TRAVEL LOCAL, SHOP LOCAL – Souvenirs & Gifts to Buy in the Maldives

One of the best things about traveling is searching for souvenirs – exclusive objects that proudly represent their home country. Through sight and sound, smell and taste—or simply through memory—they can take you back to a place that’s thousands of miles away. The Maldives is a destination many people want to relive. Keep reading to discover unique and original souvenirs and gifts from the Maldives that bring our island nation into to your home.

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Whether it’s an octopus, a whale shark or a manta ray, Oevaali Art Shop are certain to impress you with their diverse collection of eye-catching art pieces featuring Maldivian influences. This small but engaging little art shop showcases the awe-inspiring works of Raya, one of the four owners of the art shop as well as a host of pendants, notebooks and sketchbooks. All the paintings are finished with a protective coat of matte varnish and gallery wrapped canvas ready to hang.

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Are you ready to retire your old phone covers and upgrade to something spesh? Get a unique Huvan Art phone case featuring wrap around Maldivian art designs by Mahy, a 26-year-old self-taught artist from the capital Malé. She creates work that focuses on the spiritual nature of Mandalas. Interestingly, she combines the stunning beauty of the nature of Maldives in her art, whether it is a spiraling flower, the cluster center of a coconut palm, she will bring out the magic and take pride for the end product. Take a sneak peek at her work on her Facebook page at Huvan Art.

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Built in 1675, the ‘Munnaaru’ is the minaret of the Hukuru Miskiy (Malé Friday Mosque) and attracts a great number of travelers to Malé. It was used five times a day as the voice of the muezzin rang out, calling worshipers for prayers. Today it stands as a testament that signifies the originality of the Maldivians and its functions have been taken over by the new, taller minaret of the Islamic Center. This replica of the Munaaru will be a lovely ornament for your living-room and an embellishment that you will be proud to show your friends. Check out the Mavantha Products Facebook page for ordering and purchasing information.

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This scarf is a tribute to the stunning beauty of the Maldivian seas. It evokes the ever-changing colors of the ocean and the glancing off the waves. With its understated border and powerful print, the design is full of depth and movement, whether it’s draped around the shoulders or nonchalantly knotted around a handbag strap. See Island Bazaar’s website for their complete product line.

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The sands in the Maldives are white as the smiles of its natives, the fish swims happily in the warm Indian Ocean waters, the weather is a dream come true, and the sizzling rays of the sun wait to immerse you with their arms wide open. It is astounding that Maria is able to produce such astonishing array of work. Apart from nature, her imagery ranges from the representational to the abstract and sometimes a combination of the two. She is more specialized in decorating handmade dishes of clay with acrylic paints. Have a look at her collection on her Facebook page, Tropics by Maria.

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Maldivian lacquer work or “Laajehun” in Maldivian language is used to represent the artistry of local craftsmanship. A piece of wood is sculpted by the craftsman’s desired form, before it is coated, layer over layer with colored lacquer, commonly red, yellow and black. This is also done on wood to conserve its quality for long periods and to prevent it from deteriorating in different weather conditions. With highly impressive designs and vibrant colors on wood imprinted objects such as pens, vases and jewelry boxes, today, this Maldivian tradition and technique has become flawless in decorating homes and buildings from great to wonderful. The young and talented MVLacquer team from the island of Thulhaadhoo has more souvenirs than to the lacquer pen on their website.

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The first skin care and essential oils brand from the Maldives. “Kaashi Theyo”, with natural, organic coconut oil sourced from its beautiful islands, Kaashi Theyo has a wide range of products that reflects the ancient Maldivian tradition of holistic medicine & beauty, and each is meticulously designed to promote wellness & beauty both physically and emotionally. For more information visit their website at www.kaashi-theyo.com.

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More than just a board game, MaldiPlay is a great source of both information and incredible photographs from Maldives. It’s a destination promotion board game, best described similar to a Monopoly board, played with two dice with numbers 0, 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7. The 21×21 inch square board along with 2 sets of cards one with 15 and the other with 24 cards is time based and depends on the speed of its players. Visit the Maldiplay website to learn more about this board game.

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Design inspirations from the Maldivian writing script to patterns derived from the rich marine life on women’s swimwear to remind you that you are part of the ocean, funoas, an eco-friendly clothing brand concerned about responsible tourism and creating awareness about the vulnerabilities of the island nation and spreading its beauty. Boardshorts by funoas are incredibly soft for comfort in the waves, at the breakers and on the sand. Check out their complete collection at www.funoas.com.

So when you plan your once-in-a-lifetime trip to the Maldives, keep an eye out for these beauties. If you’re spending money, you might as well invest in responsible tourism and wonderful mementos that will instantly send you back to happier days in Maldives.

Want to discover an original souvenir to take home, join us on any of our Male city walking tours 

The above article was written by Ahmed Ijaz and was first published on his blog Island Logic on 30th November 2017.

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There’s Nothing Quite Like A Snorkeling Holiday In The Maldives!

1200 islands of 26 different atolls make up the island paradise of the Maldives. Once prehistoric underwater volcanoes, the coral reefs and ecosystems that surround these picture perfect islands offer some of the world’s very best snorkeling locations. There’s no better destination than the pristine tropical waters of the Maldives for first time snorkelers or veteran underwater lovers. With an average of 200+ sunny days per year, the Maldives really is second to none when it comes to choosing an idyllic snorkeling escape.

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What is Snorkeling In The Maldives Like?

You’ve probably seen the picture perfect images of the Maldives floating around the internet, popping up on your Instagram feed or plastered across what it seems like, pages of every other travel magazine. Thoughts of ‘there’s no way that ocean water can be real’ or something along the lines of ‘that’s definitely photo shopped’ may have crossed your mind more than once. Take our word for it from us here at Secret Paradise, as we can assure you that yes – the water is really the colour depicted by the magazines. In fact, the island waters here reflect a spectrum of blue tones that seem to change façade with every spec of light. This island paradise is just waiting for you to dive beneath the surface to discover its abundance of incredible reef life and the spectacular coloured corals.

If you’re privileged enough to delved into the underwater world of the Maldives, you can expect nothing but excellent clarity and visibility, combined with blissful year round ocean temperatures of 26 – 29 degrees Celsius. You may also be thinking that a snorkeling holiday in the Maldives is probably out of your budget … Again, let us reassure you that there has never been a more affordable time to travel to the Maldives. A snorkeling vacation is very reasonable and can begin from as little as USD$50 per night … let us show you how.

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What Are The Options For Maldives Snorkeling Holidays?

Here at Secret Paradise, we offer quality and value for money snorkelling day trips and bespoke multi-day island hopping itineraries. On our tours, expect to explore the uncharted local islands of the Maldives, an alternative to an expensive resort style vacation.

Staying on a local island in a guesthouse allows for exploration of some of the Maldives’ very best snorkeling sites and marine life, whilst experiencing the local tradition and culture of the Maldives. Think palm trees, white sandy beaches, sun bathing and of course snorkeling, all combined with wandering locally inhabited islands, tasting Maldivian foods and seeing local traditions first hand. Enjoy being transferred from your local island via a traditional wooden dhoani boat, to stunning nearby snorkeling sites – the very same sites that resort guests snorkel at, all for a fraction of the cost! Our affordable snorkeling holidays and day trips will leave you with long lasting Maldives memories.

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Is The Maldives Best For First Time or Experienced Snorkelers?

The answer to this question is both. The Maldives is spread across a thousand small islands scattered throughout the Indian Ocean, meaning it offers vast ocean environments, perfect for both beginner and experienced snorkellers and everyone in between.

The islands here in the Maldives consist of both shallow and deep-water lagoons. Beginners can simply choose to snorkel the reefs adjacent to the shoreline, in the safety of still water. Intermediate snorkelers can explore reefs a little further off shore whilst advanced snorkelers who are more daring have opportunities to try the local ‘drift-snorkeling’ method, using the aide of the ocean currents to explore the underwater terrain. As the ocean currents here in the Maldives are extremely tidal, our local guides will accompany you to ensure that you experience a safe yet ‘bucket-list’ type of underwater snorkeling experience.

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What Is The Best Time of Year For Snorkeling In The Maldives?

The snorkelling season of the Maldives runs yearlong. As the Maldives is located near the equator, it is susceptible to two monsoon seasons, better known as the wet and dry seasons. From May to November (the wet season), the abundance of reef life is more varied and the visibility levels are better on the western side of each island. December to April is generally known as the ‘dry’ period, where the eastern side of each atoll is best for snorkelling.

Buy or Rent Snorkeling Equipment?

When it comes to packing for your Maldives snorkelling vacation, deciding upon whether to buy or rent your snorkelling gear is certainly a great question and one that needs to be given substantial consideration, as everyone’s snorkelling needs are different.

Firstly, decide how often you think you may snorkel on your Maldives trip. Do you think that number is worthy of purchasing your very own snorkelling gear? Let us help you make a wise travel decision.

Let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like owning your own snorkeling equipment – being assured that your own mask, fins and snorkel fit your face and body perfectly, not to mention they haven’t been worn by the many tourists before you. It’s a great little luxury if you believe you will be snorkeling frequently throughout your Maldives stay. It will also save you the hassle of searching for the snorkeling equipment that is right for you.

However, remember transporting and carrying your own snorkeling gear can often be bulky and heavy, and the last thing you want is for your equipment to be damaged in transit. Renting your snorkeling equipment is essentially easier, as your gear you won’t need to be transported from place to place. Fins especially take up a substantial amount of room in your luggage.

Another alternative is to purchase your own face mask and snorkel before your trip and hire your fins whilst on holidays. A mask and snorkel combination is small and lightweight – it takes up minimal space in your luggage. This way you will be assured that your mask will fit you comfortably, it won’t leak and it is sanitary, plus you won’t have to awkwardly lug fins around in your luggage.

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Our Secret Paradise Packing Tip:

Cushion your mask between clothes to ensure the lens won’t be damaged in transit. As fins are durable, pack them on the outer edge of your luggage to prevent your other belongings from being damaged.

BOOK ONE OF OUR SECRET PARADISE SNORKELING HOLIDAYS TODAY!

Our beautiful Maldives Islands are awaiting your underwater presence.

Book a Secret Paradise snorkelling tour today – we would love to help you discover the pristine underwater world of the Maldives!

Our tours include:

  • Morning snorkeling
  • Snorkeling Day Trips
  • Snorkeling and sandbank trip
  • Multi day island hopping Snorkeling tours

https://secretparadise.mv/tour/local-day-activities/

ANSWERS TO YOUR TOP 10 MALDIVES TRAVEL QUESTIONS

It comes with the territory that as a destination expert we are frequently contacted to answer any number of questions in relation to the Maldives. The following appear to be those that are most commonly asked that we thought would be useful to share.

1. How do I book a transfer to a Maldives resort?
As resorts are individual private islands it is usual for the property to arrange your return domestic transfer to and from the airport in line with your arrival and departure flight times wherever possible.
If you have booked with a travel agent or operator the transfer should be part of your package.
If you have booked online you most likely will have been requested to provide your arrival flight details. Providing the resort has this information your transfer will be aranged and payment will be made direct to the resort upon your arrival.
We often receive requests for speedboat transfer rates to and from a resort. In all honesty it is very rare that a private transfer by a local operator to and from the airport/resort will be less than the rate provided by the resort. The reason for this is that the resort will be operating group transfers throughout the day for arriving and departing guests. Whereas for a local provider not only will you need to cover the cost of the journey from the resort with you on board, you will need to cover the cost of the return journey without you. So effectively for a return transfer you will be charged one way x 4 per person.
Note that if no flight information has been received by the resort your transfer Is unlikely to be arranged prior to your arrival and you should be prepared for a delay. in the event of no seats being available particularly on board domestic flights and seaplanes during high season you may well have to spend a night in the capital at your own expense.

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2. Which Maldives resorts are accessible by public ferry?
There are no public ferry services to and from resorts. Public ferries operate between local islands only.
Generally resorts located within North and South Male Kaafu Atoll will offer transfers by speedboat. For resorts within the central atolls many offer both seaplane and domestic flights. Whereas for resorts in the deep north and southern atolls transfer is by domestic flight.

3. Which local Maldives islands can i visit by ferry from Male and return the same day?
From Male it is possible to take regular public ferries to and from Hulhumale and Villimale.
It is not possible however to visit other local islands and return the same day. This is because the ferry network is designed to allow islanders to reach Male in the morning, complete their business and return home in the afternoon.

4. Which Maldives local islands have bikini beaches and serve alcohol?
As a Muslim country alcohol is not available on any local island. Hulhule Island Hotel located on the airport island does have a bar serving alcohol. There are also a handful of local islands where a bar boat is anchored during high season however this is subject to change and never a guarantee.
In general there are very few local islands where there is not a tourist bikini beach now, however, some are far better than others both in terms of quality and size.

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5.Why are domestic flight transfer timings not confirmed prior to arrival in the Maldives?
Whilst domestic flights are booked based on a schedule this is subject to change. As Male International airport currently has only one runway, changes to international flights will generally take precedence. Also in the day weather conditions may alter flight timings as well as international flight delays.

6.Why are transfer timings for speedboats and ferries subject to change?
As we have already mentioned the public network of ferries is designed for locals and not for tourists. and sometimes the needs of the island community may alter the ferry timing. However, more often than not weather and mechanical problems will be the cause of delay and cancellation. The national travel and transport provider MTCC will generally be able to replace a broken down ferry from their fleet. However there is likely to be only one province ferry per island, this ferry is owned and operated by the islanders and therefore if broken has no immediate replacement.

7.Where can I swim with dolphins in the Maldives?
It is not possible to swim with dolphins and it is not a practice we condone. It is however always a possibility to encounter dolphins whilst travelling by boat. Always wise to be on the look out! Dolphin cruises quite often combined with sunset are offered from resorts and local islands alike. As dolphins are creatures in their natural habitat no one can ever provide a 100% guarantee of encounters but there are locations in all atolls where the probability is greater due to the current and feeding conditions.

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8.How can ​I​ visit the Maldives ​S​ea of ​S​tars?
The so called ‘sea of stars’ is a natural phenomenon and cannot be guaranteed.
This phenomenon is caused by a natural chemical reaction known as bio​ ​luminescence, which occurs when a microorganism in the water is disturbed by oxygen. These microorganisms or marine microbes are called phytoplankton and there are a variety of its species that create bio​ ​luminescence seen in different parts of the world.
The images depicted on the internet, which is where most clients have come across it, are of Vaadhoo Island in Raa Atoll,​( not to be confused with Vaadhoo Island in South Male Atoll)​ ​which requires a domestic flight transfer and a stay on either a local island or a resort island.
The bio luminescence can occur throughout the country’s 26 atolls​ in varying degrees. ​Visitors to the Indian Ocean archipelago say they have had the most luck seeing the blue glow from about July to February, especially during a new moon since the darkness of the sky helps intensify the light.

9.How can I book lunch/dinner at a Maldives underwater restaurant?
There are ​four resorts with underwater restaurants​, Ithaa at the Conrad Maldives, SEA at Anantara Kihavah Villas​, Subsix at PER AQUUM Niyama​, 5.8 at Hurawalhi Island Resort. Guests not staying at the resort can make bookings by contacting the resort directly. Tables are subject to availability and priority will always be given to in house guests. Bookings will not be taken more than 14 days in advance. Transfer to the resort will also need to be arranged which if you are not located close by will mean a transfer to Male and then an onward transfer by seaplane to the resort. It is unlikely that you will be looking at an overall cost of anything less than $500 per person.

10.I am staying on a Maldives resort can​ I book one of your Secret Paradise day tours?
Whilst we are happy to provide excursions to guests staying on resorts within Male Atolls, there would be an additional charge for transfers between the resort and Male. This cost will be dependent on the distance the resort is from Male. We would also require permission from the resort to allow us to collect you from their private jetty which can be obtained via the guest relations team at reception. Note not all resorts will provide permission. Alternatively, you wish to take the resort transfer to the airport or Male from where we can arrange a guide to meet with you.

Find our more about all our day tour and local island multi day tours by visiting us at www.secretparadise.mv 

Or have a question we haven’t answered drop an email to Ruth, your Maldives expert, at sales@secretparadise.mv

Understanding Hajj through the Eyes of a Local

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

TRAVEL THE MALDIVES WITH YOUR OWN PERSONAL GUIDE!

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.

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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

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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.

‘Our guides 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

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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.

‘Our tour guide had in-depth knowledge of the history of the city & we had an amazing time with him.’ – Pradhan P 22 May 2017

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‘Special mention our tour guide Kamey, not just a tour guide, 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!

https://secretparadise.mv/tours-and-holidays/

 

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Secret Paradise Relax Local

Become A Volunteer + Make A Difference In The Maldives

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.

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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
  • Coral planting
  • 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
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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.

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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.

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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.

Find out more  about our Volunteer Programs  Secret Paradise today!

MALDIVES DIVING HOLIDAYS

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.

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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!

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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!

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DIVING OPTIONS

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.

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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.

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DIVE TEAMS

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.

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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.

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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.

Explore our range of magical Diving Holidays in the Maldives today!

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