A Guide to Having a Family Friendly Vacation in the Maldives

Did you know the Maldives are growing as a family-friendly destination? The 1200-island archipelago in the Indian Ocean is starting to cater more towards families providing tourists with the chance to have a dream holiday and bring their kids along. From staying in one of the maldives beach houses or all-inclusive resorts to more budget-friendly guesthouses, here’s everything a family should know before booking a holiday to the Maldives. 

Before We Start

Let’s start off by saying that the Maldives isn’t a suitable place for a holiday if you’re travelling with babies or toddlers. Resorts might not be friendly towards strollers and may lack the facilities for a convenient trip. If you’re staying on a local island, roads tend to be sandy and quite dusty. But if the kids are older, it promises to be an active and memorable holiday destination. Combine the beaches with incredible views and the chance to go snorkelling,and you’re almost guaranteed to have the time of your lives. 

Where to Stay in the Maldives With Kids

Families can either stay at one of the many resorts or find accommodation on one of the local islands. The first gives you the level of luxury and comfort which you’ll see in most of the photos of the Maldives. Local islands are more budget-friendly while offering the chance to see more of the Maldivian culture and way of life.

If you stay at the resort, be prepared to keep your kids entertained. Most people arrive and remain inside the compound until they leave. Typical facilities include a swimming pool, beaches, snorkelling, an open bar and incredible views. This sounds perfect for adults. But not so much for kids. Frankly, there isn’t really much to do at the resort apart from relaxing. Local islands, on the other hand, are slightly larger and have more places to see. Accommodation is much cheaper,and you’ll have the chance to meet and interact with the locals. A popular way to travel is to stay at a local island and have day trip to the resorts. 

Don’t Stay in the Overwater Bungalow 

If you do decide to stay at the resorts, it’s not a good idea to stay in one of the overwater bungalows. While they look idyllic in the pictures, they aren’t convenient for families. First, they tend to be out on a pier approximately 100 metres from the resort and facilities. And second, walking to the bungalow can be dangerous when there’s nothing on either side to stop people falling into the water. Families should stay at one of the rooms instead of the bungalows. 

The Best Tours for Families 

One of the highlights is snorkelling and experiencing the marine life. You can find tours that will take you out for the day to the best spots in the surrounding Indian Ocean. It’s also possible to go night fishing, visit sandbanks and explore hidden coves. Older kids and teens will love the opportunity to take part in some of these activities. 

Don’t Stop in Male

Male is the Maldives’s capital and central island located a short boat ride from the airport. It can be tempting to stop by for a night to see what the capital is like and to have a cultural experience. Don’t. Male tends to be overcrowded, dusty, polluted and full of noisy building sites. Dangerous driving and a lack of pavements in some parts combined with few attractions make visiting a potentially frustrating experience. The best option if you’re travelling with kids is to go straight to the island or resort. 

Be Aware of Costs 

And finally, a sometimes overlooked aspect of travelling to the Maldives as a family: The travel costs. Apart from having to pay almost 25% extra on top of the quoted nightly rate in taxes, visitors also have to pay a $6 per person environmental fee for each night they stay. Let’s consider a family of four who plan to spend a week at a modest priced resort costing $200 per night. After the taxes, this adds up to almost $250. Then each person pays the environmental fee making the total nightly cost approximately $270, or $70 extra. Over the course of a week, it comes to almost $500 more than the original price. And most of the resort charge a mandatory airport pick-up and drop-off that’s often around $100 per person. Be aware of the cost of the trip.

There are two ways to get from one island to the next: Either take a speedboat or use the local ferry. Motorboats are the most popular way to get around because of their flexibility, speed and convenience. Local ferries tend to follow irregular schedules with only a few departures each week to local islands only. If you stay at the resort, you’ll need to take the speedboat. Those on the local one such as popular Maafushi have the choice between either. Expect to speedboat to cost around $25 per person with the ferry coming to $2. Return transfer for a family of four using the speedboat will cost $200 and less than $20 on the local ferry. If you don’t have an unlimited bank balance, consider your options. 

Family-Friendly Fun in the Maldives 

Families with older kids and teens will love the Maldives. With the diversity of marine life and spectacular landscapes, there’s always something to do. But it might not be suitable for younger children, toddlers and babies. And make sure you’re aware of the price and additional fees if you plan to book the trip independently.