You are planning your upcoming getaway to the Maldives, and you might be surprised to discover that only a few of your family, friends or acquaintances are clear about just where the Maldives are located and what you can do during a stay. As the experts at Forbes explained, it is an area “tucked away from the turquoise azure of the Maldives lies a thriving culture, decadent food, and experiences that will please even the most discerning traveler.” And they make it clear that there is more to do than simply save a lot of time on the sparkling white sands.
While that is most certainly a must-do activity, there are many other things you will want to try while in this stunning and impossibly beautiful area. After all, with 26 atolls and thousands of islands, it is an adventurer’s paradise. So, let’s look at three that should appear on any to-do list for a traveler to the region.
You just learned that there are thousands of islands in the Maldives, and you can probably guess that not all of them are settled heavily or developed. However, one of the most exciting and commonly recommended activities is to do some island hopping.
As one expert explained, “there is a large settlement in the Maldives and many locals live and work on the islands. If you stay at a private island in the Maldives, make sure to book an excursion to visit the nearby communities.”
Another noted that until recently travelers could only “stay on the resort islands. Now, following an initiative that was launched by ex-President Nasheed, non-resort islands can now accept tourists and islanders are opening guesthouses where they can stay.”
The options include Kaafu Atoll, which can be reached by the Villingili Ferry. You can also go from Fulidhoo to the Vaavu Atoll, which is described as a “two-hour ferry trip across a sparkling sea from Maafushi”. You can also go from Thinadoo Island to Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, which is also reachable via the ferry. Mule Island and Naalaafushee are both popular areas on island-hopping adventures.
And while sailing or even trying to fly from spot to spot may be your idea of fun, many also want to enjoy a long list of the water sports so easily enjoyed in the pristine waters surrounding the region.
Maldivian Water Sports
Ask travel experts about the water sports in the Maldives and you will hear a list that includes:
· Diving – It happens to be one of the world’s top diving destinations.
· Snorkeling – For those who prefer to avoid the need for certification and specialized gear, snorkeling is as rewarding and you can encounter sea turtles, eels, seahorses, lobsters, crabs, and so many other natives. Don’t forget to also keep an eye out for dolphins whether snorkeling or doing other water sports.
· Surfing – In addition to its status as a premier diving and snorkeling spot, it is also a world-class surfing destination. Some of the world’s top surfers make a point of traveling to the Maldives for competitions as well as flawless conditions for amateurs to experts.
· Paddle Boarding – With the glass-like and calm waters all around, it is the ideal spot to master the art of stand up paddleboarding
· Other options include kayaking, windsurfing, canoeing, and more.
You can also enjoy a dhoni sunset cruise, which is a traditional Maldivian sailing vessel that is commonly hired to go on dolphin watching trips as well as ultra-romantic sunset cruises. And though it is not technically a water sport, time spent on the beaches alongside the waters is a must.
As US News said of this, “vacationers head to the Maldives solely to relax on the beach – and for good reason. The sugar-white sand and striking blue water make for the perfect beach vacation backdrop. Most island resorts offer their own private stretches of sand, complete with lounge chairs and umbrellas.” Remember, though that wearing revealing clothing is illegal on most of the public beaches due to the country’s religious code. That means beaches on or near the resort are best for sunbathing.
Because so many travelers do stay at resorts while visiting the Maldives, it is much easier to find spa treatments, including Balinese massage. This is a full body and deep tissue massage that combines acupressure, stretching, aromatherapy and circulatory stimulation to create a sense of deep relaxation and calm.
One of the more commonly booked treatments at resorts are couples’ massages that emphasize Balinese techniques, though having one on your own is also a tremendous “must”. As one expert explained, as “soothing music plays, skilled masseurs rub away the aches and pains from your long flight or day out in the sun…After an hour and a half of luxury, make sure you have nothing else on your to-do list for the day, as you’ll want to relish in relaxation.”
As another expert explained, “Travelers seeking ultimate relaxation should book a spa treatment (or a few) while visiting the Maldives. Many of the resorts in the Maldives offer their own spa on-site…Services range from typical massages and facials to signature options like citrus hydrating body treatments and customized acupuncture and chakra balancing.”
You will also find that the Huvafen Spa is where the only underwater spa and massage treatments are available.
You will also want to give yourself a day or a bit of time in Male, the capital city that is full of lots of fun sites and interesting scenery, and the dynamic Male Fish Market.
No matter what, if you take the advice above and enjoy these activities, your visit to the Maldives will be more unforgettable than you thought possible. Remember too that it is a marvelous spot for dining, and you definitely want to enjoy time in some of the remarkable and innovative restaurants found at the resorts and in the smaller towns.