On July 15, 2020, the Maldives reopened borders for all travellers around the world. The tightly packed capital city of Malé is the primary exception to this. It has been the source of most of the country’s coronavirus cases and thus, it is off-limits to travellers. The paradise is popular as the most romantic destination among honeymooners. It is home to a number of luxury resorts on private islands that have gorgeous bungalows over the azure water.
As long as you have proof of a negative Covid test, you can travel to the Maldives at present, irrespective of the country you belong to. However, cruise ships are currently banned. The country was one of the rare travel successes of the past year and the trend is continuing for 2021, it seems. As of February 22, more than 140 resorts and over 330 guesthouses served international tourists.
What are the restrictions?
Everyone else except Maldives citizens is required to present a certificate of a negative PCR test done within the 96 hours prior to their departure. It should clearly show the name and address of the laboratory along with the date of the sample taken. Travellers have to attach their results to the Traveler Health Declaration form that has to be submitted online within one day prior to arrival. Tourists will also be asked to download the national contact tracing app, TraceEkee. They should use it during their journey as well. You can split your stays between different hotels. However, you must take another PCR test before moving elsewhere in case you spend more than two days in the Greater Malé area.
After the new UK variant was discovered in late December, people arriving from the UK are required to undergo a quarantine of ten days. The same applies to the transiting passengers.
After arrival, all the passengers leaving from the airport will have a health check. Those returning to the United States will have to present proof of a negative Covid test within 72 hours of departure to be able to get back into the county. This can be facilitated by most guesthouses and resorts.
What’s the Covid situation?
As on April 1, as many as 24,079 Coronavirus cases and 66 deaths have been reported in the Maldives. On February 1, the country has begun its rollout of the India-made AstraZeneca COVISHIELD vaccine. In the first round of citizens to get vaccinated, hospitality workers were included. By March-end, as many as 237,716 people had received their first dose of the vaccine in the Maldives.
The Maldivian Minister of Tourism, Dr. Abdulla Mausoom, announced that the country is thinking about upscale “vaxication” vaccination packages for foreign visitors who are willing to visit and get inoculated.
What can tourists expect?
The Maldives is selling itself as a tourist destination that offers a “normal” vacation at this time. This has been greatly possible due to the isolation of resorts along with the fact that most of the travellers stay inside their luxurious accommodation rather than going out. This means that those going to and from the airport are exempt from the restrictions, unlike locals who are subject to them. If the hotels meet government requirements, then split stays between different hotels are allowed. Such requests should be made to the Ministry of Tourism at least 48 hours before travel.
Your resort may also have some travel rules, for instance, a temperature check on arrival, a mask to be worn indoors, etc. You should bring things like masks and sanitizers with you from your own place as buying these in the Maldives will be quite expensive for you.
The Maldives is the one-stop destination for nature and adventure lovers. It is the most sought-after place for honeymooners owing to its pristine and flawless beauty. But most resorts don’t allow children below the age of five years. So check if children are allowed before you book your accommodation for a dream vacation. Most of the honeymoon resorts have an age requirement of at least ten years. There are a number of Maldives packages to choose from. You can pick any one as per your budget and desired duration.
How to reach the Maldives via air?
Also known as Velana International Airport, the Male International Airport is the main airport in the country. It connects the archipelago to other countries and cities in the world, especially Southeast Asian countries like India, China, and Sri Lanka. Near the capital island of Male, it is located in the North Male Atoll on Hulhule Island. Apart from the Male International Airport, the following are the three international airports in the Maldives:
Gan International Airport, Gan
Maafaru International Airport, Maafaru
Hanimaadhoo International Airport, Hanimaadhoo
Along with that, there are some domestic airports that serve atolls like Laamu, Dhaalu, and Gnaviyani to name just a few.
There are a number of direct flights to the Maldives from a number of Indian cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Kochi. Tourists from Dubai, Europe, and Singapore fly in there on a regular basis either via direct flights or chartered flights. Airlines such as Air India, Air France, Qatar Airways, Emirates, Alitalia, Turkish Airlines, etc. serve the country of Maldives. It also has its own national airline which is Maldivian. A domestic and international airline, it connects various cities and countries.
How to reach the Maldives via sea?
There are no scheduled routes between the Maldives and its nearest neighbors–India and Sri Lanka. Therefore, reach there by boat is uncommon. However, there are cargo ships that go there often but it is not for tourists.
Top 10 resorts in the Maldives
Raffles Maldives Meradhoo
Gili Lankanfushi Maldives
Lux* North Malé Atoll
The St Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort
Lux South Ari Atoll
Drift Thelu Veliga Retreat
Four Seasons Maldives Private Island at Voavah, Baa Atoll