THE TOP 6 THINGS TO DO IN THE MALDIVES
If I were to say Maldives, what comes to your mind? Luxury Resorts? White sandy beaches? An amazing underwater world? All of this is true, but what if I were to tell you that there is so much more?
I was born here in the Maldives, a destination that is often referred to as ‘paradise on the earth’. This statement is also true, but I was blind to a lot of this beauty until I joined Secret Paradise. I always loved to swim and snorkel and as a Maldivian, fishing is in my blood! But whilst working as a Tour Leader, my eyes have been opened and I have been able to view my island home in a different way and see the incredible beauty and experiences through the eyes of you, our guests.
So as the Maldives prepares to re-open these are my top things to do in the Maldives, which I think should be on your Maldives bucket list!
SHIP WRECK SNORKELING
For locals Vaavu Atoll is known as WOW ATOLL because of its beauty. It is located 40 miles south of Male and it is the smallest administrative atoll in terms of population. 1700 people in 5 local inhabited islands. One of the most famous activities here is the Keyodhoo Ship Wreck, an attraction for locals as well as tourists. The wreck is positioned almost vertically with only the bow of the wreck above the water. If you snorkel here, you can see how the boat stands by itself. It is said that it is an Indonesian boat that drifted, some say it may be an Iranian boat. I can’t confirm from where it came, but surely it now brings a lot of people to Vaavu for photographic opportunities. My advice is to go there early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds.
Once you have done the wreck, why not experience a beautiful sandbank? Vaavu Atoll also has some amazing sandbanks as do so many other atolls. Sandbanks come and go. Sometimes they change size and location as both the wind and the current can impact the movement of sand and therefore the shape of them. However, regardless of shape or size they provide the ultimate Robinson Crusoe desert island moment. Swim, sunbathe and immerse yourself in nature. Gaze at the endless blue sky and across the fifty shades of blue.
MALDIVES LOCAL ISLAND CULTURE
If you are thinking to walk and stretch your legs head off and explore a local island. There are so many to choose from. From small islands like Fulidhoo in Vaavu Atoll, which is just half a mile in length and 300 meters in width, to islands like Dhigurah in Ari Atoll, which actually means long island! Wander through sandy streets, explore tropical vegetation and perhaps check out the beach. Visit a local café and try local snacks whilst you watch the local world of the Maldives pass you by.
NURSE SHARK BAY
Still looking for something more? This is the famous Nurse shark Bay located just off Dhiggiri island Resort. It is said to be left over tuna bones, heads and meats that had been dumped in the ocean attracted the nurse sharks. Now as the sharks are used to eat every day, they stay near the jetty. We don’t support feeding marine animals nor do we advise any tourist or local to do so and chumming in this area by snorkeling operators is a big no! There are a lot of sharks and also Giant Jack fish in this lagoon and whilst there is designated mooring to reduce the number of boats in the area we would advise to go either early in the day or late evening when it is far quieter. For some people just staying in the boat and observing out of the water is enough. If you do wish to swim, please don’t touch any marine life, they don’t like it and it’s not good for them. Stay calm and float on the surface and just see how many you can spot.
WHALE SHARK ENCOUNTERS
If you love whale sharks and manta rays head to South Ari Atoll. I recommend to stay on Dhigurah island located 60 miles south west of capital city Male’. Whale shark sightings are excellent year-round. These giants eat nothing but plankton and maybe the odd small fish that gets caught up in their super large mouths. The biggest whale sharks can be measured up to 12 meters in length. Boats cruise the area to locate a whale shark, mostly snorkeling with them. Sometimes there are a lot of boats, and many people in the water with one whale shark, which is not good for the whale shark nor for those snorkeling. My recommendation would be asking locals what time is the best to see these gentle giants as they will always know better. Ensure you also select an operator who understands and follows the guidelines for safe and responsible whale shark encounters. If you want to study more about whale sharks, there is a NGO working at Dhigurah called Maldives Whale Shark Research Program, they often need volunteers to assist in their studies.
MANTA RAY MOMENTS
Mantas can be seen all around the Maldives, but there are places where these magnificent rays are found at particular times of year. They can be seen in the lagoon of Dhigurah, which is one of the places I have been lucky to encounter them . Mantas are also spotted near the island of Mathiveri and you may have the chance to see them all year round there. Manta are seen in huge numbers at the famous Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll, north of Male. Hanifaru Bay is a feeding and a breeding ground form mantas and whale Sharks. It is also a UNIESCO World Biosphere Reserve, the location is well monitored by an NGO called Manta Trust where they identify the manta, its movement, collect data of the manta population and much more.
As a local, as a Tour Leader, as a member of Secret Paradise, I am proud to be a Maldivian. I am blessed to be in this island paradise where I am surrounded by all this beauty. Don’t just believe what I say, you also need to see it for your own eyes!
Whenever you are ready to start thinking about or planning your Maldives holiday, contact our team. We are after all YOUR Maldives experts