January 24th, 2024
The Maldives, officially the Republic of Maldives, is an archipelagic state and country in South Asia, situated in the Indian Ocean. It lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India, about 750 km / 470 mi from the Asian continent’s mainland. The Maldives is chain of 26 atolls that stretch across the equator. It roughly 1.7 times the size of Washington DC.
The land area of all 1,192 the islands comprises 298 sq km / 115 sq mi, the Maldives is the smallest country in Asia as well as one of the world’s most geographically dispersed sovereign states and one of the smallest Muslim-majority countries by land area. It also the 2nd least populous country in all of Asia. Malé is the capital and the most populated city, traditionally called the “King’s Island”, where the ancient royal dynasties ruled from its central location.
With an average ground-level elevation of 1.5 m / 4 ‘11” above sea level, and a highest natural point of only 2.4 m / 7’10”, it is the world’s lowest-lying country. The Maldives has been inhabited for over 2,500 years. In the 12th century, Islam reached the Maldivian Archipelago, which was consolidated as a sultanate, developing strong commercial and cultural ties with Asia and Africa. From the mid-16th century, the region came under the increasing influence of European colonial powers, with the Maldives becoming a British protectorate in 1887. Independence from the United Kingdom came in 1965, and a presidential republic was established in 1968. The ensuing decades have seen political instability, efforts at democratic reform, and environmental challenges posed by climate change and the rising sea levels.
It is a member of the UN, the Commonwealth of Nations (although it withdrew for four years in 2016) among others. Fishing has historically been the dominant economic activity, and remains the largest sector by far, followed very closely by the tourism industry.
The red rectangle on the flag represents the blood of the nation’s heroes, and their willingness to sacrifice their every drop of blood in defense of their country. The green rectangle in the center symbolizes peace and prosperity. The white crescent moon symbolizes the Islamic faith of the state and authorities.
Here is a photo of a map of the Maldives from the resort’s gift shop showing where we stayed on the Baa Atoll.
CURRENCY: Maldivian Rufiyaa (MVR) – $0.065 USD or $0.088 CDN
BEER: The Maldives is a dry country; no alcohol can be served where people live – only in island resorts.
GAS: 14.83 0.895 MVR per litre – about $3.63 USD per gallon (but we didn’t purchase any)
Our flight from Abu Dhabi actually went very smoothly; the flight actually left a little early and our bags arrived with us. We had booked one night in the capital city since we weren’t going to land until 6pm and didn’t want to waste a day of our resort time.
We are one hour ahead of Dubai here – 13 hours ahead of the Pacific Time! And we are at 5.2º north of the equator.
Upon arrival, after a bit of confusion, we found the hotel rep and he put us in a taxi to the hotel (at their expense) and we were treated very well – “service” is their motto in this country. This was a proper hotel room with a mini fridge. They provided us with bottled water and the usual amenities. The Somerset Hotel is not near the beach but when you consider the island is only 5km / 3.2 mi around – nowhere is that far from the beach.
After getting our things into our room, we went for a walk. It was after sunset so rather dark for photos but we needed an ATM and wanted to buy a souvenir as we weren’t sure what if, anything, the resort would have in this regard. (Update: the resort did not have any souvenirs, so we’re glad we did this. There was a boutique but it was not really souvenir stuff.)
The city is very crowded; lots of motorbikes everywhere and as a former British protectorate, they still drive on the left. The streets are narrow with cars and motorbikes parked all over the place.
Before returning to our hotel, we stopped for ice cream which we had to eat rather fast. It’s pretty warm here – low of 27C / 81 F at night with highs in the mid 30’s C / mid 90’s F. Glad we have AC in our room tonight for sure.
Before going to bed, we received a call from the front desk that our flight to our resort tomorrow morning will be at 6:40 AM! – way earlier than we expected but it will mean a full day there instead of a half day. They said we needed to be downstairs by 6 for our airport transport. Okay, another early morning – good thing we are morning people.
We were both awake before our alarm and that turned out to be a good thing as the front desk called around 5:47am saying we had to get downstairs right away. We’d had our morning cuppa and were packed up so it was no problem. Apparently we were supposed to be at the airport by 6 so we were about 8 minutes late but there was really no issue. We were met by a rep from the resort, he checked our bags with Manta Airlines and put us in a minivan to the float plane airport. We waited about 5 minutes in the airline’s waiting room and then were taken aboard the Twin Otter sea plane and given ear plugs. There were about 5 others on board with us and it was a fun 40 minute flight to one island where 4 people got off, followed by a 10 minute flight to our resort’s island. So we got to take off and land twice on the water.
As we flew we saw many islands and atolls (some “blue hole” looking reefs) and at times we were above the clouds. It was very cool. It’s been years since we’ve been on a sea plane. (photo is not great due to airplane window). This reminded us of flying over The Blue Hole in Belize back in 2016.
Upon arriving at the Avani-Fares dock in the water offshore, we were met by a speed boat and our “butler” for the week, Yaash, and taken to the resort’s dock where they was a little band playing music, some staff including the General Manager, the Food Manager and the Service Manager. They were all standing making heart symbols with their hands. We felt quite special.
We were then driven in a golf cart by Yaash on a tour of the island showing us the restaurants/bars, gym, office, spa, etc. (not that we remembered it all!) and then he took us to our overwater villa (#409) and our bags were there waiting for us with a bottle of sparkling juice and a jar of chocolates.
View of our villa we took from the water
We spent several minutes with Yaash as he showed us where things were and then we checked out our private pool:
Large bathroom area: there’s a toilet room, a sink room, a shower room AND an outdoor room with a deep tub and another shower!
The bedroom has a king bed, a flat screen, a couch and a table.
There is a kitchen/closet area with a mini bar, coffee maker, kettle and and sitting area with two bar stools.
The patio with the pool has our own private access to the ocean, two lounge chairs with an umbrella and a table with two chairs. We feel quite decadent!
The unit comes with AC, a ceiling fan, Wi-Fi, and lots of drinking water. Here they have their own desalination plant for drinking water and pool filling and their power comes 20% from solar and 80% coal. There are two cell towers on the island for the internet. Each room has a router. The television comes with Netflix and more and we are very comfortable.
The room keys are made of bamboo and look pretty cool:
We each get a pair of flip flops to wear outside and slippers for inside as well as two different robes: one terry towel and one cotton. There is a kettle with a coffee and tea supply and various types of glasses. We were given two large and four bottles of small drinking water and they were replenished twice a day; once by housekeeping in the morning and once at daily evening turndown service. There was even a yoga mat, large umbrellas, life jackets and a picnic basket for our use.
The resort has a house reef for snorkeling and offers several excursions and water sport rentals. We get free snorkeling gear for the duration and we’ll definitely use that (just have to pick it all up from the dive centre).
Coming off the boat today onto the golf cart we saw two small white tipped sharks and Yaash advised that sometimes eagle rays and turtles come around.
Pretty much the entire eight days we were here, the temperatures hovered around the low 30’s C / 90F with nights only slightly cooler and high humidity. The UV index was 11 most days!
So after unpacking (weirdly other than the closet, there was little space to put clothes!), of course, the first thing we did after that was try out our pool.
The meal plan we purchased was the “Dining All Inclusive without alcohol” as we don’t drink that much to account for an extra $200 a day to get that plan. The plan does includes NA beer and mocktails so if we order the odd alcoholic drink it won’t be a big deal. There is a main dining restaurant that does three meals a day, two bars that both do lunch (one is tapas that is included in our plan) and at the other we get one free lunch over the week and we can do dinner there any time. We also get a “smallish” credit at the fancy seafood restaurant for two dinners if we chose to go there.
We went over to the beach for a while by the resort’s mail pool and the Skip Jack bar, before lunch enjoying the turquoise water and diet cokes.
We then decided to head over to the Smugglers Shack bar for lunch to check it out. There is a nice beach there too and a great breeze. We enjoyed 3 tapas each and they were all good.
The sand here is coral white! It’s soft as silk near the shore and quite nice to walk through – it’s very surreal to be here. The water is nice and warm but not so warm to feel like a bathtub. It’s one of those bucket list items and we can’t believe we’ve ticked it off! It will be incredibly hard to leave. We hope to snorkel every day and do pretty much nothing else but watch the water and TRY to get some reading done. We’ve never had a vacation like this.
Enroute back to the main beach where we’d left our towels saving loungers, we stopped in at the dive centre to get our snorkeling gear find out about snorkel tours. They offer a manta ray snorkel but it’s not really the season so they say 50/50 change of rays – we had to try it, right? So, we booked for tomorrow.
They do not offer the night snorkel Fran wanted to do because it’s not the right time of year so our other options are a turtle snorkeling trip or a trip to the “Coral Garden” which the person told us was “okay”. There is a turtle snorkel tomorrow while we’re on the Manta Ray one so we will see if we can find someone who went before deciding to go on Sunday when the next one is offered. They also offer all the usual water sports but we are not fishermen and the prices were quite high for the other things of which we’d done most of them elsewhere anyway. They offer diving and lessons, kite surfing and lessons. There are boat rentals etc. as well, which we were not interested in.
We also stopped by the Spa and made a joint appointment for pedicures the day before we leave. We then enjoyed the ocean and the pool while sitting on sun loungers under umbrellas.
We hoped for a decent sunset tonight but it was not great – there was a huge distant bank of clouds at the horizon and once the sun dipped below that, it was over.
(It never got much better over the course of our eight days.)
We went to the main restaurant for dinner tonight after showering and then went to see if the bar, called The Tribe, that sometimes has a DJ was open to see if there was dancing but not tonight so we spent the evening in our villa.
The Ocean Terrace is the main restaurant and offers breakfast, lunch and dinner meals in a buffet style. There is both outdoor and indoor seating and in this heat, we usually ate indoors in the AC except for in the evenings. There is always a wide variety of food with various “stations” like, fruit, salad, desert, bread, kids and a huge hot section that varied nightly. For breakfast they also set up an omelet station on the terrace.
Being a tropical, place, there is a huge variety of fruits. We enjoyed this very much and had dragon fruit, orange watermelon (sweeter than red), rambutan, (a golf-ball-sized fruit that has a hairy red and green shell) that looks like a sea urchin), various apple types, sweet pink grapefruit and more.
For more photos of our first 24 hours in the Maldives, click here.
Friday morning the 26th, we packed upon our gear, went for brekkie at 8 and then arrived at the dock at 8:45 for our excursion. There were nine of us; us two and a family of seven from Turkey.
It took about 50 minutes to reach the site and enroute we saw a few flying fish then at the site, we began to see a few rays near the surface and it was all systems go!
The reef manta ray is one of the largest rays in the world. Among generally recognized species, it is the second-largest species of ray, only surpassed by the giant oceanic manta ray.
Reef manta rays are typically 3 to 3.5 m (9.8 to 11.5 ft) in disc width, with a maximum size of about 5.5 m (18 ft). The reef manta ray is found widely in the tropical and subtropical Indo-Pacific, but with a few records from the tropical East Atlantic and none from the West Atlantic or East Pacific. Compared to the giant oceanic manta ray, the reef manta ray tends to be found in shallower, more coastal habitats, but local migrations are sometimes reported.
It is dorsoventrally flattened and has large, triangular pectoral fins on either side of the disc. At the front, it has a pair of cephalic fins which are forward extensions of the pectoral fins. These can be rolled up in a spiral for swimming or can be flared out to channel water into the large, forward-pointing, rectangular mouth when the animal is feeding. The eyes and the spiracles are on the side of the head behind the cephalic fins, and the five gill slits are on the ventral (under) surface. It has a small dorsal fin and the tail is long and whip-like. The manta ray does not have a spiny tail as do the closely related devil rays. The color of the dorsal side is dark black to midnight blue with scattered whitish and greyish areas on top head. The ventral surface is white, sometimes with dark spots and blotches. The markings can often be used to recognize individual fish.
Because of its large size and velocity in case of danger (24 km/h or 15 mph escape speed), the reef manta ray has very few natural predators which can be fatal to it. Only big sharks like, the tiger, great hammerhead, bull sharks and the killer whale. The reef manta ray may escape an attack, leaving it with a part of the wing missing.
We spent about 45 minutes in the water and saw a total of about two dozen reef manta rays (who knows maybe they were the same three or four over and over again). They were feeding so they were not on the bottom of the ocean but swimming near the surface near us. We were reminded not to touch them or follow them but to just enjoy watching them. The visibility was not the greatest but since the rays were not far from us it wasn’t an issue. Taking photos of the fish in this area (there were a few) was not as good.
There were several fish most of which we’d seen before but we did see a new species: the unicorn fish.
For more manta ray shots, click here.
From the boat on the way back, again we spotted flying fish – but of course, they are so fast you cannot get a shot with a phone camera so we grabbed this from Google:
We returned to the resort very happy as it was so cool to be so close to the rays; at times, we were floating right above them and feared putting our fins down in case we touched them! That was an excursion worth taking.
We went for lunch in the main restaurant again (the Ocean Terrace) and had some great salads, bread and dessert, of course, (there’s always four choices of dessert) before going back to the main pool and found a sort of love seat round chair with cushions under an umbrella to sit in together which was comfier than the sun loungers for Fran’s back (they just reclined a bit too much).
Every day we made at least one toast to Fran’s mom in appreciation of having this opportunity to come to such a place.
We enjoyed a couple of mocktails and the view that we can’t stop staring at:
We had dinner in the main restaurant again tonight and then went over to the Tribe bar that was open tonight for a real drink. The bar has some swings around it and sat and chatted with the bar tender for a while. There was some nice blues music playing and it was very nice. Due to the lack of guests, it seems there’s no dancing as the DJ just seems to play around sunset.
We returned to our villa and had another chill night.
Today we had no plans as we expect much of the rest of our time here will be but we wanted to try doing a snorkel on the house reef nearly every day. So after breakfast we donned our gear including the life jackets that they give you in the room, and walked down our private stairs to the ocean. We first swam under the villas as we’d seen fish below us walking along the boardwalk. We saw more fish than we expected and our swim out to the edge of the reef was quite surprisingly good too. The visibility was quite good till we got to the reef drop off but we saw many, many different fish; nothing big like turtles or sharks but enough colourful fish to make it interesting. The coral is not in the greatest shape but there were several patches of decent colours and fewer of really bright colours.
As well as clams:
Doug’s mask was giving him issues (he probably needs to shave a bit more of his mustache off) so we headed back after about an hour and Fran continued for another half hour sticking around the villas since she didn’t want to be way out if she had an issue all alone. There is more coral than expected right under the villas although it’s not all in very good shape.
It was handy having our own fresh water pool right on the deck where we could rinse off ourselves and the gear. It was a better than expected experience.
We went for lunch around 12:30 and then went to sit in “our spot” by the main pool for the afternoon. It looked quite grey in the sky above us for about a half hour, but it moved on and the sun showed its lovely face once again.
We have chatted with a few people since being here, but the place is pretty empty. Apparently it can take up to 700 people and right now there are only 120 ish. Restaurants and bars on site are not crowded and even though reservations are required for dinner, it’s hardly seems worth it other than they can estimate how much food to make. This also means not everywhere is open every night. The main restaurant, of course, is open every day, but the Skip Jack Bar and the Tribe Bar alternate being open at night.
Tonight we made a reservation for the Skip Jack bar for dinner. We ate on the terrace with a view of the pool and ocean (right near “our daily spot”) and indulged in a couple of Angus beef burgers with wedge fries – both were excellent. Doug had a couple of real beers and Fran enjoyed a very nice Island Breeze mocktail.
Oh, think twice, ’cause it’s another day for
You and me in paradise
Oh, think twice, ’cause it’s just another day for you
You and me in paradise.
Fran keeps singing this song in her head; it will be hard to go to another beach without comparing it to the Maldives! We already consider ourselves beach snobs, but this takes us to a whole other level! We both did our daily exercise routine and Doug wanted a soak in our giant tub before we went for breakfast. Today we plan to do tapas for dinner at the Tribe bar so we wanted to eat our meals a little later so as not to be too hungry at dinner time in case it’s not enough food.
So we went for what we are calling our “daily snorkel”. Today we had the “buggy” (a golf cart) pick us up and take us to the other end of the island (so we didn’t have to walk barefoot and hatless) so we could start our swim near the Smugglers Shack where the reef is much closer to the shore than at our villa. We’d also heard someone say that they’d seen sharks and a turtle near there a few days ago and someone else said it was the best part of the house reef.
Well, we got in the water and after about 30 minutes the current was not with us. It was a struggle to head towards the villas and they were about a click away so we changed our plans. We’ll go a little further and then return to the Shack and get the buggy back.
The reef was fantastic! Some of the best snorkeling we’ve ever done. The visibility was nearly perfect (until you passed the “wall” and there were thousands of fish; schools with hundreds in them. The variety was amazing and we kept thinking how surreal this was. While we didn’t see sharks or turtles, we were very pleased with today’s snorkel. As we approached the shore after about an hour, the current had changed in our favour, but it was enough for one day.
We had the bar tender get us a couple of diet cokes and call us a buggy back to our room. After a quick dip in our pool to rinse off ourselves and our gear, we spent a bit of time online (we are planning our time in Sri Lanka and Oman) before we got dressed and went for lunch just before 2pm.
The buffet in the Ocean Terrace is different every day and every meal but we don’t have any trouble finding something we like and at lunch we tend to stick to the salads and great homemade bread. Today we ordered strawberry daiquiri mocktails with our lunch before walking back to our villa for the afternoon.
Today instead of the pool, we stayed on our deck using our own pool. We’d pick up a few “drinks to go” before and after lunch and we had a quiet afternoon, cooling off at times in the water and enjoying the view while reading and listening to music on Fran’s phone. We saw a float plane come in as well as we can see its dock from our deck.
Tonight we dressed up a bit and went over to the Tribe Bar for tapas and drinks for dinner. We sat in one of the sunken tables in the sand.
We each ordered three tapas, had beer and wine and at first there was a DJ playing (not the greatest music) but when she stopped, she never returned.
We’ve been spending an hour or so each day online planning our next two trips: Sri Lanka for ten days and Oman for a few before we head to Uganda on the 15th. We seem to have that sorted now, having booked two safari tours and a train ride in Sri Lanka and a dune tour in Oman.
Monday morning we did our normal Maldives routine: exercise, tea, breakfast, and snorkel. Today we started at Smugglers Shack again getting there via buggy and made our way all the way back to the villas as the current was with us and we were amazed how fast we went!
Today Fran saw a ray by the reef and later a black tipped shark in the shallows around the villas. We both saw clam shell opening and closing. There are a good number of fish just around the villas, but for sure, the best snorkeling is off the beach at Smugglers Shack.
We spent the afternoon by the main beach/pool again and had dinner at the Skip Jack Bar. Another stupendous day!
Tuesday, we spent the day like Monday but today we both saw rays by the reef and black tipped sharks near the main dock on our way back to shore; even saw a few new kinds of fish. Fran did some handwashing in the huge tub walking around the tub like squashing grapes to “agitate” the clothes. She’ll finish up tomorrow to catch up before we leave on Thursday.
Next day, we did a walk around the island from our villa along the east side to the Smugglers Shack on to the main dock where the Ocean Terrace is for breakfast. We saw many crabs and “walking shells”.
Then as we approached the breakwater for the main dock, Fran spotted a pod of dolphins! We watched for a while and took some phone video which does not do them justice but it’s nice to have. This was very cool. We figure they were spinner dolphins as we saw one jump out and “spin”.
Here’s a google shot with better definition:
After brekkie, it was our daily snorkel time once again:
It got partly cloudy in the afternoon but we still went out and stayed by the pool – who can blame us with that view:
On our way to dinner tonight we saw fruit bats – way to fast to get photos but we’d never seen them before. They are quite big! Then while sitting on the terrace, we saw a few more fly over us.
Fruit bats also known as “flying foxes” have long been considered pests, as they feed on guava and mango trees. The adult flying fox is one of the largest bat species in the world, with a wingspan of up to 1.5 metres, but the juvenile ones are sweet, furry, and curious. These bats play a crucial role in the Maldives ecosystem because there are not a great number of birds and the bats help spread seeds.
We sure feel like we’ve been eating too much especially because we normally don’t eat three meals a day. We have not drunk too much as we haven’t ordered drinks everyday but we do look forward to getting back to a normal eating routine.
Wednesday, Day 7, our last full day started out cloudy; Fran did the remaining laundry and we decided to skip brekkie today. Instead we headed out to snorkel early and called for a buggy to take us back to the Smuggler’s Shack at the other end of the island (we don’t want to have to wear shoes and walk there and then what do we do with our shoes?) and out we went. Well, today we encountered a really strong current pushing us the wrong way and it didn’t feel safe. It became a real struggle to stay away from the point of the island so we headed away from the wall of the reef towards the beach. Doug called it for himself and Fran continued in the shallow coral for a while until both her ears were blocked (she’s been experiencing this the past days – never has had an issue before snorkeling; the left one clears within the hour but the right takes a few more hours) and she did see a ray. As there is no one at the Shack before 11 we couldn’t call a buggy so we walked towards the Reception building. The clerk told us that it was low tide right now, hence the strong current.
We decided to ask (but not really wanting to know…) about when we will learn our time of departure tomorrow and were told they never know until the evening when the airline calls them. Our flight is not until 4:20pm so we hope we get to hang here for the morning….
The snorkeling was not as great as usual and we walked back along the small section of the beach we did not walk yesterday. Before reaching the boardwalk out to the villas Fran decided to head back into the water and snorkel around the villas. This was a good call; she saw two eagle rays but couldn’t get a shot with the waterproof camera as they were swimming away fast.
There were many fish and there was a current that took her to the end of the villas before she realized how far she’d gone but she got back safely.
At eleven o’clock we walked over to the Spa to get pedicures which were very relaxing:
Then we went for lunch at the Skip Bar and spent the afternoon by the pool. Fran went for a final dip in the sea again having it ALL to herself!
That night at dinner, we received word on our departure tomorrow: check out at noon, float plane at one. So at least we have another half day!
On February 1st, we were awake early and Doug went to the gym for a treadmill run (too hot outside so he’s been using the gym) and Fran did yoga and began to pack. We then donned our snorkel gear one last time and called for a buggy to take us to the other end of the island. Before leaving the boardwalk we saw a small eagle ray below us and then a mama fish with her hundreds of babies but with the moving water, the photos did not turn our well.
There was little current today and what there was, headed the right way so off we went. Visibility was super again (yesterday had been a bit murky) and we continued along the reef ending up back at our villa. It’s over a kilometre swim but not a hard one if the current is not against you and you have flippers!
We saw some new things today including: one lone eagle ray, then six more swimming together below us just off the reef! Doug saw a shark in the deep off the reef and to top off the trip nicely, we finally saw a turtle!
We saw a few weird creatures: Fran saw part of an eel scurry under a rock (no pic), we saw what we believe was a sea cucumber, and so many fish pretty much the whole way – what a great way to end the trip.
We showered and on our way to find the Dive Centre to drop our snorkel gear, we were offered a buggy ride and he took us there first before we went for our last meal and celebrated with eggs benedict and one final toast to Fran’s mother. Every morning in the dining room they have “morning shots” which are shot glass filled with a different fruit concoction with healthy things.
We chilled in the AC of our room for a while before checkout while our snorkel clothing dried and enjoyed the view. It’s very hard to leave such a paradise after such a relaxing week with hardly anything to do!
At noon, we and our bags were picked up by a buggy and taken to the Reception where we met up with Yaash, to check out and pay our remaining bill (this was for alcohol, the snorkeling trip and our pedicures).
We were then told to wait until they knew the sea plane was going to land at the dock and were taken to the dock just after one and put on the speedboat to the floatplane platform.
We had a better seat on the float plane today and took these shots of the islands below us:
The flight was a direct one to Male this time and it took about 35 minutes. We were met by staff representing the resort and taken to the security line up with our bags. We saw that our 16:20 flight had been delayed until 17:00. The first security line up just to get into the airport was slow and this part of the airport does not have air conditioning so it was a bit uncomfortable.
Upon arriving at the Emirates Airlines check out, we learned each passenger can check 40kg / 88 lbs of luggage with no limit on the number, just the total weight, so we checked all three of our bags and just carried on our backpacks.
We also received a pleasant surprise that due to an overbooked plane they were upgrading us to business class! While waiting to board we treated ourselves to DQ blizzards in the international terminal. The upgrade gave us a special seating area at the gate, among the first to board and wonderful large seats with plenty of legroom – we almost wish it was an overnight flight because the seats not only had powered footrests but could lie flat!
It was sad to say “so long” (never goodbye…..) to the Maldives as it was such a great vacation – time actually felt like it slowed down as we had nothing to do but snorkel, eat, relax, read and swim, repeat! Usually when on vacation, you have so much to do, time flies by but this was so tranquil and relaxing. It probably helped that the resort was nowhere near full so there were no kids running around (there were only a few children), we never had any lineups, there was lots of staff in the restaurants, and no one pestering you to buy something or to do something. We highly recommend coming here if it is on your bucket list. Going the Dine-around All-inclusive non-alcohol plan worked for us; our bar bill for the entire week was slightly over the daily additional rate if we’d opted for it. The water is warm and so many shades of blue for miles and we were just treated very well.
We did no driving in the Maldives, so we’ve no mileage to report.
For more on land photos our time in the Maldives click here .
For more snorkeling photos, click here .
Fun Facts about the Maldives:
- The Maldives is home to around 540,000 people, roughly the same amount of residents as Manchester. However, only around 200 out of the 1,200 islands in the archipelago are inhabited.
- Shells were used as a method of international trading currency in the 1800’s, something which the Maldives had by the bucket load! These cowrie shells are distinctive, lightweight, and cannot be forged, making them an ideal money substitution.
- The Maldives are merely eight feet above sea level at their highest natural point, which is lower than every other country on the planet. The 1,200 islands are on average around seven feet above sea level. The archipelago is protected from monsoon season swells by a natural barrier of coral reefs.
- Maldives is one of the few places on Earth where whale sharks can be seen all year round.
- The white sand you’ll find on the island is not made of quartz, like typical beach sand. Instead, it is formed from bits of crushed coral, much of which was inadvertently broken off living coral from overzealous parrot fish snacking on the seaweed and polyps that grow on the coral. Unlike quartz-based sand, coralline sand does not heat up and is comfortable to walk on, even on scorching days!
- In 2009, President Mohammed Nasheed and 13 other government officials donned SCUBA gear and sank 20 feet under water to sign a document calling on other countries to cut their carbon dioxide emissions. This was to illustrate that as the lowest and flattest nation in the world, the Maldives would be tremendously affected by a rising sea level.
- Its national tree is the coconut tree.
- The islands of the Maldives are grouped into a double chain of 26 atolls. Some sit on one side of the Equator in the Northern hemisphere while others sit in the Southern hemisphere.
The map at the top is courtesy of Dreaming of the Maldives.