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The Maldives Travel Guide: Go Beyond The Postcard In Luxury Island-Style

The Maldives is all about the rejuvenation of the soul. Located in the Indian Ocean, this tropical paradise is an idyllic archipelago. Its magnetic allure entices anyone looking for a relaxing, explorative and unique experience of luxury. It is essential to recognize that the allure of the Maldives extends far beyond its pristine beaches and turquoise waters. No matter their budget or background, everyone deserves to bask in the beauty of this oceanic destination. Travelers can indulge in the all-inclusive luxury island resorts and create remarkable memories in a truly unforgettable place.

  • Best time to travel: November to April (peak season), May and October (shoulder season), June and September (off-season), July and August (wet/dry seasons)
  • Time zone: Maldives Time (MVT)
  • Currency: Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR)
  • Noteworthy: Maldives Independence Day (July), Maldives Surfing Championship (August), Maldives Whale Shark Festival (December),
  • Best for: Beach Getaways, Romantic Honeymoons, Adventure and Water Sport Enthusiasts, Nature Lovers, Luxury Travelers

Play: Things to do in Maldives

Sandbank Snorkeling and Sunset Cruise

The Sandbank Snorkeling and Sunset Cruise is a small-group tour with snorkeling, sunbathing and a sunset dolphin cruise from Hulhumale. Begin the day with a visit to a picturesque sandbank to learn or refresh those snorkeling skills. The two vibrant snorkel sites near Malé are home to colorful tropical fish, sea turtles, reef sharks, stingrays and coral formations.

As the sun begins to set, playful dolphins peek out of the water to see what’s going on. The knowledgeable guide shares stories about the islands and fish identification cards. Snorkeling equipment and local taxes are included in the main price.

Underwater Photoshoot 

Book this excursion for the ultimate souvenir from a trip to the Maldives. With adventure and artistry, this unique opportunity with an underwater photoshoot is a must-do. Surrounded by mesmerizing crystal-clear waters, guests wade into the water with a professional photographer.

Guests receive a complimentary water bottle to stay hydrated. The final print includes an edited video and up to 20 edited pictures. With this activity, visitors must rent their own snorkeling equipment. They also are responsible for booking boat transfers to and from the shoot.

2-Hour Maldives Submarine Tour From Malé

Most water-loving travelers will enjoy this submarine tour from Malé. It’s an extraordinary underwater adventure with captivating views of the Indian Ocean. This tour takes visitors in a luxury submarine that can comfortably accommodate up to 50 people.

The German-built passenger submarine can descend to a depth of 100 feet below the surface. A crew is there for convenient port pickup and easy drop-off. With multiple departure times available, this tour promises an unforgettable expedition into the depths of the Maldives.

The National Museum in Malé

For history-loving travelers, the National Museum in Malé is a beautiful way to experience the local culture. Situated within the picturesque Sultan Park, this museum was once part of the historic 17th-century Maldivian Royal Palace compound. The three-story building has been a prominent attraction since the 1950s.

The museum’s mission is to preserve the rich culture and history of the Maldives. They have an extensive collection of historical artifacts. From stone artifacts to remnants of royal antiquities, the exhibits paints a picture of the Maldives’ heritage and global connections.

Baani Spa Complex

With a true understanding of authentic Maldivian luxury, the Baani Spa Complex is a top spa experience in the region. This spa is located on Kagi Maldives Spa Island, which is an adults-only boutique retreat. The 5-star resort offers 50 beach and overwater villas, a state-of-the-art gym, two restaurants, three bars, a PADI dive center.

Skilled therapists perform holistic cleansing rituals to release stress and negative energies. They have three goals for every guest: release, restore and regain. The range of treatments include massages, facials, body treatments, salt and mud baths, and sound immersion therapy. Guests can savor fresh juices and healthy menu delights to feel nourished inside out. This is a must-book experience on any trip to the Maldives.

Gourmet: Best Restaurants In Maldives

Ithaa Undersea Restaurant

The Ithaa Undersea Restaurant is a unique dining experience on the island. Guests are surrounded by breathtaking views of the vibrant coral garden and sea creatures. Guests can enjoy an intimate experience, since there are only 14 tables.

Reservations are required to experience this underwater restaurant. From mid-morning cocktails to mouthwatering lunches and private dinners, there’s a view and a menu for everyone. The fusion menus blend local flavors with Western influence for a memorable taste of the island.  

Just Veg by Atmosphere Kanifushi

Just Veg by Atmosphere Kanifushi is the first vegetarian restaurant in the Maldives. The contemporary vegetarian restaurant has a menu that meat eaters love. Located in Lhaviyani Atoll, the stunning backdrop creates the most relaxing atmosphere. The menu includes experimental flavor combinations inspired by the Mediterranean, Middle East and Indian Ocean regions.

The menu includes dishes like cauliflower soup, Maldivian locavore curry and mango sticky rice with fresh coconut milk. It’s a a short 30-minute scenic seaplane flight from Malé.

Blue Beach Club 

The Blue Beach Club is located at the Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru. It sits on an expansive Maldivian beach with jaw-dropping sunsets over blue waters. Executive Chef Gaetano Trovato created a delicious Italian menu with Sardinian roots and distinct recipes. There are multiple options for breakfast, lunch, dinner on the menu.

The breakfast includes an array of foods, such as Landaa eggs benedict and tomato and bean cassoulet. Intriguing dinner dishes include lobster tagiolini with herring caviar and slow-cooked rainbow runner with cauliflower and roasted lemon. An authentic Sardinian wine list pairs perfectly with every menu item.

Shell Beans

Shell Beans is a great restaurant for early risers. There’s a serene atmosphere on the air-conditioned first floor and sparkling ocean views from the balcony seating. The international fusion menu includes satiating quick-service foods, such as sandwiches and fruit juices.

There’s also Wi-Fi for traveling digital nomads and a relaxing nook to sit back and read a book. From wellness shots to health smoothies, there’s a refreshing drink for every palate. Enjoy breakfast for dinner with an island-style French toast, Masala omelet, homemade breakfast granola and their signature Shell Beans brekkie. 

Seagull Café House Restaurant 

Originally a gelateria, the renowned Seagull Café House Restaurant offers a variety of American, Asian and Maldivian dishes. They have over 18 local and unique gelato flavors, along with a variety of fresh fruit bowls and toppings. The dinner options include spicy chicken broth ramen, pumpkin and lentil soup, and meat or fish curries with white rice. The bakery has cakes, muffins, pies and tarts to choose from.

Stay: Best Places to Stay In Maldives

Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi is home to one of the largest solar power plants in the Maldives. The carbon-neutral hotel is 90 percent waste-free. The hotel takes part in a glass-blowing workshop to upcycle discarded bottles. The 64 private island villas are nestled into a lush jungle scene with breathtaking views.

Snorkelers have three house reef access points on the sunset side of the villas. If guests want more privacy, they can enjoy unobstructed sea views on the tranquil sunrise side. Guests also have personal pools and shared beach access. There are unlimited dining options, and the rejuvenating Soneva Soul spa for some pampering. 

Gili Lankanfushi

The Gili Lankanfushi is an exceptional luxury stay designed to be every traveler’s dream getaway. From romantic vibes to family-friendly excursions, there’s something for everyone. The resort’s commitment to sustainability is evident in every aspect of its operation and is perfect for the eco-conscientious traveler.

Gili Lankanfushi minimizes plastic usage and waste by responsibly sourcing local materials and refillable earthenware containers. The locally sourced ingredients ensure fresh and nutritious meals at their multiple dining and bar experiences. Guests can also participate in coral-cleaning ventures and contribute to scientific sustainability initiatives.

Private House For Rent

This private house is the perfect oasis for guests who want a more personal stay. Located on Ukulhas, this house includes a fully equipped kitchen, a living room, two ensuite bedrooms and a dining room. There’s a dedicated workspace with WiFi, an outside chill and lounge zone with a BBQ grill and lounge area. The villa has an in-unit washer, room-darkening shades and a private entrance with shared beach access.

Get Away: Getting To and Around Maldives

By Air 

The Maldives has one major international airport, Velana International Airport, also known as Malé International Airport. It’s situated near the capital city. There are direct international flights available from major cities worldwide to the archipelago. The recommended time to visit the Maldives is the dry season from November to April. Be mindful of the monsoon season from May to October. Make sure to consult airlines and travel agencies for accurate and current information on weather advisories.

By Car

Getting around the Maldives by car isn’t the most common or practical mode of transportation. The country is a chain of islands with limited road networks. Due to the scattered nature of the islands, most of the local transportation relies on boats and seaplanes.

Some local islands have small road networks and offer car rental services. You can rent a car from local providers on these islands to explore the immediate surroundings. The luxury resorts located on the more popular and larger private islands often provide car rental services for their guests. 

By Public Transit

Taxis are a common means of transportation in the Maldives, especially in more populated areas. Visitors can find taxis at airports, ferry terminals and major tourist areas. It’s important to negotiate the fare beforehand and ensure the driver uses the meter to avoid any misunderstandings. Public buses operate on local islands with sufficient road networks, but services may be limited on less accessible routes. Check with locals or the island’s administration to plan for bus schedules and routes accordingly. 

Explore The Maldives on Foot

When visiting the Maldives, there’s no doubt that exploring the most beautiful areas on foot is top of the list. Some inhabited islands are small enough for leisurely strolls, so it’s important to wear comfortable footwear suitable for sandy terrain. Locals and accommodation staff often share popular local attractions and the best and safest walking paths.

Wear sunscreen and other sun protection as the tropical climate can be intense. If walking isn’t viable, there is local transportation, like dhonis or ferries for island hopping.

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