Looking to get away from it all and experience a tropical island paradise? Consider the Maldives. This island nation in the Indian Ocean is made up of over 1,200 islands surrounded by breathtakingly beautiful turquoise waters, white sand beaches, and an incredible array of marine life. And with its luxurious resorts, it’s no wonder that this archipelago lures travelers from around the globe.
My husband and I recently traveled to the Maldives where we stayed at two resorts on different islands. The islands are small, typically with just one resort per island. We truly felt like we had escaped from the hubbub of daily life.
Transportation between islands consists of either seaplanes or boats, depending on how far you are going. We did both. With so many islands, it isn’t surprising that the Maldives has the largest seaplane operation in the world.
While the seaplanes provide transportation, they also provide an ideal perspective to see more of this island nation.
The Maldives is famous for its overwater bungalows, or water villas, that offer a unique way to experience the tropical island setting. These wooden-decked villas on stilts are perched above the turquoise water.
Many of them have windows on the floor that allow you to see the fish swimming below.
And you can step right into the ocean from your private sundeck. The combination of solitude and proximity to marine life make these iconic villas the ultimate Maldives accommodation.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that being over the water means you will give up amenities. Overwater villas come equipped with all the amenities of luxury accommodations, including a butler. Our water villa had a plunge pool and an outdoor hot tub. I loved relaxing in the plunge pool while watching the fish swimming below.
But overwater villas aren’t the only option. In fact, if you are traveling with small children, you will need to stay on the beach. Some beach villas have private pools. We stayed at a beach villa at one of the resorts and enjoyed relaxing on a shaded deck and showering in a private outdoor shower.
The dining options depend on the resort, of course. Both all-inclusive and a la carte options are available. The all-inclusive option allows you to know the total cost in advance and then enjoy yourself while traveling without thinking about the cost. Both resorts we stayed at allowed us to try traditional Maldivian cuisine with a gourmet touch. I think trying some traditional dishes is an important part of experiencing the culture of a destination.
Both of our resorts had beachfront restaurants right on the sand.
Romantic private dinners on the beach are an option. I love the lighted heart around the table.
They also had rooftop bars that were a perfect place to watch the sunset.
One of the resorts had an overwater infinity pool. You could even order a floating meal there.
The sand was the whitest I’ve ever seen (and I know this because I collect sand on my travels). We enjoyed several strolls along the beach. One of my favorite moments was when I discovered that there baby sharks swimming close to shore. They were so cute!
Speaking of sea life, an underwater adventure is the perfect way to experience the best of the Maldives. Both snorkeling and scuba diving are available. We did both. The Maldives is home to some of the world’s most diverse marine habitats. Dive into crystal clear waters to find yourself in a dreamlike world of vibrant coral reefs, large schools of tropical fish, and majestic creatures such as manta rays and sharks.
Snorkeling is another great option. Simply don your mask and fins to glide along the serene water surface, peeking at the bustling marine life below. We went snorkeling right from our overwater villa.
Watersports such as kayaking, sailing, jet skiing, and fishing are also popular ways to enjoy the water in the Maldives. We booked a sunrise fishing trip and trolled for tuna. The crew provided all the gear and bait, along with guidance.
And the restaurant at the resort grilled our fish for lunch.
Both our scuba diving and fishing trips were conducted from a traditional Maldivian boat called a dhoni. These iconic wooden vessels once transported goods between islands but today are recreational vessels. Snorkeling trips and sunset cruises are other options to get aboard a beautiful dhoni.
Each resort has its own schedule of activities. Some of the activities we enjoyed included tea tasting, wine tasting, cocktail class, afternoon tea, shark feeding, a cooking demonstration, and visiting a recreated traditional Maldivian village.
Another activity that was a highlight was a tour of the capital city, Malé. The city offers a vibrant contrast to the calm of the resorts with its bustling markets, historical mosques, parks, and many restaurants. My favorite was the Friday Mosque, the biggest and one of the finest coral stone buildings in the world. It is on UNESCO’s Tentative list and dates back to the 1600s.
The produce and fish markets were other interesting stops on our tour. One of the vendors at the produce market gave us samples of fruit, coconut candy, and other sweet treats.
The fish market was impressive. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many large fish before.
With endless white sand beaches, turquoise waters, underwater splendor, and laid-back island vibes, the Maldives is an unforgettable tropical escape. Whether you are looking for adventure, relaxation, or a little of both, I can help you plan a trip of a lifetime in this Indian Ocean paradise. Read about how my services work and then send me an email to get started.