Work and Travel in Maldives
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN MALDIVES FOR TRAVELLERS
The Maldives is a vast archipelago of over 1,000 coral islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean. You can’t get much farther off the beaten track than this. Traditionally, only the super wealthy holiday here ever year. So if you want to get a taste of paradise you need to work in the Maldives to support your trip.
Work and travel in the Maldives also takes you away from the artificial resorts established to bring in these well-heeled travellers. Instead, you'll get to see what this country is really about.
Our travel guide for the Maldives will help get you started as you plan your next challenge.
1. Protect Sea Turtles on Naifaru
Of all the volunteering opportunities in the Maldives, sea turtle conservation is probably the favourite of most backpackers. You’ll travel to the northern Maldives, where the island of Naifaru awaits you. In this community of just 5,000 people, you’ll be integrated into local life as you care for and protect the amazing sea turtles that inhabit the waters around the island.
If you want to work and travel in the Maldives as a working backpacker, this is an experience you won’t soon forget. And the best part is you don’t have to be a professional to get involved.
2. Restoration of Coral Reefs in Kane’ohe Bay
We know that coral reefs are vitally important to marine life. The gradual bleaching and death of the coral reefs is a global problem as it’s one of the most effervescent habitats on the planet. In Kane’ohe Bay, efforts are underway to conserve and restore the coral reefs.
Challenge yourself as you backpack Madagascar by jumping into a coral reef restoration programme. As long as you can swim you’ll get hands on experience researching the status of the coral reefs and brand new insight into how these habitats are being protected.
3. Teaching Children in the Maldives
If you want to teach others, you can go one step further with a placement in the Maldives. Travel in the Maldives and take some time to join an outreach programme, which brings together local and international teachers. You’ll have the opportunity to teach children of all ages and gain first-hand knowledge of how children are taught in the Maldives.
You’ll teach according to your strengths and you’ll be fully supported at all times by local staff members. This is a full immersion experience and offers a real adventure in the Maldives.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR MALDIVES
The Maldives is one of the few countries that provide an automatic 30-day visa to all countries, with the exception of India and Brunei. It’s also possible to extend this initial 30-day visa when you arrive for a fee. It can be extended to a total of 90 days before you have to leave.
Following the end of the 90-day visa you will need to leave and come back, but the remote position of the Maldives means that there’s little viability in performing a visa run by hopping the border.
If you intend to stay longer this is one country where you’ll need to apply for a long-term visa from a Maldivian embassy in advance.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN MALDIVES
For most of the spring, this is the shoulder season. Expect to get great weather at this time of year. You should also bear in mind that the difference between the North Maldives and the South Maldives can lead to weather variations as they’re spread across such a vast area.
March is the beginning of the surf season. Qualified surf instructors can find volunteer opportunities in the Maldives at the popular resorts and the smaller guesthouses. The bigger resorts may even offer paid work for backpackers in the Maldives, but you will need to demonstrate an exceptional amount of experience.
The summer season is known as the low season in the Maldives. Prices drop all over the country as rain and storms become more likely. Depending on where you are, these storms can be quite significant and can easily curtail your travels in the Maldives.
Conservation research projects in the western atolls welcome volunteers in the Maldives at this time of year. Due to migratory patterns, marine life is available in extreme abundance in this part of the country throughout the summer. Certain species won’t be seen in this part of the world again until the following year.
Autumn marks a continuation of the wet season. You should bear in mind that there are no additional specific backpacker skills needed in the Maldives for autumn. The skills mentioned in the ‘Summer’ section continue to apply here until November, which is when the main tourist season begins.
Winter in the Maldives is when tourists from all over the world come to visit. Expect blue skies and low humidity, with almost no rain. The winter time is when you can enjoy working with teaching projects outdoors and when you can make your way into the rural areas.
Local development projects, including spreading public health awareness and construction, are great choices for work and travel in the Maldives at this time of year.
Just make sure you have accommodation already handled as it’s nearly impossible to find reasonably priced rooms at this time of year.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN MALDIVES
Unless you actively seek out locals, tourists rarely come into contact with the real Maldives due to the sheer number of huge resorts catering to foreign visitors. However, if you go beyond the fake luxury as you travel in the Maldives, you’ll discover a land filled with warm, friendly, and real people.
The culture of seeing foreigners as ATMs isn’t present here as most tourists take organised tours and stay in their resorts. For backpackers in the Maldives, they get a far more authentic experience than in other countries.
Do you have what it takes to work and travel in the Maldives?