Affordable Scuba Diving and Watersports in the Maldives
To come to the Maldives, you’ll need a valid passport for at least 6 months. Visas are normally free on arrival but better check just to make sure. Visas: check information here.
Yellow fever vaccination is required for all travelers arriving from a yellow-fever-infected area in Africa or the Americas. Otherwise, no vaccinations are mandatory.
Divers: don’t forget your logbook and certification card 😉 as well as medical certificate if needed.
Then, cap/hat, sun-glasses, sun-cream, mosquito repellent (malaria doesn’t occur in the Maldives, but there is a small possibility of Dengue- improbable but possible so take normal precautions towards mosquitos in the early morning/evening) , swim-suit and swimming clothes, jandals/flip-flops/thongs (depending on your country), light cotton long pants and sleeves might be useful for the evenings.
For the female divers, a little stock of tampons can be useful, as it is not on sale on the island for now.
CULTURE:The Maldives is a 100% Muslim country. Pork products, dogs and alcohol are some of the items that are prohibited on islands with a local population (like ours). Resorts differ in that they are not regarded as having a residential population. As in any other country we visit as travellers, we need to be aware of differences that might exist and respect them as guests would respect the host.
The Maldives is not an extremist muslim country, however some behaviour or clothing might be not appropriate in public areas. For example, on local beaches women are not allowed to wear bikinis. We advise a rash shirt/swimming shorts. Note that when we are on the boat, clothing issues are not a concern and you can wear as little as you like 🙂
Locals are extremely friendly people and although sometimes shy, will always respond to a smile (unless stunned in to silence by your awesomeness). We encourage everyone to go out to some of the coffee shops and try some of the local foods, drink tea and meet people. Most people know at least a few words of English- many others are fluent and some speak other languages such as Italian. Smiles are an international language on their own. ‘Shu’kuriya means thank you in Divehi (the national language).
MEDICAL FACILITIES: medical facilities are available on the island (Gan Regional Hospital) and a consultation with a general practitioner will cost around MRF200 (US$13) All doctors speak excellent English.
The nearest recompression chamber is located in Bandos Island, near to Male, 260km away from Gan Island. In case of diving emergency, sea plane or a chartered plane is organised from Laamu to Male, then a speed boat ride is needed to reach Bandos. DAN (or similar diving-specific) insurance is thus required.
MONEY: the national money is the maldivian Rufiyaa. (US$1 is approx MVR15)
There is a bank on Gan (Bank of Maldives) with an ATM that accepts some international cards. Credit cards are acceptable at the hotel (Visa, Mastercard, Maestro). US dollars are accepted at the hotel.
If you come with currencies other than Maldivian Rufiyaa or US Dollars, we recommend to change it before you come (at least to US Dollars, as the hotel can make the change for US Dollars to Maldivian Rufiyaa).
You may buy local currency at the Bank of Maldives Airport Branch located in the arrival hall of the International Terminal.
Petty cash might be usefull if you want to go to local shops 🙂