Maldives has been a world renowned summer destination that has tourists flooding in around the globe. A large amount of tourists result in a large amount of foreign exchange taking place throughout the year. In the later parts of the 1980s, Maldives currency experienced a surge of commercialization due to a boost in its tourism sector. Naturally, tourism became one of the main sectors which heavily contributed to Maldives’ economy.

Making your Maldives vacation a bit easier, following is some useful information that may help you have a better understanding of Maldives currency.

Transactions in Maldives

Maldivian currency is non-transferable hence make sure to convert your currency into Maldivian Rufiyaa or carry convertible currency like US dollars, British pounds and Euros. When it comes to conversion from Indian rupees(INR) to Maldives currency (1 MVR) the exchange rate is Rs. 5.33 as of February 2023. Although, if you choose to use US Dollars for transactions during shopping, the vendors will return the change in Maldivian Rufiyaa.

The exchange rate for US Dollar to Maldives currency is (15.36 MVR) as of February 2023.

Place for Currency Exchange

  • There is a counter of the Bank of Maldives Foreign Exchange at the arrival hall of Male international Airport.
  • There are other private currency exchange services in Maldives like Aqsa Forex and Sago Money Exchange which are located in Hulhumale and Male respectively.
    You can also choose to use International cards for transactions in shopping malls, restaurants and hotels.
  • To get a deeper understanding of the Maldives currency, we will take a peek at its history and unique features.


Maldives currency had an intriguing past considering its unique geographical location. Maldives being an island nation, beautiful ivory coloured cowry shells were used as a form of currency in the initial days.

Due to Maldives’ pivotal location in the Indian Ocean, it was until the 17th and 18th centuries when a new form of currency ‘laarin’ was introduced in Maldives as a result of trade among the neighbouring countries. At that time, larin was a popular currency used in the Persian Gulf, India, Ceylon and other eastern countries.

The coin system of Maldives was first developed in the capital city of Male by the then Sultanate. In the later half of the 20th century, ‘Rufiyaa’ banknotes were introduced as the currency of Maldives with its value equal to Ceylonese Rupee. Subsequently in the following years of the 1960s, laari coins were introduced in Maldives currency.

Features of Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR)

The Maldivian currency bills reflect the vibrant and colourful essence of the island life culture. The coins are carved with beautiful sea creatures found in Maldives and the bills are colourful like the coral reefs in the Indian Ocean.

Recently, a new note series has been issued named ‘Ran Dhihafaheh’ which is easy to handle, consists of unique tilt, feel and unusual dual UV colour features. There are different iridescent patterns on every note, each distinct from one another. To make the user-friendly experience convenient for the visually impaired, there are different dot patterns on each note. The notes are made of polymer to avoid absorption of moisture and tear like the paper banknotes. This has added a new twist to Maldives currency.

  • 5 Rufiyaa (MVR) – The 5 Rufiyaa note in Maldives currency depicts football on its front side as it is a national sport of the country. On the other side, the note has a beautiful picture of a conch shell. 
  • 10 Rufiyaa (MVR) – The 10 Rufiyaa note in Maldives currency portrays the long lasting  Maldivian culture of relying on coconut trees(toddy tapper). On the flip side, the note has an image of an intricately designed Boduberu, an oldest Maldivian drum. 
  • 20 Rufiyaa (MVR) – The 20 Rufiyaa note in Maldives currency shows the significance of the fishing culture of the island where a man is seen carrying skipjack tuna and yellowfin tuna. On the back, it shows a picture of the dhoni, a traditional sail boat of Maldives.
  • 50 Rufiyaa (MVR) – The 50 Rufiyaa note in Maldives currency has emphasised on the religious and cultural aspects  of the island. On the front, it displays a young boy reading the Holy Quran and also the group activity of pushing dhoni to the sea. On the back, a small tower-like structure of the Hukuru Miskiy (Friday Mosque)
  • 100 Rufiyaa (MVR) – The 100 Rufiyaa note in  Maldives currency embraces the art and culture of Maldives. It displays the women folk wearing the traditional outfit Libaas while working on a neckline threading Hiru. On the other side, it displays the first scriptures of the ancient Dhivehi Dhambidhu Loamaafaanu. 
  • 500 Rufiyaa (MVR) –  The 500 Rufiyaa note proudly portrays the artisans and the Maldivian art of carving woods and ekels in an intricate design. On its reverse side, it contains a beautiful vase made of lacquer with immaculate details and designs.
  • 1000 Rufiyaa (MVR) – the highest denomination of Maldives currency, 1000 Rufiyaa is a alluring blue coloured note depicting the rich marine life of the islands. The front side is filled with vibrant corals and elegant sea turtles. On the back, it contains the majestic drawing of the whale shark. 

For the Numismatist Souls
(Numismatist is someone who has a keen interest in specialising and collecting coins,currencies and medals)

If you happen to find yourself fascinated by the history of currency on your Maldives vacation, there is something to make your experience more joyful.

The Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA) has taken a special initiative to issue commemorative banknotes and coins for all coin enthusiasts around the world. The issued banknotes and coins belong to the different eras in Maldivian history.

The MMA issues :

Ran Dhihafaheh Note Series (the current note series)
The 1983 Paper Banknote Series
The 1947 Paper Banknote Series
The coin collection of 2014
50th Independence Commemorative Note
Commemorative coins like : The Gold Laari, 25th Anniversary of Independence, 25th Republic Anniversary, Millennium 2000 and 50th Republic anniversary Coin.

Let your passion flow free in Maldives!

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