ABOUT THE MALDIVES
Nestled in the Indian Ocean, southwest of Sri Lanka, the Maldives is a heavenly tropical destination that captivates with its 26 coral atolls and over 1,000 picturesque islands. With pristine white-sand beaches, crystalline turquoise waters, and an abundance of marine life, it offers an idyllic retreat for luxury travelers and honeymooners. From lavish overwater villas and private beachfront resorts to world-class spas and vibrant coral reefs, the Maldives seamlessly blends natural beauty with opulent hospitality. Snorkeling, diving, water sports, sunset cruises, and fishing excursions provide endless outdoor adventures, while exploring local markets, historical sites, and savoring authentic Maldivian cuisine offer cultural experiences. A serene escape from the ordinary, the Maldives promises relaxation, tranquility, and an unforgettable beach holiday in a true tropical paradise.
When To Go:
The Maldives enjoys a tropical climate, so it’s important to consider the weather when planning your trip. The dry season, from November to April, offers the best weather with minimal rainfall and plenty of sunshine. However, the prices during this period tend to be higher. The wet season, from May to October, sees more rainfall, but you can still enjoy good deals and fewer crowds.
Where to Stay:
The Maldives is composed of numerous islands, each offering a unique experience. Decide whether you prefer a local island, where you can immerse yourself in the local culture, or a private resort island, known for their luxurious amenities. Research different islands and resorts to find the one that suits your preferences, budget, and desired activities.
During our 10-day trip to the Maldives in November 2017, we decided to split our time between two islands: Maafushi, a local island, and the Residence, a luxurious 5-star resort.
In Maafushi, we were immersed in the local culture and had the opportunity to try authentic Maldivian dishes. The island had a vibrant atmosphere, and it was refreshing to explore the local way of life and connect with the community. We ended up booking almost all of our water based activities, like scuba diving, snorkeling, night fishing in Maafushi directly through our hotel. It is certainly the more affordable of the options. There are a ton of options to take excursions, massages, and day trips to different islands.
I was blown away by the level of luxury and opulence of the Residence. The resort was like a paradise within a paradise, offering unparalleled amenities and services. Everything was meticulously designed and catered to the highest standards of comfort. The natural beauty of the Maldives was still present, but the resort had a more sanitized and internationalized feel.
Overall, our time in Maafushi provided a genuine connection to the local culture and an affordable adventure, while the 5-star resort offered a luxurious escape from reality, albeit with a slightly detached sense of the Maldivian ambiance. Each had its own appeal, catering to different preferences and offering contrasting perspectives on the Maldives.
WHERE WE STAYED
- Address: Magu, Maafushi, 08090, MV
- Transfer: We took a 30 minute private ferry ($25 USD) from the airport. There is also a public ferry that takes about 90 minutes at $4USD)
- Notes: We booked multiple activities directly through the hotel – scuba diving, snorkeling, a massage
- Address: Falhumaafushi, Gaafu Alifu Atoll, Maldives
- Transfer: We took a 55 minute domestic flight to Kooddoo Airport, and then took a 7 minute speedboat to the Island. There is a personal Residence Concierge who will great you in Male and help you get to your connection. I believe we stayed in a private lounge before departing.
You will likely fly into Velana International Airport in Male – the capital of the Maldives and then need to transfer to a different island. There are three types of transfers – by speed board, by seaplane or by a domestic flight.
Pro Tip: Arrange your transportation in advance, considering the location of your accommodation and its accessibility.
Don’t forget to pack essentials such as lightweight clothing, swimwear, sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and insect repellent. As you’ll spend a lot of time in the water, bring snorkeling or diving gear if you have them. Also, keep in mind that the Maldives is a Muslim country, so it’s respectful to dress modestly when visiting local islands.
It’s crucial to be mindful of the environment during your stay. Respect the marine life and coral reefs by not touching or damaging them. Use reef-safe sunscreen to protect the ecosystem. Avoid single-use plastics and participate in beach clean-ups if available.
Here are some of my main tips for traveling to the Maldives
- Bring reef-safe sunscreen and reusable bags
- Private resorts charge a significant fee to get from Male to the resort— anywhere from $200-$1000 pp.
- Book your transfer at the same time you book your flights to Male
- Consider spending time in a local island