Budget (2014): This is a tricky country, because your budget will depend on how cheap you can get a hotel/resort for. I managed on roughly $60 per day for a week. Local food and transportation is actually quite cheap. A delicious meal at a restaurant (not a resort restaurant) can be had for $2-3, and local ferries are usually no more than $4. Definitely pre-book your stay online, as the country does not yet have a backpacker infrastructure. I'd also recommend staying on a local island, because resorts can charge exorbitant prices for speedboat transfers (I had to pay $85) and seaplanes (into the hundreds or thousands of dollars). Additionally, a local island will have much cheaper shops, though without the tranquility of a private resort.
Although parts of the city cater much to tourists, it is mostly a residential place. It exudes the charm of the island nation.
This is the country's bustling capital city. It is very small (less than 2.5 square miles), though quite clean and peaceful. It is the transportation hub to the other islands in the Maldives.
This is the small island I spent most of my trip on. It has quite a few guesthouses, and caters to tourism. Nevertheless, there are several friendly local people living here. Because of its tourism, the price of food and such is higher than on the main islands. If you plan on going during rainy season, bring galoshes. The streets are made entirely of sand, and the rain heavily floods them.