WHAT TO DO IN THE MALDIVES???
When people say “Maldives”, you will get two kinds of reaction: either they have no idea who/what/where it is; or they will tell you that it’s their dream island destination but that’s it, they don’t know that there is so much more than white sand beaches and colorful reefs the Maldives. Some people think that they may get bored if they stay more than 3 days during their holiday but they will be pleasantly surprised since there are so many things one can do on vacation at this tropical beach destination.
Striking white expanses of sand, green verdant vegetation in the middle of the island, crystal clear azure waters, vibrant coral reefs teeming with marine life… these and more are what awaits you. Sometimes it’s too stunning you would think it’s photoshopped but it’s actually the real deal.
The Maldives has become synonymous throughout the years to “paradise”, “white sand beach”, “romantic getaway”, etc and they are not mistaken. One cannot find beaches that are as fine, or white, or powdery soft as the Maldives sands anywhere else in the world – there are some that very closely give it a run for its money but that’s probably just one or two other places. What’s most unique about its sand is that it never gets burning hot even if you walk barefoot in the middle of the day!
The waters surrounding your resort island is a treasure trove of interesting marine life. Depending on which atoll you have ended up at, you can arrange for sensational tours in and around the nearby areas for dolphin or whale watching.
This can be very fascinating for children, if you are travelling with your precious ones, as they can see these dolphins jumping around and playing about in the waters right before sunset; or it can be quite a romantic tour as you and your partner sip wine on deck as the golden sun sets on the horizon.
Champagne in hand, lounging on the deck of a luxury yacht, the sun setting slowly on the horizon, your partner looking flushed with sun-kissed cheeks taking in the cinematic scene beside you… it really cannot get any more romantic than that.
The perfect setting for those who would like to make the ultimate announcement of asking someone to marry them, or simply wanting to keep the fire burning with your loved one, these romantic cruises across the pristine Indian Ocean are well-loved favorites of the guests who love nothing more than to put a giddy smile on their love’s faces.
In a country completely surrounded by water, you can be sure that there’s a rich and varied marine life waiting to be discovered underwater – dorado, tuna, jackfish, shark, marlin, barracuda, these are just some of the many varieties one can find in these warm Maldivian waters with its stunning backdrop.
Either go out at night or the day, with or without fishing poles as the locals have quite a unique way of catching fishes, you are bound to catch a few of your share on any given day. Don’t fret because you are backed up by a highly experienced and enthusiastic crew so you know you are in good hands. You may also ask for your catch to be prepared for you to complete the whole experience.
INTERESTING LOCAL ISLANDS
If you have free time upon arrival or departure, you have the option to drop by the little city in the middle of the Indian Ocean called “Male”. A mere 5 minutes away by speedboat or 10 minutes by “dhoni” or their native boat, Male is as unique and as diverse as any city you’ve been to. Don’t expect huge buildings and malls since there are none of those but do expect small interesting historical spots, bustling markets to buy your souvenirs at half the price the resorts sell, a colorful display of local cuisine, a LOT of restaurants, and a beautiful mosque.
Another option to see a glimpse of how citizens live would be to ask for a local island tour from your resort’s concierge. You are taken to the closest community and are shown their houses, trade, and simple way of life. Do not forget to dress modestly with shoulders covered for women as the Maldives is a Muslim country. Also, do not just point and shoot as that would be considered rude, make sure to ask for permission first if you are about to take a photo of a local or a site/establishment.
A very different take on “safari” would be these special cruises where you can stay on “live-aboards” and go from one site to another with the purpose of diving, snorkeling, or just relaxing on these fully equipped, luxury yachts.
These safaris are manned by professional and experienced crews who know the waters like the back of their hands and can take you to the best places to see the most picturesque angle of the Maldives. They can even arrange quick sandbar trips for that dream Robinson Crusoe experience where you get to feel like a castaway for a few hours until you achieve the perfect tan.
SPLENDID SCUBA DIVING
The Maldives has a claim for being one of the best diving spots in the world due to its warm waters, superb visibility, magnificent reef formations, and marine life that’s active and varied.
The dive spots and shipwrecks are as challenging and attractive to beginners as it is to veterans. Most resorts have PADI certified instructors and dive schools that can help you get that open water license you have been working so hard for or if you’re a novice, this is the best place to take your first plunge as there is nowhere else in the world as beautiful as the underwater playground of the Maldives.
There are decompression chambers strategically located in the country so don’t worry about that.
Whether you are a world-class swimmer or someone who can barely keep their head above water, you will not have a hard time seeing the rich marine life of the Maldives as most of the resorts have house reefs for you to explore or have nearby snorkeling spots where you can see these underwater spectacles.
Don’t forget the basic rules of snorkeling though! Rule of thumb is to never stand on or touch the reefs as doing so will damage to these fragile ecosystems. The resort dive shops have snorkeling gears available for free or for a fee depending on the property you’re at so ask them how to responsibly snorkel as well.
WORLD CLASS SPA
The Maldives are home to some of the most luxurious spa facilities in the world with full regiments and treatments available using only the best and most exclusive products.
Experience a whole new level of relaxation on a pavilion that’s either on land, over water, or even under water. Where you will feel all your stress and worry fade away with each stroke of your masseuse’s hand and every crash of the wave on the nearby shore as your senses are serenely relaxed by soothing meditation music and the sweet scent of incense.
Do make sure to book in advance or once you arrive since these sessions can get fully booked especially during the peak season. You wouldn’t want to miss this once in a lifetime, out of body experience.
A sport that is slowly picking up in the country, not just by tourists but by locals as well. There are a lot of swells and break perfect for surfing but you have to specifically choose a resort nearby these spots or go on a safari/live-aboard to maximize your stay. It’s not a sport for newbies though since the waves can get rough and the current strong so you must be a seasoned surfer and a strong swimmer to try this sport in this part of the world.
Surfing season in the Maldives is usually between March to November with numerous surfing competitions now being held in the country giving it the attention it needs to be able to compete in the international surfing scene.
WET & WILD WATERSPORTS
Since the country is made up of 99% water, most of the activities at the resort revolve around its pristine, clear waters. You will find numerous water sports and activities at the resort’s watersports area: both motorized and non-motorized such as kayaking, kite-boarding/surfing, jet-skiing, banana boats, sailing, fun tubes, wakeboarding, parasailing, windsurfing, kneeboarding, and more.
Recently, there have been new and thrilling additions to motorized watersports such as SEABOB rides and fly-boards which is basically a water jetpack.