The First Minister is due to take a 1,700-mile detour to call at the tropical island while on a trip to India later this year.
It follows a co-operation agreement signed between Scotland and the Maldives at the Copenhagen climate change summit last month. The Maldives is at serious risk from rising sea levels.
Edinburgh Central MSP Sarah Boyack, Labour's environment spokeswoman, said: "Alex Salmond needs to stop grandstanding overseas and get on with what he's paid to do here."
Tory MSP Gavin Brown added: "He would rather grandstand at the taxpayers' expense and grow his carbon footprint."