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

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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

Island Hop and Help Clean Up the Environment in the Maldives

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

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

Sandra’s trip included:

Snorkeling and Beginner Dive

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

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Beach Clean Up

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

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Coral Watch

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

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Learning About the Indian Ocean

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

Coral Nursery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Book your eco holiday now

Traveling Solo on a Reasonably Priced Dive Holiday in The Maldives

After getting an incredible flight deal from JFK to the Maldives, I started researching and looking to put together a trip to the Maldives. As an experienced solo traveler, I knew I did not want to stay on resorts but wanted to explore locally inhabited islands. Shortly into the planning process however I was extremely overwhelmed with the huge number of islands and challenges of getting between them. At this point I was fortunate to discover Secret Paradise and I reached out to Ruth whose replies were extremely quick and extremely thoughtful.

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I gave her an idea of my budget and that I am an avid diver and what I was looking to do. I knew I wanted a bit of island hopping and to see different aspects of the Maldives. She was able to discuss the different atolls/reefs/islands and what each has to offer. She addressed all my questions and concerns,  I was most concerned that as the Maldives is usually promoted as a “couples” destination and that I was going to be doing it solo I wanted to know what to expect and would I be seen as an ‘outsider’. Originally I also had a need to be able to telecommute several of the days I was travelling but Ruth took everything into account and put together a wonderful package, well detailed and well priced. She never seemed to tire of my endless questions including things like a realistic budget and her replies were almost instant. The Secret Paradise blog was also really helpful too. From the moment I contacted Ruth to getting on the plane to fly back to the US, Ruth made sure everything was taken care of.

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A few weeks prior to arriving in the Maldives, Ruth sent an arrival email with who would be meeting me at the airport and where to look for them. The guides are clearly identifiable and exactly where she said they would be. From the moment I got off the plane to the moment I departed, the Secret Paradise team seamlessly took care of the logistics. Two members of the Secret Paradise team greeted me outside of baggage claim in MALE, helped with my bags and ushered me to my local flight to South Ari. They got me checked in, through security and provided instructions and information of what to expect when I landed and where to meet my ferry. When I landed in South Ari, everything was as they said and it was easy to navigate with no surprises. At the ferry landing, my ferry picked me up, took care of my luggage and was escorted me to my guest house. I spoke with the dive shop in the evening and arranged diving for the next 2 days. South Ari is exactly as many say, stunning! The team worked to make sure we were the only people on dive sites and also to make sure that we spotted whale sharks. It is very clear that Whale Sharks are becoming a large source of income for the islands which tends to lead to exploitation. TME however was the opposite. The dive shop and locals worked to make sure the animals are respected and admired. It is clear the team loves the ocean and its creatures and wants to work to protect it, not just create a spot for tourism. As an avid diver, who loves the serenity of the underwater world, this is extremely important to me. My days in South Ari passed quickly and the morning I checked out the the guest house, the team escorted me to the airport and even provided a bagged breakfast.

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My local flight arrived back in MALE and the Secret Paradise team again met me and helped me navigate with my luggage. The team took care of helping me onto the next part of my adventure, to catch a local speedboat to Rasdhoo. Again they explained what to expect when getting off the speedboat at my stop. The guest house met me at the dock, took care of my luggage and getting me checked into my room. It was a stunning room with a beautiful view of the patio. The team even arranged for me to do a 2pm dive. Dinner was provided as part of my package and was wonderful. The first night dinner was a honey mustard grilled white fish that was amazing. I am not a “fish” person normally, but this was one of the best meals I had ever had. Dinner was plentiful and everything always tasted wonderful. Breakfast was also included, however I chose not to take breakfast as I started diving early each morning hoping to see hammerheads. After 2 more days of diving, it was time to leave. The guest house made sure took care of getting me (and my luggage) to the ferry back to MALE.

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Once back in MALE again the Secret Paradise team was there to greet me to take me to Hulhumale for my last night before flying back to the US. Ruth was waiting at the hotel when I arrived to address any questions or concerns and check in on everything. It was a great way to end the trip, to meet the person who had done such a fantastic job putting me at ease and taking care of logistics. She also offered some suggestions on ways to spend the last bit of time on the islands.

In the morning the Secret Paradise Team met me at my hotel to escort me to the airport and make sure I was OK with logistics. They helped me get checked in and take care of my luggage. Once safely behind security we parted ways.

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I could not have done this trip without Secret Paradise!!! As tourism outside of resorts, is relatively new to the Maldives, logistics/transfers/directions are still a bit unclear. I was only the 3rd American one of the dive shops had met and the only solo traveling American. Many of the ferry boats are all created by one manufacturer, making them hard to tell apart or where they are heading. MALE is well marked but very busy, so having someone to meet and help usher you to your transfer points really helps with creating a relaxing environment.

Thank you to the entire Secret Paradise Team for creating an experience, I never thought I would have the opportunity to have.

Shannon traveled with us on  a tailor made dive local experience.  Book yours now!

This article was first published as a TripAdvisor review 7th December 2017.

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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mvlacquer
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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kaashitheyo
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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maldiplay
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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funoas
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.