Checklists, arriving and small print
Helpful Tips & Advice before Arrival
Thank you for booking our Eco-Volunteers Programme.
Please take a few minutes to read through our page of helpful tips and advice, and if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email us. If you prefer, we can also arrange a Skype chat with any of our staff.
Meanwhile, we look forward to seeing you soon, here in the Maldives!
Checklist – several weeks before your departure
Essential information to send to us
We require your travel details, including your international flights to/from the Maldives, your travel (& dive) insurance, and so on. Please complete our Booking Confirmation form, for each member of your group.
Your passport validity
Please ensure that your passport will expire more than 6 months after you return home. This is standard procedure for international travel, and failure to comply may result in you being refused check-in to a departure flight, or denied entry into your destination country.
Maximum 30 days in Maldives
If you are staying on our Programme for the full 4 weeks, please double-check your flight details very carefully using a calendar. From date of arrival to date of departure, the maximum allowed stay in the country is fixed at 30 days. Please ensure you do not over-stay, as this will cause problems with your visa. Your departure flight from the Maldives needs to be booked for a specific date, and not be an ‘Open Ticket’.
- Check with your doctor about vaccination requirements, especially if you plan to travel to other countries in the region (eg: Sri Lanka, India). Also ask if you need any standard immunisation boosters (eg: tetanus).
- Anti-malarial tablets are not usually required if you are travelling only to the Maldives.
- Further detailed health information is available at the UK’s NHS website on Travel Health.
- There is a resident doctor at the Resort, but volunteers are advised to bring their own essentials and sufficient supplies of any prescription medication (your usual medicine may not be available).
- Local health centres provide basic treatments, but standards may be lower than experienced in your home country.
- If you suffer from any long-term illness, please advise us in advance, and check with your doctor before travelling. In particular, please be aware of the increased risk of infections (via contact with seawater and marine animals) for people suffering from: diabetes, cancer, hemochromatosis, suppressed immune system, kidney or liver complaints.
How much cash should I bring ?
Well that very much depends on you, but $200 per person should be sufficient. The local currency is the Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR), but USD$ are widely accepted. The MVR is at a fixed rate, with 1 USD = 15.4 MVR.
If all goes to plan, it is possible to manage without any money at all. Your meals and drinking water are fully provided, and if you have packed all your essentials then you won’t need to buy anything. However you might wish to buy soft drinks and an occasional beer (on the boat), or a souvenir from a local island trip.
Also, if you have a few hours to wait in Malé at either end of your trip, you might need :
$1 for the ferry, $2 for a taxi, $3 for a coffee, $10 for a SIM card, $5-20 for a meal.
If your international flight into the Maldives arrives after 4pm, it is likely you will need to stay overnight in Malé and transfer to the Resort the next day. We can advise on suitable accommodation, but you will be expected to cover all costs for room, food and transport (suggested budget $100 per person, $125 per couple, per night. Booking in advance of arrival is recommended).
However, if there is an unexpected delay that is beyond your control, we may refund your accommodation expenses in part or in full, depending on the circumstances and on a case-by-case basis.
Suggested Shopping & Packing List
- Please bring your own set of mask/snorkel/fins, and practice with it before arrival.
- Please bring your swimming ‘uniform’ with you, black colour with minimal logos/branding :
- black flip flops/sandals,
- black knee-length beach/board shorts,
- black UV resistant long-sleeved swimming top (‘rash guard’, ‘swim shirt’). [For NOAH live-aboard, any colours are OK.]
- Casual wear for evenings and off day: T-shirts (with sleeves, essential), shorts (down to the knee, essential), beach sandals / flipflops / Crocs.
- Suntan lotion – water-resistant factor 30+ is essential; also after-sun lotion, sun hat, black sun glasses (not coloured or mirrored).
- MP3 player, smartphone, headphones, books (e-reader, tablet); playing cards and travel-sized board games for NOAH.
- Your own camera will be useful (water-resistant or underwater).
- Personal toiletries and First Aid kit, eg: travel/motion sickness remedy, tablets for headaches & indigestion, plasters & antiseptic for cuts, contraception, sanitary items; mosquito or bug ‘repellent’, ‘after bite’ anti-itch.
- $200 in cash per person (including some small bills) should be sufficient to cover miscellaneous expenditure (unless you plan to stopover in Malé, or go travelling further). Note that travellers’ cheques are being phased out globally, and are no longer accepted.
- Credit/bank card to cover any unexpected or additional expenses (eg: stopover, delays). Withdraw local cash (MVR) at the airport.
- Don’t bring anything too valuable – loss/damages do occur, and the sandy/salty environment is very corrosive.
Make a note of our contact details
On Arrival into Maldives
Entering the Maldives
On arrival at Maldives airport, select the TOURIST visa option on your card. Complete the form with your accommodation details (Centre is Four Seasons Resorts Maldives, and Liveaboard is NOAH safari boat).
After passing through the arrivals gate, a representative from Seamarc or Four Seasons will be there to meet you. Make sure you have collected all your luggage !
Whilst at the airport, you should buy a SIM card and withdraw some local currency at the ATM (there are no ATMs at the resorts).
A representative will guide you on the next stage of your trip. This might be an overnight stay in Malé (if you have arranged this in advance) or an introduction to the Four Seasons representative for your internal transfer to the resort, by boat or seaplane.
- Transfers to & from the islands can be at inconvenient times (early mornings or late afternoons).
- Dehydration – working outdoors all afternoon, you will need to drink lots of water.
- Bugs – not really a problem, and nothing too scary – flies, mosquitoes and the occasional cockroach. At least spiders are rare !
- Sunburn – the sun is very powerful at the equator, and the gentle sea breeze can mask the burning effect. Keep applying sunscreen, especially if you are working in and out of the sea.
- Delays – things tend to be pretty relaxed in the Maldives, and when added to unpredictable weather and occasional mechanical breakdowns, delays are to be expected at times.
- Single women may attract some unwanted attention, but this will likely be harmless and good-natured – simply take the same common-sense precautions you would observe in any country. You can also expect questions from curious locals, concerning boyfriends/husbands/children !
- Alcohol is not allowed outside of tourist facilities, and you are forbidden from bringing it into the country even as ‘Duty Free’. Possession and use of every type of recreational drug is illegal (with harsh penalties for law-breakers).
I like it here - can I stay ?
It might be possible to extend your stay (up to a maximum of 12 weeks), but this will depend on availability of spaces on the Programme and your work performance to date. You will of course need to pay for the extra weeks, and there may be an extra charge by the airline to alter your return flight ticket.
You might also plan to stay on in the country beyond your time on our volunteer programme. We can try to assist you with this, but be aware that travel between the Maldivian islands can be difficult (on slow local ferries) and expensive (on speed launches or domestic flights).
Getting a full-time, permanent job with us will depend on staffing levels and future vacancies. If you have relevant qualifications/experience and go on to impress us with your attitude and performance, then we can certainly consider you for a permanent position. We can keep your details on file and contact you at a later date should a suitable position arise.
If we decide to hire you, it will be on a 1-year renewable contract basis. You would still need to leave the Maldives at the end of your volunteer period, and return once your work visa had been finalised (which can take several months).
Final Details and “Small Print”
- By joining our Programme, Volunteers are confirming they have read and understood all emails and website details, and will make every effort to comply with the rules and guidelines of the Programme (and Resort).
- Questions about the Programme should be raised as soon as possible, before arrival (via email) or after starting the Programme (to your Manager).
Personal Appearance & Behaviour
- Professional, courteous, friendly, honest; with reliable time-keeping and good work integrity.
- Personal appearance to always reflect the professional standards of an international luxury hotel brand.
- Clothing & footwear should be clean, in ‘as new’ condition and of modest and smart appearance.
- Hair colour, if dyed, should be a natural-looking shade. Overall appearance to be neat and conservative, without extreme styles or unusual adornments.
- Shoulders to be covered, and shorts/skirts worn down to the knee.
- Conservative sunglasses; subtle jewellery/make-up; no visible body piercings. Tattoos must be covered with clothing or a plaster/Band Aid.
Data Confidentiality & Intellectual Property
- Please seek written permission before using or publishing (online or otherwise) any company, guest or employee information & images. If you have doubts about confidentiality, seek advice from your Manager before proceeding.
- You should not pursue external business interests. All data, photographs & written materials created & collected on the Programme remain the property of Seamarc. Please seek written permission before publishing such materials, even for personal or academic purposes.
- We may wish to use photographs of you whilst at work on the Programme, for use on our websites. If you wish to opt out, please inform your Manager.
- If you have any kind of problem connected with your stay, please talk initially to your immediate work colleagues.
- In the unlikely event of a dispute, your Manager will make every effort to resolve things amicably for both parties.
- If your conduct, performance or appearance fail to meet acceptable standards (as decided by Seamarc and/or the Resort), then your Manager may issue a verbal or written warning on behalf of Seamarc.
- The decision of Seamarc (and Resort management) will be final, and we reserve the right to terminate all agreements due to perceived “gross misconduct” (without refund).
Circumstances beyond our control
- Unexpected events (eg: stormy weather) may cause an unplanned overnight stay in Malé; (we will cover expenses).
- We may need to transfer you to a different Resort, to best suit the needs of the company.
- We may need to re-house you in alternative accommodation of an equivalent standard, temporarily or for the full duration. This may be on a different local island or in Resort staff accommodation.