Unlocking the World

Traveling to the Maldives during Covid-19: What you need to know before you go

CNN Travel StaffUpdated 20th January 2021
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Editor's Note — Coronavirus cases remain high across the globe. Health officials caution that travel increases your chances of getting and spreading the virus. Staying home is the best way to stem transmission. Below is information on what to know if you still plan to travel, last updated on January 20.
(CNN) — If you're planning a trip to the Maldives here's what you'll need to know and expect if you want to visit during the global coronavirus pandemic.

The basics

The Maldives reopened borders to all travelers from all countries on July 15, 2020.

What's on offer

This is the couples' destination to end all others -- luxury hotels set on private islands, with rooms cantilevered over the water, just in case a walk to the beach is too much effort.

Who can go

All visitors can travel to the Maldives at present, as long as they have proof of a negative Covid test. Cruise ships are currently banned, however.

What are the restrictions?

All arrivals other than Maldives citizens must present a certificate of a negative PCR test carried out within the 96 hours prior to departure, clearly showing the name and address of the laboratory, as well as the date of the sample taken.
The result must be attached to the Traveler Health Declaration form which must be submitted online within the 24 hours prior to arrival.
Hotels are open and guesthouses reopened to international visitors October 15. Tourists are allowed to split stays between hotels. However, if you spend more than 48 hours in the Greater Malé area, you must take another PCR test before moving elsewhere.
Since the discovery of the new UK variant in late December, all travelers arriving from the UK, including transiting passengers, must undergo a 10-day quarantine. However, this does not apply to tourists.
All passengers leaving the airport on arrival will have a health check.
India, Sri Lanka and Maldives have opened discussions on a potential travel bubble between the three countries. However, nothing has materialized at present.

What's the Covid situation

There have been just 49 Maldives deaths, and about 14,600 cases, as of January 20.
On January 19, India announced would begin shipping vaccines to six of its "partner countries," including the Maldives. Once the first batch of the Indian-manufactured vaccine arrives, elderly people and health care workers will be first in line for the shots.

What can visitors expect?

The Maldives are selling themselves as a destination offering a "normal" vacation, thanks to the isolation of most hotels and the fact that the vast majority of visitors stay in-resort rather than venture out.
This means that while locals are subject to restrictions, those going to and from the airport are exempt. Split stays between different hotels are allowed, if the hotels meet government requirements. Requests for split stays must be made 48 hours before travel to the Ministry of Tourism.
Expect also for your resort to have some rules -- especially a temperature check on arrival, and masks to be worn indoors.

Useful links:

Our recent coverage

Wondering what it's like to visit right now? Read this piece, which details the pandemic vacation experience. If you're planning your trip, check out our list of the best dining experiences. And meet the Maldives' "barefoot pilots." And if a travel bubble is what you want, you're in luck -- the Waldorf Astoria Maldives has just revealed its latest property, a Maldivian private island called Ithaafushi, available for a cool $80,000 a night.