Lounging in a lavish overwater bungalow may be exactly what you’re wishing for out of a Maldives vacation, but when you’ve made the effort to get there, why not check out the secrets the islands have to offer.
The bewitching archipelago is set in the Indian Ocean just southwest of Sri Lanka and offers so much more than white sands. There’s culture, cuisine, history, wildlife - you name it. Here are our favorite off-the-beaten-path finds in this tropical paradise.
1. Get Outside Your Bubble
As blissful as that bubble may be, your private-island experience will still be there when you come back from your adventures. We recommend visiting one of the more authentic local islands, such as Huraa, Hithadoo or Maafushi, where crayola-colored houses, whitewashed streets and the scent of freshly grilled seafood will satisfy all your senses - as well as give you a more immersive memory from your time in the Maldives.
2. Swim with the World’s Largest Fish
There are only a couple places on Earth where you can swim alongside a school-bus-sized fish, and the Maldives is one of them. Unlike in other locations they frequent, whale sharks can be found in this region year-round, particularly around the Southern Ari Atoll. We can help you find a reputable operator that will not only introduce you to these majestic mammals, but assure you that you’re visiting with them safely and sustainably.
3. Dine Locally
Sure, have your breakfast delivered via canoe one morning (or even most mornings) of your stay. Dine by candlelight on the deck of your overwater villa. But you’d be doing your foodie side a major disservice if you didn’t treat your palate to traditional Maldivian cuisine away from the resort experience. There isn’t much produce grown on the islands, and there is a lot of fresh tuna, but necessity being the mother of invention, Maldivian families have gotten creative with their fare - try spicy fish curries, fish cakes and fish dumplings (kuli boakiba and gulha) and pastries stuffed with tuna and egg (bis keemiya).
4. Glow Up
The Maldives is also one of the world’s top spots to view the bioluminescence phenomenon. Head to Vaadhoo to witness it, watching as the water glows when disturbed (it’s actually millions of tiny bioluminescent organisms that are being moved about by your paddle). The best time to view it is between June and October.
5. Feed Baby Sharks
Black tip reef sharks gather at the South Ari Atoll and have gotten spoiled as of late, gathering for feeding at the same time every day. You might even find yourself swimming amongst these small sharks, who enjoy the shallow waters of the lagoon. Don't worry - they’re completely harmless.
6. Go Night Snorkeling
Couldn’t fit snorkeling into your lazy day on the beach? Try it at night. Nocturnal snorkeling trips are guided by reef specialists, who give our fluorescent light sticks to help you find your way around the underwater seascape. You’ll see squirrelfish and soldierfish, sea stars, moray eels, crustaceans and more on this ethereal outing.
7. Try Submarine Diving
Experience the underwater world of the Maldives without getting wet aboard the Whale submarine. Traveling nearly 500 feet below the service, the sub allows guests to sit in fully air-conditioned cabins with normal atmospheric pressure. You’ll breathe as you would on land, stay dry and still get to glimpse the colorful marine creatures of the Indian Ocean.
If you're ready to experience one of these off the beaten path moments, let's connect. I'm ready to take the stress out of your travel planning by taking care of it all for you.