Planning a trip to the Maldives? Like not having to pay an arm and a leg? Here are 5 reasons why guesthouses are an excellent option.
To say that staying at a guesthouse decreases the cost of your stay would be an understatement. My boyfriend and I paid $3000 in total for a 7-day trip to the Maldives. That included round-trip tickets from Singapore, round-trip seaplanes from Male, boat transfers, all meals (and they were delicious), two dives each and a welcome massage. This is close to half as much as we would have spent elsewhere. And while the rooms weren’t over the water, we had beachfront access to one of the most amazing beaches I’ve ever seen.
Guesthouses are located on islands where Maldivians actually live. You are free to roam the island, modestly clothed of course, and take in daily life. It was interesting to see how and where they lived. For me, seeing and learning about culture is the most important part of traveling. You don’t get this on a resort. Click here for more pictures of the island itself.
- Access to the island
I’ve heard some complain about being restricted within their resort. This was not the case for us. We were free to roam the guesthouse grounds, the entire island and even had a private island that we had access to via kayak. When we grew tired of the hotel we went for a stroll or kayaked. No place was off limits to us, including the nearby beach where the locals congregated at sunset, the soccer pitch where people of all ages hung out, or even the graveyard and tiny mosque. It was pretty cool actually.
- Avoid the crowds
We basically had the beach to ourselves the entire stay. There was no competing for umbrellas and chairs. No crowded pool or restaurant. We didn’t even really hear our neighbors. We were of course free to meet people and get to know the other guests, but we were also free to just relax and not be bothered.
Did I mention how cheap it was? For me saving is important because it allows me to travel even more, but not at the expense of the experience. If you can research and find just the right guesthouse you can have a magical experience in the Maldives at a price that makes it a trip you can do more than once in a lifetime.
Tip: When booking keep in mind that not all guesthouses are created equal. There were seven guesthouses total on the island of Mathiveri where we stayed, but ours was the only one I’d actually stay in. It was really more of a boutique hotel with beachfront property and a beautiful small pool and common area. I can’t say the same for the others. Only one other guesthouse on the island had access to a private beach where regular bathing suits were allowed, and even that was a walk to get to. All others had no access to a private beach, so you were free to swim in the local beaches, but had to be fully clothed. Of the seven guesthouses, ours was the only one right on the beach, with a view, a pool, and diving. A little research goes a long way though, and there are some fantastic deals out there. Good luck!