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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5 Reasons to Visit the Maldives in 2019

It’s not difficult to find a good reason to visit the Maldives; it was noted as one of the top 10 “flights to” searches on Google in 2018 http://www.traveller.com.au/top-10-destinations-for-australians-in-2018-most-searched-flights-on-google-h19c9a#ixzz5bAnzx16C

At Secret Paradise we have had an another amazing year introducing tourists from all around the world to the local island life in the Maldives and here are five reasons we think you should choose the Maldives as your vacation spot for 2019.

 

  1. Stay in Some Amazing Boutique Style Hotels and Guesthouses

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Some interesting questions often pop up in conversation when people are enquiring about local island guest houses. ‘Do they have hot running water?’ ‘How basic is basic?’ The guest houses we recommend have been handpicked by our team for their facilities, comfort and service. Many of the guest house owners have worked on some of the most luxurious resorts and have therefore received some of the best hospitality training in the world. So not only do you get to enjoy the Maldives at a fraction of the price of a resort stay, you can also be assured of amazing hospitality and the opportunity to embrace local culture and traditions.

You have the opportunity to find guest houses with a difference like Boutique Beach Hotel which is an all inclusive dive hotel on Dhigurah Island, each room has open air showers and even docking stations for divers to upload and view all their underwater footage. Aveyla Boutique Hotel is located on Dharavandhoo island near the only UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve in the country. The crown of Baa atoll is truly Hanifaru Bay, which is home to some of the largest congregations of manta rays in the world.

 

  1. Discover Culture and Traditions with a Local Secret Paradise Tour Guide #letusguideyou

 

A taste of local life food tour

The Maldives offers a lot more than just water sports and lazing around on the beach. If you prefer to explore the local islands and learn more about the Maldivian culture and traditions our local tour guides will be delighted to guide you around. They have in-depth knowledge of the local islands you visit as well as local traditions and Maldives history, so they are able to answer all your questions, tell you some amazing stories and introduce you to the local people. We offer experiences such as dining in the home of local families where you get to enjoy traditional food that is not offered in the local cafes and restaurants. The Maldivian hospitality is second to none and the local island people love nothing more than meeting tourists from all over the world.

 

  1. Travel Responsibly

Leeann and her friends showing nostraw needed to enjoy a kurumba on yesterday's Male walking tour

If you are conscious about responsible tourism and environmental issues around the world, then Secret Paradise tours are perfect for you.

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

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

A new initiative we launched in 2018 was the #strawarMV read more about our fight to ban the single use plastic straw and be sure to tag us https://secretparadisemaldives.wordpress.com/2018/06/08/secret-paradise-maldives-war-on-straws

 

  1. Discover the Deep South

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If you haven’t visited the Maldives before you will more than likely book your flight to the main airport in Male, Velanaa International Airport. However did you know that a select number of international flights now also arrive in South Maldives into Gan, Addu Atoll.

There are amazing and unique opportunities to explore in the wonderful Deep South and Gan is a Maldivian adventure like no other. Addu Atoll offers an amazing natural environment including  Hithadhoo’s protected Nature Park which at 570 hectares is the largest of its kind in the Maldives. This area is home to a remarkable array of bird life, open water lakes, coral reefs, seagrass beds, mud flats mangroves and forests. Diving at Addu can be extremely exciting because of the greater chances to encounter larger marinelife such as like Manta Rays, Grey Reef sharks and Eagle Rays. If you are very lucky you may encounter Tiger & Hammerhead Sharks as well. There are around 20 dives sites, for novice and experienced divers alike. Addu is also steeped in history including being home to a military base for the Royal Navy in 1941 and offers a different perspective on how the Maldives is usually perceived.

 

  1. Stretch Your Budget

Gangehi Island Resort

If you have travelled this far then we highly recommend you set a little budget aside to experience one or two nights on a luxury resort. Rest assured we can usually find the right resort for your budget so don’t believe resorts are out of your price range. Why not book an experience of a lifetime and stay a night or two at a luxury resort and experience some of the new amazing concepts from the underwater villa at Conrad Maldives Rangali, to a retro resort experience in the Beach Bubble tents at Finolhu.

 

There are literally so many ways to explore and enjoy the Maldives and we don’t expect you to know exactly where you want to go and what you want to do – that is why we are here! So #letusguideyou in 2019 and allow us to design the most memorable trip of a life time within your chosen budget allowing you to explore and experience the very best of the Maldives, our island home.

Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy and Exciting New Year Ahead.

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

Sports Camera

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

Where to Eat & Drink in Male Part 1

When arriving in a new city you are hit with so many new sights, sounds and experiences that it can be difficult to know what to do first, let alone where to eat and drink.  Male offers many restaurants and cafes, some are easy to find, located along roads popular with tourists whilst others are located off the main tourist path, but are worthy of visiting and you just need to know where to look!

With this in mind we asked Maahee, one of our fabulous local tour guides to share his three favourite Male cafes.

AKOYA Fusion 

Akoya

Location – Fareedhee Magu Male

AKOYA Fusion is centrally located not far from the National Museum and as the names suggests their menu is a mix of influences including Thai, Chinese, Western, Indian and Maldivian. Choose from delicious and refreshing drinks with a variety of soft drinks and fresh fruit smoothies plus more with the daily specials.

I had lunch with a friend in AKOYA fusion and ordered a local dish called Garudhiya which is one of the most traditional Maldivian foods and a favorite enjoyed by generations. Garudhiya is a clear fish broth based on the tuna fish that is so popular in Maldivian cuisine and is served with rice, onion and chili. It is definitely one dish that you should try and if you are not lucky to be able to try in the home of a local family whilst on a Secret Paradise tour then ensure you make time to sample it here! For drinks I ordered a fresh mango smoothie, it was simply delicious. The cost of a meal is between $5USD and $10USD(75 MVR to 150 MVR.)

Goatfish Cafe & Bistro  

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Location – Sakeena Manzil Dhekunuge, Male

I was pleasantly surprised when I first stumbled upon the Goatfish Café & Bistro some time ago walking through Male. The café is located within 5 minutes’ walk of the Hulhumale ferry terminal.

The café has indoor and outdoor dining options with soft music to create a relaxed and chilled ambiance. I loved that this café employs local staff, which is an additional boost for the local economy and employment.

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On my first visit I only had a coffee since I needed to wake up and get a boost of energy but having a sweet tooth I also selected a delicious chocolate mousse perhaps not what everyone would take for breakfast but it worked for me!

Breakfast and lunch buffet options are available at the Goatfish Café & Bistro. Breakfast buffet starts from 8AM to 11AM and the buffet lunch starts from 12PM. Prices start from MRF 109/- which isroughly converted to$7 USD. They also offer a daily special signature dish which is a must try.

The Goatfish Cafe offers meals from around the globe, from the Middle East to Western and Asian food with a variety of soft drinks and fresh juices and is a place I regularly love to visit.

Civil Coffee Society

Civil coffee

Location – Fareedhee Magu Malé

The Civil Coffee Society in my opinion is one of the top cafés to enjoy quality roasted coffee beans from around the world. I am a coffee fanatic and have tried the majority of baristas in Male and this remains one of my favorites.

As you enter the café you can smell the different types of coffee beans roasting, beans from Africa, South America and Asia. They have a welcoming display of coffee beans which you can select for the best barista experience. The preparation of the coffee is an art in its self. Watch how they pour the hot water through the filter of freshly ground coffee beans to produce the most amazing aromatic cup of coffee which you cannot help but wait patiently to receive; taking the first sip you will feel the weariness fade away.  In my opinion no coffee is complete without a small desert or cookie and The Civil Coffee Society have plenty to choose from.

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On this particular day I ordered an extremely good coffee with roasted beans from Kenya. Just the kick I needed! The price varies depending on your selection ranging from $5USD to $10USD which is in local currency 75MVR to 150 MVR.

Coffee culture is definitely big in the Maldives; many days and evenings are spent with friends at coffees shops enjoying time together. We at Secret Paradise Maldives call it the (unofficial) national drink of the Maldives!

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

Travelling Safely to the Maldives

Whether you are taking a family holiday, travelling with friends or on a solo trip, at Secret Paradise Maldives we believe that the following considerations should be made before embarking on your travels to ensure you travel with peace of mind.

Booking

Even before booking your holiday we would suggest that you book with a reputable and registered travel business like Secret Paradise Maldives.

Why?

Well firstly, you have the reassurance that the business has been vetted by governing authorities ensuring that they meet codes and standards required for registration. These codes and standards are set in place to protect you the traveller and make sure you are equipped with the right knowledge and support for your trip. It also provides confidence that financially you are paying who you think you are paying and your money is going to be secure.

Not all travel businesses, especially those outside Europe and the UK have access to register with well-known travel associations such as ABTA but if you do your homework you will find similar associations that support local travel businesses. An association specific for the Maldives is called MMRPC which is a state owned corporation promoting registered businesses in the Maldives.

Reputable travel and tour companies will have risk assessments, Standard Operating Practices, will very likely audit properties and suppliers and will hold insurance policies such as Public Liability Insurance. Whilst there is no definitive way to know whether a business processes any of these the simple answer is to ask your booking representative or point of contact. Established, reputable business will not bat an eyelid when you ask and will be willing to provide documentation or proof of such practices.

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Do You Need Travel Insurance?

Given the adventurous nature of many of our tours we do recommend that our guests hold travel insurance and we often get asked whether it is essential.Certainly if you are planning to dive or participate in motorised water sports; in our opinion it is a must have. Make sure when you are taking out insurance that you are covered for these activities as not all insurance policies automatically cover them.

Travelling outside of your own country is exciting, however if you fall into difficulties like getting injured or ill you may find it a costly lesson if you haven’t taken out travel insurance. It may also be worthwhile checking if you have private health insurance to see if they cover you for illness or injury abroad, this also applies for home owners if you have house insurance it might cover you for lost or stolen valuables outside of the home.

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Remember that travel insurance covers you for more than just illness or injury it also covers cancelled flights, lost luggage and even lost or stolen items. You are also covered prior to travel (as long as you take out insurance as soon as you booked your flights) just in case something unexpected happens and you cannot go.

There are many different types of travel insurance. If you will be travelling for more than one trip during the year it’s probably better value to purchase an annual plan. You will have options like single trip, multi trip, single, family, and couple.

Why Travel Insurance is important for the Maldives

Accessibility to airport – how weather can impact arriving on time for flight

The main airport in the Maldives is called Velana International Airport or Male International Airport (previously called Ibrahim Nasir International Airport) and is located on a separate island next to the capital Male. Some guests will visit Male or the adjoining island Hulhumale but will spend the majority of their vacation on an island which can be reached by local ferry, speed boat, sea plane or domestic flight. With this in mind when you are booking international flights, be sure to give yourself enough time to get from the island where you are staying to the airport island. Be mindful that is your flight arrives later in the evening you may not be taken directly to your chosen island until the next day so you will need to consider overnight accommodation. We recommend Hulhumale and our team can assist you with choosing a guest house and transporting you from the airport to your over night accommodation, plus we will ensure you are guided to your ferry/boat terminal the next day for your transfer.

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Cost of accommodation for missed flights

The Maldives is fairly consistent temperature wise all year round and wet season is usually between May to September. However this doesn’t mean that we don’t experience a possible 24 hours of torrential rain or high winds every once in a while. During this time boat transfers may be at a standstill as it may not be safe to travel. This is another reason for taking out travel insurance as it will protect you and ensure you are covered for possible missed flights. If you find you get into this situation please feel free to contact our office and one of our team will be more than happy to assist you. However if you are on a tour with us, this would have all been taken in to consideration by our team and we will make the necessary arrangements for you. But please remember you may incur additional costs for overnight emergency accommodation so check with us first before you book your flights and we can guide you on the best options.

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Distance from hospitals – Geographic nature

If you require medical assistance that the local island medical centres cannot treat be mindful that you may have to get emergency transport to the capital Male via private speed boat or sea plane. The right travel insurance will have all this covered for you. If you do require medical treatment make sure you have all your travel and insurance documents to ensure the process is smooth. The hospitals may require some payments prior to some treatments and definitely prior to discharge

This information is not to scare you but rather prepare and forearm you with the right knowledge when you are travelling abroad. It is highly unlikely you will need to claim from your travel insurance but wouldn’t it be great to have the peace of mind knowing that for example if you did get sick or injured, if you had to fly home for a family emergency or your bag was lost or stolen in transit that you have insurance to cover you so you don’t incur additional and often hefty fees.

 

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What they say:

“Prepare for the unexpected”

“The people who work for Secret Paradise are fantastic! We thoroughly enjoyed our island hopping holiday. We loved having the chance to visit different islands and enjoyed staying in the guest houses. I had a serious illness while on the holiday, and the staff from Secret Paradise were wonderful! They helped with hospital issues, accommodation, insurance claims and even paid some of the bills up front for us. We definitely recommend Secret Paradise to book your Maldivian holiday!” Carol Lomax Travelled with us 2013

Need a travel insurance quote? Check out our recommended adventure travel provider World Nomads, more details here <<Quote Me>>