Maldives is famous for its incredible blue sea, coral reefs that are every diver’s dream come true, white sand beaches and its luxury private island-resorts!
This place might also be well-known as the world-best honeymoon destination, but there is so much more to that then just lying on the beach on a private island (even though this sounds good as well!).
I have spent almost 14 days in this paradise-like country and I have done many activities, so here is my Top 7 selection:
1. Dive with manta rays and turtles
Diving is by far the best activity you can do in the Maldives!
You don’t even need to be PADI certified in order to dive – I am not certified! You will still be allowed up to dive up to 12 meters, which is more than enough to see a lot of colorful underwater life.
I dived 2 times during which I had the chance to see numerous colorful fish, 3-4 turtles, a couple of sharks! (not the dangerous ones) and many manta rays that were 2 meters long!
Bandos resort (located very close to Male) was a great place to go diving. You can read more information about it in my review.
If you want to dive deeper, but you are not certified, you should know that you can receive your PADI certificate in pretty much all the resorts in Maldives. Most of the resorts have diving schools where the staff will provide you with all the necessary materials for your open water certificate. It usually only takes you 3 days to receive it and the price varies, starting from about 500 USD.
Certified or not, diving in the Maldives is an amazing experience that I’m sure you will never forget!
NOTE: You can’t dive less than 24 hours before your flight back! This has to do with the nitrogen in your blood and the latest you should take your last dive is 1 day before the flight.
PRICE: Starts from $60 US but it really depends on your resort
2. Go Island hopping
Staying on a luxurious island is nice, but what if you want to get to know the local culture better?
If you are curious about the lives that the real Maldivians have, you should take an island hopping tour!
During the tour, you will visit a local island, interact with some locals and get to know how they live, what they eat, where they go to school to and what they build their houses from (a cement-like powder made of shells apparently).
The truth is, staying in a luxury resort will never give you a full understanding of how real life is in the Maldives!
It was cool to catch a glimpse of what real Maldivian daily life is like – I learned that Maldivians have a very peculiar alphabet and most of the locals eat exclusively fruits and fish and that they live off tourism and fishing. You will see that Maldivians are very smiley and positive. I spoke to some of them and they do not mind tourism as they also benefit directly from it.
PRICE: Around $100 US but it really depends on your resort
3. Surfing the waves of the Indian Ocean
You can surf in the Maldives, seriously? Why did no one ever told me this?
Yes, apparently you can! A boat will take you to the place where waves are strong enough for this and you can surf the day away if you wish to! No crowds at all and the feeling of adventure is guaranteed!
Actually, the waves of the Indian Ocean are super powerful, as the swell normally reaches a shoulder-to-head height and you can catch some really long waves. It is perfect for intermediate but also pro surfers.
If you are a complete beginner, most of the resorts can organize lessons with instructors for you.
The season for perfect waves really depends on the atoll (Male Atolls, Central Atolls or South Atolls), but generally, it is recommended to surf there from April until October, yet March and November can be also good. I have been told that the best breaks are on the outer reefs on the southeast sides of the atolls.
NOTE: Not all of the resorts have this option (as not all of them are close enough to big waves), so you should double check with a particular resort.
PRICE: Around $150 US but it really depends on your resort
4. Snorkel with sea stars
My diving instructor told me that when you snorkel, you are a guest in the ocean for all its inhabitants, but when you dive, you are one of them.
But you know what? Being a guest was not that bad either! If you do not want/do not like to dive, in many places in the Maldives you do not even need any special diving equipment to see underwater life!
Most of the hotels are located on the reef (well, the island is basically a part of the reef!).
So, you can just grab your mask and snorkel around the house reef of your resort!
You will see schools of tropical fish and maybe even more if you are lucky enough!
The snorkeling equipment was provided free of charge in all the resorts I have been to, but you can also bring your own just in case!
PRICE: Starts from $50 US and it really depends on your resort
5. Spot Dolphins or whale sharks on a sunset boat tour
Yet again, the Maldives is, probably, one of the best places in the world to visit if you want to see whale sharks or dolphins!
So, do not miss on this incredible opportunity while you are there!
On our dolphin tour, we were very lucky to see 8-10 dolphins playing around the boat and following us for about 40 minutes!
I was so happy to see the cutest creatures in the wild inhabitant.
Keep your eyes open for flying fish, manta rays and whale sharks too!
Together with a spectacular sunset and a glass of champagne that was the recipe for a perfect evening!
P.S. You can also swim with dolphins in the Maldives, as some hotels offer this option. But, as I had swum with whale sharks in the Philippines, I did not do that tour.
PRICE: Around $50 US and it really depends on your resort
6. Go to a sunset fishing cruise
The sea remains an integral part of the existence of the Maldivian nation and if you want to learn the ancient art of traditional Maldivian fishing, you should take this tour!
Although the idea of fishing might sound a bit boring in the beginning, I wholeheartedly recommend it!
It does not matter if you have no clue how to fish (like me), or you are a pro fisherman, you will surely have a lot of fun during this tour!
You will take a short boat ride just before the sunset (that’s when the possibility of catching fish is the highest). The crew will explain to you the technique, which is very simple!
Here is how fishing is done in the Maldives the local way:
I did not catch any fish (though most of the others did), but I loved sitting there on the boat in the middle of nowhere in the Indian Ocean, reeling the fish in with my fishing rod and bait, and just staring at those countless stars!
Oh and by the way, you can eat your catch after you come back on the island as they will grill it for you!
PRICE: Around $120 US and it really depends on your resort
7. Visit a deserted island
Not in all cases, but some hotels can also take you to an inhabited island if you wish! Now, this is really a romantic getaway!
How cool would it be to cut out from the whole world, feel like Robinson Crusoe and have an island all to yourself for one day?
You can take some snorkeling gear and swim around the island, read a book, chase the crabs around the tiny strip of land or simply relax and connect with nature!
Some hotels, like Kanuhura, where I had the chance to stay and I wrote about my experience here, have a small island in their possession that is very close to the main resort. In my case, we had the possibility to have lunch on that private island and it was incredible!
PRICE: Around $300 US and it really depends on your resort
BONUS TRIP: Resort Day Visit
How about a tour not from a resort, but TO a resort?
If you want to save some cash and stay on one of the local islands in a guest house (usually, in Male and Hulmuhale), then you should know that you can still indulge the luxury of a private exclusive resort. How?
Many resorts offer some so-called day tours during which you can enjoy all the facilities of the place (pools, bars, nice clean beaches, chaise longs etc.). You will get some fantastic photo opportunities for the fraction of the price of actually staying in the resort because it usually costs about $150 US for a full day trip to a resort!
PRICE: About $150 US and it really depends on your resort
Sure, laying on the beach is nice, but it gets boring after a couple of days, so taking these tours will allow you to experience even more of these gorgeous islands.
Be it diving, interacting with the locals, snorkeling, surfing or fishing – there are so many fun tours to do in the Maldives and I’m sure you will never get bored!
I hope you got some nice ideas for your vacation in the Maldives from this post!
Which one would you say is a MUST do out of these 7?
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments section, I will be happy to help!
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