Our Story & the Team

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An aerial shot of tropical islands in the Maldives

I discovered the Maldives almost 20 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 which also 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 hedhika, and invite me for coffee and beetle nuts! My love and appreciation of this country, its people, its culture, and its traditions were almost immediate and resulted in me visiting the archipelago on over 30 occasions.

In 2012, the opportunity to relocate arose. I had at that point worked for UK retailer British Home Stores for over 25 years and felt it was time for a change so, with the support of a local businessman, Ziyad Mohamed, we formed Secret Paradise. Our mission is 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 my own experience of Maldivian hospitality and their eagerness to please that gave rise to the cultural aspects of our tours which allows us to engage with local families, communities, and businesses.

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. Traveling by public ferry, staying on an inhabited island where the local community benefits directly from the income gained from tourism. Sharing breakfast with a family in their home, exchanging stories of daily life, relaxing with a coffee in a local café watching the world go by.

In 2019, Ziyad pursued his dream and launched ‘Island Luxury by Secret Paradise’ where he combined all the best aspects of Secret Paradise with a touch of luxury. Creating experiences and expeditions at a premium level.

Secret Paradise continues to specialize in sustainable private 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! We can handle your Maldives holiday from the moment of arrival to the time of departure. Or 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 our country we aim to provide experiences that meet your budget, are fun, educational, sustainable, and allow you, our guest, to experience the best from the island paradise I am now privileged to call home. Isn’t it time you adventured Maldivian style?

Ruth

Our Story & the Team

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An aerial shot of tropical islands in the Maldives

I discovered the Maldives almost 20 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 which also 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 hedhika, and invite me for coffee and beetle nuts! My love and appreciation of this country, its people, its culture, and its traditions were almost immediate and resulted in me visiting the archipelago on over 30 occasions.

In 2012, the opportunity to relocate arose. I had at that point worked for UK retailer British Home Stores for over 25 years and felt it was time for a change so, with the support of a local businessman, Ziyad Mohamed, we formed Secret Paradise. Our mission is 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 my own experience of Maldivian hospitality and their eagerness to please that gave rise to the cultural aspects of our tours which allows us to engage with local families, communities, and businesses.

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. Traveling by public ferry, staying on an inhabited island where the local community benefits directly from the income gained from tourism. Sharing breakfast with a family in their home, exchanging stories of daily life, relaxing with a coffee in a local café watching the world go by.

In 2019, Ziyad pursued his dream and launched ‘Island Luxury by Secret Paradise’ where he combined all the best aspects of Secret Paradise with a touch of luxury. Creating experiences and expeditions at a premium level.

Secret Paradise continues to specialize in sustainable private 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!

We can handle your Maldives holiday from the moment of arrival to the time of departure. Or 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 our country we aim to provide experiences that meet your budget, are fun, educational, sustainable, and allow you, our guest, to experience the best from the island paradise I am now privileged to call home.

Isn’t it time you adventured Maldivian style?

Ruth

The Team

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Ruth Franklin

Ruth Franklin

Co-Founder

How long have you been working in the Maldives?
I fell in love with the Maldives almost 20 years ago and have been lucky enough to live here for 10 years. Local island life is very different from 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. Listen to Ruth talk about Secret Paradise & Maldives Tourism on The Truth Behind Travel & The Southeast Asia Travel Show.


MARIYAM SOBA

Mariyam Soba

Administrator

How long have you been working for Secret Paradise Maldives?
I have been working for Secret Paradise for 8 years, initially as a guide and then, following the birth of my daughter, I now work behind the scenes!

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

What do you enjoy showing our guests the most?
I love sharing information about local life and traditions. My family hosts 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’

Hussain Fayaz ‘Kamey’

Tour Leader

How long have you been working as a guide?
I have been working as a tour guide for almost 10 years, initially on safari cruises but now also on local islands.

Favorite place?
My favorite place is Haalif Barrah which is in the most northern atoll of the Maldives. It is home to the largest freshwater lake in the Maldives and has much natural beauty.

What do you enjoy showing our travelers 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

Ub Waseem

Tour Leader

How long have you been working for Secret Paradise Maldives?
I have been working as a tour guide with Secret Paradise for 5 years and I have worked in the tourism industry for over 2 years previously.

Favorite 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 guests 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.


AHMED SHAFFAF

Ahmed Shaffaf

Guide

How long have you been working for Secret Paradise?
I started working for Secret Paradise in 2015 as a part-timer who had never worked in the tourism industry before. Secret Paradise showed me what it’s like to work within the industry and I fell in love with what I do for the first time.

Favorite place?
I have to say my favorite place is The Sea of the Stars. The images seen on the internet are from Vaadhoo which is located quite far from the capital so sadly it’s not possible to take a day tour. It is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the ocean, there is no specific time to see it, it all depends on luck.

What do you enjoy showing our guests most?
We are an archipelago country blessed with over 1200 islands and over 2000 species of marine life. I love to show and talk about the beautiful culture we have from south to north. When you travel from the north to the south of the Maldives there is a big difference in culture – language, sports, and people’s lifestyles are different and in some cases unique.

General interests?
I love having the opportunity to make friends from all around the world. I enjoy watching Animé and also collecting historical artifices. If you join me on a Malé walking tour, I will be able to show you some of my old coins!


MOHAMED IHUSAAN “HOO”

Mohamed Ihusaan “Hoo”

Guide

How long have you bee­n working for Secret ­Paradise Maldives?
I joined on September 1st, 2019, but it feels like I have been with the team for years!

Favorite place?­
Vaavu Fulidhoo & Maafushi. Fulidhoo because the island is very small, people are friendly and so welcoming and also they have a pretty nice beach. Maafushi is because it has a really social vibe, I like crowded places and Maafushi is a touristic local island with lots of people to meet and activities to do.

What do you enjoy sho­wing our guests the mo­st?
Historical places, because after I joined Secret Paradise I learned so much more about the history of the Maldives, that I personally got more interested and found that even Malé has a lot of history and stories to offer.

General interests?­
I like traveling and joining Secret Paradise has already provided me the opportunity to travel to different local islands. I am passionate about snorkeling, the underwater is mesmerizing and as a Maldivian, I enjoy having coffee with friends and hanging out with them.


ZAFFRAN HUSSAIN “ZAFF”

Zaffran Hussain “Zaff”

Tour Leader

How long have you bee­n working for Secret ­Paradise Maldives?
I’ve been working part-time for Secret Paradise since 2015. These guys are like family!

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

What do you enjoy sho­wing our guests 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 and I could die in peace. Other than that I play pool and basketball. I like reading and keeping up with 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.


AHMED MASHIR ALI “MASH”

Ahmed Mashir Ali “Mash”

Tour Leader

How long have you been working for Secret Paradise Maldives?
I have worked in many companies, in various fields, for no more than a maximum of six months at a time and I can gladly say that Secret Paradise is where I have put down roots since 2017.

Favorite place?
The contrast between the islands of Maafushi and Gulhi. If I want an adrenaline rush it would be Maafushi with its many watersports, diving, and excursion providers. With a change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the city, I choose Gulhi for the island’s tranquility and the amazing beach it has to offer.

What do you enjoy showing our guests most?
I can honestly say that I get gratification when guests see the Maldives for what it actually is rather than what they may have heard or have read about. Glad to answer any and every question that guests have in mind.

General interests?
I am passionate about traveling. I like to play sports, though I play basketball most of the time and I try to work out often. Since having completed the LifeGuard Course I have partaken in a Water Aerobics Instructor Course for personal development. I am an animal lover, having grown up around cats, birds, and other various animals.


MOHAMED ATHIF “ARCHIE”

Mohamed Athif “Archie”

Guide

How long have you been working for Secret Paradise?
I’ve been working as a tour guide in Secret Paradise for almost 3 years. I was working as a freelance guide previously for more than 6 years. Working with Secret Paradise is a reward for me as the team works for the development of each other.

Favorite place?
My favorite place is Thulusdhoo as the island offers one of the best surfing spots in the Maldives. I also like to travel to uninhabited islands just to observe the true nature on our doorstep.

What do you enjoy showing our guests most?
Sharing the knowledge of how the Maldives has been formed and how it was populated from so many different corners of the world.

General interest?
Traveling and researching are my main interests, I am always eager to learn new things and knowledge so that I can share it with others.


MAHEE MOHAMED

Mahee Mohamed

Guide

How long have you been working for Secret Paradise?
I started to work for Secret Paradise in 2016 August and had a great 3 years of experience. I then took a break to work on a resort island to further develop my tourism experience before rejoining the Secret Paradise family in 2020 February. It’s good to be back ‘home’!

Favorite place?
The island among my favorites is Laamu Mundoo. My parents used to take me to this island many years ago before the tsunami. I discovered that the lagoon between Mundoo and the south of Gan is home to much seagrass. I imagine there are a lot of marine species living there.

What do you enjoy showing our guests most?
I have a particular interest in the culture and heritage of Maldives and enjoy sharing this with guests. I also get personal delight when I am able to share our natural beauty and marine life with my guests.

General interest?
I spend a lot of my time watching educational programs and reading books and blogs. I find information on real events most captivating. Since I was a child, I have had an interest in pencil art and I do this as a hobby to relax. Feel free to ask me to show you some of my artwork!

Looking for more info? Contact us now!