Why Travel With Secret Paradise?

It is no secret that wherever in the world you plan to travel it will result in happiness and satisfaction, because apart from the obvious truth that you are not going to be working while on vacation, your travel will allow you to recharge, renew and just step away from the realities of your daily life. You may travel with your family, different groups of friends or simply travel solo – whatever floats your boat and whatever you think will make you enjoy your time away, will be entirely up to you.

Just recently, Dina M. finally decided to book her flight to Maldives and this is what she has to say – “I have wanted to go to the Maldives for some time but was of the impression that it was not really a place to go as a solo traveller. That was until I stumble on the Secret Paradise website.

With the range of activities/ programmes they offered I decided to give it a go and I absolutely am not sorry I did. I have travelled a lot and always as a solo traveller, both guided tours and trips with no guide, and I have to say the level of service provided was something I had not experienced previously. It started from the minute I landed in Male where UB met me at the airport and advised me that due to a delay in my flight from Singapore to Male I arrived too late to board the flight I was scheduled to take to Laamu GAN and had to wait 3 hours for the next flight. UB stayed with me at the airport until I was able to board the later flight and then dealt with the airport staff on my behalf to get me through the airport procedures with no drama. It was totally unexpected though very much appreciated as I had already had a long day of travel to get to that point having travelled there from Sydney.

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When I finally arrived at the Reveries guesthouse, after the flight had been delayed another 3 hours I was met by Kokko who made sure I got dinner even though I arrived well after dinner had finished. Kokko proved to be an absolute superstar. He obviously loves his work and his country and the enthusiasm with which he shared it with me allowed me to also develop a love for his country. As I was alone he joined me for every meal without me feeling like I was imposing on his time and I am very grateful for the generosity he showed me over the week.

The programme developed for this trip was the perfect balance of enough activities to prevent me from getting bored as I am not the type who can happily sit on a beach for a week and do nothing else, and enough free time to allow for flexibility if I wanted to go off programme without missing out on any activities planned, which is exactly what I did. After taking the introductory scuba dive, at the encouragement of the staff of Emperor Divers I decided to take two days to gain my open water diving certification, so Kokko worked his magic to ensure I could manage that and still complete all the activities that had been planned. I could not be more grateful.

 

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The accommodation was not the resort style you think of when you think of the Maldives but I do not think I missed out on anything as a result. The room was very comfortable and clean and the staff were very friendly and accommodating. I was there for New Year’s Eve and although there was not an option of alcohol as I was not in a resort I really did not notice as the staff arranged a party on the private beach for all the guests and it look amazing after they had worked all day stringing lights and transforming the beach in a way only photos can explain.

 

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It was very apparent that the main goal of everyone involved was that I had the holiday I hoped for and they were prepared to be as flexible as necessary to ensure that happened. I was able to get a feel of how the Maldivians lived and got a real feel for island life rather than being in the more artificial environment of a resort. There is a real chance I will return to the Maldives and when I do I will absolutely do so with Secret Paradise. I cannot thank Ruth and her team enough for ensuring I had an awesome holiday and this is not the last you will hear from me.”

 

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Can you imagine how wonderful our guest must have felt to write such a thoughtful and heart warming review?

So why then should you travel with Secret Paradise Maldives? Let us count the ways…

  1. Secret Paradise specializes in individual and group travel for people of all ages. It is not just for young adventurers, it is also for the young at heart! Our passionate and experienced guides will be ready to provide you the best service you deserve. Come and #letusguideyou!
  2. The basis of our tours has always been to allow guests to learn about the Maldives, its culture, beliefs, and traditions and what better way to do this than to see the country through the eyes of a local and experience daily life by travelling by public ferry, staying on a locally inhabited island where the local community benefit directly from the income gained from local island tourism, sharing breakfast with a family in their home, exchanging stories of daily life, relaxing with a coffee in a local café with their local host. Secret Paradise guides can open doors that may remain closed as an independent traveller and you’ll never be left wanting with authentic experiences.
  3. Responsible travel is at the core of our system. Secret Paradise Maldives fosters social and cultural awareness among its employees and the clientele that they cater to as well. They make it a point to be in tune with understanding their effect on places you visit that they bring you to and ensure that each visit will be a meaningful one – something for the books.
  4. Every guide has completed the Lead Amazing Tours Online Academy as well as first aid and rescue certification and you can therefore be assured of both your safety and comfort.
  5. We offer more than just day tours. We also have multi-day tours with itineraries that can’t be beat. https://secretparadise.mv/product/maldives-day-tours/

Are you ready to book your flight to Maldives? #letusguideyou

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Maldives experiences are not just limited to resorts.

A recent article by W Travel Magazine showcases all the different things you can experience at different locations in the Maldives and offers suggestions for resort stays. But what if we told you, all of these can also be experienced on a local island tour at a fraction of the price and still with personalised service?

With over 1,200 beautiful islands in the Maldives; whether you are visiting a local island or a luxury resort, in every part of the Maldives you will still experience the beautiful crystal blue clear waters of the Indian Ocean, breath taking marine life and perfect white sandy beaches. However, as Lindsay Lohan recently discovered there is more to the Maldives than just this and one of the best things about visiting local islands is the Maldivian hospitality.

The Maldives literally has it all for travelers and explorers, from adrenaline pumping water sports, to zen yoga on the beach. Island hopping, deserted islands, star gazing and diving in some of the most breathtaking dive sites in the world. No wonder more and more people are choosing the Maldives to visit every year. Take a look below at just some of the amazing things you can experience even if staying on local islands.

Flyboarding

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Just when you think there can’t be another new water sport in comes flyboarding! For those of you who love water sports this is a must to experience, a real adrenaline rush as you lift off over the water, flying high enough to see right around the island. Flyboarding is a hydro device which propels a flyboard, on which you are stood, into the air with jet nozzles.

Recommended Island

Maafushi is a great place to experience flyboarding but any island that is active with water sports will be able to offer this. Let us know the type of holiday you would like and we will recommend the best locations!

Yoga Retreat

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Many people will travel to India for Yoga retreats but why not combine a beautiful local island vacation with a revitalizing Yoga Retreat. Enjoy Yoga at sunrise on white sandy beaches overlooking the tranquility of the clear blue waters and evening meditation watching some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world.

Where to Stay – Barefoot Island

The Barefoot is located within an almost untouched forest on Hanimaadhoo island in the preserved deep North of Maldives. This 4 star Eco Hotel is well connected to Male international airport by numerous daily 45 minutes flights. Due to its luxuriant vegetation and privacy everybody can fall in love with untouched nature, as well as experiencing the genuine and natural Maldives. With a half mile private sandy beach, a turquoise lagoon and modern accommodation facilities you can be assured of a relaxing holiday without breaking the bank!

Check out the 7 night Yoga Retreat here https://secretparadise.mv/product/7-night-maldives-yoga-holiday/

Liveaboard

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If you are an avid diver and are looking to explore a large area during your stay then a dive liveaboard is just for you. The liveaboard experience allows you to dive multiple locations throughout your holiday and be with like-minded divers. With more routes taking in the deep south, with the possibility of encounters with tiger sharks, thresher sharks and maybe the elusive mola mola, this is an experience every keen diver should try.

Recommended Liveaboard

MV Keana offers high standards of comfort and some great sustainable travel initiatives. In order to avoid unnecessary waste draft beer is served and water is available from a water dispenser. Warm water comes from a solar-device and the non-avoidable generators are modern and fuel-effective. All Cabins are above the water line across two decks meaning that all windows and doors can be opened preventing the need to switch on your AC!

Night Diving

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Night diving is a must on any scuba divers bucket list. Fulidhoo Alimatha reef is just one of the popular night dive sites in the Maldives and by speedboat is not too far from Male International Airport. The location offers some of the best channel dives and divers have seen up to 100 nurse sharks at one time during their night dives.

Where to Stay

Fulidhoo is the first island in Vaavu Atoll and is historically famous for being a stopover island before Male. The friendly and caring people of Fulidhoo still maintain the tradition of offering a warm welcome today. A typical peaceful and relaxing local Maldivian island Fulidhoo is also known for its traditional Boduberu and bandiyaa “pot dance”.

It has a beautiful beach and a great coral reef abundant with coral and fish life. The reef structure is formed in caves and overhangs perfect for exploration by divers and snorkelers alike.

Check out full tour details here https://secretparadise.mv/product/dive-local-from-fulidhoo

Desert Island Lunch

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One of our favourite locations for a Robinson Crusoe style get away for the day is  Island. A small deserted island located a short boat ride from Mathiveri, this is a fantastic experience where you can enjoy the peace and tranquility of these untouched deserts islands. Take along a picnic lunch, explore the natural beauty of the area, lay in the sun or head out for some snorkeling. It is an amazing experience not to be missed.

Where to Stay

The islands of Rasdhoo, Ukulhas and Mathiveri are surrounded by the breathtaking Indian Ocean. This area of North Ari Atoll is widely regarded as one of the best diving spots in the world and when the season is right it is possible to snorkel or swim with manta rays. With an abundance of green vegetation and beautiful white sandy beaches this tour provides the ideal opportunity to indulge in the activities the Maldives is famous for as well as brushing shoulders with local culture and people.

Check out full tour details here: https://secretparadise.mv/product/7-night-north-ari-atoll-island-hopping

Star Gazing

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Did you know you can see the night time stars from both hemispheres in the Maldives? Any local island away from the capital city, Male is perfect for viewing the constellations and you might even be able to make a wish on a shooting star.

Where to Stay

Boutique Beach All Inclusive Diving Hotel is a luxury, contemporary diving property located on the beautiful Maldivian island of Dhigurah in the South Ari Atoll. Set against the backdrop of the Indian Ocean’s azure waters and magical sunsets, they offer guests a truly all-inclusive accommodation and diving package. Spend your days diving, snorkeling, relaxing or exploring – making memories, before returning ‘home’ where the Boutique Beach team will welcome you to their rooftop terrace for sun-downers and star gazing lazing on the bean bags. A perfect day in Paradise!

Resort Day Visit

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You can still experience resort life without staying for your entire holiday. Our team will happily organise a resort day trip for you to enjoy pure luxury. The location of the local island where you are staying will determine which resort we recommend. However one place that is truly memorable is in South Male called Anantara Veli which has a classic swing out in the ocean. Fantastic photo opportunities and amazing memories.

For more information about how and what to book on your local island Maldives adventures, contact our sales team who will be delighted to help you.

Contact us today and start your Maldives adventure!

Island Hop the Maldives with Secret Paradise

Island hopping in the Maldives does have its logistical challenges but makes for a far more exciting and interesting way to explore our paradise home. Why not allow us to make life easier and join  our 7 night South Male Island Hopping tour to discover culture and tradition as well as all the best the Maldives has to offer.  Accompanied by your Secret Paradise guide discover Male, Guraidhoo, Maafushi & Gulhi on a 7 night trip that provides the perfect opportunity to combine local life with popular excursions, water sports and relaxation.

Male City

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Male is the capital city of the Maldives. It is the ideal place to enjoy local culture and the hustle and bustle of our nation’s capital before being whisked away to tropical paradise. Accompanied by one of our tour guides you will visit the fish market and local market, Presidents Palace, Sultan Park and Friday Mosque as well as a few hidden gems off the main tourist path.

Guraidhoo Island

 

 

 

Guraidhoo island located almost on the southern tip of South Male Atoll is recommended for scuba diving, snorkeling and surfing. It is a perfect island to experience and learn more about local culture and traditions. A 60 minute tour around the island highlights locals going about their daily routine; carpenters at the small boat yard traditionally constructing typical dhoni boats, locals drinking coffee in the many small coffee shops and children playing simple games in the street. 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. You will also get to enjoy dining at a local family’s home with traditional Maldivian food that you will not experience in a café or restaurant.

Maafushi Island

 

 

 

 

Maafushi was once a very typical Maldivian local island but since the introduction of local tourism it is proving a popular destination for those wishing to experience the Maldives without paying resort prices. Maafushi is located only 90 minutes away from Male by ferry boat or 30 minutes by speedboat. There are two beaches on opposite sides of the island, one of which is a tourist bikini beach. With over 70 guesthouses some with 6 floors there are plenty of accommodation options to meet all budget needs. There are a variety of local cafes and guesthouse restaurants, some situated on the harbor and with water sport and excursion providers all eager for your business Maafushi provides the ideal destination to discover the Maldives on a budget and mix with other tourists.

Gulhi Island

 

 

Gulhi island is practically next door to Maafushi  but is a much different island to its close neighbour. This island has hardly any vehicles as it is only 5.8 sq km. You can walk around the whole island in maybe 10-15 minutes and it is really quaint and retains it’s local feel. This island is ideal for people who love the quite life with a little bit of R&R. It has two beautiful bikini beaches and is ideal for a holiday where relaxation and reclining on a sun lounger is the priority!  You can still enjoy a range of water sport activities, snorkeling, scuba diving and even surfing here just ask your tour guide who will be pleased to assist you with arranging this.

What our guests think

“Best holiday ever”

“Just got back from our first visit to the Maldives. Me and my husband chose to spend our honeymoon in the Maldives after we found a nice flight offer I was so overwhelmed by the amount of information and things to do, how to choose activities, resorts I decided to contact a local agency who could advise us better.

I have found the Secret Paradise contact details in the book along with Ruth’s name and contacted her via the online form on their website. She replied very quickly proposing different options. We wanted to experience the true Maldivian culture so we chose the South Male Island Hopping Tour for the first week and then Ruth helped us choose a resort for our 2nd week and we chose Olhuveli.

We had the two most amazing guides taking care of us UB and Mashir. We bonded straight away, we felt like traveling with old friends and not two guides we have just met 1 day ago 🙂 Everything was perfect: from the local guesthouses to the food, to the people on the different islands, the activities, absolutely everything. It was my first time snorkelling but UB made it a lot easier for me by explaining what I needed to do in detail and even holding my hand for the first 10-15 minutes or so (thanks UB). I must admit I absolutely love snorkelling now and I am not that scared of the water anymore.

I am sure we would not have had the same experience without Ruth and her priceless guidance and the company of both Mashir and UB. Without any hesitation, I would recommend them to anyone wanting to experience the Maldives and have a perfect holiday. Also, I am sure that we will return very soon for part 2.”

Iona ~ Trip Advisor July 2018

This 7 day/8 night tour departs every Sunday, book before end of January 2019 and save 10%. Quote XMAS18. Private and tailor made tours available upon request

For more information on this tour or other trips contact our sales team here sales@secretparadise.mv

Have You Tried a Discover Scuba Dive in the Maldives?

I am sure if you are a SCUBA diver you will recall where and when you had your first underwater experience. It’s a magical moment of in-trepidation, discovery and wonder.  A moment that for many leads to new opportunities as well as new holiday destinations. The Maldives with year round warm waters and good visibility is perfect for your first SCUBA diving experience as our guide Maahee discovered recently.

 

“DSD or Discover Scuba Diving is as program from PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors), the world’s leading scuba diving training organization. A quick and easy introduction into what it takes to explore the underwater world. Although this is not a scuba certification course, you’ll learn all the steps it takes to be a PADI certified diver.” https://www.padi.com/courses/discover-scuba-diving

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When I first joined the team at Secret Paradise Maldives as a tour guide, one of the tours I found myself leading regularly for our guests were the morning or afternoon snorkeling tours.

I love taking guests into the crystal clear blue waters in the Indian Ocean and exploring the coral reefs. I always make extra time during my tours to take our guests to the edge of the coral reef to see the beautiful deep blue sea and reef wall that is known as the terrace.

We always see many different types of fish and colourful coral whilst snorkeling on top of the reef but I always wondered what it would be like to dive deep down to the bottom of the ocean, was it really so different than this? What more could I really see?

I have seen many of our guests join a scuba dive day trip but had never had any experience of scuba diving myself.  I always dreamed of one day making a dive and I was so happy when my boss, Ruth the founder of Secret Paradise Maldives suggested I tried a Discover Scuba Dive (DSD).

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I was lucky enough to join a trip to Maafushi with the Secret Paradise team in September 2018. Secret Paradise runs regular team training trips staying at our partnering guest houses so that we can all experience where our guests are may stay and be able to talk knowledgeably about a location. We combined the trip with an opportunity to do a DSD dive so that I could finally experience what some of my colleagues have been doing for years.

In the afternoon we all went to the Eco Dive Club, Maafushi for registration and when we reached there I went in to the dive center to request an enrolment for the DSD dive. The dive instructor gave me a form to read carefully and fill in and then he asked me” Is this your first time?”

I said YES! The registration was easier than I thought.

After I registered my dive instructor gave me theory instruction on how to use the equipment. There was information about:

  • How to use the regulator
  • How to breath
  • How to inflate the jacket
  • Remind me not to hold my breath
  • How to clear water from the mouth by sharply breathing out from the regulator or I can press the mouth piece rubber of the regulator
  • How to clear water from the face mask
  • Plus much more

I then was fitted for the right size jacket, face mask and fins. My dive instructor ensured me he would stay close by to help me descend into the water.

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We then went down to the jetty at Maafushi harbour where we were met by the boat crew and captain. The crew were really friendly and reassuring. The boat captain explained we would be traveling about 20 minutes to get to our dive location.  The dive location was called ‘Sexy reef’! It’s a house reef of a sand bank.

When we arrived we were told to get ready with our dive gear. I was assisted to put my equipment together, about how to adjust the oxygen tank to the buoyancy control device (BCD)so that I wouldn’t bang my head on the tank and how to inflate air into the BCD. Finally we checked the regulator to make sure it was properly working and we were ready to dive.

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Whilst the rest of the experienced team got in to the water, I held back with my dive instructor so he could guide me into the water to do a practical test in the lagoon in about 5 meters depth. When we had completed this successfully my guide asked me “Are you ready?” I strapped on my face mask and said “YES!”

As you can’t talk when diving, there is special sign language to use so divers can communicate at all times. Once we touched down on the seabed we practiced this, how to breathe, how to clear water from the mask and how to equalize the pressure. At this stage we were 5 metres deep and when I said I was ready to go my guide slowly took me down to 12 metres into the deep sea I had longed to visit for so long. He helped me inflate air in to the jacket and balance my body using extra weight hanging on a belt on my waist.

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I was thrilled and excited to see the colorful coral, amazing fish swimming in the ocean and huge caves! I felt confident enough to try swimming in one of the overhangs to explore more and we both went through and out the other side, it was an amazing experience. The reef terrace was very rich in life even more than I could have imagined. There were sea anemones, different types of clown fish, lionfish and Giant grouper and these were just some of the exciting marine life I saw.

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I was so busy enjoying this dive experience I almost forgot about my oxygen tank, until my dive instructor told me in sign language that it was running low and it was time to slowly ascend to the surface. We made a 3 minute safety stop during the accent to equalize the pressure and then in a short time we both came up to the surface.

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This is a life time achievement for me to try and I am so pleased Ruth provided me the opportunity to try such great experience!

I can personally recommend trying a Discover Scuba Dive if you are visiting the Maldives, it will really open up a whole new world for you.I can’t wait to get back in the water and explore more of my underwater paradise home!

For more details about dive holidays for beginner and experiences divers contact our sales team sales@secretparadise.mv

Where to Eat and Drink in Male Part 2

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When I first visited the Maldives places to eat and drink in Male for tourists were few and far between. However, Male has flourished over the years since and whilst there are many cafes and restaurants popular with tourists, we know there are a number more difficult to locate that are worthy of a visit giving you the chance to rub shoulders with the locals.

This week Mashir another of our fabulous local tour guides shares his three personal favourite Male cafes.

Shawarma

In 2009, Ali Raeef opened up this café with the idea of offering fast food and good coffee. A middle aged man, but young at heart Ali loved cooking and was always creating unique dishes and drinks that no one would ever think of – like who would ever have thought a milkshake tea would taste good?! But it does!

The most popular dish and my favorite also is the Chicken Shawama, which is freshly made in less than ten minutes. A Chicken Shawama includes grilled chicken breast with cabbage, tomato, chili (optional), cheese and fries, with fresh home made mayonnaise or chili infused mayonnaise wrapped in a flat bread. Delicious! There is a wide variety of drinks including tea, coffee, fresh juices and milk shakes. Ali recently introduced a desert to the Shawama menu called Gluabu-gulab jamun and ice cream.

So if you have an hour to kill before your departure flight or just want to grab a quick bite, I recommend Shawama. Sit inside the air conditioned restaurant or open air dining. They have speedy service and good food at affordable prices. Located on the main street of Male-Majeedhee Magu in front of the football grounds close to the artificial beach.

Average cost of a meal here is $8

Thoum

Thoum brings the best of Middle Eastern Cuisine with a focus on authentic, traditional foods. They offer a wide range of aromatic grilled meats including chicken, lamb and beef served with a side of traditional Yemenu bread Mulawwah or Arabic rice which is an infusion of basmati rice, Arabic spice blend and saffron. Tantalize your taste buds with tasty, aromatic foods such as hummus, ful mudammes, heneeth and kebabs. Thoum is an amazing Arabic themed restaurant located at the end of the main street Majeedhee Magu overlooking the beach with the most amazing view of the ocean. Whenever I visit Thoum I love to order a plate of their delicious homemade hummus with a side of flatbread, plus a mixed spice chicken leg – this meal makes a light yet filling meal. Try something different to drink like a pot of Adani tea (native to Yemen) or a cup of traditionally brewed saffron infused Arabic coffee to complete your meal.

Entice your taste buds with Arabian flavors from $9.

Odegalla Coffee

I just happened to stumble upon this place after walking around Male for a few hours. The heat was getting to me and I needed a place to rest and relax for a bit. My preferred spot would be upstairs on their balcony so I can feel the breeze. One way to beat the heat and get some energy is by ordering their Ferrero milk shake. Who doesn’t love Ferrero Rocher. So a Ferrero milkshake is bliss. Located at a corner of cross roads near Billabong High school.

Chocolaty goodness $5.

Want to discover more off the beaten track locations in the capital, join Mashir or one of our other great guides on a Male City Walking Tour.

What Are The Best Ways to Explore the Maldives?

What Are The Best Ways to Explore the Maldives?

When you haven’t visited a country and are not familiar with what to do and where to stay it can be reassuring to know that you have everything organised before you arrive. But what type of Maldivian experience will suit you? There is more than just one way to explore the Maldives with holiday styles including safari boat cruises, low cost and luxury resorts and now also local island experiences.

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Cruising

Advantages

If you want to visit and see multiple locations in a short period of time cruising is ideal for you. It is the easiest way to gain a snap shot of a country in one vacation without having to live out of a suit case. You can comfortably unpack and relax. It’s an incredibly relaxing experience with plenty of on board activities and an abundance of food and drink! You not only have the luxury of cruising through the aquamarine waters of this island paradise but have the opportunity to jump on and off and discover local islands, resorts and deserted sandbanks at your leisure. There will be a number of pre-organised activities on board including snorkeling, Picnic Island BBQs and fishing for example as well as plenty of time to relax and sit back and watch the Maldives drift by!

The Maldives offers dive cruises, snorkeling cruises and even swimming cruises! Choose from small traditional dhoni’s with basic but standard facilities or a top of the range luxury experience. If a group travel is not for you there are also opportunities for private cruising quite often in catamarans or sailing boats.

Compromises

The down side to cruising may be the length of time you are allocated on an island or to a given activity, particularly if you are travelling with a large group. It can also sometimes be hard to get a feel of local life and you may miss out on a true local experience due to insufficient time to explore local islands. On board a cruise you are also more susceptible to poor weather conditions and whilst you would be very unfortunate to experience long periods of wind and rain, if you suffer from motion sickness you should consider the time of year that you travel.

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Resort Life

Advantages

As we all see from the beautiful magazines, online images and celebrity endorsements – resort life is the lotto winners dream. From over water villas, to 5 star restaurants, underwater spas, infinity pools and powder white sandy beaches, it is certainly one of the most luxurious way to enjoy the Maldives. Usually these trips are booked through a tour agent, online or direct with the resort and the minute you arrive in the Maldives you are collected and taken to your chosen island without a moment’s thought. Everything is done for you; all you have to do is relax and enjoy. Every resort island is slightly different and offers different facilities, experiences and accommodation styles that it would be hard not to find the most perfectly suited resort island for you needs.

Compromises

It can be a pricey vacation and often for many only a once in a lifetime trip. Generally you will stay on one resort island with the only opportunity to explore provided through excursions offered by the resort. Whilst many resorts hold a weekly Maldivian evening with the opportunity to sample local food from the restaurant buffet and watch traditional singing and dancing it is not quite the same as immersing yourself in Maldivian cultures and traditions alongside locals within their community.

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Live Like a Local

Advantages

Living like a local, on local islands is not only for the budget traveller although local island guesthouse and hotel accommodation does now provide the opportunity for everyone to visit and experience the Maldives regardless of budget. It is also however the perfect way for people who enjoy learning more about local culture and traditions and really want to get under the skin of a country. Staying on a local island allows you to be part of the local community and provides you the opportunity for example to try traditional local foods that you may not have the chance to try elsewhere. There is also the opportunity to explore with your own personal guide. Travelling with a Secret Paradise guide allows you to really experience local life, try your hand at traditional crafts and learn more about the history and culture of these islands. Maldivians are renowned for their warm hospitality and love tourists visiting their islands where they can share their culture and stories with you. Because communities are small in these islands it generally creates a safe environment and local islands are a popular choice for solo travellers as well as for families.

Compromises

Due to the Maldives being an Islamic country there are certain restrictions.The wearing of bikinis on local islands is not acceptable and care should be taken not to cause offence by maintaining a more conservative approach to how you dress. However nearly every local island has a beautiful designated tourist beach area where guests canwear bikinis and relax, sun bathe and enjoy swimming in the warm Indian Ocean. Alcohol is also not permitted on local islands and you cannot bring your own alcohol from duty free into the country either. Instead you can make a day trip to a resort or even a safari boat where alcohol is served and are accessible from most local islands.

One final consideration is that local islands are not always as pristine as resort islands and the internet images you may have viewed. Local communities are working hard towards a cleaner environment and whilst local islands are certainly catching up in this area and are still beautiful in their own right, be forewarned that there are still some growing pains and some room for improvement as far as waste management practices are concerned.

 

If you would like to know more about the different options for travelling to the Maldives and what is the most suitable option for you, contact our friendly reservations team who will be help you find the best style of Maldives holiday experience for you. Contact the team at. sales@secretparadise.mv

Why You Should Visit Ukulhas the Fishing Island

If you have travelled with our guide Kokko Ibbe you will know that he is passionate about fishing. You may also have discovered that before he forayed into the tourism field he spent a year as a fisherman. With plenty of fishing tales to tell (especially about the one that got away!!) we asked him to share more about the industry that has forever been associated with the Maldives.

The Maldives is well known for its luxury resorts, stunning turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, tall palm trees and is renowned for being the perfect honeymoon destination.

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The tourism industry has been the main economy of the Maldives since it was introduced in 1972 and in 2017 1.39 million tourists arrived to enjoy this island paradise.

If you search online about the Maldives you will generally be able to find all the classic tourist information. However every island has a different story to tell and I wanted to share the story about one of our local islands famous for fishing.

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Ukulhas, a beautiful island located in North Ari atoll 72km from Male is famously known as the fishing island. People of the island are well known for big yellow fin tuna fishing. Most local island residents own a dingy and as a hobby go out to fish for Marlin, Dogtooth (Mahi Mahi), Trevally and more. Early morning after prayers elderly people will gather around near the jetty looking at the ocean and talking about fishing. Our third president Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom said “Fishing is the lifeblood of our nation, it is inborn. From the soil on which we live, to the sea around us, it remains an integral part of our existence“. These words will always be in the fisherman heart.

 

Maldives Fishing

I have personally experienced Yellow fin tuna by joining a fishing boat for a year with these brave people. The local island fishermen take long journeys often not seeing their loved ones for long periods of time and with no communication while on the sea, this takes a lot of courage and faith when they first step on to the boat. It is almost as though they step into the fishing bubble which to them becomes everyday life and their families and friends will remain outside this bubble until they return home to their island. They don’t mind the big waves, no need of holidays, they don’t shiver in the rain, all their focus is on fishing.

The boat captain will say to start a fishing journey you require the resources from other fisherman, including bait and information as to where the best fishing locations are at that time. Typically there is an average of 16 people in a boat for fishing according to other islands, but almost every boat in Ukulhas there will be an average of 24 people. The reason for this I believe is because the elders will take their children (on holiday) to teach them how the traditional fishing practices are done. Once the journey out to sea starts, the people in the boat are considered their family and everyone depends on the captain. In peak season some fisherman will only come to their island once a month, but the average would be twice a week to see their family. With the first bite on the fishing line people hurry with other lines to catch more, the feeling is something else. In other words, only a fisherman truly understands this feeling and believe me this feeling is good!

Maldives Line Fishing.jpg

You may not know, but yellow fin tuna is caught by line only and fishermen are prohibited to use nets. This way the fish that is caught is of good quality plus it is also a sustainable way for the yellow fin tuna growth. Boats will sell to factories if they don’t have enough ice and bait, and they can also sell their catches at a higher price to the re-sellers at fish markets.

A local fisherman once said to me:

“Time changes, people are educated, they are in decent jobs, even my kids I want them to study and choose their career and go on, but I don’t want fishing to vanish from Maldives, this is how we raised our kids with the money we earned from fishing and this is a hard life. You cannot compare us with a desk job.”

And with a smile he quoted to me

“It is the Fisherman who eats the fresh fish, no one else”

Ukulhas is also known for its beautiful white sandy beach which attracts a lot of tourists to the island. With the local tourism introduced in 2009 the island is getting a lot of visitors from all around the world. Like most local islands there are excursion’s to sandbanks, snorkeling with manta and picnic island visits but many tourists who visit Ukulhas are looking for fishing trips. Big game fishing for Marlin, Yellow fin tuna, Wahoo and Dogtooth Tuna which are widely caught. Youngsters who learned to fish from their forefathers are now part of the guest house industry and teach tourists how to fish the local way.

Why not join us on our North Ari Island Hopping tour and take the chance to join the fishermen of Ukulhas yourself?