Before You Dive In
Why Go? If your idea of paradise is a tropical island vacation with perfect sand beaches, then this is your paradise.
Best Ideas: The priciest resorts like the Waldorf Astoria and One&Only haven’t hesitated to splash out for things to do (or not do) on your honeymoon, but there are also affordable options like the SAii Lagoon Maldives, part of the Curio Collection by Hilton. And you can rest assured that you will be diving in the Maldives.
Good to Know: Getting here isn’t easy, and there isn’t really anything to do for a tourist outside the resort bubbles, but for 99% of the vacationers who come here, that’s enough. This honeymoon’s also going to put a dent in your wallet.
After all the excitement that comes from the buildup to a wedding (not to mention the day itself), you’ve got to make sure you have a honeymoon lined up that will match — and even surpass — the thrill of your wedding day.
Perhaps no place on earth fulfills those expectations like the Maldives, an Indian Ocean archipelago nation consisting of 26 atolls, those ring-shaped collections of thousands of islands surrounding that deep blue lagoon that you see all over Instagram. The Maldives provides exactly what most people envision when they think of the word “honeymoon.” Each atoll is secluded and typically can only fit one resort, so peace and quiet are abundant. And, of course, the landscape is breathtaking, with perfectly white sand, crystal-clear turquoise water, and thick patches of palm trees in the interior of the islands. It looks like the island screensaver from older versions of Microsoft Windows — and it’s exactly where you want to escape your overbearing family with your special someone.
In This Article
Traveling & Getting Around the Maldives
The Maldives is one of the most aspirational and sought-after destinations on the planet, not only for its natural beauty but for the huge variety of marine life that call the islands’ coral reefs home. Diving is one of the most popular activities for anyone making a trip to the Maldives, and most of the atolls offer uniquely beautiful sites to explore.
You can expect warm temperatures and plenty of sun pretty much any time of year, but the weather tends to be best between November and April; the rainy season lasts from May through October.
The nation’s capital is Malé, and Velana International Airport is the country’s only gateway to the rest of the world. It offers a surprisingly robust selection of airlines, though. If you’re coming from the U.S., you can reach the islands with as little as one stop on airlines like Aeroflot, Alitalia, Air France, Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Qatar Airways, and Singapore Airlines, among others.
Even though plenty of airlines offer one-stop itineraries to the Maldives (depending where you live in the U.S.), getting to Malé is only half the fun. Once you arrive, you’ll either need to take a separate speedboat ride or a seaplane to reach your resort. These transfers typically need to be arranged through your resort and can range dramatically in price. Typically, expect to pay anywhere from $150 to $350 for a speedboat transfer per adult and upwards of $500 per adult for a round-trip seaplane transfer.
Honeymooning in the Maldives: Pros and Cons
- If you are into the beach and diving, this is paradise.
- The natural beauty is unsurpassed, and if you, like 90% of America, think of a relaxing tropical eden when you’re asked to describe a perfect vacation, then … This. Is. It.
- The Maldives is logistically challenging. And expensive. Its remote location makes it a long trip, certainly not a fun one to make in coach.
- Once you arrive, get ready to pay up for everything from lodging to food and booze. Just about everything has to be imported from elsewhere and then sent to various atolls, making the food you eat and the cocktails you consume pricier than even the most expensive cities on earth.
- There’s not a whole lot to do, unless you’re really into the beach and diving.
Best Attractions & Activities in the Maldives
With a population of slightly over 130,000, Malé is one of the world’s most densely populated cities. But there’s frankly not a lot to see and do in the capital and most people stay there for one night at most on their way to their resorts. But as it’s the capital and a port city, there is enough to keep you occupied if you have a day in the city before or after you set off on the final leg of your journey to or from paradise. Keep in mind that the Maldives is a dry country — except at resorts — so don’t expect to be boozing it up at a seaside cafe on your Malé layover.
Malé Local MarketMalé, Maldives
If you want to get a taste of local life in the capital, head to the Malé Local Market, home to fruits and vegetables that you’d likely find nowhere else. (Photo by @ayshaaishath)
Malé Fish MarketFish Market, Boduthakurufaanu Magu, Malé, Maldives
Next, head to the Fish Market, where you’ll witness the lifeblood of the Maldivian economy (besides tourism) at work. Maldivians are fisher people, and spending some time observing this in action will give you a great perspective on a different way of life. (Photo by @maldivian_abo)
Grand Friday MosqueManadhoo, Maldives
After spending time at the markets, head out for a leisurely stroll along the seafront promenade. It’s not nearly as grand as some other seaside cities, but you can walk around the entire island in about an hour, and how fun of a story would that be to tell to jealous friends and family members? There are a couple of other spots, like the Grand Friday Mosque, pictured here, and Sultan’s Park (home to the National Museum) that are worth seeing, too. (Photo by @ceritapaspor)
Artificial BeachArtificial Beach, Malé, Maldives
And if you just can’t wait to jump in that turquoise water, head to Artificial Beach, a — you guessed it — man-made swimmable beach, the only one in the capital. After your swim, watch the sunset and have dinner at any one of the nearby local cafes. (Photo by @artificialbeach)
Of course, the main thing to do in the Maldives is to chill. Kick back, relax, enjoy a cold beer or cocktail (only on the grounds of your resort, though) and take in the seclusion of your personal tropical paradise.
As you’re on an island nation surrounded by some of the most spectacular waters on earth, the majority of things to do while on a Maldivian vacation involve the water — specifically diving.
Since it’s relatively difficult to move between the atolls, where you dive and what you see will depend on where you decide to stay (more on that later), but wherever you decide to dive, you’ll have a great chance at spotting an incredible variety of undersea life including manta rays and whale sharks.
Banana ReefMalé Atoll, Maldives
Several of the most popular dive sites are on South Ari Atoll, but if you wanted to squeeze in a dive before leaving the Malé area, head to a site called Banana Reef, the perfect place for beginners — and snorkelers — to be introduced to the fascinating and beautiful marine life of this nation. (Photo by @oceanoholicmaldives)
Most resorts offer a variety of boat excursions as well, ranging from kayaks to glass-bottom catamarans where you’ll catch your dinner for the evening. For a memorable experience, book an evening sunset cruise through your resort, where you’ll get to enjoy some of the best sunsets on earth from the open water with a glass of Champagne in your hand.
Best Hotels & Resorts in the Maldives
When it comes to hotels and resorts in the Maldives, the sky’s the limit. It’s one of the world’s premier destinations, so most of the top luxury brands have firmly planted their flag somewhere in the archipelago.
However, not every hotel has to totally break the bank. The cheapest rooms won’t be the famous overwater villas that everyone posts on Instagram, but even if you stay at a villa on land, you’re never more than a few steps from a pristine beach. Many chains have properties in the country, meaning you can also use hotel points to offset the cost of your stay. Here’s a sampling of the best hotels in the country, in a variety of price ranges:
Sheraton Full Moon Resort & SpaFuranafushi Island North Malé Atol, 08240, Maldives
Rooms start as low as $249 per night at this property, excluding a $136 speedboat transfer fee, per person. Sheraton Full Moon Resort & Spa is conveniently located on North Male Atoll, just 20 minutes by boat from Velana International Airport, and offers seven different eating and drinking spots to choose from. (Photo by @sheratonhotels)
The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo ResortMiriandhoo Island Baa Atoll, 06060, Maldives
Opened in late 2018, rooms at The Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort start at $315 per night in the low season, but this excludes the $475 round-trip seaplane cost. The signature Westin Heavenly Spa is sure to provide the ultimate in relaxation for you and your new spouse. After an afternoon of pampering, grab a drink at the hotel’s Sunset Bar and watch the sun go down on another day in paradise. (Photo by @tuideutschland)
The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli ResortVommuli Island Dhaalu Atoll, 13080, Maldives
One of the top resorts in the whole country, a room at The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort will set you back at least $785, excluding the staggering $695 round-trip seaplane transfer fee. But, if you can swing it, you’ll never forget your stay here. Take in the sunset while sipping a craft cocktail from the resort’s made-for-Instagram Whale Bar, and treat yourself to a treatment at the Iridium Spa, then while away the afternoon at the signature Blue Hole Pool. (Photo by @sabrina_chakici)
Saii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by HiltonEmboodhoo Lagoon South Malé Atoll, Malé, Maldives
Rooms at the brand-new Saii Lagoon Maldives, Curio Collection by Hilton resort start at a reasonable $350 per night, and since the property is only about 15 minutes from Male’s airport, you can take a $146 round-trip speedboat ride to reach it. With three restaurants and one dedicated coffee shop, you won’t go hungry at this property either. (Photo by @saiilagoonmaldives)
Waldorf Astoria Maldives ItaafushiIthaafushi Island South Malé Atoll Male, 20009, Maldives
One of the newest resorts in the Maldives, this ultra-luxe Hliton property, Waldorf Astoria Maldives Itaafushi, is one of the nation’s priciest, with rooms starting at an eye-watering $1,600 per night, excluding a $700 per person round-trip speedboat transfer. If you make it to this hotel, you’ll be positively overwhelmed with a whopping 11 dining options and a spa that will make you forget all the stresses of real life. (Photo by @michaelfilonov)
InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau ResortMaamunagau Island Raa Atoll, 05060, Maldives
Another newcomer, the InterContinental Maldives Maamunagau Resort boasts an idyllic location on Raa Atoll, a quick boat ride from Hanifaru Bay, the nation’s only biosphere reserve. The resort has six bars and restaurants, and its AVI Spa features six overwater treatment rooms for the ultimate in relaxation and pampering. Rooms at this resort begin at under $900 per night, excluding a $600 round-trip seaplane transfer per person. (Photo by @ihg)
One&Only Reethi RahReethi Rah, North Malé Atoll, Malé 08440, Maldives
One of the most exclusive resorts in the islands, One&Only Reethi Rah is truly an escape from reality. Rooms start at a steep $1,675 per night, without the $600 round-trip speedboat transfer or $800 round-trip seaplane transfer. A stay here would be unforgettable, though, with enormous overwater villas and a treetop dining experience. (Photo by @ooreethirah)
The Maldives is a logistically challenging and very expensive destination, sure. But, it may be the perfect honeymoon spot. After all, when else would you go to a once-in-a-lifetime destination then after one of the most important events in your life?