Once you’ve booked your dream Maldivian getaway, everything regarding your trip will be pretty much set in stone. But what about domestic transportation in the Maldives? What should you expect?
Any trip to this archipelago will deliver once-in-a-lifetime experiences that are not easy to come by. From uber-luxurious all-inclusive resorts right down to the epic Maldives attractions and things to do, it’s as close to nirvana as one can get.
But, when you want to experience everything the islands have to offer, how exactly does domestic transportation on and between the vast number of islands actually work? Well, our travel guide on the ground-level modes of transport in this dream paradise will give you some valuable information to tote during your trip.
Ready to get this show on the road… or water… or air…?
In the grand scheme of things, a massive amount of gratitude goes to the tourism boom the archipelago has seen over the last few decades. Because let’s be honest, a higher number of visitors necessitates a wider variety and quantity of transport options.
And if you’re sitting with a puzzled gaze at the prospect of how to get to the Maldives, put your mind at ease. There is no shortage of international travel options to the majestic island archipelago.
With significant tourism comes infinite possibilities. At least that’s what you’ll discover in your hunt for the answer to any “how do I get to the Maldives” questions.
The Maldives is a global tourist icon, and as such, there are four international airports across the island archipelago. First up is Velana International Airport. Both the largest and most popular, it sits on the island of Hulhulé, a mere 2 km away from the capital Malé.
All major international air travel operates to and from Velana International Airport.
The second is Maafaru International Airport, which opened in 2019 and is only in operation for private jets and charter planes to the islands.
Third is Hanimaadhoo International Airport. Specifically dedicated to Maldivian Airways, it sits on Haa Dhaalu Atoll and is used primarily for domestic transfers to other airports in the Maldives.
Finally, Gan International Airport, a former military base, services Sri Lankan Airlines specifically. However, at the moment, there are no seaplane or air taxi transfers occurring from here.
Once you’re in the Maldives, you’ll need to arrange your domestic travel plan. Luckily you’re in good hands as there are quite a few domestic transportation options in and around the Maldives.
Some are more popular than others for several reasons. When choosing the best one or two to utilize during your trip, consider convenience, cost, and safety as solid criteria. And don’t be surprised if a combination of the different methods best suit your needs.
Simply put, once you’re on the island of your choice, the ease of traversing its roads by foot is a popular way of getting around. But, many visitors do not envision roughing it on foot in one of the most idyllic destinations in the world.
For that exact reason, these are the three best alternatives to traveling on Maldivian roads.
As you’re already in one of the most sought-after getaway destinations globally, why not truly see and take in all you can? One excellent way to do so is by cycling around the island of your choice.
While there is no overarching bicycle rental culture in the Maldives, many luxury resort islands offer bicycle rentals for your stay. What could be better than cycling underneath the shade of palm trees with the crisp Maldivian breeze blowing through your hair?
Snagging a taxi ride in the Maldives is also possible. Although not common due to the size of islands where taxis operate, they are available should you need them. This is especially true for traveling around the island of Malé.
Trip costs start at as low as $1.29 and only increase by $1.00 after 11 pm. Take note. However, should you need to transport luggage, you may be charged an extra $1.00 for trunk space.
These are exclusively available for transport on Malé and Hulhulé. Operated solely by Maldives Transport and Contracting Company, they only follow specific routes and can sometimes be a bit cramped.
Now the conundrum arises of how to get to your booked and chosen island from Hulhulé or Malé. Well, there are a few options at your disposal. The first and most often used method for getting to islands close to Malé is by water.
A ferry ride is a very popular option for those looking to travel between the number of public islands in the Maldives. This is partially due to ferry prices being relatively cheap. You can expect to pay anything between $2.30 and $5.00 per journey. This price, however, can increase to as much as $6.50 for inter-island transfers.
Ferries only operate six days of the week from 6 am to 6 pm, and a downside is that they are often off schedule, which can be frustrating. If you are staying at a private resort island, it is important to remember that these ferries do not dock at any of the private islands.
Take note that ferries in the Maldives do not operate at all on Fridays throughout the year.
Next up is among the most used forms of domestic transportation within the Maldives. Speedboats serve to take guests to and from Malé if the destination island is in close enough proximity to the main island.
Making use of a speedboat transfer in the Maldives is an easy process. You can choose to book yours independently via the many operators in the Maldives. But this is a bit of an inconvenience, so opting for the transfer packages offered by your chosen resort comes highly recommended. This way, your resort handles that bit of admin on your behalf.
Speedboats are one of the most expensive modes of domestic Maldives transportation. Prices are determined by either the independent operator or your island resort and can be impacted by the distance to be covered.
Prices for speedboat transfers can reach highs of as much as $226. If booked through your resort, this rate will be included in your total cost.
Now, if you’re looking to truly splurge on the most adventure-enhancing mode of transportation, chartering your own private yacht is a great option. You can bring your own to the Maldives or charter one once on the islands. And if you’re staying at one of the uber-luxurious resorts near the airports, private yacht transfers are arranged for you.
This is a great way to reach secluded islands, view untouched reefs, and spend time in opulence on the pristine waters of the Maldives. All of this can be arranged via your trip broker or resort staff.
Prices are quite extravagant and varied, and depend on the size of the yacht, provided facilities, and particular inclusions. But, you can expect to pay up to $3,500 per day for a three-cabin yacht fit for six people. And while this isn’t for everyone, it is definitely an incredibly unique experience in the Maldives.
Finally, a genuinely amazing experience and method of travel in and around the Maldives is by air. This is also the default mode of transport used to reach certain private resorts and islands that are far from the main island.
Used by numerous resorts in the Maldives, flying over the islands to your chosen destination via seaplane is an amazing and efficient way of getting about. Seaplanes are predominantly used to transfer you from Malé or Hulhulé to one of the island resorts.
Prices for these transfers are included in your booking with your resort, and every tiny detail from boarding the plane in Malé to deplaning at your resort’s specialized dock is handled by them as well.
Seaplanes can also be used for inter-island transfers should you choose to span your visit across more than one. And should you wish to experience flying over the Maldives as an adventure on its own, Trans Maldivian Airways and Atoll Transfers offer seaplane excursions.
Undoubtedly, using a seaplane as your preferred domestic transportation in the Maldives is spectacular. Getting a bird’s-eye view of the islands is beyond belief.
The islands of the Maldives is a destination that begs its visitors to explore and discover as much as possible. And from its outstanding and unique beaches that glow to the epic times to dive in the Maldives, you’ll never have a moment of boredom.
With the numerous domestic transportation options in and around the islands, you won’t have to sit worrying about getting from point A to B. The only real choice you’ll have is to pick your preferred way. While some are excellent for inland transport, others are beyond compare for transfers to the outlying islands.
So book the best airline to get to the Maldives, enjoy your flight, arrive in paradise, and start the journey of a lifetime.