OUR SECRET PARADISE STORY

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 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 UK retailer 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 almost 20 years ago and have been lucky enough to live here for 8 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 6 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 10 years initially on safari cruises but now also 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 3 years. 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.


IBRAHIM SATTAR 'KOKKO'

GUIDE

How long have you been working for Secret Paradise Maldives?
I have been working as a tour guide for more than 4 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.


AHMED SHAFFAF ABDHUL WAHHAB "SHAFFAF"

TOUR LEADER

How long have you been working for Secret Paradise?
I started working for secret paradise since 2015 as a part-timer and never before been in a tourism
industry secret paradise showed me what it’s like to work within the industry and I fell in love in what I do for the first time. I can proudly say since it has been 5 years and a full time staff now with Secret Paradise.

Favorite place?
I have to say my favourite place is The Sea of the Stars (bioluminescence). 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 1194 island 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 life style 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 Anime and also collecting historical artifices.If you join me on a Male walking tour I will be able to show you some of my old coins!


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 months.

Favourite 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 guest 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 Male 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"

GUIDE

How long have you bee­n working for Secret ­Paradise Maldives?
I’ve been working part time for Secret Paradise since 2015 and have just taken up a full time position as thse guys are like family!

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.


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 maximum 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. A change of pace from the hustle and bustle of the city I choose Gulhi for the islands 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 basketball I play most of and I try to workout often. Since having completed the Life Guard 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 animal.


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 10 months. I was working as 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.

Favourite place?
My favourite place is Thulusdhoo as the island offers one of the best surfing spot in Maldives. I also like to travel to uninhabited islands just to observe the true nature on our door step.

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 is my main interest, I am always eager to learn new things and knowledge so that I can share it with others.