Is one night at a resort in the Maldives really worth it?!
Well, I’m not really one to stay at beach resorts ($$$), but…
When in Rome!
Or, when in the Maldives…
The Maldives is pretty much known for luxury resort stays.
So when I saw that there was a “resort” on the island I was flying into and the price seemed reasonable enough to give it a try, I decided to book a stay.
But still something that seemed nice.
I was traveling during the off-season (May), so I do believe that brought down the price a bit!
Simply put, I loved my 24 hours at Equator Village!
Of course, spending more time would be better.
But if you want to mostly travel to the Maldives on a budget and don’t mind a one-time splurge, then this can be it.
Think of the price you’re paying as a “tour” with unlimited (all-day) snorkeling and amazing views at your doorstep, with food and accommodation included.
Then, after you’ve gotten a nice welcome to the Maldives by staying at a resort for a short time, you can head to an airbnb in another part of the Addu atoll.
Make sure it’s one of the connecting islands (more on this a little later) for ease of travel.
If you’re new to airbnb, use this referral link for up to US$40 off.
Here are ideas for 4 days in the Maldives, with day 1 at Equator Village!
If you’re looking for more of the typical Maldives resort ($$$), see the Shangri-La on Villingili island, the resort island in the Addu atoll. (This Shangri-La doesn’t offer day passes.)
First, the quick list of how to spend 24 hours at the Equator Village resort on Gan Island.
Then, a bit more details of what it was like to spend one day on Gan Island!
What might 24 hours at Equator Village look like?!
Your experience may vary!
1. Start with tropical fruit juice
2. Go snorkeling
…or do nothing
3. Eat lunch
…with tropical fruit
pineapple, papaya, passion fruit
4. Go snorkeling again
…or do more of nothing
5. Catch the colors of the sunset
6. Eat dinner
7. Do more of nothing while hearing ocean waves crashing
9. Eat breakfast
…with local cuisine
Mas huni (tuna and shredded coconut), buffalo curd, roshi (bread like chapati or roti). I ate this as a wrap. The mashuni was spicy so I added the curd (basically plain yogurt) to it!
10. Go snorkeling (again)
…or do more of nothing (again)
How much does this all cost?!
There are different levels that you can book with your hotel stay at Equator Village:
- No meals included
- Half-board (some meals included)
- Full-board (all meals included)
- All-inclusive (meals and unlimited drinks included)
I went for all meals included, and this was US$125, including tax.
Again, this was off-season.
For the buffet-style meals, there is a variety of western food offered, along with some local cuisine.
See the current price here. (partner website)
Or put in Equator Village as your destination along with your travel dates on the map below (partner website) to see how much it might be at the time you’re looking to go to the Maldives!
And by comparison (and for fun)…
See the price of the Shangri-La luxury resort!
A little bit more about time at Equator Village on Gan Island!
Flight to Gan Island, Addu atoll, Maldives
So the Equator Village resort is located in the Addu atoll of the Maldives.
The Addu atoll is made up of several islands, and it’s said that it is a unique atoll because there’s a road that connects between a number of these islands. (Basically, islands in the Maldives are generally not connected by road at all, and that would mean that ferry/boat or plane is the only way to get between them.)
And within the Addu atoll, Equator Village is located on Gan Island.
This island also is the location of the international airport of the Addu atoll.
And there’s a bus that can get you to the connecting islands from Gan Island.
If you’re flying to the Maldives from elsewhere in Asia, Sri Lankan Airlines can be a perfect choice to get to Gan Island.
Sri Lankan Airlines is one of the only (if not THE only?) major airline that flies internationally into the Addu atoll.
Otherwise, if you fly into the main international airport of the Maldives in Male (Velana airport), then there are flights from Male to Gan Island as well.
Flying Sri Lankan Airlines to Gan Island does mean that you’ll have to transit through Colombo airport in Sri Lanka.
But flying through this airline is also what made this 24 hours at Equator Village possible, because of the flight timings. (Of course, flight itineraries can change!)
At the time I flew, all flights from Colombo arrived to Gan Island at around 8:30am.
And, Equator Village allowed for early check-in.
This meant that I was able to start my day at the resort mid-morning, which was kind of amazing.
Of course, early check-in is NOT guaranteed! Again, I was traveling in the low season, so this likely helped.
Search for Sri Lankan Airlines flights here to see how much it may cost you, and to see if there’s a direct flight from your home airport to Colombo. (Which would mean just the single layover at Colombo airport.)
While there are direct flights from Kerala to the Maldives, there are no direct flights from Kerala to Gan Island. The direct flights are to Male, from Cochin COK (SpiceJet, Indigo) and from Trivandrum TRV (Air India). You can also try searching from these Kerala airports with Sri Lankan Airlines if you do decide to go to Gan Island.
Shuttle from airport to resort
You can arrange for a shuttle from the airport directly from the resort (for an extra charge of US$12 round-trip or US$6 one way).
It’s a short drive, like 5 minutes.
Equator Crossing Certificate
If you live in the northern hemisphere, you will actually be crossing the equator to stay at Equator Village! 😀
You can be proud of your accomplishment! 😉
The entirety of the Maldives isn’t at a latitude south of the equator.
The islands in the Addu atoll are among the islands in the Maldives that you can visit in which you will be traveling across the equator.
Snorkeling at Equator Village resort house reef
The Addu atoll is said to be among the top destinations in the Maldives for snorkeling.
And you can find some of these snorkeling spots at Equator Village.
This can make staying at Equator Village highly convenient!
Basically, you have access to unlimited snorkeling, which means you can come and go between your room and the beach with ease.
The thing about snorkeling is that sometimes snorkeling spots need to be accessed by boat.
The good news is that there is some snorkeling you can do at Equator Village right off-shore from the beach. (aka there is a house reef at this Maldives resort.)
Where is the best snorkeling spot at Equator Village?!
This is among the first questions I asked the staff.
I was told that it’s possible to see fish anywhere along the resort area.
But the best snorkeling is over to the right side (when you’re facing the ocean).
So that’s where I went snorkeling.
So basically, there are a bunch of “lagoons” at Equator Village.
These lagoons are divided off by something like “piers.”
You can try snorkeling at any of the lagoons to see what you can find!
But the one I went to…
So there is the lagoon with the little sheltered area, a mini-hut.
I spent most of my ocean time at the lagoon directly to the right of this one (again, when facing the ocean).
And then basically, start making your way out to the rocky area that’s alongside the pier!
There’s high tide and low tide here that’s noticeable, and that does make a difference in how far out you’ll be able to stand.
I did also see people at Equator Village who were in scuba diving gear and went out a little further.
Renting snorkeling gear
If you don’t want to pack snorkeling gear for your trip to the Maldives, there’s snorkeling gear available for rent at the resort.
You can rent by the day or by the week.
Photo taken May 2019. Prices subject to change!
So the above snorkel rental info is listed in German as well.
I guess there are a lot of Germans who come to this resort. That would explain why someone spoke to me in German at first.
He asked me if I saw a shark as I was coming out of the water. I later figured out why he asked me this. Apparently you can spot small sharks here too!
There’s really not so much of a beach for beach-lazing here.
There are beaches at each of the lagoons, but the water can come up all the way, so it’s not really a spot to lay out at.
Instead, just above these lagoon beaches is where there are beach chairs set up.
And then more seating areas in the sand.
Resort swimming pool
And then, there’s also a swimming pool at this resort.
No matter where you’re headed to in the resort area from your room, everything will practically be right there!
Start planning your trip to the Addu atoll?!
Search for Sri Lankan Airlines flights to see if it’ll work out for you to fly from your home airport to Colombo to Gan Island.
Search for availability of rooms at Equator Village.
Search for airbnb homes in Addu atoll. (Be sure to look at the map for island location. Being on one of the islands that connect by road might be better!) Use this referral link for up to US$40 off if you’re new to airbnb.
Search for more hotels in Addu atoll
Zoom out to see hotels on connecting islands!
HAPPY EQUATOR VILLAGE RESORT STAY IN ADDU ATOLL!
The need-to-know India travel tips!If it's your first trip to India, be sure to see these tips for getting around India on a budget, and more! You might wait until India to buy this mosquito repellent that works for many foreigners! Also be sure to see how to spend one month in South India and 2 weeks in North India, as well as tips for the Golden Triangle. And, overnight sleeper bus travel isn't so bad, and neither is traveling in general class on the train! Also see the easy way to get an e-visa. And this is the easy way to book train tickets online as a foreigner. I've used it, and it's simple! You can just show the e-ticket on your phone.
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Hostels in KeralaFor a hostel with international standards in Kerala, try Zostel!
More Zostels in Kerala:
Zostel is a top backpacker chain across India, and I've stayed at many Zostels in India! And outside of Kerala, if you'll be passing through Gokarna as you go from Goa to Kerala (here are options of how to get from Goa to Kerala!), then Zostel Gokarna is in an amazing location too! Here are pictures from the on-site cafe that overlooks the ocean.
Where to stay on the tourist trail in KeralaThese places basically go down the coast from north to south!
- Cochin: Try a homestay in the cute heritage area of Fort Kochi.
- Marari Beach: This is an "off-beat" location as Marari is mostly unknown to backpackers, but it can be a convenient stop to make between Cochin and Alleppey with chill laid back vibes. For an idea of what type of beach can be nearby, see my beach walk from Alleppey to Marari.
- Alleppey Beach:
- Funky Art Beach House again for chill vibes with a location among locals in a residential neighborhood
- And there's Zostel Alleppey too for another beach location to stay several days
- OR if Alleppey is a quick visit, try Dream Nest to be closer to town
- And see how to spend one day in Alleppey (short version: go for the backwaters village canoe tour instead of a houseboat!)
- Alleppey backwaters:
- Munroe Island: This is another generally kind of more off-beat location, and you can see a different part of the Kerala backwaters on a quiet island
- Varkala cliff:
Retreats in KeralaFor relaxation and rejuvenation for health and wellness, also see:
- Yoga retreats in Kerala
- Ayurveda retreats in Kerala - ayurveda is basically healthy living through natural herbs and remedies, and Kerala is the birthplace of ayurveda!
How to book India train tickets online as a foreignerIf you don't want to go through the complicated process of setting up an IRCTC Indian railways account as a foreigner...
Then the most convenient way to buy train tickets online is through this booking website. I've used it, and it's super simple! You buy the ticket, and then show the electronic version on your phone once you're on the train. Compared to buying directly through an Indian ticket booking website (IRCTC account required) or directly at the train station in India, there is a small convenience fee, as well as a less flexible cancellation policy, though!