A Definitive Post-COVID Travel Guide To Maldives
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One of the first international holiday destinations to be opened to the Indian tourists are the beautiful islands of Maldives. With its crystal clear waters, the blue skies and white sand beaches, it is surely the most sought after holiday destination Indian travellers are looking forward to visiting, after being locked down for several months. This, paired with the strict safety measures and enhanced guidelines introduced by the Ministry of Tourism make Maldives the best choice of destinations for a post-COVID holiday.
Although, travelling to this heavenly country is no more a walk in the park. The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced several hassles and restrictions for travelling overseas. But worry not, we are here to sort it out for you! Here is everything you need to know about travelling to Maldives- restrictions, requirements and rules. Read ahead & plan a vacation!
Is Travelling to Maldives Safe?
The total number of Coronavirus cases in Maldives has been 7,469 out of which 4873 have recovered. The country saw the death of 28 infected patients. Although, now the number of cases per day is seen to be fluctuating and getting lower. With the strict safety measures and standardization of protocols by the tourism ministry, it is safe to travel to Maldives if you follow all guidelines and safety measures.
Support Of Ministry Of Tourism, Republic Of Maldives and Maldives Tourism Board
To ensure the tourists’ safety in Maldives, MoT of Maldives and Maldives Tourism Board have introduced a well-researched set of “Safe Tourism” guidelines that are being followed strictly. Each resort, hotel and guest house reopened in Maldives has been checked and approved for its safety standards, sanitizations protocols and social distancing enablers to ensure the guests stay safe. The guidelines include training of staff, standardized protocols and updated SOPs for cleaning, communication, etc.
Entry To Maldives
Maldives has started to issue arrival tourist visas from the 15th of July, 2020. The visa is free of cost and valid for 30 days.
- A COVID-negative test result is required at arrival from each passenger
- A passport having a 1-month validity from your date of departure.
- A confirmed pre-booking at a tourist resort, hotel or guesthouse in Maldives. For now, you can only book your stay at a single resort, hotel or guesthouse in Maldives.
How To Get To Maldives
The recently introduced air bubble deal with India and Maldives has finally made it possible for Indian travellers to visit this beautiful cluster of islands. Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Indigo Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines flights are functional from major Indian cities like Hyderabad, Cochin, New Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad to Velana International Airport, Maldives. The Velana International Airport has taken all necessary measures to keep the arriving tourists safe. There are various social distancing enablers, hand sanitizers and other safety precautions being followed at the premises of Velana International Airport to keep all passengers safe.
Before You Leave
Once your bookings of the resort and flights have been done, there is one more thing you have to do before you leave. The Maldivian Ministry of Tourism requires all travellers to fill up a health declaration form online, 24 hours before departure. You will also need a recent COVID-negative certificate to be presented on arrival at the Maldives airport. Before leaving, you must also download the TraceEkee mobile application. Moreover, do not forget to wear your mask, and carry extra masks, sanitizers and wipes before you leave for the trip!
- As you arrive at Maldives, you will undergo a thermal screening at the airport and will be required to follow social distancing and wear masks at all times. You will also be asked to present your recent COVID-negative certificate.
- There might also be a random collection of samples being taken by the government for health surveillance. The cost of these tests will be paid by the Maldivian government itself.
- If you happen to show any symptoms of COVID-19, you will be taken to a PCR testing area at the airport. If you’re accompanied by a group, all the members of the group will be tested too.
- Until the results of the tests are received (which will be within 24 hours), you and the group will be transferred to a transit facility to stay. The costs of the tests and stay will have to be borne by you.
- If you test positive, you will have to stay at the facility for at least 14 days, or till you test negative- whichever comes first. If found negative, you will be released. Although, if you have the symptoms, you will be advised to not go in public areas and will be watched by the COVID-safety manager of your resort.
Hotels & Resorts Reopened in Maldives
More than 45 resorts in Maldives have already been opened for tourists with enhanced sanitization protocols and updates SOPs and guidelines to keep the guest safe. Here’s a list of some of the best resorts in Maldives that are open and open to bookings:
- Kudafushi Resort & Spa
- Lily Beach Maldives
- LUX* North Male Atoll
- OBLU by Atmosphere
- Soneva Fushi
- Angsana Resort & Spa
- VARU by Atmosphere
- Jumeirah Vittaveli
- Velaa Private Island
- Joali Maldives
- Coco Collection
- Centara’s Resorts
- Emerald Maldives Resort & Spa
Resorts to reopen in September:
- Hideaway Beach Resort & Spa
- Aitken Spence Hotels
- The Nautilus
Resorts to reopen in October
- Outrigger Konotta Maldives Resort
- Reethi Faru Resort
- Niyama Private Islands Maldives
All accommodations opened at the moment in Maldives have submitted COVID-19 management plans to the Ministry Of Tourism and have been approved. Each resort will have a designated room for isolation, access to medical care, social distancing measures, enhances santization protocols and a COVID-19 safety manager.
What happens if you show COVID-19 symptoms while at the resort?
If you show any symptoms related to COVID while you’re staying at the resort, inform the safety manager of the resort. You will be instructed to self isolate in your room until a test is carried out and the results of the test are out. During this time, you will not be allowed to access the communal areas of the resort.
If the result comes out to be positive, the resort may or may not allow you to quarantine in your designated room or the designated isolation room.
Alternatively, if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 while in Maldives, call 1676 for help.
Restrictions in Maldives
- Wearing masks and following social distancing is mandatory at all outdoor and public places in Maldives. However, travellers staying at guest houses do not have to mandatorily wear masks while on the island. They must wear a mask when in an enclosed space with anyone.
- Non-essential travel between islands in Maldives and entry to Male, the capital is also restricted.
- Travellers are allowed to visit cafes, restaurants, shops and use local transport while following social distancing rules and all safety guidelines.
- Travellers can also go for excursions and tours run by the local operators in Maldives while following social distancing rules and all safety guidelines. However, operators will not be allowed to pick up travellers from their resorts as inter-island travel is restricted. Asymptomatic travellers would not be allowed to go for any type of excursions or sports. The capacity of travellers allowed would be reduced in order to ensure social distancing is being adhered to and all travellers would have to wear masks at all times. All surfaces will be sanitized and no equipment must be shared. All travellers will also be provided with hand sanitizers.
- Travellers are prohibited from entering the houses of local residents in Maldives.
Exploring Maldives In “The New Normal”
Since most water sport activities in Maldives are open, Maldives is surely a treat to the adrenaline junkies stuck at their homes in this pandemic. Here are some of the things that you can enjoy doing at Maldives, safely:
1. Dive at the Banana Reef
Banana Reef in Maldives is one of the best diving spots in the world. It is known for its deep blue waters and an immense variety of exotic aquatic animals that you might not be able to see anywhere else in the world. At this time, diving also serves as one the best water activity as it enables you to follow social distancing and also get the adrenaline rush you had long been waiting for!
2. Snorkeling in Maldives
The crystal clear waters of Maldives are an absolute treat for vacationers. Maldives is known to be one of the best spots for snorkelling in the world. Go snorkelling here with your partner, group or alone while you follow the social distancing rules, stay safe and also revel in the beauty of Maldives’ turtles, the flock of fishes and the surrounding ocean.
3. Paddle Boarding
Most resorts in Maldives rent paddleboards for their guests. You can spend your time, distancing yourself from the other tourists with a little paddleboarding adventure around the surrounding seas. Paddleboarding in Maldives is known to be one the best experiences to have for the crystal clear waters and the views of the colourful fishes passing under your board as you paddle. This is surely going to be one of those views you would never forget.
4. Dolphin Watching
You can hop on a boat just before the sun sets in Maldives to view the energetic and playful pods of Dolphins. The dancing dolphins and the surrounding views of the endless blue oceans are easily one of the best experiences to have in Maldives. If you’re worried about the COVID safety measures, make sure you enquire about private boats at the resort to view dolphins.
5. Swim with Whale Sharks & Manta Rays
This is one of the best experiences to have for the adventure seekers visiting Maldives. Swim around in the deep blue seas surrounding Maldives and witness the beautiful aquatic creatures like Manta Rays and Whale Sharks, Turtles and huge Corals around you. The sight of these magnificent creatures will surely give you an adrenaline rush like no other!
6. Flyboard & Sailing
To enjoy the picturesque views of the ocean around Maldives, there is nothing better than flyboarding and sailing. If you’re a thrill-seeker, flyboarding in Maldives is one activity that you just shouldn’t miss. Sailing is another luxurious way to explore the stunning blue waters of Maldives and relax in the ocean breeze and sun. What’s better? Both these activities will also enable you to socially distance yourselves from other tourists and enjoy to the core!
7. Kite Surfing
Kite surfing at North Male is one of the best adventure activities you can do to explore the bluest waters of Maldives amidst the peaceful white sand beaches of the area. View some mind-blowing panoramic views of the ocean and get an adrenaline rush as you para glide in the air, hanging on to a surfer!
8. Jet Ski & Fun Tube
If you’re visiting Maldives with your family, revel in some fun water rides like these for the ultimate fun! Jet ski and fun tube are not just fun rides for you and your kids, but also enable you to stick together and distance the entire family socially. Ride through the waves and glide through the sea with these fun-filled water sports in Maldives!
9. Wave Surfing
Maldives is not just home to quiet crystal clear waters, but also home to one of the best surfing spots in the world! Maafushi Island in Maldives sees thousands of surfers across the world visiting to experience the big splashing waves on their surfboards. Try this thrilling water activity with sanitized boards and stay socially distant as you glide through the waves on your board!
10. Relaxing Massages
Maldives and its luxury resorts are known for some of the most relaxing massages in the world. Be it Balinese, Ayurveda or signature massages, Maldives has a lot to offer. Before booking your stay, enquire about the spa of your resort to find out your options as travelling to another resort for a spa therapy might not be the safest option as of now.
11. Romantic Beachside Dinners
If you’re visiting Maldives with your partner, you have to treat them to a romantic candlelight dinner at the beachside. Enjoy the serene sunset, the magnificent views of the ocean and a lip-smacking dinner at the beach at your resort. Enquire about your options at the resort in advance and it will surely be one experience you and your partner will never forget in your life.
How To Get Around
Ferry services between the islands of Villimale, Hulhumale, Thilafushi and Gulhifalhu and Male have resumed. Although, please note that entry to Male is still restricted. You may also enquire your resort manager for private ferries or transport.
You can also travel to your resort on a seaplane, the services of which are available at most resorts. Please enquire at the booked resort for details.
Packing Essentials For A Post-COVID Holiday
The essentials you pack for a holiday have now changed many folds. Other than the usual chargers, camera, sunscreen, etc. you will now also need the following:
- N-95 masks: To keep yourself and others safe throughout the holiday, make sure you pack 3 masks to be worn alternatively. These masks will filter all bacterias and keep you safe from catching infections as you travel.
- Gloves: Keep a pack of disposable gloves (used for medical examinations) with you to keep your hands from getting contaminated. When used, dispose of them carefully and responsibly.
- Hand sanitizer: You might not always be able to wash your hands when you travel. Thus, to keep yourself from getting contaminated, keep a hand sanitizer and use it regularly.
- First-aid Kit: In case, you catch a fever or show other symptoms and are tested negative for COVID, you would need regular medicines to treat yourself. Keep the essential medicines with you in a first aid kit to avoid any hassles in a foreign country.
- Extra clothes & a bag: Just to minimize the risk of infection even further, you can keep an extra pair of clothes that you can wear while travelling on flights or at the airport. Keep this pair of clothes packed in a ziplock bag after use, if it’s not possible to wash them.
The Maldivian Ministry of Tourism is doing a brilliant job of keeping their tourists safe. The number of cases in this beautiful cluster of islands seems to fall with passing days. With the various safety measures in place, standardization of resorts and hotels for safety protocols and the strict social distancing measures in place, the Ministry of Tourism has surely made Maldives one of the safest holiday destination options to visit in this “new normal”!