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Travel Guide > Asia > Maldives

Maldives Money & Shopping

  
 
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Currency

The local currency is the Maldivian rufiyaa (MVR, Rf), divided into 100 laari. However, by law resorts price services in US dollars and require payment in hard currency (or credit card), so there's absolutely no need to change money if you're going to spend all your time at the resorts. Most hotels have a shop but this is limited to diving and holiday essentials (sun cream, sarongs, disposable cameras, etc.) Some excursions from resorts will take you to local islands where there are handicraft type things to buy, but there are typically made outside the Maldives and sold at outrageous markups.

If you are heading to Male or the other inhabited atolls, exchanging some rufiyaa will come in handy. The coins, in particular, are quite attractive and make an interesting souvenir in themselves, but the smaller denominations are rarely used or seen. The official exchange rate to the US dollar is fixed at 12.75:1, but while dollars are near-universally accepted, shops usually exchange them at 12:1 or even 10:1.

Costs

There's no way around it: the Maldives are expensive, and there is effectively no budget accommodation or transport. Resorts have a monopoly on services for their guests and charge accordingly: for mid-range resorts, $1000 per week per couple is a conservative budget for meals, drinks and excursions, above and beyond the cost of flights and accommodation. Practically anything — including hotel rooms if booked locally — gets slapped with an arbitrary 10% "service charge", but tips are expected on top.





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