Being passionate about travel, about three times a year I spend short holidays in distant countries, to discover new places to go and new cultures. For years Maldives was on my list of goals to be achieved, which is among the most beautiful islands in the world. It's inevitable to think that Maldives is for couples and honeymooners, but I changed my mind as the destination can offer much more.
In fact, the Maldives for me now is no longer a new place to visit, because I already went there three times, and have visited more than what is there in Male and a few fishermen's islands and even some resorts. But Maldives is now a fixture for me, virtually indispensable and the return to paradise.
With stretches of white beaches composed of fine sand, lush green coconut groves that overlook a clear sea is nothing short of heavenly, pristine coral reefs, but above all the ability to always rely on a fantastic hospitality, the Maldives archipelago with more than 1200 coral islands, of which only about a hundred being home to resorts, presents the tourist with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Places like this are costly, if you think about resorts and hotels by the sea, but things have changed over the years, as tourism has also increased thanks to the alternative Maldives, which is within the reach of all, with low-cost airlines, and with an eye to those traveling with children. Those over the years offer very affordable rates to reach the islands in the Indian Ocean and beyond. It is not essential to consult a travel agent or tour operator to live a wonderful vacation in this paradise.
Choosing the right atoll for a holidays at the Maldives may not be as easy as choosing a hotel in Paris as the 19 atolls of this archipelago are spread over 754 km, so in this post I will explain how to choose the best atoll for you. First let's clarify the word atoll in the Maldives.
It is defined as the set of islands enclosed within the same ring, formed by coral reefs and within each atoll there are fishing islands, inhabited by Maldivians, which usually has the guest houses and resorts occupying whole islands and finally deserted islands, where there are no buildings, which are used for day trips.
We land at Male, the capital and the largest island of the archipelago, from which ferries, seaplanes and speed boats are available to reach the final destination. The atolls closest to the capital, Malé are the most comfortable and easy to reach. It must be said that these atolls are more touristy and fishing islands affected by the proximity of the capital.
In our opinion, the resort or the fishing islands too close to the capital, located at a distance of less than 15 minutes by speed boat are to be avoided, because they do not allow you to have the most of the tranquility and calmness. The atolls of Felidhoo, North Ari, South Ari and Baa that can be reached in 90/120 minutes by fast boat are ideal for those who want to stay for 7 nights or more.
In these atolls are fishing islands, where traditions continue over time and where despite tourism developed for some time, you do not have the perception that it is excessive. In Keyodhoo Island arrivals are permitted only on Sundays, subject to certain exceptions, while in the island of Dharavandhoo arrivals are every day. If you have some time available, you can visit the fruits and fish markets with a real dive in the Maldivian tradition, in a town where commerce reigns supreme in the archipelago, and is very chaotic and eventful, that does not give the sense of calmness that you see in the travel brochures!
The boat is definitely the observation point better for the beautiful sunsets of the Maldives. And if like us, you love the open spaces and freedom, you should know that in Maldives there is virtually no dew. This allow is to spend the nights nights under the stars. I will not describe what it means to wake up at dawn surrounded by dolphins, flying fish and giant turtles, according to the place where you are. Another advantage, moving twice a day, in the morning and after lunch, is the chance to explore the many islands and islets lost and completely uninhabited.
First day: The alarm rings at 7:30 and it is time to prepare ourselves and go for breakfast. Leaving the room, we see the wonderful sea and the day is great with warm sunshine and a light breeze. After breakfast, we return to the room to get the things and go. We head to the pier, where is docked our Dhoni, the typical Maldivian boat. Today the tour includes the discovery of Ambara island.
The island is inhabited by only 2 people, who were also the guardians during the journey of two hours. We stop for the first snorkel already from the boat and admire the different colors of the sea, light blue, dark blue, coral reef, thanks to the clarity of the water, which we see it with the naked eye. The seabed is rich in corals and fish, so the photographs were several. These huge and delicate mushrooms hide in a thousand different forms of life. It takes very few minutes to admire an exaggerated amount.
After finishing the snorkeling, we return to Ambara and during the journey, we descend into the sea lines for fishing. The fish caught, is then cooked for lunch, so we are sure that they are fresher than the fish. Arriving on the island, we were enchanted by the landscape with white sand, coconut trees and clear sea. After lunch, there is also a nice shade of palm trees. We start from Ambara at 3.30. After coming back we enjoyed the sunset from the beach of Keyodhoo.
Second day: After the usual breakfast at 9.00, we start to discover the island of Hulhudhoo. This island is uninhabited and is 15 minutes from Keyodhoo. During the snorkeling trip, we can see a sea turtle. After lunch, we take another dip in the water, and this time we can also see a lobster.
The return to Keyodhoo is scheduled for 5.00. Among the various experiences that we do here is also bottom fishing. Rest assured, you do not have to be very skilled fishermen. The fishing trip starts at 6.00, always at the edge of our Dhoni. We approach the place chosen by us and descend via the fishing poles and various fishing lines.
We return at 8.00 having caught the Jackfish and tunas. After a shower, we're ready for dinner, but this will be a special dinner, because a foreign couple were getting married, so it was organized a celebration in which we all participate. The dinner takes place outdoors and is made from delicious grilled fish, vegetables, chips and chocolate cake prepared by the women of the village.
The bride, was made to get to the edge of a cart, decorated with balloons, palm leaves in the shape of hearts and the groom was given a bouquet of fresh flowers to give to the bride on her arrival. What was really nice was even the locals, who lent their hand to really make this celebration special.
We approach the buffet and delicacies that were prepared for us tonight are unsurpassed! And the atmosphere was so unique with candlelight make it very special. But hunger is felt and evening runs between laughter and relaxation. The table is laden with a thousand delicacies, including the big fish we caught! The lobsters then reign supreme. Lobsters are among the best I've ever eaten around the world.
Third day: Foththeyo is a sand pit that offers no shelter from the sun, and in this case we ate on the boat. Here on the way to reach it, to we have been able to admire a pod of dolphins and then it was over to our regular snorkeling tour.
Fourth day: Our alarm clock rings at 5.00. Today I'll try for the first time in my life deep sea fishing at Bodum Horaa. At night, it rained and there is now quite annoying wind. We start and the sea inside the atoll is fairly quiet and allows us to admire the sunrise. After about 1 hour sailing offshore, we decide that we can try to go to sea for deep sea fishing. We return to 8.30, having caught King Fish, one of 13 kg and the other of 18 kg, and we were satisfied and hungry.
After breakfast, we are ready by 9:30 to leave for Bodum Horaa. After returning from this excursion, is to enjoy the Maldivian evening. The menu is a bit different from other nights, because there will be typical Maldivian dishes, curries. After dinner, we went to the leisure center and we ended the evening, playing ping-pong and billiard.
Fifth day: We have the chance to visit the Hulidhoo island and so we immerse ourselves in the streets, discovering, the soccer field. We note that women are cooking the fish, children play without arguing, the streets are flooded by the scents of spices and sweets. After lunch we go to the island of Hulidhoo and do snorkeling.
Sixth day: This stretch of sand has the unique distinction of having some sort of Christmas tree made with corals that are found strolling on the shore. As always we stop to snorkel and the seabed we always reserve a myriad of colors and fish. In the evening after dinner, we are invited to listen to the island's musical group. The songs played with drums, have a very tribal rhythm. At 10:00 the show ends, and we retire early.
The final destination is the Felidhoo Atoll (Vaavu), a real Maldivian island inhabited by fishermen and ordinary people, where there is a town hall, a school, a mosque and a small hospital. For this vacation we forget the word Resort, because to discover the real Maldives, you cannot be at a resort, but you have to be in a Guest House, just like we did.
At the end of this holiday, believe me, even if I were to stay in a Resort, I would have rejected it, not for the sea and the white sand, but the Maldivians allowed me to peek into their homes, while in their feast day, on Friday, we were provided the special lunches.
Many of those who were in Keyodhoo during these years have had the good fortune of being able to swim close to the majestic turtles, often encountered near the island's coral reef, Hulhudhoo. The emotion is great when, during snorkeling in the group, someone sight through the mask, this creature that swims slowly, not far from you. A I often hold my breath, letting me carry a light movement of the sea, not to make any noise.
The structure and the inhabited island have been in my opinion the best thing of the trip, to be in contact with the residents and spend the sunset in the square between the children running and laughing is priceless. The island is very small and it really turns in a matter of minutes, but does not lack anything from the market, the gift shop, but above all the hospitality of these people.
And just the boat I want to talk about is the Dhoni, the typical Maldivian boat that the guest houses offers its guests for the tour of the atoll. Oh yes, because every day we are taken on a different deserted island, where 8 guests on average are left to enjoy these sandbars born from nowhere in the sea, including lunch prepared and served by the skipper in tents by the sea.
The blinding white sand, and the water is so inviting that you can only get into it all the time. The fish are everywhere in the shore, although I expected many more species. In fact then I realized the difference between the fish that are seen in the deserted islands and those of the resort. At resorts fishes are recalled due to the food that is offered to them for snorkeling swimmers.
However, in many places the reef is within swimming distance and boasts a very diverse fauna. It must be said that the deserted islands have an incredible charm, but are not always like the photos from the catalog, or rather do just understand that the Maldives at the end is not the paradise that everyone expects.
Another very nice thing is the fishing trip to the Big Game that is organized at sunset leaving the motor boat off at the mercy of the current. From a spool of thread of drool hang a hook of considerable size in which are hooked fish slices. It descends into the sea slowly lulled by the waves. Fishing moray eel and small sharks is a lovely experience.
Another thing to enjoy is the Maldivian food that revolves around the fish cooked in all possible sauces. Something to be reckoned with respect to the resorts offering traditional cuisine, is to be able to fully experience the various combinations of meat, fish and fruit, a delight for those who love the exotic taste!
Maldives is a wonderful place to visit and come in contact with the Maldivian way of life with having the ability to spend days in complete freedom with its inhabitants, know their customs, their habits and taste their food. In our last trip we were very lucky as in fact, we got to know and experience a multitude of little known dishes, fruits and vegetables and one of these fruits is the jackfruit.
The jackfruit has a rough and thorny skin, very similar to the durian, and contain a fibrous part within which are immersed many small fruits with yellow skin, which in turn are home to a single core. The flesh of the jackfruit is milky and white with a very strong smell, reminiscent of rotten onion or banana upon opening the edible parts of the fruit inside. Once mature, it is good to make fruit salads, cakes or in combination with ice cream.
Maldives certainly is an unusual holiday destination.
Where is the Maldives location
Maldives is located in the Indian Ocean, in the south-west of India and are composed of about 20 atolls, 10 of which are open to tourism like Kaafu-Male, Raa, Baa, Lhaviyani, Alifu, Vaavu, Meemu, Faafu, Dhaalu Atoll and Seenu.
When to go to the Maldives
It is important to choose well when to go to the Maldives, as from this choice will depend, in most cases, the success of your holiday. The temperature always varies between 28 ° and 34 ° C throughout the year, but the best time to reach the Maldives goes from January to the end of April, because then the sky is always serene with calm seas and little rainfall.
What is the average cost of Maldives vacation
In order to witness the spectacle of the beach that looks like a starry night you need to go to the Vaadhoo atoll but, beyond the details that make us decide the islands relative to another, most of the time our choice of stay depends almost exclusively by cost and services of the various hotels and resorts spread on the atolls of the archipelago. The prices of the resorts in the Maldives obviously vary according to their category of classification and consequently the services offered by them.
Aspects such as the kitchen, the beach, the reef and especially the low environmental impact of the resort, with buildings designed to blend into the surrounding environment, have a major impact on the price of the stay. To avoid unpleasant surprises, and the best holiday at the lowest price, we recommend first of all to compare the prices of hotels in the Maldives and choose the tourist structure that best suits your needs.
Budget Travel in the Maldives
As we looked forward to, it's not so impossible to find low cost offers for the Maldives. In addition to classic last minute ones that guarantee, to all those who may decide from day to day, a nice slice of savings, there is also the possibility to build the customized trip booking, for example, the more convenient flights and choosing the appropriate Hotel comparing online the costs of the various structures.
How to go to Maldives
There are several airlines that offer relatively cheap flights or companies that make a stopover offering very attractive rates. Obviously you may not always be able to find available dates for your requests, but give it a try and it will definitely be worth it.
The most beautiful atolls of the Maldives
The atolls of this archipelago are really all very beautiful and special and it is difficult to say what are the most beautiful beaches of the Maldives. Among the atolls definitely the most noteworthy are Malé, Ari and Baa.
Male Atoll is the main atoll of the Maldives, made up of two separate atolls of North Malé and the South Malé Atoll. The most beautiful beaches are located in the south, among these we note the Cocoa Island beach with its blue lagoon, the Velassaru beach with its unspoilt nature and Fihalhohi, a tiny island just 450 meters away, where you can swim in crystal clear waters and sunbathe in complete relaxation.
Ari Atoll is located on the far west of the archipelago with luxurious villages that overlook the lagoon often with overwater huts. It consists of about fifty islands surrounded by beautiful coral reefs, which are more beautiful than all. In this atoll, in addition to Halaveli Island with its stilts and Rangali Island, where you can dine under the sea surface, we also find the uninhabited island of Nalaguraidhoo, which according to many is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Baa Atoll is located in the west of the Maldivian archipelago. The 75 islands that make up, only 13 are inhabited and has the most beautiful beaches ever we can find in the island of Kunfunadhoo, with its impressive marine life, the Maalhosmadulu beach with a beautiful coral reef, the Olhugiri beach, which is distinguished by the presence of many sea turtles and finally, the Fonimagoodhoo beach which has one of the most coveted resorts in the Maldives.
Maldives Honeymoon Package
If you plan to choose from the most romantic islands in the world to pass one of the best times of your life, you cannot but take into account the Maldives. Thinking of getting married on a pristine beach on the border of the world or a traditional Maldivian boat is certainly one of the most coveted dream of all couples in the world. For this reason, this magnificent archipelago features some resorts, dealing almost exclusively to honeymooners, to the atoll of Kaadedhdhoo or Dhonakulhi for example, which can meet all your needs and make you live a unique experience.
Maldives Travel Tips
For transfer from the airport to the resort, in which you have booked, the choice between the seaplane and speed boat, mainly depends on the following factors. If the island is far from the airport, you'll have to use the seaplane. If you can choose between boat and seaplane, consider that the seaplane is more expensive but also faster. The seaplane does not travel at night, so if your flight arrives at the airport of Male in the evening, you'll have to choose speedboat or stay overnight in Male.
Although it may appear in some photos, the Indian Ocean is not a swimming pool, and waves can make the transfer by boat a little turbulent, so carry the medicines for motion sickness and put in place the most common techniques to control seasickness. Always look forward, and do not lower your head and chat profusely with your traveling companion. The seaplane is considered noisy, but the speedboat is no exception. If you are especially sensitive, get the ear plugs.
During transfer by seaplane, remember to keep in hand a camera or if you have enough pixels, the phone as the photos that you can shoot from the top will be wonderful.
Choose informal and light clothing. If you stay in a guesthouse run by a local, bring clothes that can cover your legs, valid both for men and women, in compliance with the local culture. The shoes are only for the airport, and after then you will use flip-flops to the maximum, so remember to put a pair in your hand luggage, to have them ready on your arrival in the Maldives.
Before you leave, remember to pack ABSOLUTELY, 50 sunscreen packs, even if you are the types who tan on the first ray of sunshine, as without the cream you will be unrecognisable, a jersey for swimming or walking on the various beaches and a hat.
Many resorts have stocked diving centers, but the advice is still to bring at least your mask and snorkel. If you are in a well-equipped resort, we suggest, in addition to snorkeling, cruise in a kayak and then if you are on your honeymoon, paddle lazily on the same canoe, suspended above the transparent water, which will be an unforgettable experience.
The currency is the Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR). US dollars, Euro and major credit cards are accepted without problems. The exchange rate applied varies from one area of the archipelago to the other.
To travel to the Maldives the e-passport is required. The passport must also have residual validity than a month after the return or six months if you are traveling via Dubai or Doha. You must also have a 30 day tourist visa that is granted free of charge at the airport upon arrival, upon presentation of round trip tickets and the booking of hotel services. This visa can be extended up to a maximum of 90 days.
If you decide to treat yourself to a wonderful holiday in the Maldives, the trip will definitely remain engraved in your mind for a lifetime because contrary to what is often believed, Maldives is not only about tourist villages and luxury resorts.