October 26, 2022

Affordable Maldives Resorts

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A holiday to the tropical paradise of Maldives can be very expensive. But don’t worry, there’s plenty of amazing and affordable Maldives resorts that won’t break the bank. We’ve stayed at around 40 resorts in the Maldives and in this blog we’ll share our favourite places to stay for around US$1,000 per night or less!

If you want to see our ultimate list of the Top 20 Maldives Resorts, check out our blog here. Otherwise, enjoy our Affordable Maldives Resorts below!

Please note that some of the links in this blog are affiliate links, and I may earn a small commission on any purchase made (at no additional cost to you). Of course this blog captures all my own personal thoughts and feelings and if you’d love to know more about anything then please reach out to me!

1. Kandolhu

Tiny island with the best snorkelling, a Mexican bar and bathroom goals.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Very small island
  • Multiple dining options
  • House reef alive with marine life
  • Overwater villas with stunning bathrooms
View from the lagoon to Kandolhu resort

Probably the smallest island we’ve visited and we LOVED it! There’s only 30 villas at Kandolhu and that means you have such an intimate experience. It feels very remote here and everyone (guests and staff included) are extremely friendly in a community sense. It’s a very wholesome vibe.

Despite being so small there’s still four restaurant options. Our favourite place to eat by far was the lunchtime Mexican bar. A tiny little shack on the jetty with 6 bar stools and the best tacos in the Maldives. After swimming in the heat we dripped off in the shade and tucked into a Mexican feast. This was an absolute highlight of our stay!

The other massive mention goes to the snorkelling, straight off the beach. There is such an abundance of marine life. We were literally trying to avoid turtles bumping into us. There’s a corner of the reef full of anemones & clown fish and so many baby reef sharks in the shallows.

Other mentions:

  • Private Manta excursion where we swam with 3 massive Mantas, and not another boat in sight.
  • The overwater villa bathrooms are stunning. Floor-to-ceiling glass and a free standing bathtub overlooking a perfect lagoon.
  • Pricewise, this resort was right at the top of our “affordable” list, however it’s well worth the spend!
The tiny island of Kandolhu resort

2. Samura Guest House (LOCAL ISLAND: Thulusdhoo)

A local island stay. The same beautiful waters and tropo vibes at a fraction of the price!

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Seeing the real Maldives
  • Sand bank experiences
  • Surfing
  • Affordable and close to Male
Sarah and Chesh sitting on a sandbar

Though technically not a resort, Samura Maldives is a rustic guest house on the local island of Thulusdhoo. Only around 35 mins speedboat from Male, this island is easy to reach and the best way to experience some culture on a perfect tropical island in Maldives.

Sumara Guest House is located on the most beautiful part of the island. There’s a Bali / Tulum vibe thanks to the low hanging palms, wooden cafes and day beds.

Surfing is the currency here and that’s because the famous surf breaks of ‘Cokes’ and ‘Chickens’ are straight off the island. We surfed for hours before heading back in for amazing poke bowls and smoothies at our favourite Indulge Cafe. You can walk off the beach strip and explore the local island, or grab a boat and explore other surf breaks or remote sand bars – all the same excursions you’d expect from the resort islands.

We had an amazing stay at Sumura on this local island. It’s the perfect stay to meet amazing locals, especially for those travelling with a lower budget.

Other mentions:

  • There’s no alcohol and dedicated bikini beaches on local islands and so obvious respect is needed to the local culture and religion – more reason to come and have those classic travel moments.
  • For more budget local island advice, contact our friend Kristie at Indulge Maldives. Kristie has lived in the Maldives for years & is a wealth of knowledge, not to mention an amazing human!

3. Coco Bodu Hithi

A taste of traditional Maldivian hospitality and aesthetic where your happiness is the priority.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Private sand bank picnic
  • Sunset beach dinner
  • Manta snorkelling right near the resort
  • Overwater villas
Sarah on the sand bar picnic experience

Coco Bodu Hithi is an affordable stay in the resort category. It has a very calming feeling, with warm staff and beautiful natural elements.

The jungle is very lush and the traditional dark timbers brings in that authentic Maldivian flavour to your stay. We loved walking along the curved jetty, catching turtles and eagle rays passing beneath us in the vibrant blue lagoon.

Coco does the bespoke experiences really well. Our sunset beach dinner was under a white curtain gazebo watching the most insane fiery sunset. But our favourite experience was the sand bar picnic. Taking a traditional dhoni boat to a nearby empty sand bar, we had our own little timber & canvas shelter on the shoreline with nothing but 360 degrees of perfect blue lagoon.

Other mentions:

  • We had an amazing snorkel swimming with mantas. Close by the resort is a cleaning station where the mantas were hanging straight below us for around 10 minutes. Magic!
  • The overwater spa is visually stunning and we had the most relaxing afternoon going from the steam room to outdoor spa, following a perfect couples massage.
Sunset at the overwater restaurant Coco Bodu Hithi

4. Mirihi

Back to nature. The ultimate place to unwind in tropical paradise.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Small and intimate feel
  • Quiet & calming with nature as the focus 
  • Diving and whale shark excursions
  • Overwater villas
Mirihi resort dining area view from the water

Mirihi has an intimate feel, with it’s tiny island only 50m wide and 350m long. It’s one of the smallest islands in the Maldives and this was a massive drawcard for us. They also have a very authentic feel, letting the natural elements (perfect palms, lapping waves, quiet beaches) do all the talking.

The concept here isn’t to dazzle with gimmicks, they just put everything into the things that matter – the food, the serenity and raw elements. The sunsets are incredible and our fav place to hang was a perfect little hammock spot among the palms on the beach.

Mirihi is well known for its diving (around 50% of the guests were divers when we visited). And you can head out on Whale Shark excursions like we did on a beautiful wooden sail boat. We swam with a pod of dolphins too!

Other mentions:

  • Access to the water – being so small, you can easily walk anywhere on the island to find the calmest spot to swim and laze.
  • Outdoor cinema – we had our own private screening, taking our dessert and popcorn to watch a movie under the stars.

5. Constance Halaveli

A great all-round mix of island vibes, overwater luxe, activities and great food options.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Swim with Mantas
  • Perfect palm laced beach
  • Sunset dhoni cruise
  • Overwater villas
Sarah in a hanging char at Constance

Our highlight at Constance Halaveli was easily swimming with Manta Rays. Chesh and I were just floating by ourselves with two massive Mantas doing laps around us. The team made sure that it was a very conscious and unobtrusive interaction in the ocean too!

Our favourite part of the island was the beach near the Jahaz Bar. With the neon blue lagoon waters, the curved white sand beach, perfect palm trees and a hanging chair. It’s such a beautiful part of the island to enjoy. Our overwater villa had views of this beach too and watching the sun rise over this slice of paradise from our deck was unbelievable.

Another memorable experience would be the sunset Dhoni cruise followed by dinner at the Asian overwater restaurant. We watched sharks and fish swimming beneath our feet!

Other mentions

  • Floating breakfast at sunrise in our villa pool
  • Glass bottom canoes
  • House reef vertical drop-off for snorkelling

6. SAii Lagoon

Brand new resort, close to Male with plenty of options to eat and play.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Coral planting
  • Unique yellow overwater villas
  • Insane lagoon
Overwater villa at SAii Lagoon

Landing at Male international airport you only need to travel 15 minutes by boat and you are in the beautiful Saii Lagoon Resort. The resort only opened in 2020 and offers a new concept where you are part of a shared resort with 3 mini islands – SAii, Hard Rock and a restaurant/shopping precinct.

We actually hosted Group Retreats partly at SAii and everyone on the trip loved being able to experience the overwater villas at an affordable price. The water villas have a unique style and vibrant yellows, surrounded by the vibrant blues of the lagoon.

7. Coco Palm Dhuni

Traditional experience on a perfect natural island. One of the only turtle rehabiliation centres in the Maldives!

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Private island experience 
  • Authentic overwater villas
  • Calm & clear lagoon
  • Turtle rehab centre 
Sarah walking between palms on the beach

Coco Palm Dhuni is a very naturally beautiful island. Idyllic palms, large white sand beach and insane clear lagoon. We had such crazy good weather with no wind. Perfect sunrises over the palms and sunsets over the ocean.

But what we really loved was the more authentic Maldives stay that Coco Palm provided. The food is kept simple and the villas use natural timbers and traditional thatched roofs. You feel closer to nature and the more simple way of enjoying the magical surrounds.

The private island experience was one of our top moments. We were dropped at a little island that’s inhabited by only dense jungle. We swam, explored then showered in the tiny thatched hut – ready for sunset. Just two staff came to cook a private dinner on the open fire grill, that we enjoyed right at the shore. SO memorable. You can also come here for the morning, afternoon, or overnight stays.

One of the main reasons we wanted to come here was to visit the turtle rehabilitation centre. Well done to Coco Palm, catering for the Oliver Ridley project who take in injured turtles from all around the Maldives. The amazing team cares for them, educates guests and then releases them back into the wild for another chance at life.

Private Island experience as seen from island at Coco Palm Dhuni

8. Bliss (LOCAL ISLAND: Dhigurah)

One of the most stunning local islands in the country with affordable accomodation and amazing access to marine excursions

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Naturally beautiful island
  • Affordable pricing
  • Long sandbar
  • Experience local culture
The island of Dhigurah

Another local island stay, Bliss is one off the nicest places to stay on the stunning Dhigurah island. Many locals claim that this is the most beautiful island in the Maldives. Dhigurah has a long, thin shape with massive sandbar off the tip of the island that’s a drawcard for visitors.

We actually hosted Group Retreats on Dhigurah this year and loved the place so much, that we are taking back another group next year. The long stretch of beach with dense palms and lapping turquoise waters was incredible. A perfect example of not needing to spent thousands of dollars for that quintessential Maldives scenery. There’s also local operators that will take you to see whale sharks and mantas at a fraction of the price you’d pay in any resort. We saw whale sharks here and the day on the traditional dhoni was so memorable!

We stayed at Bliss which is in a great spot, right near the bikini beach and one of the last buildings that borders on the untouched palm jungle that stretches up the rest of the island. They have great food and coffee and the rooms are clean and comfy.

Other mentions:

  • There’s no alcohol and dedicated bikini beaches on local islands and so obvious respect is needed to the local culture and religion – more reason to come and have those classic travel moments.
  • For more budget local island advice, contact our friend Kristie at Indulge Maldives. Kristie has lived in the Maldives for years & is a wealth of knowledge, not to mention an amazing human!
Whale shark

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