Pros & Cons Of A Local Island Holiday In The Maldives
Local islands provide serene, affordable holidays in The Maldives. Not only will you experience a new, fascinating side of The Maldives, but you’ll meet lovely locals and have authentic experiences that will make your stay truly unforgettable.
However, let’s be honest, you won’t have receive the same 'fine things in life' on a local island that you may find in a 5* Resort… So on that note, let’s dive into the pros and cons of a local island holiday in The Maldives.
Let’s begin with the cons shall we?
It won’t be easy to find alcohol (but it’s not impossible)
As you may know already, The Maldives is a Muslim country. This means that alcohol is prohibited on inhabited local islands, where the local community is living. You can find alcohol in Resorts without a problem, you can also find alcohol in safari or live-aboards boats. So why did we say it’s not impossible to find alcohol on local islands? Because there will usually be a ‘boat bar’ that you can access from the local island that serves alcohol, and you will also have the option to do a Resort ‘day-visit’.
Be aware of the dress code
You can wear your bikini and swim wear on designated ‘bikini beaches’ on local islands as well as excursions etc. However, when you’re wondering around the local island itself, going out to eat or going to the shop, just be mindful of what you’re wearing. Loose shorts and t-shirts are usually acceptable but we would recommend not wearing anything too short or revealing except when you’re at the bikini beach. As long as you don’t walk around the island in your bikini, you’ll be fine! Bear in mind that most locals hang out at the beach fully dressed, even when they swim!
Food options may be limited
On local islands, you may not have easy access to vegan or vegetarian food as they absolutely love fish! Your guest-house should have good food options and depending on the size of your local island, there will be many other cafes and restaurants you can eat at for a great price. Many guest houses include meals in the room price which is very convenient. Read more about Maldivian Cuisine here.
You will hear the call to prayer
There’s a mosque (or several mosques) in every local island, and there is a call to prayer 5 times a day. The first one is at 4:30am, so it may wake you up (as it lasts for 10 to 15 minutes) or it may just rock you back to sleep.
It won’t be easy to get cash
When you land at Velana International Airport in Male’, make sure to withdraw some MVR (Maldivian Rufiyaa) or bring some USD with you to your local island. Most local islands will have card machines, some even have ATM’s, but just in case bring cash with you in the case that you need to pay for meals, souvenirs and other small items in cash. Don’t take too much MVR, as you won’t be able to change it back into USD or EUR when leaving.
You may see litter around
You may be exposed to more littering on local islands as they are not as polished as resorts, so just do your best to minimise your plastic consumption and be an eco-friendly traveller. Read more about how to prevent plastic pollution here.
Now let’s explore all the reasons why you should consider a local island holiday next time you’re in The Maldives!
Maldives local island life is so fascinating and unique
The way locals live here, completely at mercy of the sea, completely at one with nature, making a living by cooking, fishing, baking… it’s just so interesting to see the locals live, it is so widely different from Western society and life. You will instantly feel so grateful for the comforts and material things you have in your life. Let’s not forget, The Maldives is a third world country and the country itself consists of 98% of ocean… Your experience on a local island is bound to be eye-opening.
You will gain more from a local island than a Resort
It is true that ‘resort islands’ could be anywhere in the world… The All-Inclusive food and drinks, the infinity pools, the karaoke nights and the grand buffets - don’t get us wrong, we absolutely love resorts too, however, we’re stressing that a local island experience will be more educational, authentic and true to the culture of The Maldives.
Local Maldivian cuisine is delicious!
If you get invited to a traditional Maldivian home-cooked meal by a generous family on a local island, you will see how to mixture of flavours and spices, coconut and tuna, makes for a hearty and extremely delicious meal. You will taste real Maldivian food on local islands, our personal favourite is the traditional breakfast ‘Mashuni’ which we could seriously eat every single day of our lives!
Internet connection is good
You may think that Wi-Fi isn’t much of a thing of a local island in The Maldives, but it’s quite the contrary! Wi-Fi in guesthouses works much better than in most resorts. You can get a local SIM card for as little as $20 USD – you will be impressed to discover that you will have signal in the middle of the ocean.
The locals will make you feel welcome
Maldivian’s are very friendly people with their own traditions and culture. Despite the fact that they are Muslim, they almost don’t show it through their open-mindedness to tourism and generosity towards foreigners. Of course, there are some rules that should be followed when you are going to the local islands, such as dress code and alcohol, but they will not cause you any significant inconvenience.
You get to experience so much on a budget
The best part of holidaying on a local island is that it is so affordable! You can experience the tropical paradise of The Maldives for such a fantastic price, that won’t break your bank account. You get to experience the same crystal-clear oceans, the same powdery soft sand and the same gorgeous sun. you can also experience the same waterspouts, diving and excursions - but for a better price!
We hope that this evaluation of local islands has helped you in the decision making process for your Maldives holiday.
The magic recipe we will always recommend is spending 2 weeks in The Maldives, 1 on a local island and the other in a Resort! That way, you truly experience the best of both worlds and will see multiple sides of the magical country of The Maldives.
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- Maldives Secrets Team