Maldives Reopening to Canadian Travellers: What You Need to Know

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As a small island nation that’s heavily dependent on tourism, the Maldives have reopened to travellers, including Canadians, since the earlier stages of the pandemic. 

With an expanding set of luxury resorts dotted across the Indian Ocean archipelago, the Maldives will be one of the top destinations among Canadian travellers and points collectors for their first post-pandemic getaways. Here’s the key information you need to know if you’re planning a trip to the Maldives.

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Maldives Travel Restrictions

The Maldives resumed international flights and welcomed back foreign tourists from all countries as of July 2020, albeit with several travel restrictions in place.

JW Marriott Maldives

How Can Canadians Enter the Maldives?

At this time, fully vaccinated Canadians are no longer required to have a negative COVID-19 test prior to departing for the Maldives.

As of October 2021, when departing Canada by air, travellers are required to present proof of vaccination.

Travellers will also need to fill in the Traveller Health Declaration form within 24 hours prior to their departure.

The Maldives grants on-arrival entry visas of up to 30 days’ duration to visitors of most nationalities, including Canadians. To qualify for the visa on arrival, you must have a confirmed booking at a place of accommodation and a ticket for onward travel. 

Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi

Testing & Quarantine Upon Arrival

Individuals will undergo on-arrival testing if they are displaying symptoms at the time of arriving in the Maldives. If the individual is travelling in a group, all members of the group must undergo testing.

They will also need to stay at a designated transit facility until test results are available (typically 24 hours), with both the tests and the transit stay coming at the traveller’s own expense. 

Individuals who do not display symptoms may also be asked to undergo on-arrival testing on a random, voluntary, and complimentary basis. 

Testing & Quarantine Upon Return

As of April 1, 2022, a negative test is no longer required prior to travelling back to Canada.

If you need to find a test in the Maldives, the only option will be to reach out to your resort for assistance.

Alternatively, consider purchasing a Switch Health RT-LAMP or antigen test kit for an easy remote testing option via telehealth video link.

St. Regis Maldives Vommuli

Current Health Requirements in the Maldives

If you’re headed to the Maldives, you’ll most likely be spending almost the entirety of your time at one of the 500+ overwater resorts in the islands. It’s about as “normal” of a getaway as you can imagine anywhere in the world.

Nevertheless, there are still a couple of restrictions to be aware of. If you need an overnight stay in the capital, Malé, at the start or end of your trip, these will take place in designated transit hotels rather than booking your own Malé hotel (as in pre-pandemic times).

All of the Maldives’ resorts have COVID-19 management plans in place, including designated rooms for isolation and quarantine if necessary. If a tourist exhibits any symptoms of COVID-19, they must self-isolate in their room, complete a test, and remain isolated until symptoms clear up. 

(I certainly can’t think of any better places to self-isolate than an overwater bungalow in the Maldives, though.)

Sunset Overwater Villa, JW Marriott Maldives

Splitting your time in the Maldives across multiple resorts is allowed, although you should submit your request for a “split stay” to the Maldives Ministry of Tourism at least two days prior to arrival. 

If you stay in the Greater Malé area (the nation’s capital) for 48 hours or more, you’ll need to complete a pre-departure test within 72 hours before moving elsewhere. Also, if you stay at a tourist guesthouse rather than a resort at any point during your visit, you’ll need a pre-departure test within 72 hours of leaving the Maldives. 

Where to Stay in the Maldives

With many travellers having accumulated large volumes of hotel rewards points during the pandemic with nowhere to spend them, a stay in the overwater paradise of the Maldives will surely top many travellers’ post-pandemic bucket lists. 

The major hotel chains have been rapidly expanding their presence in the Maldives in recent years, giving you a plethora of options to redeem points for a luxurious overwater stay.

Marriott Bonvoy resorts include the following:

Hilton Honors resorts include the following:

And you can also consider the following locations with other loyalty programs:

JW Marriott Maldives Review

Which resort you choose will depend on just how luxurious you’d like your experience to be, along with how many hotel points you’ve racked up.

Many Maldives-bound travellers consider it a “once-in-a-lifetime” trip, in which case saving up your points and splurging for an otherwise very expensive location makes a lot of sense. 

On the other hand, being able to redeem Marriott Free Night Awards for the overwater villas at the Category 5 Le Méridien Maldives is also an undeniably great deal.

In addition, you can also leverage Marriott and Hilton’s Fifth Night Free benefit to unlock maximum value for your points.

Le Méridien Maldives

Keep in mind that even though your Bonvoy or Hilton points will go very far in terms of value, the overall trip is still likely to cost you a good chunk of change. Depending on the resort, the seaplane or speedboat transfer from Malé begins at US$400 and go all the way to US$800+ per person round-trip. 

Having at least Marriott Platinum Elite status or Hilton Gold status will come in very handy, as the complimentary breakfast (at all resorts except the Ritz-Carlton) will help you save on the exorbitant cost of food and beverages at the property. 

How to Get to the Maldives

While it’s possible to buy or redeem points for flights to the Maldives in economy class, I imagine most travellers will have their eyes on a premium cabin redemption for such a special trip. 

In terms of routings, the most straightforward options are likely via the Mediterranean or Middle East, with one-way pricing as follows:

If you wanted to spruce up your trip even further, consider the following First Class routings:

During normal times, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines also provide connectivity to Malé from Hong Kong and Singapore, respectively, but these options are currently limited due the pandemic.

That makes it a bit tricky to build the Maldives into a round-the-world routing, at least until Singapore Airlines restores access to their award seats for partner programs. 

As a last resort, SriLankan Airlines offers frequent direct flights from Colombo. From there, you could more easily build a separate itinerary on a wider range of Star Alliance and Oneworld airlines. Business class on this short segment is bookable for 12,500 Avios + $169.

Conclusion

The Maldives have opened their borders to international travellers since last summer.

With a range of luxury resorts to choose from where you can redeem hotel points for high value and endless ocean horizons that have remained absolutely untouched by COVID, it’s easy to see why the Maldives makes for an ideal post-pandemic destination. 

The Maldives no longer have any testing requirements, making for an easy journey there. With Canada also removing all test requirements, a trip there is easier than it ever has been during the pandemic.

As always, you can refer to our Travel During COVID-19 Resource for Canadians for the most up-to-date information on travelling in the pandemic era.

 

 

3 Comments
  1. Jay*

    Alila Kothaifaru Maldives will be another option for Hyatt loyalists.

  2. Darnston

    Can i still get 5th night free if using free night certificates for my stay?

    1. Ricky YVR

      Nope, it’d have to be a six-night stay to use both Fifth Night Free and a Free Night Award. I can see how it was written in a way that implied you could, which I’ve now edited.

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