and local communities.

If you would like to review this information head over to our blog post:

Maldives Guesthouses set to open from October 15, 2020 – What do you need to know?

If your stay includes time within Greater Male the following article will aid you in understanding what to expect when you stay within the Greater Male area.

SAFE TOURISM GUIDELINES FOR THE GREATER MALE AREA

The following information provides details of the guidelines laid out by the Maldives Health Protection Agency (HPA) of the requirements in relation to tourists visiting local islands.  This will assist you in planning your travel to a Maldives local island and also will aid you in understanding what to expect when you visit a Maldives guesthouse island.

If you are not booking with a travel company such as Secret Paradise, please do take time to check that the property has received their certificate of approval so to avoid any delays or issues at immigration upon your arrival in the Maldives.

WHICH GUESTHOUSES ARE OPEN AND HAVE RECEIVED GOVERNMENT APPROVAL?

With the announcement that guesthouses in Greater Male will re-open from 14th December, 2020 we have created a separate document that lists all approved properties, within Greater Male and nationwide and is updated as new properties are approved.

MALDIVES APPROVED LOCAL ISLAND GUESTHOUSES & HOTELS

GUIDELINES FOR TOURISTS PRIOR TO ARRIVAL TO THE MALDIVES

  • All tourists who plan to stay in the Maldives at a guesthouse must hold a negative result for a nucleic acid test (PCR test) for COVID-19 prior to entry in to the country . The sample for this test must be taken not more than 96 hours prior to the scheduled time of departure from the first port of embarkation en route to Maldives.
  • All guests checking in to a guest house must have received 2 doses of vaccine approved by WHO as listed on the emergency vaccine list. Only after 14 days following the second dose will the vaccination be accepted as completed.
    Children who are too young to be vaccinated can travel with vaccinated adults and stay at a guesthouses .
  • Local Islands that have met the local vaccination requirements stipulated by the HPA that can accept vaccinated tourists can be found here. This document will also be used for Immigration checks.
  • Tourists must have a confirmed pre-booking and provide emergency contact information.
  • The online health declaration form must also be completed within the 24 hour period prior to arrival in the Maldives.
  • Tourists are encouraged to download the HPA ‘Trace Ekee’ app to assist with contact tracing upon or before arrival.

GUIDELINES FOR TOURISTS DURING TRANSFER TO MALDIVES  LOCAL ISLANDS

  • Airport transfers will only be allowed through pick-ups by pre-booked tourist facilities.
  • No public transport may be taken ie public ferry.
  • The wearing of masks and use of hand sanitizer is compulsory before boarding transfer vessel or aircraft.
  • Transfer boats must maintain a passenger manifesto on all guest transfers and therefore accurate information should be provided at time of booking.

GUIDELINES FOR TOURISTS STAYING ON MALDIVES LOCAL ISLANDS

  • The wearing of masks is mandatory in public places for locals and tourists at all tourist guest house islands. 
  • Tourists are not allowed to enter residential houses.
  • Tourists are allowed to use public cafes and restaurants but it is recommended to use the take away or delivery service options as an alternative to using guesthouse dining services.
  • Tourists are allowed to use shopping facilities on the island and should follow the standard HPA guidelines including number of persons allowed in store, the wearing of face masks and social distancing.
  • Tourists may use any taxi or other public transport vehicles in the island providing the vehicle has a partition between the driver compartment and passenger compartment.

GUIDELINES FOR INTER ISLAND TRAVEL FOR TOURISTS

  • Tourists are not allowed to travel from a tourist guest house island to a non-tourist guest house island.
  • Tourists are allowed to travel between two tourist guest houses islands or between a resort and a tourist guest house island if the resort or tourist guest house island is not placed under monitoring by HPA. (i.e. no travel restrictions placed by HPA on the resort or tourist guest house island).
  • Note that many resorts at present do not accept guests who have previously stayed on a local island or the resort may request for a PCR test prior to arrival. Be sure to check with the resort at time of booking.
  • Tourists are allowed to travel between a safari and a tourist guest house island.
  • A split stay authorization form must be completed by the initial accommodation provider on your behalf and submitted to the Ministry of Tourism 48 hours prior to the day of transfer.
  • Tourists whose split stay includes a stay on a local guesthouse island must complete a mandatory PCR test 72 hours prior to departure from the Maldives.

GUIDELINES FOR TOURISTS PARTICIPATING IN DIVING AND EXCURSIONS 

  • Prior booking must be done to use the service of dive centres. For full details regarding diving please refer to the dive centre website or PADI/SSI/DAN guidelines. 
  • Symptomatic tourists will not be allowed to use these services.
  • During excursions the number of persons on the trip will be minimized to allow for adequate physical distancing.
  • Physical distancing should be maintained while on board including seating arrangements inside boats.
  • Face masks must be worn in enclosed spaces and it is advised to wear face masks on board boats.
  • Avoid taking any unnecessary belongings on board the boat that are not required.
  • Avoid sharing equipment and food items during trips.  
  • Tourists are recommended to have their own personal mask and snorkel and to rent fins only.
  • Tourists and crew should use soap and water / hand sanitizer before boarding boats and sanitizing facilities should be available on board for tourists to use throughout the excursion.
  • Whilst there is not a specific guideline in regard to resort day visit’s and we await further information at this stage, it is unlikely that resorts will currently offer this excursion option.
  • Currently, there will not be access to bar boats for  tourists staying on local islands.

GUIDELINES FOR TOURISTS PARTICIPATING IN WATER SPORTS & BEACH ACTIVITIES

  • Physical distancing should be maintained at all times.
  • Chairs/Loungers placed at the beach should be kept spaced out to allow physical distancing and should be frequently cleaned and disinfected by guesthouse/cafe owners.
  • Tourists are discouraged from participating in contact sports at the beach.
  • Lidded and lined dustbins should be available for tourist use for the disposal of used tissues/masks etc.
  • Tourists should avoid sharing water sports equipment.

GUIDELINES FOR TOURISTS DEPARTING FROM A MALDIVES LOCAL ISLAND

  • Tourists must undergo an exit screening prior to travel from a tourist guest house island to a resort or to another tourist guest house island. This is to ensure that a symptomatic person or a person in quarantine does not exit the island.
  • The exit screening will ask for any history of fever or respiratory symptoms such as cough, sore throat, running nose or shortness of breath. It should be ensured that the guest is not under quarantine or isolation. Temperature should be checked to exclude fever. Any tourist who has fever or respiratory symptoms or who is in quarantine will not be allowed to travel and will require testing for COVID-19.
  • Prior to departure from Maldives, PCR testing is mandatory for any tourist who stayed on a tourist guest house island. If a specific time frame for PCR testing is stated in the immigration requirements of the destination country, this time frame must be followed. Otherwise the PCR test must be done within 72 hours prior to departure from Maldives. The tourist guest house must facilitate the PCR testing for the tourist. The tourist or the guest house must bear all costs associated with PCR testing.

Guidelines and requirements remain subject to review and change subject to the pandemic situation in Maldives and other factors. Follow Secret Paradise on Facebook for most up to date advice.

We also recommend that you also refer to the websites of the Ministry of Tourism for the most up to date information and to your own home Foreign Travel Advice, as part of your travel planning.

At Secret Paradise we have reviewed all our operational practices to ensure our guest’s comfort and safety. But without losing the memorable aspects of our experiences and service .

Want to find out how you can experience the Maldives in a safe and secure way? Take a visit to our website and select from tours, cruises and accommodation.

The team at Secret Paradise have you covered.

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