Today we celebrate Hajj and so to find out more about this symbolic festival and celebration we quizzed our guide UB.
What exactly is Hajj?
Hajj is an annual pilgrimage to Mecca which is the holy city for Muslims. Every year Muslims from all over the world gather at Mecca to perform holy duties.
Why is it important?
Attending Hajj is one of the 5 pillars on which the Muslim faith is founded. However, it can only be fulfilled if the individual is financially and physically capable.
How long is Hajj?
There are 8 days leading up to the day of Hajj. Hajj days are seen to be the most holy days in the Muslim calendar. Most Muslims will fast and pray for these 8 days following the same fasting principal as during Ramadan.
What happens on Hajj Day?
On the day itself Hajjajies (people who have attended Hajj) will have made their way to a piece of land 20km east of Mecca. Here they will atone for their past sins and seek mercy from Allah and listen to sermons from islamic scholars who deliver them from Jabal al Rahmah (The Mount of Mercy)
Why is the Mount of Mercy so significant?
According to Islamic tradition the Mount of Mercy is the place where the Islamic prophet Muhammad stood and delivered the Farewell Sermon to the Muslims who had accompanied him for the Hajj towards the end of his life.
What happens after Hajj?
After the Hajj Muslims all celebrate Eid al Adha. Eid al Adha is an Islamic festival to commemorate the willingness of Ibrahim to follow Allah’s command to sacrifice his son Ishmael. Hence why it is also called ‘the feast of sacrifice’. In the Maldives, we call it Bodu Eid which means Big Eid. The reason behind this is that this Eid is considered the holier of the two celebrated Eid festivals.
In the Maldives we will celebrate this holiday with family and friends. Islanders will join together in celebration for a big feast, games and dancing and as with Ramadan it is a time of bonding and well being amongst communities.
Whether you travel with Secret Paradise during Eid or at another time of the year, you can be sure to learn more about Maldives culture and traditions and have a holiday that is filled with unique local experiences.
Who knew that there’s far more to the Maldives Islands than transparent ocean waters and palm tree lined beaches? Travelling with a local guide in the tropical destination of the Maldives allows for the discovery of the ‘real’ Maldives, all whilst basking in the natural beauty of your island surroundings.
Our Local Secret Paradise Guides
Our professional Secret Paradise local Maldivian guides have years, even decades of local knowledge and expertise to share about their island homeland. The guides are passionate in sharing their country, culture, history and personal experiences with our Secret Paradise guests. Our guides offer perceptions that travellers simply cannot gain from a reading guidebook, researching online or from travelling independently. At Secret Paradise, we believe that a great guide is the difference between a good holiday and a memorable one. Travel in the Maldives with one of our Secret Paradise local guides and you are bound to experience much more then the vast majority of travellers that journey here.
Enjoy The Convenience of Travelling With A Local Guide
Traveling with a Secret Paradise guide will save you the time and hassle of researching your own Maldives itinerary. As we have been in operation for over 5 years in the Maldives – it’s safe to say that we have a little local ‘know-how.’ Our local guided itineraries are designed to offer the perfect combination of cultural immersion and holiday leisure, at significant local islands and sites.
Travelling with a local guide not only provides an opportunity to learn about a country and culture; it’s also safe and convenient. The best way to experience the stunning natural beauty of the Maldives and gain an insight into the local culture is to stay on a local island and travel with a professional guide. This ensures a smooth and hassle free holiday experience for you throughout your time in the Maldives.
‘Kokko was our awesome local guide for the five days and he completely added to the whole experience. Being shown around by a Maldivian guide was great – he gave us a personal and professional insight into his culture, history, traditions, food and language. I really feel that having a local Maldivian guide was the best thing about the entire week! ‘Kristie October 2016
Appreciate The Personalised Service Of Our Local Guides
Did you know that our local Secret Paradise guides are all multilingual and speak fluent English? They can offer translation assistance when communicating with local Maldivians to ensure better understandings, they can eliminate any cultural barriers and assure culturally rich holiday experiences.
Our Maldivian guides go above and beyond to ensure your every holiday needs are met, right from the moment of your arrival at the airport, regardless of the time of day you arrive! The guides understand that for many it is a once in a lifetime experience to travel to the Maldives and they aim to make sure that your island vacation is as memorable as possible.
The Secret Paradise guides offer a personalised service and will happily answer all of your questions or queries throughout your stay in the Maldives, plus they will offer lots of helpful tips and suggestions along the way. Each day our experienced guides will discuss with you the next day’s itinerary, ensuring that you are nicely prepared for the coming day’s agenda. Our packages and tours also incorporate free days for you to do as little or as much exploring of the local islands as you like, plus our local team can assist you in personalising your private tour program to fit your every Maldives holiday needs. With Secret Paradise, you are guaranteed a Maldives vacation that is fun, affordable and unique, giving you the best opportunity to experience the island paradise we at Secret Paradise call home.
‘Ourguides were super funny, nice and caring. They took care of everyone both ones who can swim and those who are not experienced. They made sure we all had fun and that we are happy about everything. i loved every minute of it! ‘ Anna March 2017
Experience Cultural Immersion At Its Best
One of the best elements of our Secret Paradise tours is without doubt the opportunities for cultural immersion. Gain exceptional insight into local Maldivian life, culture, history, traditions, food and language from the perspective of a local guide, fused with the exploration of picturesque islands. Our tours include privileges of being welcomed inside a local family’s home for a traditional dinner dining experience, trying ‘hedhikaa’ (local afternoon tea snacks) and spending time with local NGOs such as Save The Beach – experiences that are generally missed if travelling independently or staying at a Maldives resort. Our group tours also provide great opportunities to meet and travel with like-minded travellers, all with the comfort of a local guide.
‘Ourtourguide had in-depth knowledge of the history of the city & we had an amazing time with him.’ – Pradhan P 22 May 2017
‘Special mention ourtourguide Kamey, not just a tourguide, he became a friend and that made our stay more fun. He always made sure that we were OK . there were no questions that he didn’t have answers that’s why we learned a lot about Maldives’ – Bonna 30 Jan 2016
Book Local To Ensure Local Profits
When you book a Secret Paradise tour with a local guide, you’re also contributing directly to the local Maldives economy and pockets of local people, as opposed to booking through a large global tour operator. At Secret Paradise, all of our guides and operators are locals, with the exception of the Sales Director.
See You In Our Local Paradise!
Embarking on a Secret Paradise Tour with your own personal Maldivian guide ensures that your trip is fun, authentic and gives you real insight into local Maldivian life. Book your local Maldives island escape today with one of our professional English-speaking guides!
What better destination in the world is there to volunteer in than the beautiful Maldives? Embark on a once in a life-time trip – the type where you can island hop through paradise whilst making a difference!
Become A Volunteer In The Maldives
We at Secret Paradise can help you to become exactly that – a valuable volunteer here in the Maldives. As a volunteer, your contribution will help local Maldivians to gain better access to basic necessities such as food, water, housing, health and safety. Volunteering and helping to make a difference is a rewarding and gratifying experience.
When you travel to off grid places, you often find yourself graced by the generous hospitality of local people, even when these people appear to live a simple kind of life themselves. It’s often at these kinds of destinations that we are faced with ethical and moral challenges, and opportunities for giving back to people less fortunate. The Maldives offers valuable opportunities to connect with local Maldivian people and to make real differences to their small island communities.
Volunteer With Secret Paradise
At Secret Paradise, we purposefully design our volunteer itineraries to be the perfect combination between leisure and work. Our volunteers experience the best of both worlds, whilst of course island hopping across the Indian Ocean to Hulhumale’, Guriadhoo, Maafushi and Gulhi Islands.
Part of the role of being a volunteer on these locals islands is to raise awareness about the welfare of the environment. As community awareness is generally low, locals often have a limited knowledge of the dangers and issues they face, such as climate change and waste management. Volunteers may give presentations and design materials such as leaflets and posters, liaise with guesthouses and hotels on environmental matters and offer advice and guidance based on learnings. The welfare of the environment in the Maldives is a supremely important issue, particularly if generations of locals and tourists alike are to enjoy for years to come.
Daily tasks of Volunteers are varied and may include:
Conducting reef surveys
Cleaning the coral frames/assessing coral health and updating online data base
Organizing community beach cleans
Organizing community/school marine or waste management awareness sessions
Tree planting/ care and maintenance of those planted
Volunteers with diving skills can assist in Crown of Thorn clean ups
How Does Secret Paradise Ensures Volunteers Have A Memorable Stay In The Maldives
Secret Paradise offers several bespoke adventure itineraries to compliment the work placement schedules of volunteers, to ensure volunteer stays are as memorable as possible. We provide volunteers with an insight into the local culture and tradition of the Maldives, as well as experiencing the stunning natural beauty for which Maldives is famed, all whilst making a difference to local Maldives communities.
Here in the Maldives, our recreational activities for volunteers include local island tours and discovering of the underwater beauty of the Maldives. Stay in local guesthouses, visit family homes, mosques and boat yards, experience our SCUBA diving, snorkelling, surfing and fishing excursions, plus enjoy picnics at uninhabited sandbanks, sunset cruises and of course a day at a luxury resort! Volunteers also have the opportunity to spend time with local non-governmental organization ‘Save the Beach,’ to understand the environmental and conservational challenges local islands face here in the Maldives. There’s also plenty of downtime to sit back barefoot in the sand, relaxing – Maldivian style!
‘Secret Paradise Maldives provides an exceptional insight into local culture and aim to deliver unique local experiences to our volunteers, enabling them to immerse themselves in the real Maldives‘ says Travel Teacher founder Mat Ray.
Secret Paradise Volunteer Partners
Secret Paradise also connects potential volunteers with reputable non-for profit Maldives organisations and local island communities who are in need. We aim to provide valuable information to our guests about possible volunteer collaborations. Secret Paradise Maldives partners with two global volunteer organisations, Teacher Travel and Sun sHADe Maldives. Together we aim to create meaningful work and travel initiatives and provide memorable local island experiences for volunteers, here in the Maldives.
What Is Sun sHADe Volunteers?
Secret Paradise works closely with Sun sHADe Volunteers to provide opportunities for responsible and meaningful working holidays in the Maldives. Established in 1987 by Huvadhoo Aid (HAD), a non-governmental youth organization located in Huvadhoo Atoll Maldives, HAD’s international volunteer program first began in 2009.
Sun sHADe Volunteer projects are based on education, community development, cultural exchange, healthcare and sport. Each project aims to develop community life whilst conserving each island and its surrounding marine life. The organisation works with each volunteer to design a program that is best suited to their individual skill level and volunteer interest, while filling a need within the wider community. Many international volunteers have been a part of the successful program and have had an authentic travel experience in the Maldives, all whilst making a difference and providing positive contributions to small island communities.
What Is Travel Teacher?
Our other partner Teacher Travel, is a UK based volunteer education program that provides ethical, low-cost volunteer programs throughout Fiji, The Cook Islands and The Maldives. Teacher Travel operates in the Maldives’ capital city, Malé.
The initiative offers a unique combination of education and holiday adventure. Volunteering with Travel Teacher gives individuals the opportunity to support the development of education in rural communities and make a genuine difference to the lives of the children in their partnered schools, through teaching, coaching and mentoring. This year, Teacher Travel will be working with educational partner Ghiyasuddin International School in Malé, to support and add value over a long-term period.
A Recent Volunteer’s Experience
Nia Pontius recently participated in the Sun sHADe Volunteers program at Hoandedhdhoo Island, Maldives. Learn from Nia about her experience:
‘I was in the Maldives with the Sun sHADe program for almost a month and it was a good character building experience. I signed up to volunteer on a local island, Hoandedhdhoo, to work on the marine conservation program. I went snorkelling everyday with the local volunteers and surveyed the fish, as well as the corals. Together we created a PVC pipe configuration to sit on the bottom in the sand and revive some of the coral population.
After the construction of the PVC frame, we dropped the fixture into the water and used rocks to keep it in place. We broke off pieces of healthy coral and affixed them with zip ties. We created a frame with almost one hundred pieces of coral to help with the coral bleaching in the Maldives.
On the island of Hoandedhdhoo, almost seventy percent of the coral was bleached on one side of the island. It is an impending issue that volunteer groups are trying to rectify with new regrowth ideas. In addition to the marine conservation work, we also did some reforestation work on the island with the kadele trees and the mangroves. This experience was incredibly insightful and it gave an authentic feel for the local culture in the Maldives.’
Like Nia, you too can become a volunteer in the beautiful Maldives. Help make a difference on your travels, whilst making life long memories in paradise.
Life beneath the surface in the Maldives is an underwater Disneyland, perfect for dive enthusiasts. The Maldives is renowned as one of the very best diving locations in the world. There’s not only an abundance of reef life here but also spectacular coloured coral and crystal clear water.
WHY CHOOSE THE MALDIVES FOR YOUR DIVING HOLIDAY?
The Maldives ticks all of the boxes when it comes to diving holidays. This tropical location boasts visibility levels of up to 40 metres, making it a great destination for advanced divers. However diving in the Maldives is not just for the experienced. The shallow lagoons and channels make it the perfect location to try diving for the very first time. Plus what better destination in the world is there to gain your scuba-diving certifications?
The Maldives is also home to protected UNESCO Biosphere Reserves. The presence of currents in this island nation means that open water channels are perfect for drift diving and it’s also possible to swim with gentle ocean giants like manta rays and whale sharks. Don’t forget the Maldives has year round water temperatures of 26 – 29 degrees Celsius!
THE BEST TIME OF YEAR FOR DIVING IN THE MALDIVES
Fortunately, the diving season in the Maldives is open all year round with the calmest conditions from December through to June. As the Maldives is located in the tropics, it is susceptible to both wet and dry seasons. June to November is the south-west monsoon season, bringing with it with overcast and wet conditions, especially in June and July. During these months expect slightly less visibility and different currents, although there is still plenty of marine life on offer, as well as sunny spells. Generally 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 from December to April. Reef sharks, hammerheads and whale sharks are found in the Maldives year round, along with manta rays and sea turtles, you just need to know where to head at the time of year you plan to dive!
There are a number of diving options when it comes to Maldives. Here at Secret Paradise, we offer value for money diving holidays and tours that you will remember for a lifetime. Enjoy an all-inclusive guesthouse stay and be transferred by boat to incredible nearby dive sites, the same sites that you would dive from a resort but at half the cost! Our diving holidays are an affordable alternative to a resort stay and also allow you the flexibility of island hopping or if your budget is larger, atoll hopping to benefit from the best dive locations during your time of travel.
Liveaboards are a popular dive holiday option, allowing you to scour the waters for the ultimate dive spot each day. These days most Liveaboards operate a year round schedule offering 7 night, 10 night and 14 night cruises not only in the central atolls but to the deep south and deep north offering opportunities to discover less dived sites and pristine coral.
OUR SECRET PARADISE DIVING HOLIDAYS
Here at Secret Paradise, we offer six diverse one island based diving packages, all in different atolls allowing you access to what are some of the best dive sites in the world. Our packages include Dharavandhoo, perfect if you want to encounter 100s of manta rays in Baa Atoll, Hulhumale if you need to stay close to the capital, Maafushi, South Male Atoll, Dhigurah home of the whaleshark in Ari Atoll, Rasdhoo, the ideal location to spot a hammerhead and Gan in Laamu atoll.
Our island hopping itineraries in Male Atoll and Ari Atoll allow you to discover a range of dive sites and marine life whilst at the same time experiencing Maldives local life, tradition and culture, with or without a private dive guide.
All our partners are PADI affiliated dive centres and are operated by both local and European dive professionals. A personal interest is taken in promoting scuba diving in the Maldives, through education and awareness about the underwater environment here. Their objective is to encourage underwater conservation and safe diving practices.
Dives are generally conducted from the beach within an island’s inner reef for beginners or from a local dive boat, a dhoni, for certified divers. Dive sites are chosen daily based on both the weather and current conditions as well as diver ability.
The teams will take you to the best dive spots and willingly introduce you to the characteristics of the underwater world of the Maldives. All offer boat dives, NITROX, night dives and a full range of PADI courses and will always ensure you get the best out of your dive. If you are learning to dive, you can do anything from completing a try dive or just the open water dive section of your PADI Open Water certification to completing the full PADI Open Water certification. Whatever you choose to do you can be assured of fun and safe diving with us and our partners.
Secret Paradise Co-Founder, Ruth Franklin a diver herself with over 1500 dives in the Maldives is always happy to share her own diving experiences and is on hand for honest dive advice.
For most people when you mention Ramadan the association is with fasting from dawn until sunset. There is however far more to this blessed month and so we asked our guide Kokko Ibbe to explain.
Tell us more about Ramadan
Ramadan is always the ninth month of the Islamic calendar but will fall differently in the Gregorian calendar as the Islamic calendar is based on the phases of the moon. In order for Ramadan to start the first sliver of a new crescent moon has to be sighted and therefore it is common for people not to know if they will be fasting the following day until a few hours before! This yearly recognition is viewed as one of the Five Pillars of Islam which forms the foundation of the Islamic faith. Fasting is obligatory for an adult Muslim with the exception of individuals who are experiencing illness, travelling, are elderly people, pregnant or breastfeeding. Those who are unable to fast due to a certain condition still make up the days they have missed at a later date. Whilst fasting Muslims avoid eating, drinking, smoking and having sexual relations. Cafés and restaurants will be closed throughout this period of time, but will be open late in to the night. Our day is almost turned upside down!
Some of you may think how can we not eat and drink for almost 13 hours for a whole month and how do you do it? Well, children start practicing at the age of 7 or 10. It is not a must but the parents should encourage them to do so in order that they can get used to it. Ramadan is not all about fasting though. Ramadan teaches discipline, self-control, showing sympathy to those who are less fortunate than ourselves and offering charity. Caring for your neighbors and friends, putting back the smile on their face. One of the main things most people will surely learn will be forgiveness.
What is Maahefun?
In the week running up to the start of Ramadan, The Maldives has a tradition known as Maahefun. This celebration marks the beginning of Ramadan where traditionally all islanders would gather to have their final meal before fasting. Everyone brings food and juices to share. Family members and friends usually celebrate this festival on the beach or an uninhabited island.
How do you prepare for Ramadan?
Well in the Maldives people take things a bit different than in other countries. One thing which is really traditional will be the painting of the home. In the capital and also in local islands you will find homes painted in an array of different colours. Most people will paint the exterior of their home every 2 years and and internally most probably annually. They get rid of their old kitchen appliances and buy new and it is common for furniture to be replaced. They buy supplies for the whole month of Ramadan which most shops will have on sale or promotion. In some islands the women will gather in one place and prepare all the spices and snacks that they need for the whole month. All of it will be equally distributed amongst all who have helped to make.
The start of Ramadan
The first day of Ramadan will be a public holiday in the Maldives. Ramadan itself is really quiet and during the early morning you will find very few people on the road or out and about. Even working hours are reduced and government and public service offices will only be open for four hours daily. People start to go about their daily buisness and become active during the afternoon prayer time. Mosque’s are very often full and in local islands it is common to find people praying outside the mosque during these days.
The local market and fish market will be one of the busiest places in the afternoon. Locally grown vegetables, fruits and fresh fish will sell at a fast speed. Thoddoo island in North Ari Atoll is an agriculture island and is famous for its production of watermelon during Ramadan. Most homes will serve a juice when breaking fast and this is common to be watermelon to aid rehydration. Women will start cooking in the early afternoon preparing a wide range of food for Iftar (breakfast) and then a later evening meal known as Tharaavees. Men with their children and friends will ride around on their motor bikes for some fresh air and to waste some time! Elderly people may play chess games quite often with a crowd of onlookers waiting for the checkmate moment!
All family members will gather near the food table waiting for sunset prayer to call. These last few minutes can be the longest of the day! In some countries Muslims will have to fast for almost 21 hours but in the Maldives it’s never more than 13 hours. The end of fasting begins with 3 dates and a glass of water, which is considered how it was done by the prophet. After a small meal people head off to mosque. After the prayers people meet with their friends for coffee and will often bring them home to eat the leftover food from the breakfast.
The occasion of Eid al-Fitr marks the finish of Ramadan and the start of the following lunar month, Shawwal. This first day of the next month is proclaimed after another crescent new moon has been located or the fruition of 30 days of fasting.
Whether you travel with Secret Paradise during Ramadan or at another time of the year, you can be sure to learn more about Maldives culture and traditions and have a holiday that is filled with unique local experiences.
The Maldives offers two main draw cards when it comes to planning a surf trip … world-class waves and empty lineups. It doesn’t get much better! Throw in that the Maldives also boasts over 20 surf breaks and the water is a divine 28-degree Celsius. The Maldives is also a surfing destination that offers a large choice of both right and left hand surf breaks – there’s something for everyone!
WHEN TO PLAN YOUR SURF TRIP?
The main surfing season of the Maldives starts in April and finishes in October. The biggest swells generally occur from June to September.
One of the biggest myths is that Maldives does not get swells as big as other renowned destinations like Indonesia. However this is not the case! The 2016 surfing season was the most consistent season of the last decade, with renowned Australian surf photographer and surf guide Richard Kotch calling 2016 his ‘most consistent season yet.’
WHERE TO SURF?
Surf breaks in the Maldives are dotted over hundreds of kilometers of coral reefs. There are four main surfing regions in the Maldives:
North Male’ Atoll
South Male’ Atoll
The Central Atolls
The Southern Atolls
Each of these regions encompasses a number of surf breaks. Because of its location, North Male atoll has the most consistent swells. However this area also draws the largest crowds, including the surfing safari boats. Travel to the South, Central and Southern atolls and this is where the uncrowded line-ups and perfect almond shaped barrels are discovered.
POPULAR NORTH MALE SURF BREAKS
POPULAR SOUTH MALE SURF BREAKS
POPULAR CENTRAL ATOLL SURF BREAKS
Outside + Inside Mikados
POPULAR SOUTHERN ATOLL SURF BREAKS
The Maldives also has three exclusive waves Lohis, Pasta Point + Kandooma. These waves are reserved only for guests staying at the attached resorts.
WHERE TO STAY ON YOUR MALDIVES SURFING TRIP?
The Maldives offers a variety of surfing trips, no matter your budget and preferred surfing experience. Generally speaking when it comes to a surf trip in the Maldives, you get what you pay for.
An exclusive ‘Surf’ Resort – enjoy the luxury of surfing a private and exclusive wave, reserved only for surfers staying at the property. These waves are also capped to a maximum number of surfers on any one-day.
Luxury Resort – enjoy the nearby surf breaks whilst staying in luxury accommodation.
Surf Safari / Live aboard – stay onboard a surfing vessel and enjoy the freedom of roaming the seas in search for perfect waves.
Guesthouse / Surf Camp – for surfers on a budget or who want the freedom of independently surfing in the Maldives.
IS THE MALDIVES BEST FOR INEXPERIENCED OR EXPERIENCED SURFERS?
Most of the waves in the Maldives are for intermediate or experienced surfers. This is due to the fact that the waves break off shore, over large coral reefs. The Maldives is extremely tidal, meaning there is a big shift in the tide each day, causing strong currents. It may be necessary to do some fitness training before arriving in the Maldives on your surf trip.
However, with a little know how, it’s certainly possible to learn to surf in the Maldives. What better destination is there to learn to surf than in the pristine tropical surroundings of the Maldives? This is certainly an activity to add to your bucket list!
At Secret Paradise, we suggest surfing or learning to surf with an experienced local guide. Local surf guides offer their extensive knowledge of each surf break, the winds, tides, currents and swell direction that work best for each surfing spot. Every surf in the Maldives will be different from the next, even if surfing at the same spot each day. Surfing with a guide ensures that your session will be fun, safe and you will experience your own sense of tropical surf stoke!
SECRET PARADISE’S TOP 5 SURF TRIP TIPS
Do some surf training and paddling before arriving in the Maldives for your surf trip – the currents can be strong!
Pack tropical wax as the water is around 28 degrees Celsius. The sun is also very extreme, as the Maldives crosses the equator.
Bring booties as they are great for protecting your feet from nasty urchin infections and reef cuts.
Learn how to tell which way the current is flowing. This can be a little challenging to determine. Look for nearby anchored boats. See which direction the back of the boats are facing and this will tell you the direction in which the current is pulling towards.
Pack a basic first aid kit and surfing kit with accessories like leg ropes, fins and repair resin.
Dreaming of surfing and watersports in the Maldives?
If you are a more active traveller with a sense of adventure and an interest in water sports, our multi activity holiday is just for you! Try your hand at sea kayaking, windsurfing, surfing, snorkeling and scuba diving. All activities include a coaching session with your own instructor should you be new to the sport or need a refresher.
Based on Gan in the southern atoll of Laamu, the island boasts an unusual red-tinted lake and an 8km stretch of white sand, making it the longest beach in the Maldives. With accommodation in a deluxe beach front hotel equipped with a plunge pool, gym and wellness centre you can be sure to add some relaxation!
Responsible Tourism is all about making locations around the world better for people to live in and better for people to visit. It requires governments, tourism operators, hoteliers and tourists to work together collaboratively to achieve this.
Here at Secret Paradise, we don’t take Responsible Tourism light-heartedly! We want to ensure that the Maldives remains an incredible tourist destination for all throughout generations to come. We have a responsibility to keep our environmental footprint small to minimise the negative impact on both the environment and local culture.
The main aim for our Secret Paradise tours is to ensure that our guests have the very best of experiences in the paradise we call home, whilst making certain there is limited or no negative impact on the community or the environment. Our role in the development of local island tourism in the Maldives is to bring about a positive experience for both local people and tourists.
With the exception of our Sales Director, all our team here at Secret Paradise are local people, including our fabulous guides. On each of our scheduled group trips a local guide accompanies our guests from time of arrival to departure allowing them unrivaled access to culture, tradition, knowledge and unique experiences.
We pride ourselves on connecting our guests with local Maldivian people and we focus on providing memorable experiences, whilst giving a greater understanding of the local culture and traditions as well as the environmental concerns that are present here in the Maldives.
Secret Paradise demonstrates to our competitors, our team, our partners and ultimately our guests that we are committed to following social and environmental best practices in the Maldives. We aim to use services developed and managed by locals where possible, to help put tourism profits back into the hands of the local people, so that they benefit directly. Where possible, our tours also capitalize on the use of public transport for our guests, like using local island ferries.
We respect local customs and culture and want Secret Paradise guests to learn about and take part in Maldivian customs and cultural practices. This includes encouraging our guests to respect cultural dress requirements, teaching local language on our tours, the purchasing of locally made products to support the local communities, dining in the home of a local family, sampling some of the local Maldivian cuisine and eating in traditional style without the aid of cutlery.
At Secret Paradise we educate our guests on the local environments they will be visiting both before and during their visits be that land or ocean based. We provide our guests with pre-trip information to ensure they are prepared for their Maldives vacation and understand the requirements of travelling to a locally inhabited island.
Here are Secret Paradise’s Top 5 Tips For Being A Responsible Tourist On Your Next Visit To The Maldives:
1. Communicate: Take the time to learn a few words or phrases of the local language. Most locals are patient and accommodating and appreciate you making the effort to communicate in their language.
2. Conserve energy: Use local resources in moderation. Remember to conserve energy by switching off lights, air-conditioners, fans and be water wise.
3. Be Environmentally Friendly: Choose environmentally friendly products and bio degradable sun creams, shampoos and detergents to help reduce pollution. Removing excess packaging from items before leaving home will help combat issues of waste management and be sure to refuse plastic bags when shopping locally.
4. Respect local customs and traditions: As you are a guest in the Maldives, it’s necessary to comply with the local customs like being sensitive to the local dress code. Being friendly, polite and well mannered will also heighten your experience with locals in the Maldives.
5. Don’t litter: Avoid littering. Waste management is an everyday challenge here in the Maldives. Taking home as much plastic waste as possible helps combat this issue.
Our local day trips allow our guests to learn more about Maldivian culture, beliefs and traditions. There is no better way to experience the ‘real Maldives’ than through the eyes of a local. Travelling by public ferry, exploring locally inhabited islands, exchanging stories of daily life, relaxing with a coffee in a local café and learning to cook Maldivian food are just a few of the local experiences we offer. Our local day trips include: