What to Bring

The Maldives is a place where you don’t require much in order to be comfortable. It is tropical, sunny and very relaxed, so you only really need to bring a few essentials:

  • Valid passport – with at least 1 month left before expiry.
  • Lightweight, casual, non-synthetic clothing (cotton and natural fibers are best) which appropriately cover the body, when in the company of the local communities. (Please understand local customs and religious requirements relating to dress codes. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it needs to be respectful. Refer to notes on CLOTHING below).
  • Cool footwear (flip flops/sandals are best).
  • Swimwear – rash/t-shirts are recommended for snorkeling to avoid sunburn.
  • Reef-friendly sunscreens, after-sun lotions, and personal hygiene products – Please adhere to 100ml restrictions for anything you wish to carry on hand luggage on flights. Check out our blog for more information on reef-friendly sunscreen.
  • Insect/mosquito repellent – a must on local islands where ‘fogging’ is not always implemented.
  • Prescription medications – please bring a supporting document from your doctor detailing your prescription.
  • Sunglasses and hats.
  • Dive certification card and logbook if you intend to participate in SCUBA diving.
  • Reusable water bottle.
  • Power adapter for phones, laptops, etc – The Maldives uses mostly UK 3 pin style sockets.
  • Hair straighteners and electric razors for those who still like to keep up appearances during their holiday. Hairdryers are available at all properties either per room or available from reception upon request.
  • Camera/Underwater camera – The Maldives above & below sea level are worth a few photos. For guests wishing to use a guesthouse or dive center underwater camera ensure you bring along a USB or memory card in order to transfer your memories.
  • Earplugs, particularly if you are a light sleeper or are on board a boat and want to avoid the sound of fellow passengers at close quarters.

Snorkeling Equipment

We often get asked; ‘Do I need to bring a snorkel, mask, and fins?’ Whilst we do provide equipment on all our tours where we are snorkeling and snorkeling equipment will also be available to rent at resorts and guesthouses, we would advise you to bring along your own mask and snorkel. Not only will you be assured the mask fits your face properly and is comfortable and less likely to have leakage, but it will also lower any health associated risks. We find that peace of mind goes a long way. A mask and snorkel are small and light and should take up very little space in your suitcase.

Fins which are the cumbersome part are available to rent or if you have booked a snorkeling tour with us will be included within the package. This means you won’t have to try and find room for them in your bag and leaves you space for other essentials!

Health & Vaccinations

Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the countries you are visiting and where you are traveling from. We recommend you contact your GP or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination.  If you are arriving from an infected area then you must have an international certificate of inoculation against Yellow Fever or Cholera.

Normal recommendations for the Maldives are:

Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A, and Hepatitis B, and Diphtheria

Please refer to our separate COVID Travel Guidelines in order to have access to the most up-to-date information and requirements.

Personal health:

Sensible precautions should be taken to avoid sunburn and dehydration. On arrival and when traveling in the Maldives, stick to bottled mineral water. Please ensure you have appropriate travel insurance, which includes health cover and covers for COVID-related issues such as quarantine. If you require prescription medicines, please bring them with you, and include the appropriate documentation.
There are 3 hospitals in Male, ADK, IGMH, and Dharumavantha Hospital. In Hulhumale there are 2 hospitals: Hulhumale Hospital and Tree Top Hospital which offer extensive private services and both with ER facilities. All resorts have in-house doctors or nurses. For divers, a decompression chamber is within easy reach of most resorts in case of emergency.

Guests who suffer from motion sickness may want to consider carrying motion sickness tablets or wristbands if traveling by speedboat or public ferry, especially during the period May – September. Consult your doctor or pharmacy for advice on selection. For guests staying on dive or cruise liveaboards, whilst we cannot predict the weather conditions our crew will ensure the vessel is anchored in the calmest waters available.

Divers/Snorkelers/Swimmers:

The seawater in the Maldives may be crystal clear but it can be full of plankton which can get into your ears and cause infections and may stop you from snorkeling and diving for a few days. In extreme cases, a visit to the doctor may be needed for antibiotics. As a precaution whenever you get out of the water flush/rinse your ears well with fresh water and then dry thoroughly. Products such as ‘Swimear’ also assist in this process.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our multi-day tours. Through our partner World Nomads, you can buy an insurance package to suit you and your travel plans, allowing you to depart on your holiday confident that you are covered.  If you plan to arrange any adventure activities during your tour eg. Scuba diving, you should check the small print in the policy to make sure these are covered.  You need to be covered for medical expenses abroad and any emergency repatriation that may be required due to illness/injury. We also recommend that you take out cancellation cover and baggage cover.

Local insurance provided Allied Insurance offers inbound travel insurance designed to cover the costs related to testing positive to COVID-19 during your stay in the Maldives or the requirement to quarantine due to contact tracing. Further information can be found here(opens in a new tab).

IMPORTANT:  We must have your travel insurance details (policy number, issuing company details, and emergency telephone number) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour/holiday.  If you haven’t told us already, please let us know the details when you can.

Know Before You Go

We strongly recommend that you check your government’s travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws, and customs.

Prior to your arrival or even during your stay, we are happy to provide up-to-date and on-the-spot local advice or information.

Please refer to our separate COVID Travel Guidelines (opens in a new tab)to get access to the most up-to-date information and requirements.

Money

Local Currency and Banking in the Maldives

The Maldives has a non-convertible currency – Maldivian Rufiyaa – this cannot be purchased beforehand. One Rufiyaa is 100 Laari and is available in 1000, 500, 100, 50, 20, 10, and 5 Rufiyaa notes.

One US Dollar is equivalent to 15.42 Rufiyaa. The following international currencies can be changed easily to local currency at the airport on arrival: USD/GBP/Canadian Dollar/Euro/Danish Krone/Hong Kong Dollar/Japanese Yen/Norwegian Krone/Singapore Dollar/Swiss Franc/Swedish Krone.

It is not possible to exchange currency to USD only to MVR.

MVR can only be exchanged back to the original currency prior to your departure if you have a receipt for an arrival exchange from the airport Bank of Maldives exchange counter.

It is advised not to exchange currency in Male where bank queues are common and waiting time lengthy. The US Dollar is accepted as legal tender. All major credit cards can be used (and are preferred) at resorts, hotels, shops, etc. On local islands, it is usually only hotels, guesthouses, shops, and larger restaurants that accept credit cards, and cash is generally preferred. Small restaurants, cafes, and activity providers will generally request payment in cash. Most restaurants and shops will accept USD$ in payment providing a change in local currency.

The national bank, Bank of Maldives has several branches in Male’ as well as other major population hubs such as the Male’ International Airport, Maafushi, and Hulhumale. Several other regional banks also operate in the central city, Malé, including the State Bank of India, Bank of Ceylon, and HSBC. There are no banks on resort islands however there are now an increasing number of branches or agents of The Bank of Maldives on local islands.

ATMs: Most banks represented in Malé provide automatic teller machine (ATM) services and credit card services at several key points in Malé and Hulhumale. Only local currency MVR will be dispensed. Whilst there is an ATM at the Airport and Male branch of the Bank of Maldives dispensing USD$, it only dispenses to Bank of Maldives cardholders. There are no ATMs on resort islands and whilst there are ATMs on many local islands note that international bank charges may apply depending on your own bank account terms and conditions.

Bank Notes: The banks in the Maldives are very particular about the condition of banknotes and will refuse deposits of old-style USD$, even though still an active currency, damaged notes, badly creased, defaced or well-worn notes will also be rejected. Therefore, if presenting such a note as a form of payment you may be requested to change to a note of better condition. Please do not take offense, it is purely that the note will have no worth to the individual to whom you are paying. Also, note that small bills .i.e. $1 and $5 have a lower exchange value, as the Bank of Maldives charges for small notes to be deposited.

New MVR notes were introduced in January 2016. The new Ran Dhihafaheh notes can be distinguished as they are made of more robust material with a clear seal watermark and raised ‘braille’ like markings. It is also important to highlight that these new notes will not be accepted by banks if they have a fold or crease through them.

Spending money and budgeting:

It is impossible to say exactly what you will need during your local island visit as this varies depending on personal preferences, the number of extra optional activities, and souvenirs you may like to purchase.

While on the local islands, approximate prices are as follows:

  • Snack lunch – $5 to $10
  • Evening meal in guesthouse or local restaurant – $10 to $25
  • Tea / Coffee – $1 for Nescafe to $5 for barrister style coffee
  • Soft drinks – $1.50
  • Water 1.5l – $0.50
  • General excursions – from $25 per person – $100 per person
  • Watersports – from $10 per person for a 60-minute non-motorized rental

You should expect prices in tourist hotels and on resort islands to be considerably more expensive than this.

Be sure to check that 10% service charge and 12% GST have been included in the rates offered.

Tipping & Haggling

If you are happy with the services provided by your local tour leader, a tip – though not compulsory – is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels and inspires excellent service. The amount to tip is always subject to your satisfaction with the service provided, and your budget. As a rough guide, we recommend you budget $10 – $20 a day extra for the duration of the holiday which you can use as tipping money at your discretion.

Haggling is not customary in the Maldives. All service industry purchases (for example cafes, diving, and excursions) which are not part of your holiday package will attract a 10% service charge on top of the published price. Service charge has to be distributed equally by law between all employees including employees who are directly and indirectly involved in the provision of the services. A further 12% Government Tourist Tax is also added to purchases.

Passports & Visas

Arrival at Male airport, Customs, and Immigration

No prior visa arrangements are required. Tourists are issued a 30-day visa on arrival. A passport is valid for 1 month and travel documents (flight tickets) are necessary. You will need to present the QR code provided once you have completed the online IMUGA Health Declaration form. To obtain immigration clearance it is a requirement to provide an address of the place of your stay or proof that you have a booking for a tour or at a resort, guest house, or safari boat. Without pre-booked accommodation, you may be refused entry. Immigration will assist with the booking of your first night’s stay and you can expect to pay considerably more than the standard room rate.

As of 29th January 2016 in accordance with ICAO, all passengers arriving in the Maldives must be in the possession of a machine-readable passport in order to be allowed entry.

Please refer to our separate COVID Travel Guideline(opens in a new tab)s in order to have access to the most up-to-date information and requirements.

Importing goods such as alcohol, pork items, pornography (very broadly defined), religious materials offensive to Islam, idols of worship, narcotics and psychotropic substances, explosives, and weapons into the Maldives is strictly forbidden. Alcohol and pork products under a special license are available in resort islands. On the way out, note that exporting sand, turtle shells, seashells, and a range of marine products is also forbidden.

Arrival Instructions

As your plane breaks through the clouds revealing the emerald islands below, prepare for one of the most exciting flying experiences. The runway of Hulhulé airport runs parallel to the shore creating a (rather safe, of course) adrenalin rush for a second when it makes you think that the plane is landing on water. Velana International Airport (MLE) is just fifteen minutes from Male’. The airport is small, but well-equipped with souvenir and duty-free shops, restaurants, medical facilities, and provides banking, telecommunication, and postal services.

Arrival procedures:
On arrival please proceed through immigration, security, and customs before passing through automatic sliding doors into the main arrival area, here lookout for your representative who will be positioned holding a Secret Paradise signboard. You will then be transferred by vehicle to guesthouses based in Greater Male, by speedboat or flight to your resort or local island, or by dhoni to your liveaboard. Details of your specific personal arrival information will be emailed to you upon receipt of full payment along with your tour or accommodation voucher.

Transfers to Hulhumale guesthouses as with resorts need to be booked prior to arrival. There are only a limited number of vehicles authorized to provide transfer services from Male airport to Hulhumale. Very occasionally if some flights have been delayed there may be a knock-on delay to your transfer timing. If this is the case, our representative will remain with you at Male airport and will make this wait as pleasant as possible for you.

Note that if no flight information has been received your transfer is unlikely to have been arranged prior to your arrival and you should be prepared for a delay. In the event of no seats being available particularly onboard domestic flights and seaplanes during high season, you may well have to spend a night in the capital at your own expense.

Departure

If you are traveling on a guided tour, your tour leader will advise you the evening prior to your departure day the time of your departure. If you are traveling without a tour leader or guide the property will confirm transfer timing and will request a balance of payment for any additional items not included in your booked package that evening. Transfer time will be in line with your departure flight check-in time requirement or your onward transfer timings. Your guide or a member of the property team will assist with your departure from the island and upon arrival at Velana International Airport, a member of the Secret Paradise team will assist with your final departure.

Final Departure from the Maldives:
Your luggage will pass through security at the departure area entrance before you check-in at the appropriate desk. Take the stairs to the right of the check-in desks to pass through passport control and then onto another security check before you arrive in the departure lounge and duty-free area. If you wish to exchange local currency back to your home currency this can be done at the airport BML exchange counter but you must have a receipt for an exchange of currency at the time of your arrival.

International flight check-in commences 3 hours prior to departure flight time. Please note that guests departing by International flights which are scheduled to depart before 09:00 hours should plan to stay one night in Hulhumale or Male in order to ensure you are able to reach the airport for your early check-in time. If you are not sure if this is applicable to your requirements please contact us for advice.

Lounge Service:
Lounge Services (‘Moonima’ Lounge) including restrooms, cable TV, computers with free access to internet, light snack & drinks are available in the domestic terminal. Lounge usage is upon request and subject to a fee of US$25 per person which should be paid at the lounge.

International Flights

We do not sell international flights and these are not included in the price of our tours or holiday packages. If you would like us to provide some suggestions, please just let us know your preferred departure airport and we’ll check availability and send you some prices and flight times for a selection of airlines.

Flights into Male are regular and you should have little difficulty booking one. However, during peak periods, (Christmas/New Year, Easter, July/August & October) cheaper flights always sell out quickly, so we advise booking early. Flights to Male are served by British Airways, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad, and Sri Lanka Airlines to mention just a few. If you’re not sure where to start, please contact us for details.

In order for us to ensure we meet with you when you arrive in Male, you must supply us with your arrival information. If flying into the Maldives we require your arrival date, flight time and flight number.

Departure Taxes:
The airport departure tax of US$25.00 is included in the purchase of your airline ticket.

Domestic Transfer Flight

Domestic Flight:
Domestic flight transfers will be as closely aligned as possible with your international flight arrival/departure timing. Any excess luggage of 20 kg per passenger will be charged at US$1.00 per kg, which can be paid in cash or by credit card directly to the airline carrier at the domestic terminal. Excess luggage may be subject to delay.

Hand luggage allowance 7 kg. Please note that if the flight is full you may be requested to step on the luggage scales in order that both passenger and luggage weight is evenly distributed throughout the aircraft. Transfer rates are subject to increase if the fuel surcharge increases. Baggage allowance is not applicable for infants. Domestic flight transfer times will not be confirmed until the evening prior to the flight. This is because with only one runway at Male any changes to international flights will take precedence.

Lounge Service:
Lounge Services (‘Moonima’ Lounge) including restrooms, cable TV, computers with free access to the internet, light snack & drinks is available in the domestic terminal. Lounge usage is upon request and subject to a fee of US$25 per person which should be paid at the lounge.

Seaplane Flight:
Seaplane transfer is operated by a third party, Trans Maldivian Airlines (TMA), Manta Air, or Maldivian Airlines. Flight schedules and timing are entirely at their discretion and could be at times subject to their operational requirements or the prevailing weather conditions. Seaplane transfer operates during the daylight hours approximately between 6 am to 4 pm. On Arrival date, for International flights landing later than 15:45hrs or for night international flight arrivals, the transfer will be the next day, usually in the morning. On departure date, we will not be in a position to arrange transfers for any international flights departing from Velana International Airport, before 08:45hrs. For night international departure, transfer from the resort to the airport will be the same day as departure date, normally in the afternoon.
Flight timings are not prescheduled and will only be available in the evening prior to arrival or departure as it depends on the international flight arrivals or departure schedule. A flight to the resort may also carry passengers that arrive on other international flights and/or are flying to other resorts.

An excess baggage charge of US$4/kg is levied for baggage exceeding the personal baggage allowance of 20kg payable directly to the carrier. The maximum weight allowed per checked-in baggage is 32kg and a 5kg allowance for carry-on baggage. Given the geographical limitations, in the event of missed international flights due to any force majeure circumstances, including weather conditions and mechanical failure neither Secret Paradise PVT LTD, accommodation provider nor the transfer provider will be responsible for any additional expenses involved in re-booking/extending your international flights or accommodation, hence we strongly recommend you to purchase the relevant travel insurance for such untoward claims.

Public Ferry Transfers

Most of our tours involve transfer by public ferry. These ferries are operated by independent companies and can at times get delayed or canceled even at short notice due to weather conditions or mechanical failure.

In the event of a ferry cancellation on any of our scheduled departure group tours, Secret Paradise will make alternative arrangements and bear the cost of the transfer. For guests traveling independently, we will assist in making alternative transfer arrangements, usually by speedboat. Any additional costs MUST be borne by the guest.

In the event of missed international flights or canceled transfer connections due to any force majeure circumstances, including weather conditions and mechanical failure, neither Secret Paradise PVT LTD nor the transfer provider will be responsible for any additional expenses involved in re-booking/extending your international flights or accommodation, hence we strongly recommend you to purchase the relevant travel insurance for such untoward claims.

Accommodation

Secret Paradise only partners selected hotels and guesthouses based on annual audits conducted by our team to ensure facilities, safety, and service meet our criteria. You can be assured of comfort, good service, local atmosphere, and value for money.

Our multi-day guided tours are not designed to be luxury tours although guesthouse upgrades are available upon request. We have chosen a selection of different guesthouses to use on our tours that provide comfortable clean rooms, friendly service, and good food. Note not all our selected guesthouses offer balconies or sea views, therefore if a sea view or a balcony is specifically required please advise at the time of booking. Additional charges may apply.

Note that Maldives guesthouse accommodation standards and rates should not be compared with accommodation standards and rates in tourist properties throughout Asia. Standards and rates will seem considerably higher in the Maldives for a lower category property, however, when comparing to the cost of a resort night in the Maldives it is then put into perspective.

Budget – basic facilities
Standard – mid-range
Premium – boutique properties or hotel

A range of different local island or resort options are available to extend the end of your tour.

Resorts exist on their own private island. These range in size from 2.5km across to just 150m across. This means that the facilities on the resort you choose (restaurants, bars, sports facilities, entertainment, etc.) are the only ones you will have access to during your stay. Due to transport and access issues, you should expect to find prices far more costly for drinks, snacks, meals, and activities, etc. Most resorts offer excursions by boat to local fishing village islands, but otherwise, you will stay on the resort island for the duration of your stay.

Rooming Arrangements:
On scheduled group tours accommodation is offered as twin/double/triple room sharing as requested at the time of booking. Couples will always be provided with a private double room.

For private or tailor-made bookings accommodation will be provided as per your booking request.

If you are a single traveler you will be allocated a single room to yourself throughout the tour, a single supplement charge is payable where applicable on some but not all of our tours.

If you are a single traveler joining the tour and you are happy to share a twin room with another single traveler on the tour of the same sex then you do not need to pay this supplement, even if you end up getting a single room based on the final make-up of the group. This applies only to local island guesthouses. Single travelers adding resort extensions to the end of their tour will need to pay a single room supplement for the resort extension to cover the cost of a single room.

Clothing

Visiting the Maldives is the chance for you to break out the brightly colored summer clothes that are so often out of place in colder climates. The higher temperatures and ever-present sunshine mean that locals and visitors alike prefer dressing in lightweight materials. T-shirts, cotton clothing, skirts, and shorts would be the best option to stay cool. The ideal footwear would be sandals and flip-flops.

Whether to pack only the more casual options like shorts and khakis or the newest Gucci number depends on what you plan to do, or where you plan to stay. Casual clothing is fine on the local islands and in guesthouses, smart casual clothing is usually enough for Male or resorts, but the more up-market resorts may require that you dress up for dinner. Sunscreen, insect repellent, and hats are all necessary for a comfortable holiday, but they are available widely for purchase in resorts and around Male’.

The Maldives is a Muslim country and care needs to be taken in relation to the dress code on local islands. Whilst it is acceptable for men to wear T-Shirts and shorts or swim shorts; females should avoid causing offense by maintaining a more conservative approach to clothes by wearing T-Shirts, loose shorts, or sundresses with a sarong around shoulders. Whilst the islands we visit are more tolerant of guests wearing traditional beachwear, females should NOT wear bikinis and swimwear unless on an uninhabited island, picnic island, sandbank, screened off tourist bikini beach, dive boat, or resort island.

Whilst the law restricts the wearing of bikinis on local islands, all guesthouses provide a private tourist sunbathing area on the beach or on the terrace of the guesthouse, your guide will advise when and where this is possible. It is common practice by both locals and visitors for females to swim from local public beaches wearing a t-shirt and shorts. When visiting the home of a local family or during the Male City tour where we may have access to mosques shoulders and legs should be covered by both men and women out of respect of local customs.

Weather

With a tropical climate, plenty of sunshine, and temperatures around 30°C throughout the year, there is never a bad time to visit the Maldives. The Maldives has two distinct seasons; dry season (northeast monsoon) from January to March and the wet season (southwest monsoon) from mid-May to November.

Wet however doesn’t mean rain all the time, it just means during this period we see more rain than during the dry season. This may be a daily heavy shower but it’s very rare to have days and days of rain in succession or even a full 24 hours. There is usually more wind during this period but this helps keep the temperature at a nice level and you can still expect plenty of blue skies and sunshine.

The rare thunderstorm in the Maldives (especially around the southwest monsoon months) can be a welcome respite from the sun. Cloudy skies and slate grey seas, and crashing thunder makes for lovely reading weather. The warm temperatures will allow you to go for a walk in the rain, a thoroughly enjoyable experience. For extra exhilaration, take a swim in the rain – the sea will be extra warm.

There can be heavy rain showers pretty much any time of year, but they tend to be short and cannot be accurately predicted seasonally (in other words – don’t worry too much about them – you will quite possibly experience some rain showers, but the majority of the weather should be great, and you will be unlucky to get several consecutive days of heavy rain).

Like many places in the world today, the climate and weather pattern is changing and historical data is less reliable as an indication of what to expect in the here and now.

Note as the Maldives is situated so close to the equator it is possible to burn even on a cloudy day and sunscreen should be applied as a matter of course.

Food & Drink

Maldivians, as Muslims, are prohibited by law from consuming alcohol; hence there is a total restriction on alcohol being available on inhabited local islands, this includes the capital Male. Alcohol is available at Hulhule Island Hotel which is located at the airport. All tourist resorts and safari boats stock alcohol for guest consumption. Please do not bring alcohol through the airport as it will be confiscated and returned to you at the time of departure.

For guests staying at the Barefoot ECO Hotel, the property provides a floating bar the ‘’Black Pearl” which is located in the hotel lagoon and offers alcoholic drinks. The transfer is by small speedboat from the property’s jetty made on a regular basis from just before sunset until late evening. Alcohol can only be consumed on board and cannot be brought back to the island.

There are also a handful of bar boats that are anchored off local islands which currently include Maafushi, Dhiffushi, and Thulusdhoo. We cannot however guarantee that these boats will be operating during your stay.

The traditional food of Maldivians are based around fish, (tuna to be more specific), chili and coconuts. White rice and “roshi” (a flour-based flat-bread) are staple items. Fish is normally smoked, fired, barbequed or roasted. Pork products are strictly prohibited. When eating on local islands it is worth noting that Maldivians traditionally eat with their fingers and therefore food is not always served ‘piping hot’. Tap water is perfectly safe for brushing teeth however, we advise drinking bottled or boiled water. All food on local islands is halal.

Photography

Spare batteries or a battery charger & adapter, a good camera bag (capable of keeping the dust and spray out), and a spare memory card are essential. A polarizing filter is useful for sand/water shots, whilst a lens hood eliminates some of the glare. Please ask local people for permission before photographing them. If they do agree, you may be asked for some money from them.

Email, Post, & Communication

The telecommunications services are provided by Ooredoo or Dhiraagu, a joint-venture between the government of the Maldives and Cable & Wireless PLC of United Kingdom.

International Direct Dialing, telephone, telex, telegram, facsimile and Internet services are available. A mobile phone network is accessible within Male and atolls.

If you are anticipating keeping in regular contact with friends or family at home it is advisable to purchase a Maldivian SIM card together with re-charge cards available in various denominations of local currency. This can be done very easily at either the airport or in Male/Hulhumale. Card phones are set up in most of the islands. In addition, Dhiraagu provides a paging service, maritime radio service, and telephone and telex Immarset services to ships and oil rigs.

Wi-Fi is available at all our guesthouses and in most cases it is free.
However, as an island nation where cabling is along the sea bed and there is only one antenna per island you should not expect the signal strength and speed of internet access to be at the level you are accustomed to back home. Weather can at times also impact the quality of connection.

At resorts, Wi-Fi is usually chargeable. Generally, Wi-Fi will only be available in public areas and will not be available in individual rooms/villas.

Unless stated otherwise Wi-Fi is not available onboard any dive or cruising Liveaboard and for guests who do not wish to shut off from the outside world, we would advise the purchase of a Maldives 3G SIM card.

Voltage

Most local island sockets are three-pronged (British style) and 220 volts. Adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don’t have one. All electrical devices running on 110/120 V must have power converters/step-up transformers. All guesthouse rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones, etc.

Electrical sockets on resorts may be different so an adaptor is a worthwhile item to pack.

Guests staying at The Barefoot Eco Hotel should note that the sockets are Italian two-pin style.

Trading Hours

Like everything in the Maldives, Government and business are pretty laid back with business hours commencing from 8.30 am to 2.30 pm. It is important to know that the Maldives follows a business week from Sunday to Thursday, with most places closed on a Friday. The shops in the Maldives open at different times in the morning but usually not before 9.00 A.M. The shops close for prayer times for an interval of 15 – 30 minutes in the afternoon between 15:00-16:00 and between 18:00 and 20:00 in the evening. The latest time for the shops to close business is 11.00 P.M.

Time

Maldives Standard Time is GMT/UTC + 5 and during BST + 4. Note some resorts operate Island Time, which is 1 hour ahead of Maldives standard time. The Barefoot Eco Hotel is one of these properties.

Language

Dhivehi is the main language spoken in the Maldives. The language is widely used for conversing with people. Since, it involves the use of many English, Hindi, and Arabic words; it seems to resemble various languages spoken in Sri Lanka, South East Asia, and North India. Other languages spoken in the Maldives include English, which is also recognized as the second main language.

Local Island Tourism – What to Expect?

Want to know what to expect from a local island read my own person experience and view on our Secret Paradise blog:
Discover My Secret Paradise

Responsible Tourism

The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.

  • Don’t prejudge: Things in different countries will almost certainly be different. That doesn’t make them worse or inferior, just different.
  • Communicate: Don’t expect locals to speak your language. Take the trouble to learn a few words or phrases of the local language. Don’t worry about sounding silly. Most locals are patient and accommodating and appreciate you making the effort to communicate in their language.
  • Conserve energy: Be careful not to waste valuable resources. Use local resources sparingly. Switch off lights, air-conditioning and fans when you leave the hotel room and don’t waste water.
  • Remove superfluous packaging. Many countries have far less efficient waste disposal systems than ours. Remove packaging from newly acquired items before leaving home.
  • Choose environmentally-friendly products: By using reef & environmentally friendly (biodegradable) sun creams, shampoos and detergents you can help reduce pollution.
  • Respect local customs and traditions: As you are a guest in these countries, you should also comply with the local customs. If you are friendly and well mannered, the locals will reciprocate and it will only enhance your experience.
  • It’s important to follow dress and behavior guidelines, especially when visiting religious or sacred sites (your tour leader will advise you how best to do this).
  • Don’t litter: No matter how untidy or dirty the country you’re traveling in may look to you, avoid littering, as there is no need to add to the environment. As an island state, the Maldives has a tough challenge dealing with rubbish and waste. Please consider taking home as much plastic waste as you can (eg. water bottles).
  • Refuse plastic bags when shopping.
  • Refuse plastic straws.
  • Do not purchase corals and seashells from souvenir stores.

Marine Environment

Fish, ray, or shark feeding should be avoided. It is harmful to marine life, potentially to the people in the water (whether it be snorkelers, swimmers, or divers), and to the ecosystem. Hand-feeding fish and other marine life promotes a behavior called conditioning, where the animal learns to associate humans with food. When fish start to anticipate meal times with humans, it interferes with their natural feeding cycles. As a result of behavioral conditioning through fish feeding, unprovoked marine animals may attack (bite) humans thinking they will receive food or mistaking fingers and other body parts for food.

Please do not touch corals or marine life. Simply touching animals or coral can be as damaging in the long run as intentionally killing or catching them. Many animals, including turtles, rays, and many species of sharks, can become vulnerable to harmful bacteria through human contact, leaving them susceptible to disease.

Unfortunately, like many coral reefs around the world, Maldives reefs have been impacted by bleaching but there is still an abundance of marine life and in areas not subject to the high levels of reclamation and development (which adds stress to the reef’s rejuvenation) there is positive evidence of coral rehabilitation. The impact of bleaching varies from atoll to atoll and therefore you may observe great coral, particularly soft corals in one location but poor in another.

Secret Paradise is involved in a number of coral reef projects with NGOs including Coral Doctors, Save the Beach, and Maafushi Eco Dive. We are supporting coral planting in areas where the reefs have been significantly impacted around local islands. It is very rewarding to see that these nurseries are beginning to thrive.

The following articles provide further information, the first one in particular shows the state of one coral reef over just a 2 year period, this is in an atoll to the northwest of Male.

https://maldivesindependent.com/feature-comment/can-coral-reefs-keep-up-with-a-warming-planet-143676(opens in a new tab)

http://divemagazine.co.uk/eco/7792-coral-cpr-from-the-maldives(opens in a new tab)

Secret Paradise is also proud to support #ProtectMaldivesSeaGrass

Seagrass is vital to the low-lying island nation of the Maldives; it prevents beach erosion, fights climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide, provides food for sea turtles, supports fisheries and houses juvenile coral reef fish. Despite this, seagrass in the Maldives remains an undervalued habitat and it is considered a nuisance to the tourism industry, rather than an asset. Because of this, many resorts across the country still actively remove the seagrass around their islands.

Secret Paradise has pledged our support and on many of our tours, we provide the opportunity to learn more about the benefits of seagrass and wherever possible explore seagrass meadows.

For more information and to pledge your support visit http://www.maldivesresilientreefs.com/campaigns/seagrass/(opens in a new tab)

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Minimum Numbers & Itinerary Adjustments

With the exception of our Discovery Cruise(opens in a new tab) there are no minimum number requirements. On some dates, we may adjust the itinerary slightly to take account of local conditions, public holidays, and availability (for example swapping the order that the local islands are visited).

Specialist Holidays

Guests who are participating in specialist holidays such as yoga or diving will receive information detailing any additional requirements as part of the booking process. However, should you have any questions please direct them to sales@secretparadise.mv

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