5 Best Maldives Excursions You Should Not Miss

Feature image for five best Maldives excursions

Having a hard time choosing what to do in the Maldives?  Well, fear not! With thousands of Maldives excursions available, it can be overwhelming. However, whether you’re staying in a luxury resort or on a local island, there are numerous choices offered by Maldives tour operators and resorts.

Are you worried about picking the best excursion to fulfill your dream of a tropical paradise with crystal-clear waters, pristine beaches, and unforgettable adventures? Rest assured, we’ve got you covered with the top 5 Maldives excursions, providing all the details you need.

While I traveled to the Maldives on a budget and chose to stay on Maafushi Island, the features for the Maldives excursions shall be the same (except the price). The experience has been thrilling and luxurious, plus it’s a best-valued honeymoon trip for me and my wife. So, get ready for thrilling shark trips, relaxing resort visits, unforgettable encounters with nurse sharks, whale sharks and mantas, exciting sunset fishing, and a rendezvous with stingrays. It’s time to dive in and explore the best Maafushi Island activities and Maldives excursions

Maldives Excursion 1 Shark Tour - photo taken by the tour guide snorkeling with nurseshark
Maldives Excursion 1 – snorkeling with nurse sharks

Maldives Excursion 1: Shark Trip – The Number One Maldivian Experience

Duration: 9:30 am – 3:00 pm / 4:00 pm

Price:   Around USD 50 per person for Shark Trip. I got a USD 40 promotional offer at one local operator.

Do you want a picture of swimming in the middle of sharks? Snorkeling with nurse sharks is the best Maldivian experience you could ever have!

Would that be dangerous? Not really!

Nurse sharks (scientifically known as Ginglymostoma Cirratum) are a prominent species in the vibrant marine life of the Maldives. Normally, they are calm and docile, like the “gentle giants” of the shark family. In short, they would not eat you, while it is not advisable to overly provoke them.

What To expect ?

The Lucky Dolphins

The shark tour your would usually start in 9:30 am morning. Depending on the itinerary of the tour package, it would usually go for a coral garden snorkeling / island visit followed by “Lucky Dolphin”. Lucky dolphin means the boat will pass by the area that you would see dolphins depending on luck. I was very lucky to see the dolphins during my shark trip with my partner. Being luckier, the guide even allowed me to jump in and swim with the dolphins. One of the luckiest things in my life.

Finding the lucky dolphins
Spotting the lucky dolphins

Maldives Excursion 1 Highlight – Snorkeling With Nurse Sharks

Then the boat would stop in the nurse shark area and start to attract the nurse sharks by feeding them with fishes at the back of the boat. At that moment, the tour guide would split you into small groups. When the nurse sharks start to form a crowd, the guides would instruct you to jump into the water. Then they will start taking photos or videos for you, your partner or family with GoPro. I have to say it is very rare on earth that you could find such experience at a budget-friendly price.

Best 5 Maldives Excursions - Snorkeling with nurse sharks
Me Snorkeling with the Maldivian nurse sharks

Lunch On The Maldivian Sand Bank

The trip does not end with nurse sharks snorkeling only. The final stop for the trip is usually a visit to the Maldives sandbank. There are many sandbanks in Maldives. Most of them feature stunning natural formations of small, sandy island merging in the middle of the ocean. It forms a paradise-like setting with the tiffany blue ocean. You will have your free lunch (usually fried rice) with juice at the Maldives sandbank for an hour or so.

Sandbank in Maldives
Sandbank in Maldives

Maldives Excursion 2: Maldives resort tour

Duration: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Price:  The price for this Maldives excursion from Maafushi Island starts at USD 100 per person. It could also range from USD 100 to USD 135 depending on the packages. I chose the Bronze Package for USD 100 per person by iCom Tours for Adaaran Club Rannalhi day tour.

Maldives is very reputable for its luxury resorts. For one night accommodation at the luxurious water bungalow, it could easily cost you over USD 1,000. Honestly, speaking it is almost equivalent to all my expenses in Maldives. I am not opposed for staying in the resorts in which it is also very important for the Maldivian economy as a whole. Yet, if you travel Maldives on a budget like me. I would definitely recommend you to take a resort day tour instead.

What To expect?

Maldives Excursion 2 Highlight – Photos With Water Bugalows

The tour operator will arrange a departure and return speed boat to the resort. I joined the Adaaran Club Rannalhi day tour. In my case, I first had a briefing offered by the resort upon arrival of the pier. After that, it is free activities on the resort island. Basically, I can go anywhere and even take photos at the water bungalow. Except for getting too close to the rooms, as it would disturb the guests.

Images for the water bungalows in number 2 of 5 best Maldives excursions recommended
The Water Bungalows at Adaaran Club Rannalhi

Other than taking dream-like pictures of the water bungalows, you can chill out on the beaches around the resort. Apart from the pristine beaches and the water bungalows, the Adaaran Club Rannlhi Day tour also includes unlimited drinks (cocktails, juice, beer, and soft drinks) and snacks. You can enjoy different cocktails at the dining area near the beach.

International Buffet Lunch

On top of that, the package usually includes a lunch buffet with all sorts of international cuisines. The resort has a policy of not allowing wet clothes or bikinis in the buffet restaurant. Thus, you will need to bring an alternative outfit to wear during meal times.

Buffet lunch included in the Adaaran Club Rannlhi Day Tour
Buffet lunch included in the Adaaran Club Rannlhi Day Tour

Even buying only the cheapest package from the Maldives tour operator, I found myself very busy during the visit. For example, with my snorkeling gear, I could snorkel around the coral area near the water bungalows. Sometimes, you can also find some juvenile sharks nearby and a lot of colorful coral fishes. An exceptional highlight is the opportunity to capture striking photographs amidst the serene seascape, featuring the exquisite water bungalows

Image for swimming in the middle of water bungalows during the Adaaran Club Rannalhi day tour
Swimming in the middle of water bungalows

Other Resort Activities

After all the amazing experiences, my partner and I also took a 1-hour Maldivian spa for USD 60 in total. Well it turned out the spa is very affordable even in the luxury resort. Subsequently, I spent my last hour at the resort at the cocktail area with my love before taking the speed boat back to the Maafushi island.

Cocktail at the dining area of Adaaran Club Rannalhi
Cocktail at the dining area of Adaaran Club Rannalhi

In my opinion, the Adaaran Club Rannlhi Day tour already provides me with the experiences I would have if I were to spend a night at the resort for only USD 100. That’s why I highly recommend it to anyone traveling Maldives on a budget. I also checked different Maldives tour operators on the Maafushi island. From tour operator visits, there are also other day tours including Biyaadhoo Island Resort, Centara RasFushi Resort for ~ USD 135 Adaaran Prestige Vadoo  for ~ USD 125 and Fihalhohi Island Resort for ~USD 105.

Feature photo for Maldives Whale shark tours
Feature Whale Shark Photo by Olga ga on Unsplash

Maldives Excursion 3 : Maldives Whale Shark Tours

Duration: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Price:  Around USD 100 per person for whale shark tour. The price is quite standard in different Maafushi island tour packages.

Whale shark is the largest shark in the world and also is the largest fish species. Despite its immnse size with lengths of over 40 feet, surprisingly it is non-aggressive towards human. Whale sharks mainly feed on plankton, small fish and other microscopic organisms by passively filter large amounts of water through their grills. Thus, there is no need for them to hunt for larger prey including humans.

What To Expect?

By joining the Maldives whale shark tours, you would have a chance to swim with this gigantic species. While, whale sharks are in general harmless, you would need to refrain from touching them or swimming in front of them to avoid any potential danger.

Whale Shark Searching

The tour usually departs at 8 AM in the morning to the water areas near Dhangethi. The one way boat ride from the Maafushi island to Dhangethi would usually take around 2 hours. Upon arrival of the area, the tour guides would start searching the whale sharks with drones. Sometimes it would take more than an hour to spot the right locations. There is also a chance that you would find nothing. So warning ahead there is no guarantee that you would definitely see a whale shark.

As for the whale shark season in Maldives, it is actually all year round. Although, you would have higher chances encountering them in May or November, it is actually a matter of pure luck. So please adjust your expectations before joining the whale shark tour.

Snorkeling With Maldivian Manta Ray

I was amongst the half-lucky group. During my visit to Maldives, I also did not encounter the majestic whale shark as well. However, I was fortunate that we found the Manta in the area that day. As part of the typical whale shark tour to Dhangethi, the Maafushi tour package would include Maldives Manta Ray searching.

Snorkeling with Maldives Manta Ray at whale shark excursion
Snorkeling with Maldives Manta Ray

And Yes ! Despite missing the whale shark, I was blessed with a chance to swim with the Manta Ray. Although, most spotlights would got to the whale sharks, Maldivian manta ray is actually one of the must-visit giant oceanic creature. Similar to the friendly whale sharks, the Maldives manta rays are harmless to humans. They do not have barbed stingers and only feed on small organisms like plankton.

Lunch On Dhangethi Island

Sometimes, they would even be curious of divers and snorkelers. Plus, they do not swim very fast like dolphin, making snorkeling with manta a truly rewarding part of the Maldives whale shark tour. After the exotic meeting with manta ray, the tour would end with a lunch near Dhangethi island. There, you will have lunch with juice and fruit, at the white sand shores surrounded by the palm tress and Tiffany blue ocean. Subsequently, you can stay one the island for around 30 minutes for pictures before another 2 hour boat-ride back to the Maafushi island.

Lunch on Dangethi Island the final stop of number 3 Maldives Excursion
The utopian Dhangethi island

Maldives Excursion 4 : Sunset Fishing

Duration: 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Price: The price is pretty standard at USD 30 offered by different operators like Triton and ICOM on the Maafushi Island.

Sunset fishing on Maafushi Island is a popular activity among tourist visiting the Maldives. Situated in the Indian Ocean, Maldivian waters are home to a variety of fishing species. By joining the sunset fishing tour, you would have a chance to catch some of them for dinner on your own. In fact, it is also a usual activity available at different resorts with different prices.

Boat ride for sunset fishing number 4 Maldives Excursion
Enjoying the boat ride of sunset fishing

What To Expect?

The boat trip would usually depart at 5:30 PM before the sunset from the Maafushi Island’s shores. It’s a short boat ride and you can enjoy the stunning sunset on the boat roof. Shortly before arrival, the tour operator will provide you with all the necessary fish equipment like fishing rods, lines, hooks and tuna bait. Yes you will use tuna slices to fish…

The fishing equipment for sunset fishing
The fishing equipment for sunset fishing

Sunset Fishing Begins

After instruction briefing, you can start your fishing at the designated fishing spots. There a are various catchable coral fishes. Common types include grouper, snapper, tuna, barracuda and Trevally. One of the tourists in my group even got a baby shark hooked. Well after all we fish with tunas.

Coral fishs caught during the sunset fishing
Coral fishs caught during the sunset fishing

Finished With Fish Dinner

After an hour or so, the boat will return to Maafushi. The tour comes with a supplementary BBQ dinner. It is a smiple meal with one of the fish caught during the trip plus some sides.

The sunset fishing experience is fun as one of the recommendable Maldives Excursions. I would also recommend you combine this with any of the shark tours that would end at 3 PM for efficient use of the time.

BBQ dinner after sunset fishing
BBQ dinner after sunset fishing

Maldives Excursion 5 : Stingray Corner Tour

Duration: 9:30 am – 2:00 pm / 3:00 pm

Price: The price is around USD 55 – USD 60 per person  

Stingrays are fascinating marine creatures that can be found in the waters surrounding the Maldives. In fact, you are very likely to encounter them at the Oceanfront. They usually adopt a elegant swimming style with their flat bodies and long tails. Like nurse sharks, whale sharks and manta rays they are docile and non-aggressive to human. The four creatures forming the “Maldives big 4”. Again despite the harmlessness, we shall not provoke them and their tail barbs are venomous.

Last but not least, let me introduce the stingray corner tour. Imagine yourself sitting on the seaside surrounded by a crowd of stingrays. Wouldn’t you want to have a photo like this? If so, you could not miss the Stingray corner tour in Maldives.

The Stingray corner for the last Maldives Excursion recommendation
Photo in the middle of the stingray crowds

Get ready for an up-close encounter with graceful stingrays at Stingray Corner on your Maldives excursion. Dive into the crystal-clear waters and witness these magnificent creatures as they gracefully glide around you. Capture stunning photos and videos with a GoPro, ensuring you have lasting memories of this incredible experience on your Maldives excursion.

What To Expect

The Stingray Corner

Similar to the shark tour, the boat would usually depart at 9:30am from the Maafushi island. After arriving the local island, the tour guides will attract the crowds of stingrays by feeding. Given its popularity, the corner is usually crowded with different Maldives tour operators. So you may need to wait for the photos.

I would recommend you to explore the water edge nearby where you can swim with one or two stingrays. Generally, bikini is not allowed on local island but sometimes it is okay during photo with the stingray. The tour guides would usually take photo for you with their high quality photo and transfer to your phone or devices later for free.

Swimming with isolated stingray while waiting for photo at the stingray corner during the stingray Maldives excursions
Swimming with an isolated stingray while waiting for photos at the stingray corner

Other Activities

Usually, the Maafushi island tour package for stingray corner would come with a nurse shark snorkeling / coral garden snorkeling followed by a lunch on sandbank. It is a good chance for you to enjoy both snorkeling with the shark and taking heaven-like photos at the Maldivian sandbank again.

Lunch at Maldives sandbank final stop of the stingray Maldives excursions
Lunch at the sandbank

Wrapping Up The 5 Best Maldives Excursions

By going for these 5 Maldives excursions, you should cover most of the Maldivian experiences. From snorkeling with nurse sharks, whale sharks, stingrays, and manta rays to indulging in the luxurious resorts, water bungalows, Sunset fishing, and Eden-like sandbanks.

I chose to travel to Maldives on a budget by spending around USD 325 for all these experiences via the tour operators on Maafushi Island. On top of these top five Maldives excursions, Maafushi Island offers a plethora of other activities and excursions. Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventure seeker, or simply looking to relax on pristine beaches, I would recommend taking tours from there.

I understand that your itinerary could be different or you may be having a honeymoon at some of the other resorts. However, you would not want to miss the encounter of the “big 4 marine creatures”, fishing in the sunset, and the luxurious water bungalows.

Want to utilize your time in Maldivies more? Also check out my post about the top attractions in Male for your arrival and departure date in Maldives.

I hope you will love the 5 best Maldives Excursions recommended.

Please leave me a comment if you find the information useful ! Much appreciated for your support !

Regulus K

A budget travel blogger passionate about exploring different destinations worldwide, while balancing a regular 9-to-5 job.


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