OUR SECRET PARADISE STORY

I discovered the Maldives 15 years ago, visiting as a scuba diver in search of mantas and whale sharks. I was fortunate and found a reasonably priced resort that allowed me to stay and indulge in my hobby but then came along development and my well-loved resort went luxury and beyond my price range. So I moved to diving from a boat and this also in later years enabled me to gain an understanding of local island life. I always consider myself lucky to have found a group of Maldivian friends who would invite me to their family homes for dinner, share afternoon hedika and invite me for coffee and beetle nuts! My love and appreciation of this country, its people, its culture and traditions was almost immediate and resulted in me visiting the archipelago on over 30 occasions in the years since. In 2012 the opportunity to relocate arose. I had at that point worked for British Home Stores for over 25 years and felt it was time for a change and so with the support of a local business man, we formed Secret Paradise. Our mission to introduce the Real Maldives to guests and support local communities.

Maldivians are known for their friendliness and hospitality and nothing is too much trouble for them. It was through my own experience of Maldivian hospitality and their eagerness to please that gave rise to the cultural aspects of our tours which allowed us to engage with local families, communities and businesses.

Sitting in the home of a local family for dinner can be a humbling experience. We encourage our local families to sit and eat with our guests. On my initial visits to a local home I would be provided with an array of food, enough to feed a small army, but as I sat and stuffed my face the family would sit and watch me and no amount of encouragement would get them to join me! Any young children at first can be a little shy of a group of strangers but they soon come out from behind their mothers legs and more often than not end up sitting on someone’s knee. The older generation sometimes may not be able to speak English but will do their upmost to understand your sign language which as you can imagine generally adds laughter to the proceedings.

The basis of our tours has always been to allow guests to learn about the Maldives, its culture, beliefs, and traditions and what better way to do this than to see the country through the eyes of a local and experience daily life by travelling by public ferry, staying on a locally inhabited island where the local community benefit directly from the income gained from local island tourism, sharing breakfast with a family in their home, exchanging stories of daily life, relaxing with a coffee in a local café with their local host.

Secret Paradise specializes in individual and group travel for people of all ages, don’t think it is just for young adventurers, it is also for the young at heart! My 75 year old mother tested our 4 day discovery package and more recently we had a group of seniors visit from Australia who are coming back again this year! We are happy to act as a portal for independent travelers offering advice and recommendations on where to stay and the best way to discover the Maldives. Most importantly whichever way you choose to explore the country we aim to provide holidays that meet your budget, are fun and provide comfort along with a warm welcome allowing you, our guest, to experience the best from the paradise I am now privileged to call home.

Isn’t it time you adventured Maldivian style?

 

Ruth

RUTH FRANKLIN

PARTNER AND FOUNDER

How long have you been working in the Maldives?
I fell in love with the Maldives 17 years ago and have been lucky enough to live here for 6 years. Local island life is very different to my UK life but I wouldn’t change it for the world and intend to be here for a long time yet!

Favorite place?
My favorite place is under the water! I am lucky to have done over 1000 dives in the Maldives and whilst I get a thrill from seeing the big stuff – mantas and whale sharks, I love hunting out the small stuff!

What do you enjoy showing our guests the most?
I get great satisfaction from sharing my knowledge and passion for the Maldives with potential guests.

General interests?
Diving – though I do less now than when I came as a guest! Swimming, reading and spending time with my local friends and family.


MARIYAM SOBA

ADMINISTRATOR

How long have you been working for Secret Paradise Maldives?
I have been working for Secret Paradise for 5 years initially as a guide and then following the birth of my daughter I work behind the scenes!

Favourite place?
After my home island which is Kinbidhoo, my favourite place is Fuvahmulah as it is such a unique island and very different to others that I have visited.

What do you enjoy showing our guest the most?
I love sharing information about local life and traditions. My family host the Taste of Maldives tour and we really enjoy guests coming and sharing a family experience with us.

General interests?
Movies, reading and sitting on the beach drinking coffee and watching the moon!


HUSSAIN FAYAZ ‘KAMEY’

GUIDE

How long have you been working as a guide?
I have been working as a tour guide for almost 8 years initially on safari cruises but now on local islands.

Favourite place?
My favourite place is Haalif Barrah which is in the most northern atoll of the Maldives. It is home to the largest fresh water lake in the Maldives and has much natural beauty.

What do you enjoy showing our travellers the most?
The marine life of the underwater world of the Maldives as well as introducing them to local culture.

General interests?
Diving, photography and football.


UB WASEEM

GUIDE

How long have you been working for Secret Paradise Maldives?
I have been working as a tour guide with Secret Paradise for 1 year. Previous to this I have worked in the tourism industry for over 2 years.

Favourite place?
My favorite Maldives island is Fuvahlumah, which is also my home island, as it is so unlike other islands. However, my favorite place to be is in the ocean!

What do you enjoy showing our guest the most?
I enjoy showing guests the underwater beauty of the Maldives as well as being able to offer insights into our culture.

General interests?
Meeting new people, diving, snorkeling, traveling.


KOKKO IBBE

GUIDE

How long have you been working for Secret Paradise Maldives?
I have been working as a tour guide for more than 2 years. This was my first time working in the tourism field and it is far the best career move I have made.

Favourite place?
My favourite place would be Fuvahmulah Island. Located in the south it is a one atoll island and has many unique aspects to it including a shiny pebble beach and freshwater lakes.

What do you enjoy showing our guest the most?
I enjoy sharing local life. I want our guests to feel how locals live and to experience true Maldives.

General interests?
Marine life, photography, football and documentaries.


MAAHEE MOHAMED

GUIDE

How long have you bee­n working for Secret ­Paradise Maldives?
I started working for Secret Paradise just 1 year ago. It’s a privilege to work with such a great team and to provide travelers unique local experiences.

Favourite place?­
My favourite places are in Haa Alif Atoll. The island of Baara has beautiful mangroves and the island of Utheem has great historical significance in our history.

What do you enjoy sho­wing our guest the mo­st?
I like to show our traditions and culture and enjoy introducing guests to local foods

General interests?­
Watching movies, documentaries, snorkeling, travelling.


ALI NASEER

GUIDE

How long have you bee­n working for Secret ­Paradise Maldives?
I started on 1st November 2017, so it’s not even a month!

Favourite place?­
Fuvahmulah, Dh.Maaenboodhoo.

What do you enjoy sho­wing our guest the mo­st?
Mostly i enjoy showing then underwater world, and showing the real Maldives.

General interests?­
Mostly I enjoy Playing football and playing cards with friends while we’re having a coffee.


ZAFF

GUIDE

How long have you bee­n working for Secret ­Paradise Maldives?
I’ve been working part time for Secret Paradise since 2015.

Favourite place?­
Huraa and Maafushi, both very different islands that offer different Maldives experiences

What do you enjoy sho­wing our guest the mo­st?
Given that most guests come here for our underwater beauty, snorkeling and showing the lovely life underwater would be my favorite thing. I am in a privileged position where snorkeling and seeing beauty like this is a first for a lot of people. To have been a part of an entirely new experience for people is something i feel very privileged and blessed about.

General interests?­
I love cats. Put me into a cat sanctuary i could die in peace. Other than that i play pool and basketball. I like reading and keeping up with the current affairs. I also sing in the shower and sometimes in front of people. Ask me and i just might belt out a few lines of Britney Spears.