5 Cheaper Maldives Alternatives: The Ultimate List

The Maldives is a bucket list destination for many. However, it is one of the most expensive destinations in the world. So, where can you go to enjoy the same beauty as the Maldives but at half the cost?
Drone view of beach on Gili T with crystal blue water and boats
The Gili Islands of Indonesia. An alternative to the Maldives? Photo: Unsplash

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With overwater bungalows on the azure blue ocean and palm trees lining the beaches, the Maldives is a bucket list destination for many. 

However, for most people, the Maldives is a tropical paradise out of their budget. 

So, where can you go to enjoy the same beauty as the Maldives but at half the price? 

Gili Islands, Indonesia 

Gili Trawangan, Photo: Ömer KarakusUnsplash

Only a short boat ride from Bali, the Gili Islands in Indonesia offer picturesque white sand beaches, tall palms and some of the best snorkelling in the region. 

Although the Gili Islands don’t have overwater bungalows like the Maldives, there are plenty of beach bungalows to choose from, starting at as low as $40 per night.

Some of the best things to do in the Gili Islands include

  • Go snorkelling
  • Ride on a Gili swing 
  • Watch the sunset 

Whitsunday Islands, Australia 

Hamilton Island, Photo: Vladimir HaltakovUnsplash

Located in the heart of the world’s largest and most famous reef, the Whitsunday Islands are the perfect alternative to the Maldives. 

With secluded bays, lush forests, and some of the whitest sand in the world, a trip to the Whitsunday Islands will only cost you half as much as a trip to the Maldives.

Some of the best things to do in the Whitsundays include

  • Visiting the world-famous Whitehaven Beach 
  • Flying over the Heart Reef
  • Seeking out secluded beaches

El Gouna, Egypt 

El Gouna, Photo: Yevhenii FoshchanUnsplash

Located on the Red Sea, this modern Egyptian resort town is a hidden gem that is a cheaper Maldives alternative. 

Not only does El Gouna boast azure waters, but it’s home to thriving coral reefs, allowing you to snorkel at your leisure. 

Lined with waterside accommodation, this resort town has plenty of places to choose from, with prices starting as low as $450 per night. 

Specializing in watersports, some of the best things to do in El Gouna include

  • Snorkeling 
  • Wakeboarding
  • Sailing through the Red Sea

Northern Palawan, Philippines 

Northern Palawan, Photo: Cris TagupaUnsplash

Although the Maldives has 1,200 islands, the Philippines is home to 7,100, many of them uninhabited paradises waiting to be explored. 

Famous for having the clearest and bluest water in South East Asia, if you’re looking for the Maldives blue without the price tag, then Northern Palawan is your best option! 

While the main spots such as El Nido and Coron attract big crowds, if you head north, you’ll find stunning sea caves, beautiful beaches, and limestone cliffs with accommodation a quarter of the price of the Maldives. 

Some of the best things to do in Palawan include 

  • Go snorkeling 
  • Explore the sea caves by kayak 
  • Go island hopping


Curaçao, Photo: Stephan van de SchootbruggeUnsplash

If you’re located in Europe or the Americas and don’t want to add the cost of traveling to the already expensive Maldives trip, why not head to Curaçao? 

Located in the Caribbean, this Dutch island is known for its coral reefs, crystal clear water, and perfect year-round weather. 

With prices starting as low as $300 per night for accommodation, this island paradise is definitely a cheaper alternative to the Maldives. 

Some of the best things to do in Curaçao include

  • Snorkeling the coral reefs 
  • Rent a car and explore the island
  • Visit the best beach on the island: Grote Knip 

Where Will You Go First?

If a trip to the Maldives isn’t in your budget, you’ll be pleased to know many places around the world provide the same beauty as the Maldives but at half the cost! 

Whether traveling to Asia, Africa, or the Americas, these are our top picks for cheaper Maldives alternatives. 


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