Secret Paradise Maldives War on Straws

The now viral Utube video of the sea turtle having a straw removed from its nose with a set of pliers was certainly heart breaking to view but most certainly it appeared to make the world sit up and pay attention to the plight of our oceans.

Straws are consistently on the top 10 lists for marine debris collected every year during International Coastal Cleanups and the Maldives is no different as we have found from our own experience of beach clean ups.It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more pieces of plastic in our ocean than fish.

FACT – 1 straw is manufactured in 1 minute

FACT – 1 straw is used for an average of 10 minutes

FACT – 1 straw takes 100 years to decompose

Last year 1.3milion tourists visited the Maldives with each guest staying an average of 6 days. Even if each of those guests only had one drink served with a straw per day during their stay that is 7.8milion straws and that is most likely a conservative estimate.

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Sadly, plastic pollution has become a key environmental issue in the Maldives as well as Worldwide. In the Maldives evidence of plastic bottles, straws, carrier bags and other plastic waste scatter our islands and wash up regularly on our beautiful beaches and this waste has a negative impact on our environment and our marine life.

Local NGOs, island communities and environmental groups are working hard to clean up the countries plastic issue with initiatives including beach clean ups, reduction of plastic bag use and environmental awareness campaigns.

The simple fact of the matter is, that we all need to join together and fight this worldwide plastic issue. If everyone makes a small change it will only have a huge long term positive effect on the environment and our oceans.  Britain has announced this week that they are banning single use plastic straws alongside Canada and other countries. In the Maldives we are seeing many of the luxury resorts ban the straw and move to biodegradable alternatives. Now it is the time for local island businesses to make that change.

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War on Straws

On World Environment Day, June 5th 2018 we invited all our partner guesthouse properties to pledge to STOP the use of plastic drinking straws in their guest houses.

In return we pledged to:

  • Collect any remaining straws from them.
  • Dispose of them in an environmentally friendly way.
  • Provide a certificate for each business to display and use to promote their support.
  • Provide information that can be shared with both staff and guests as to why the plastic straw should be no more.
  • Request all our guests to refuse the straw.

We were delighted to gain the support of the following properties within less than 24 hours and we are confident that other partners will swiftly come on board.

Lily Rest – Maafushi

Guraidhoo Palm Inn – Guraidhoo

Bibee Maldives – Dhiffushi

Canopus Retreats – Thulusdhoo

TME Retreat – Dhigurah

This we know is the start of a long journey, but a journey that we hope will gather momentum and support across all local islands, not just with our partner guesthouses but with other businesses too.

Our guiding team will continually monitor properties on their tour visits and when we complete our annual property audits to ensure that each guesthouse maintains its commitment to our initiative and offer support as necessary.

If you are a tourist visiting local islands in the Maldives and find a local guesthouse or hotel still serving plastic straws, we encourage you to take a photo and tag us on Instagram @secretparadisemaldives #letusguideyou #strawwarMV and we will make contact with them to see if they will unite with us on our mission to ban plastic straws altogether.

The call to action to eliminate single use plastic including plastic drinking straws is getting louder and louder worldwide, let’s add the voice and actions of the Maldives.

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How You Can Help Sustainability and Eco Tourism in the Maldives

Eco tourism and sustainable tourism may be a hot topic in the travel industry at the moment but it has always been an integral part of our philosophy and part of our mission statement.

Secret Paradise tours are designed to allow our guests to experience the best from the paradise we call home, whilst ensuring that there is limited or no negative impact on the community or the environment.

We are committed to informing and demonstrating to our competitors, our team, our partners and ultimately our guests that we are committed to following social and environmental best practices.

 

At Secret Paradise we see this as an ongoing commitment in the development of sustainable tourism in the Maldives and pride ourselves that we were longlisted for the World Responsible Tourism Awards 2015.

The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part during your holiday but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.

Reusing towels and saving electricity in your guest house

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It is seen all over the world in small and large hotels, businesses trying to reduce their carbon foot print and the Maldives is no different.Re-use your towels in your guest bedroom rather than having them refreshed each day. Turn off your air conditioning when you leave your room. Make sure all the lights are switched off. All small actions that will provide long term positive results to the environment for you and future generations.

Plastic in the Ocean

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The Maldives, like many countries has experienced a real challenge in recent years with plastic bottles, straws and plastic bags washing up on the beaches. Local Island residents are making huge efforts to work together with many islands organising regular beach clean ups. Education and awareness regarding littering and how to reduce the use of plastic in daily life has also started to be introduced led by NGOs and dive centres in particular. But as a tourist you can also help. Bring a re-useable bottle with you and re-fill your water bottles where possible. Take your own bags with you when you go shopping and refuse plastic bags every time you leave a shop. Remove packaging from newly acquired items before leaving home and consider taking home as much plastic waste as you can.

For more details on local initiatives check out http://www.savethebeachmaldives.org

Buy Local

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By staying in local island guest houses you are contributing to the local economy and increasing local employment. Local island guest houses in the Maldives are usually run by local island families where everyone is instrumental in the day to day running of the guest house. As a guest you benefit from meeting these local families and learning about their cultures and traditions; take it from us nothing beats Maldivian hospitality.

Buying local and eating local means that you are contributing to the local economy just like when you stay in the guest houses.  Buying locally made souvenirs and eating local produce means that local farmers and small businesses benefit.Don’t be afraid to ask where produce or souvenirs have originated as there unfortunately is still a lot of imported souvenirs on offer.

Leave no traces of your visit behind

Many people say ‘I am just one person how can I make a difference to the environment on my own?’But all you need to do is take responsibility for yourself and the people you are travelling with. Don’t leave litter on the beaches or around the islands. Don’t throw garbage over board when on the boats travelling around the islands. Lead by example and pick up rubbish and dispose in the nearest waste receptacle. Every small effort like this will have a positive effect on the future of our environment.

Leave the ocean as you found it

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As tempting as it is to take a piece of beautiful coral home or chase after the sea turtles, mantas or whale sharks and touch them – you are destroying the oceans natural habitat by doing these things. Maldives turtles and Whale sharks are endangered species and need protection. Feel free to view the beautiful underwater world of the Maldives but leave it where it is. The ocean life is wild and we want it to remain that way. The Maldives is one of the many countries affected by coral bleaching due to rising temperatures in the sea and global warming. Campaigns run by Save the Beach and local island guest houses like Eco Dive Club in Maafushi are working hard to rebuild these areas by planting coral nurseries and researching the effects of global warming.

More details on initiatives are here https://www.eco-diveclub.com/copy-of-courses

Respect local culture and dress codes

The Maldives is an Islamic country and tourists should respect cultural differences not try to change them, we are after all only guests in someone’s home. Dress respectably away from beaches, ask permission (and ladies cover your head) if you are visiting religious places. Note local dress codes and follow them. There is so much culture in the Maldives and the local island people love to share their traditions and culture with tourists so ask, learn and enjoy.

Want to help more?

Volunteer/beach clean up

Save The Beach Villingili Malives you.theworld.wandering

Many local islands are running initiatives like volunteer beach clean ups on a regular basis. Ask your Secret Paradise guide or guesthouse owner if there is one scheduled during your stay, it’s a great way to meet the local community and you are contributing to environmental clean ups.

How about learning more about the local communities and initiatives?

Secret Paradise Maldives and Sun sHADe Volunteers provide opportunities for responsible and meaningful working holidays in one of the most beautiful places in the world. More details about this program can be viewed here: https://secretparadise.mv/product/volunteer-local

Remember together we can make a difference #letusguideyou

You can also view our full Responsible Tourism Policy here

https://secretparadise.mv/responsible-tourism-policy

Why Travel in Low Season to the Maldives?

Many people ask  “when is the best time of year to visit the Maldives” and our immediate response is any time! Typically May to September is regarded as low season but this does not mean the Maldives should not be visited during this period, in fact there are some great reasons to visit at this time of year and our team have put together a few of them for you.

Regardless of when you visit you are sure to fall in love with our island paradise

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Weather

The Maldives consistently has two seasons – dry season and wet season. Dry season lasts from December to April and has little rain with a lower humidity. Wet season lasts from May to November and can be prone to heavy rain and high winds with the water temperature a couple of degrees lower. However this doesn’t mean that low season in the Maldives is a complete wash out. The Maldives usually has at least 6-8 hours of clear skies and sun most days and whilst there may be some heavy showers which on occasion may last more than a day, generally tropical storms come and go very quickly and provide an amazing visual spectacle!

As with many places in the world it is getting harder to predict weather patterns based on historical data, however, you would be very unlucky to visit and not experience some sunshine during a week long stay, in fact many of our guests have been delighted to discover that the sun can shine every day of the week even in what is known as the wet season!

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Surf

Finding the perfect wave is every surfer’s main life goal!  The Maldives boasts over 20 surf breaks and the water is a tropical 28-degree Celsius meaning there is no need for a wet suit! There are four distinct surf regions in the Maldives with North Male atoll providing the most consistent breaks. Travel to the South, Central and Southern atolls to find uncrowded line-ups and perfect almond shaped barrels. The ideal waves occur in  North Male Atoll usually from April to October with the biggest swells experienced between June and September. The Maldives offers waves for all levels of expertise, combine this with less tourists visiting at this time of year means you can enjoy the ultimate waves with like minded individuals, followed by the best relaxation and a great social vibe on local islands.

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Diving

Diving during low season provides a very affordable dive holiday option for both the experienced diver and for those looking to learn to dive. As the number of tourists visiting is lower, there tends to be less boat traffic above water resulting in the underwater world getting much busier! It is said that hammerhead sharks and reef sharks are more visible during low season as the water temperature is a couple of degrees cooler and they swim at shallower depths.  Low season also brings plankton to areas such as Hanifaru Bay, Baa Atoll and in turn mantas and whale sharks come to feast!

Ruth’s diving tip is: “Diving is good all year-round, although a basic rule is that reef life is more varied and visibility is better on the western side of any atoll from May to November and on the eastern side of any atoll from December to April.”

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Cheaper Rates 

Like all holiday destinations, travel in low season means cheaper accommodation rates and less tourists travelling. The beauty with the Maldives is there is never a ‘winter’ as such so as long as you are happy with an odd day of rain here and there you can travel all year round. If you are travelling from Europe where July, August and September are busy travel months and usually more expensive, you can create a great holiday at a fraction of the cost of visiting a destination closer to your home and benefit from the year round tropical climate! Plus because there are less tourists, you get more of the islands to yourself.

Take advantage of special offers and last minute discounts that are often offered by resorts and local island properties during low season and with an increasing number of low budget airlines flying to Male International Airport flight ticket rates have never been more competative!

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Maldivian Celebrations

One thing the Maldivians are great at and that is celebrating. There are some wonderful celebrations during  low season and if you book a trip which includes experiencing local culture, you may be lucky enough to join in the festivities.

4 hour Male city walking tour

Independence Day Celebrations July

Independence Day is a very important celebration for the Maldivians; they celebrate gaining full independence from Britain in 1965 after being under their ruling since 1887. It’s a wonderful time to celebrate on the local islands with the communities coming together with parades, music, dance, festivities and plenty of delicious local food.

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Eid Celebrations

Eid is one of the most important celebration for Muslims worldwide and as a tourist it is a real privilege to visit the local islands during this time and join in the festivities.

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Eid ul Fitr marks the end of Ramadan, a month of fasting all Muslims commit to as a mark of respect for their faith. During the month of Ramadan local island residents will not eat or drink from sun rise to sun set, but this rarely affects tourists as locals have experienced this discipline for many years and are very much used to working during this time. Local cafes and restaurants will be closed but your tour guide or travel advisor will advise you on what is available during this time.  Eid ul Fitr marks the last day of Ramadan where local island families will visit the Mosque for special prayers followed by a feast at their homes with their families.

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Eid al Adha celebrates the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. This five day festivity marks the end of a spiritual journey all Muslims are urged to experience by visiting Mecca at some point in their lives. Many people return to their home islands to celebrate this occasion with big family reunions and a five day festivity of local music, dance, and celebrations and as always plenty of delicious local foods to try.

If you would like more information about visiting the Maldives during low season feel free to contact us and we can advise you on the best tour package to suit your travel requirements.

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Which Local Islands to Visit in the Maldives – Part 3

Although this is our third and final part for this blog series, there are certainly plenty more local islands to visit  and explore and by no means are you limited to just the ones we have mentioned! What we hope we have done however, is to give you a snapshot of some of our favourite islands that will allow you to select an island  destination that will provide the style of holiday you wish to experience. Some of us enjoy adventure, some of us want to learn more about the environment, some want to surf, dive, snorkel and some simply want to relax on a white sandy beach and read a book. We are so lucky in the Maldives that we have it all.

 

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Live Like a Local on Guraidhoo Island

This quiet fishing island in South Male Atoll is ideal if you are looking for a culture based holiday. Local ferry transfers from Male mean it is ideal for the traveler on a budget and is popular with divers and surfers as well as those looking to experience the real Maldives.Wander the sandy roads of this island and observe locals going about their daily routine. Sit and watch the sunset alongside the locals on the public beach or kick back in a traditional seat called a ‘jolie’ and watch the world slowly pass by.

What the island lacks in the way of a tourist bikini beach it makes up for with a fantastic house reef accessible direct from the island. There are chances of encountering Turtles, Stingrays, Octopus and many more fish among the many types of coral.

A newly built water sports and diving centreprovides plenty of activities and excursions. There are some great dive sites and surf breaks within easy reach, as well as numerous luxury resorts should you wish to indulge in a resort day visit.

Guraidhoo is a regular stopping point for safari boats and local shops have quickly adapted by offering all kind of souvenirs making it an ideal location to pick up a memory of your holiday.

UB’s TOP TIP: Look for locally crafted souvenirs made from coconut wood and avoid purchasing shells and coral product.

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Fuvahmulah, a very unique island adventure

Fuvahmulah is perfect if you are looking for a Maldives escape that is more than just a beach holiday. This island has many distinct features setting it aside from the other local Maldivian islands. Set just south of the equator Fuvahmulah is the only one island atoll in the Maldives and the locals even speak their own distinctive form of the Dhivehi language, known as “Mulaku bas”.

With an island that is so unique it is not hard to understand why you may also come across marine species unique to Fuvahmulah and not found in other parts of the Maldives. Promethichthys Prometheus, locally called Kattelhi, is native to the waters around Fuvahmulah, with Kattelhi Rarudhiyabeing the locals’ favourite soup and definitely a dish you must try when you visit.

For SCUBA divers close encounters with tiger sharks and thresher sharks are possible and in season whale sharks and oceanic manta rays, you never know what is out in the blue.

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Take time to explore in and around this wonderful island and discover tropical woodlands, wetlands and even fresh water lakes; from the unique Thundu shiny pebble beach to the tropical woodlands you will never be bored on an island that gives you so much to discover.

Immerse yourself inhistory, culture and tradition. Swim, kayak or fish the fresh water lakes. Take a mud bath! Surf the waves direct from Fuvahmulah’s beaches or snorkel the Indian Ocean. There is so much to do you will wish you had booked to stay longer!

Ruth’s TOP TIP: Fly from Male and collect a certificate for crossing the equator line!

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Thoddoo Island a culinary adventure!

Thoddoo is a paradise island for fruit and vegetable lovers and you can even access it by taking the overnight fruit ferry from Male (not for the faint hearted)!Thoddoo is the largest producer of watermelon in the Maldiveswith papaya a close second. Watch the fruit ferry being loaded at the harbourside and see how many varieties of fruit and vegetables you can identify. Many guesthouses will organize an island tour where you get to pick your own fruit and vegetables which will be cooked for your dinner later that evening.

One third of the island is given over to agricultural farm land with an abundance of fruit and vegetables grown all year round. The village with a number of guest houses, cafes and small shops sits in a further third and the remaining third of the island is left to its natural beauty and vegetation. In order to explore and discover the full island hop on a bicycle or hitch a lift on a scooter!

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Thoddoo hosts a wonderful house reef where marine life is abundant as well as access to some good dive sites and in season manta encounters. There is a bikini beach tucked away on the west side of the island and with water sports, snorkeling and diving trips on offer, those who enjoy a more active holiday are well catered for. Evening fishing trips followed by BBQ dinners with your catch are a popular excursion.

Kokko’s TOP TIP: Visit during EID celebrations and experience traditional dancing and games.

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Gulhi Island a haven of peace and relaxation

Gulhi island is located in South Male Atoll, easily accessible from Male and is close by to Guiradhoo and Maafushi. Visiting any one of these islands means you can island hop with local ferries (except Friday where there is limited transport). Gulhi is unique because you will not see any vehicles and because the island is only 700×500 you really don’t need one!

This tiny quiet island’s main economy is fishing and it also hosts the oldest dry dock boat yard in the Maldives. Wander round the dock yard and see the locals hard at work developing, refurbishing and fixing all different types of vessels.

Gulhi has two beautiful white sand tourist bikini beaches equipped with sun loungers and parasols and is ideal for a holiday where relaxation and sun bathing is the priority! Gulhi was one of the few islands that hosted tourists during the early 80’s, when local islands were allowed to provide a bed and breakfast service. The locals are friendly by nature and readily welcome visitors to their charming island.

The house reef is worth getting up off your sun lounger for, enter directly from the bikini beach but be aware there can be a strong current. Watersports and diving currently offered by one operator so ensure you plan ahead to avoid disappointment due to prior bookings.

Zaff’s TOP TIP: Evenings on Gulhi are very quiet so pack a book, a pack of cards or have a few films downloaded.

Where do I find more information about the best vacation for me?

At Secret Paradise Maldives we are always available to answer questions for you.  We work with many guest houses and islands across the Maldives and we can offer a wide range of vacation packages for all types of travellers and budgets. Drop us a line today and say hi!

https://secretparadise.mv/contact-us

Check out our ‘Responsible Tourism Policy’ on our website.

 

 

Which Local Island to visit in the Maldives Part 2

As we continue our series of three blogs, our guiding team share their personal recommendations in order that you can find a local island to suit your needs in the Maldives.

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Visit Dhigurah Island and encounter Manta and Whale Sharks

Dhigurah in Ari Atoll is not just one of the prettiest local islands you can visit, it has a gorgeous expanse of white sand and is located in the heart of some of the best sites in the world for snorkeling and diving. If your ideal holiday is an under-the-sea adventure, then start planning your trip to this gem of an island.

Select your time of stay correctly and swim with the resident Manta Rays and Whalesharks of Ari Atoll. These bucket list ocean-farers are frequently spotted in this areaand that’s just one of the reasons why Dhigurah has become such a popular island.

From January till end of April visits to manta sites are made several times a week.  Whilst at any time of year there is a good chance of encountering whale sharks if conditions are right. So regular are their visit’s that this is where the Maldives Whale shark Research Program is based.

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Aside from Manta Ray and Whale shark sightings, Dhigurah Island also offers easy access to some amazing dive sites including the famous Kudu Rah Thila and Five Rocks. You will find an abundance of marine wildlife and breathtaking coral formations. Whether you’re an experienced snorkeler and diver or a total beginner, we can find a dive or snorkeling package that suits you best.

Kamey’s TOP TIP: Local dining options are limited on Dhigurah so book half board.

https://secretparadise.mv/product/dive-local-from-dhigurah

 

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Soak Up the Sun on Dhiffushi Island 

Are you a solo traveler, a group of friends or a couple looking for a short beach getaway? Then this island is for you.

Soak up the sun and relax on the beautiful beaches of Dhiffushi Island. Located in North Male Atoll this island boasts two white sandy tourist beaches and a picturesque blue lagoon. As with all local islands there is no need to spend all your time on land and a range of half day tours including visiting a sandbank and snorkeling are on offer. Whilst beach BBQs are a great way to finish the day, for couples many guesthouses will offer a romantic beach dinner which is ideal way to celebrate an anniversary or even a proposal.

With only a dozen tourist properties Dhiffushi still maintains its local island feel whilst providing a choice of both premium hotels and smaller guesthouses. There is even a private luxury villa ideal for a family stay.

Kokko’s TOP TIP: Take traditional evening tea and enjoy sunset at the local café on the west side of the island.

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Have an Adventure of a Lifetime in Gan, Laamu Atoll

Gan is a Maldivian adventure like no other. Not only is it the largest island in the Maldives but it is also connected with three other islands called Fonadhoo, Kadhdhoo and Mandhoo. The four islands are connected with a road so it is easy to explore by bicycle. Take a tour around the big fishing factory on Mandhoo Island, which produces canned tuna or a short speed boat ride from Ganto Baresdhoo Island, which became famous as the filming location of Star Wars Rogue One in 2016.

Prepare to have an adventure-filled holiday in this exciting island and the longest beach in the Maldives. Gan Island offers plenty of activities so you’ll never have to worry about running out of things to do. Try your hand at a whole range of water sports such as paddle boarding, sea kayaking, windsurfing, surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving. First time trying some of these activities? No problem! Coaching sessions are available. Experienced instructors will be happy to assist you with any of the activities.

Gan

What else does Gan have to offer? The island has some unique sights – like a fresh water red-tinted lake which is caused by leaves falling in and colouring the water. For those who are interested in knowing more about local Maldivian culture and history join a guided tour of the ancient Buddhist ruins and other historical places.

For beach lovers there is a private tourist beach and access to a Robinson Crusoe style uninhabited island where you can laze away your day with a picnic or BBQ lunch.

Kamey’s TOP TIP: Take a sunset cruise in a traditional sail dhoni.

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Still not sure which island is for you? Contact the Secret Paradise team who will help you to select an island or even islands that are right for you and your holiday budget.

Which Local Island to visit in the Maldives Part 1

Want to know why the local islands of the Maldives remain our best kept secret? This breathtaking destination is perfect for all types of travellers. Whether you’re a solo backpacker on a budget, an adventure-seeking couple, or a group of eco tourists, you’ll definitely find something that suits your needs. That’s the wonderful thing about the Maldives – it has so much to offer for everyone.

Blue Secret Paradise

White sandy beaches, sparkling tropical lagoons, tall palm trees. Sounds like the perfect getaway, doesn’t it? And here’s an added bonus – the rich and vibrant culture of this beautiful destination.

Our guiding team share their personal recommendations in order that you can find a local island to suit your needs.

Looking for a social vibe with plenty to do? Head to Maafushi Island

Many people dream of visiting the Maldives but simply cannot afford luxury resort prices. But here’s the good news – you can go on holiday in the Maldives on a budget.

Maafushi

Maafushi is an ideal destination for travellers on a budget. This was the first island in the Maldives to introduce guesthouses and promote local tourism. Enjoy a mix of beach relaxationon the island’s tourist bikini beach and ocean-based activities on this fun, lively island. Try exciting water sports like parasailing, Jet Ski or diving. Want to experience a more relaxed activity? Then join a dolphin cruise that everyone can enjoy. There are also plenty of restaurants and local cafes to choose from and even a small spa.

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With ease of accessibility to the international airport by ferry or speedboat the island of Maafushi is the busiest of all local islands and with over 50 guesthouses and hotels you will be sure to find plenty of like-minded tourists to make new friends as well as a hotel or guesthouse to suit your budget. Certainly in Maafushi you won’t run out of things to do on this budget-friendly island.

Zaff’sTOP TIP: For a quieter stay select a property located on the southern part of the island.

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Catch the Waves from Thulusdhoo Island

Located in the North Male Atoll Thulusdhoo is a popular destination for surfers. Spend your holiday in this surfers’ paradise and be captivated by the island’s relaxed vibe, white sandy beaches, turquoise lagoons and fantastic surf breaks.

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Both experienced and intermediate surfers will enjoy catching a wave since Thulusdhoo offers a variety of reef breaks of which Cokes can be accessed directly from the island, no need to get a boat! Not into surfing? Don’t worry, you can just kick back and relax on one of the day beds or hammocks scattered along the shoreline. Or Thulusdhoo offers a wide range of activities such as diving including free diving, snorkeling and kayaking to keep you active.

Thulusdhoo Secret Paradise

The island has a long stretch of tourist beach with a small sand-spit allowing you to walk as far as the eyes can see in the sparkling crystal clear waters. The sandy beaches are the perfect spot for sunbathing and relaxing so whether you want to surf, enjoy the underwater world of the Maldives, or just chill, you’ll definitely have a blast on Thulusdhoo.

UB’s TOP TIP: Surfing solo or on a tight budget check out one of Thulusdhoo’s surf camps.

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Experience a great value Resort-Style Holiday on Hanimaadhoo

Hanimaadhoo Island is one the biggest islands in Maldives and is geographically located in the far north of the Maldives. This Maldivian paradise is quite a distance to Male approximately 300 km, so the only type of transfer available is a domestic flight. This island’s remoteness promotes pure nature, true solitude, and magnificent views. With lush vegetation, long beaches and a turquoise lagoon it opens the door for an adventure and genuine gateway from day to day life.

Barefoot Secret Paradise

Hannimaadhoo itself is a quiet village with lots of tree-shade and swings, fishing and agriculture is the main source of income. Take the opportunity to walk the plantations and discover a host of tropical fruits including coconut, bananas and papaya

On the west side of this island is a long white sandy beach and a lagoon with a stunning house reef, however, it does involves a good swim to reach but the abundance of marine life makes this worthwhile.On the eastern side it is possible to catch a few waves with the locals.

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At the Northern end of the island is a climate observatory. The data retrieved here is not only monitoring the weather but also climate changes in the region.

Whilst there are a few guesthouses available for the budget conscious, Hanimaadhoois home to The Barefoot Eco Hotel bridging the gap between guesthouses and luxury island resorts. The property is focused on sustainability and conservation soyou are sure to learn plenty about eco tourism and environmental initiatives during your visit.

Ruth’s TOP TIP: Take a day tour to the local island of Utheemu which is of great cultural and historical significance.

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Still not sure which island is for you? Contact the Secret Paradise team who will help you to select an island or even islands that are right for you and your holiday budget.

Island Hop and Help Clean Up the Environment in the Maldives

One of the tours we offer at Secret Paradise Maldives is an island hopping experience that allows guests to assist in local environmental projects. As part of our commitment to Eco Tourism and Responsible Tourism Policies we bring international tourists to the Maldives each year to become more educated about the growing environmental issues not only specific to the Maldives but around the world.

We were delighted to welcome a guest from the UK in January 2018, Sandra, island hopped between 4 islands and whilst on Maafushi spent time with the team at Eco Dive Club along with her guide Kamey.

Sandra’s trip included:

Snorkeling and Beginner Dive

Snorkeling with her guide Kamey to enjoy the wonders of the beautiful Indian Ocean. Sandra also over came her fear of diving completing a Discover Scuba dive, not only was she so delighted with her accomplishments but also we were so glad she got to try something she actually said she would never do!

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Beach Clean Up

Another day they went to Lily Rest beach front to do a beach cleanup. What they found was very concerning and a continuing problem on the beaches. They found bottle tops from water bottles, drinking straws and plenty of Supari papers (Supari is a fruit nut called Acrea, many locals chew this like many Westerners chew gum). A further beach clean of the same area is conducted later in the week to highlight how quickly rubbish can accumulate.

Eco Tour 3

Coral Watch

This exercise teaches our guests about the health of the coral reef. You don’t have to be a marine biologist to recognize and register your findings with the Australian Coral Watch database. There is a comparison table where you can check the health of the coral you find, the darker the colour of the coral the healthier it is.

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Learning About the Indian Ocean

Sandra met the team daily at the dive centre where she learned more about how the Maldives was ‘born’, the importance of fish species and so much more. The team love sharing their passion and knowledge with visitors.

Coral Nursery

At the Eco Dive Centre in Maafushi they have a coral project. The coral nursery in the lagoon is being regrown by attaching pieces of coral with cable ties to create a new coral frame! It’s initiatives like this thatallow guests to learn as well as assist with projectsthat keep the eco development alive in the Maldives. We hope that many more islands follow suit.

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During Sandra’s stay she learned so much about what they do at the Eco Dive Club. We asked Renee Sorensen, whose first experience of the Maldives was with Secret Paradise, from Eco Dive Club a few questions:

What is Eco Dive Club and how does it differ from a regular dive club?

Eco Dive Club, Maafushi is different from others – we are more environment oriented. We have a big passion for the ocean and the environment… we want to make a difference. We use nature every day when we are diving, so we want to give back to nature and especially the ocean. The ocean doesn’t need people, people need the ocean.  We arrange beach cleanups, reef clean ups, Crown of thorns clean ups, coral planting and work hard to inform everyone possible about the importance about the corals and the problem with trash and plastic.

What do you find have been the biggest changes to the ocean in the last 10 years?

The biggest change is that there is so much more plastic and trash

Far more dead corals, because of bleaching in 2015 and more recently, as well as due to reclamation and construction.

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Can tourists visiting the Maldives make a positive impact on the environment during their visit?

Tourists who are coming to the Maldives can make a big and positive impact. Tourists that are diving with us and assisting with projects are an inspiration for other tourists and locals. They spread the word both in the Maldives when they are here and when they come home. Then other tourists come, because they also want to help or join on coral planting and other environment activities.  Locals see that it will make a difference if we work together. Tourists that come will spread the awareness.

What suggestions would you make when someone is looking to book an eco friendly vacation?

If you want to make a difference, contact us for Eco active diving or Secret Paradise Maldives. We are both passionate about the environment. Secret Paradise has a lot experience here in Maldives and Ruth knows where to book your holiday eco friendly, or even if you want to join to assist in projects. You can be a diver or non diver, there is plenty to achieve both above and below the water!

Book your eco holiday now