By Red Hunt
The Maldives Islands are one of those rare travel destinations that can live up to the label of ‘paradise’, but for most people they’re out of reach either because they’re so far away or cost so much to visit.
If you can fore go the extreme luxury treatment and pampering, then there is a lesser-known adventurous way to enjoy the islands at a very affordable price. What is even better? You don’t have to be a couple on your honeymoon to enjoy the affordable Maldives.
Taking a Maldives Dhoni Cruise is not only the most affordable way to visit the islands, it is also the only way to explore around some of the more remote atolls and uninhabited islands. To put it in perspective, spending 36 hours at one of the nice (not ultra luxury) Maldives resorts costs as much as a 7-day cruise.
There are a few suppliers out there, Voyages Maldives has a solid reputation and was the company I was with. You can book direct with them, although if you don’t mind giving up some privacy, you can book an organized tour from them via G Adventures. The Voyages Maldives crew was amazing and made the trip a real cultural experience too, not just a relaxing escape to the Indian Ocean.
With a four person crew and an amazing chef on board for just me and the six other boat guests it was an extremely chilled out tour. Sure, the rooms were a bit cramped and hot, but there were three bathrooms between us and a ton of deck space to lounge around or enjoy some card games, watch the sun set or drink some beers.
That last point may be a big one for some people. The Maldives is a dry country. No alcohol allowed. The entire main island of Male’ is alcohol-free. The only places you can drink alcohol are at the resorts or on a boat safari. Be prepared to disconnect too, as you won’t have TV’s or internet while cruising around most of the islands.
Every day was full of laughs and surprises on the Maldives cruise safari, with multiple snorkelling expeditions every day. The colourful fish and reefs we visited were more impressive than anything I’d seen in places like Belize, the Galapagos and Malaysia. Part of what made it extra special was the near fish-like capabilities of our boat captain and guide. They were both so at home in the water that they could free-dive down to insane depths and hold their breath for minutes at a time. Leave it to them to find all the hiding spots for the most elusive sharks, eels, rays and fish!
Our cook would always greet us with some tea and either fresh coconut slices or chocolate cake after our snorkels too. Luxury? No. Pampered? We thought so! Spicy, spicy was the name of the game for lunches and dinners. If you like hot food, then you’d love some of the meals in the Maldives, where we’d usually have a spicy and plain version of each salad we had. While we did have some chicken and meat, the big thing – not surprisingly – was fish.
In fact, we had more than one lunch disrupted as our fishing lines trailing the boat had caught huge deep sea fish. The crew would spring into action to haul in the fish, which would become that night’s dinner or tomorrow’s lunch. I have no idea what most of the fish were that we caught but they were big and they were tasty.
Trips to some of the smaller inhabited islands were a real treat too. The islands that are home to people of the Maldives, not resorts. We had to get special permission from the local chief to visit these islands and see where local children went to school, how people lived on the islands and what they did for entertainment. The Muslim influence was quite evident, but the people were surprisingly outgoing as well.
The further north we went, the less touristy the islands became and I loved it. Fewer and fewer resort islands, more and more traditional islands where they still built wood boats, fished for a living and everyone owned their own patch of coconut trees. This was the real Maldives, not the Maldives found in glossy honeymoon magazines. Probably the most relaxing trip I’ve taken anywhere in the world.
If you’re thinking of visiting the Maldives, here are some helpful travel tips.
First, don’t forget alcohol isn’t permitted. Your luggage does get checked and alcohol gets confiscated. If you’re transiting through the Maldives, you can usually have your alcohol stored away at the airport so you can pick it up when you leave.
Second, the airport is on it’s own island and you cannot arrive without a hotel or accommodation booking. They won’t let you leave the airport until you’ve booked something. If your cruise or resort stay doesn’t start on the day you arrive, you do have a few options.
There is one hotel on the airport island called the Hulhule Island Hotel, which is convenient but pricey. There are many hotels on Male’ Island, which is a quick 10 minute ferry ride away (ferry taxis run at all hours). Some of them such as the Mookai Hotel are safe, simple and affordable. Or there are a few resort islands within a 30 minute fast ferry ride of the airport. Most resorts only run their shuttle ferries or seaplane transfers during daytime hours so if you need to go far and are arriving at night you’ll need to use one of these other options.
Third, don’t forget to bring a weaterproof camera with you! They really aren’t that expensive and will provide you with some stunning photos above and below the water.
Finally, especially if you take a safari or cruise in the Maldives, is bring your own snorkel equipment. While it is provided, you are in the water so often that ensuring you have fins, a mask and snorkel that fit properly is crucial and well worth the hassle of packing them in your luggage.
Editor’s note: Red Hunt is a former journalist and business analyst that now works in the world of travel marketing. Based in Toronto, Red Hunt has travelled to more than 40 countries over the past 10 years. You can find more on his adventures from www.redhunttravel.com
Kandolhu Maldives: Dive into Paradise with Noovilu Sports
Nestled amidst the pristine beauty of the Maldives, Kandolhu Maldives offers guests a chance to create unforgettable memories with exciting activities provided by Noovilu Sports. Renowned for its Maldivian-inspired villas, stunning beaches, and vibrant house reef, Kandolhu provides the perfect backdrop for an adventurous or relaxing vacation.
For adrenaline enthusiasts, Noovilu Sports offers various water sports like wakeboarding, windsurfing, and kneeboarding. Feel the rush of wind and experience the freedom of gliding across turquoise waters.
For a more serene experience, opt for paddleboarding sessions. Explore the calm waters at your own pace, soak in the breathtaking scenery, and reconnect with nature.
Embark on a guided snorkeling tour led by experienced guides. Explore the vibrant coral reefs teeming with colorful fish, graceful sea turtles, and other marine life. Every excursion is a journey into a wondrous underwater world.
Celebrate love or simply enjoy each other’s company with a charming sunset cruise. Toast to your love amidst the stunning backdrop of a Maldivian sunset, creating unforgettable moments.
Beyond the Resort:
Adventure awaits beyond the resort with exciting excursions offered by Noovilu Sports. Witness the majestic Manta Rays on the popular Manta Ray Mission trip, or relax and unwind on a nearby sandbank with the Take it to the Bank trip.
With its diverse range of activities and commitment to exceptional service, Noovilu Sports redefines the guest experience at Kandolhu Maldives. Whether seeking adventure, relaxation, or romance, embark on a journey of discovery and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Dive into the excitement and explore the wonders of the Maldives with Noovilu Sports at Kandolhu Maldives.
Patina Maldives Announces Unforgettable Easter Celebration
As Easter approaches, Patina Maldives invites families to experience a tropical spring celebration unlike any other. From beachfront feasts to captivating egg hunts and immersive wellness experiences, the resort offers a thoughtfully curated program designed to create lasting memories.
Culinary Delights Await
Embark on a culinary journey like never before at Patina Maldives. On March 27th, indulge in the “Aegean Odyssey” at Helios, featuring the diverse flavors of Aegean cuisine. Fresh seafood, aromatic herbs, and exquisite dishes from Greece and neighboring regions promise to tantalize your taste buds.
Unwind at the Beachside Bash
For an island celebration, join the Fari Beach Club party on March 28th. Savor meticulously crafted cocktails, enticing canapés, and live entertainment for the perfect seaside soiree.
Festivities Galore at the Fari Marina Easter Festival
On March 30th, join the vibrant Fari Marina Easter Festival. Savor delectable treats at live cooking stations, groove to DJ beats, and explore artisanal treasures from local vendors. A dedicated kids’ corner ensures fun for the whole family.
Uncover Easter Eggs on a Tropical Adventure
The highlight of the Easter weekend is the Island Egg Hunt at Helios on March 31st. Guided by the Easter Bunny and the dedicated Footprints team, embark on a tropical adventure to discover hidden Easter eggs and sweet surprises.
Beyond the Celebrations
Patina Maldives offers a diverse range of activities throughout the Easter period. Hone your tennis skills with the Lux Tennis Star Event featuring Nicolas Almagro, unleash your creativity at sketching workshops with artist Tony Jaggas, or participate in family-friendly activities like laser cutting and decorating Easter ornaments.
Seek Wellness and Rejuvenation
For those seeking relaxation, Patina Maldives welcomes visiting practitioner Junko Fujita, offering the unique and rejuvenating experience of Watsu – a combination of massage, stretches, and meditation while floating in warm water.
Create Lasting Memories this Easter
This Easter, escape to Patina Maldives and create lasting memories with your loved ones. For more information and reservations, visit https://patinahotels.com/maldives-fari-islands/easter-celebrations or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Leave Better” at the Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands with a Spring Escape to Enliven the Senses
A bucket-list retreat whose very existence is a response to the natural world, from the rhythm of the ocean waves to the rising and the setting of the sun, The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands continues to celebrate the seasons with its Spring Festival this half-term. A multigenerational series of experiences at will explore taste and adventure, mind and movement, plugging guests firmly into nature, to inspire and nourish the soul.
A week-long programme will ensure guests of all ages return home version 2.0. Whether exploring new skills on land or water, awakening the senses on a gourmet trail of discovery, or re-balancing the mind and body, the Spring Festival ensures a blissful transition from a season of wintering.
In the Jean-Michel Cousteau Ambassadors of the Environment programme guests will take to the big blue with snorkelling and tank dives designed by its legendary namesake explorer. Fishing expeditions shine light on traditional Maldivian culture, and journeys on water track life-aquatic with pods of dolphins as they dance in to Spring. For mind and body, spa excellence prevails at The Ritz-Carlton Spa with Bamford. Wellness workshops will energise, ease tension and rejuvenate, from bamboo tapping, face yoga, gua sha massage to spa alchemy, while yoga gets dynamic, off the matt and up in the air with group aerial practice.
On and beyond the resort’s culinary island, unforgettable gourmet experiences are high on the Spring agenda. A chef’s table sake dinner at IWAU honours innovative Japanese cuisine under the stars, while aromatic Middle Eastern flavours of the resort’s Arabesque restaurant are presented in an exclusive pop-up at the magical Mystique Garden. The popular Beach Shack plays host to an indulgent lobster dinner at twilight, and provides the venue for a smooth Sunday beach barbeque where smoky flavours are complemented by crisp rosé. For those looking to create, hands-on workshops will explore the intricacy of spring roll making and the mastery of coffee and barista skills.
Junior guests are promised a spring in their step with a jamboree of activities at Ritz Kids, from garden picnics, treasure hunts to pirate safaris. A kaleidoscope of colour bounces through the week with kite flying on the beach, piñata parties and glow-in-the-dark painting at sundown.
As the days merge mindfully, the resort’s Defining Moment serenades the sun as it sets each day. A tribute to the cycle of nature, the signature ritual hosted at the iconic Eau Bar channels hypnotic beats of Boduberu drumming and blowing of the Sangu shell. To be enjoyed with a signature sundowner cocktail in hand and lightness of heart.
Browse our Spring Festival Brochure!
Lifestyle4 days ago
Maldives Stunning MVR 1,000 Note Captivates International Attention
Featured1 week ago
The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands Announces 2024 Masters of Crafts Program With Stellar Line-Up of Guest Experiences
Insiders6 days ago
Sun Siyam Resorts Boosts PR & Communications Team with Appointment of Erika Magora for Sun Siyam Iru Veli & Sun Siyam Vilu Reef
News1 week ago
Discover Romance in Paradise: Hurawalhi Island Resort Unveils Unforgettable Wedding & Honeymoon Experiences
News1 week ago
Embark on an Unforgettable Easter Escape at Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa
Celebration1 week ago
Jumeirah Maldives Olhahali Island Unveils Enchanting Easter Celebration for Families
News3 days ago
Maldivian Airlines Announces New Service to Colombo, Sri Lanka
Insiders1 week ago
Harshal Kumar Appointed as Cluster Executive Chef for Hurawalhi Island Resort & Kudadoo Maldives Private Island