I recently had the opportunity to visit 6 of the most lovely islands of the Maldives. We travelled with Kuoni who have been offering holidays to this part of the world for many years and it shows! Everything was so well organised right down to the last detail and they have their own representatives based here so that any issues that may arise can be dealt with promptly.
We flew with Sri Lankan Airways, whose in flight service was so gracious, into Columbo and it was then a quick changeover to the hour long flight to Male. This was from Heathrow; if you are flying from another airport Emirates also provide an excellent service via Dubai.
The Maldives is a group of 1200 islands in the Indian Ocean of which 200 are inhabited by local people or have been developed into holiday resorts. It is surprising how different they can be from each other. Some are really quite small and can be walked around in 20 minutes. These are perfect for those who really do want to ‘get away from it all ‘ and to feel like they are on a desert island in the middle of nowhere…. resorts such as Vivanta by Taj – Coral Reef, Maafushivaru and the exquisite Baros and Kandolhu. Other islands are much larger with plenty to do for those who want to be more active….Kurumba and Kuramathi spring to mind. One of my favourites was Constance Moofushi, medium sized with a lovely feel to it and a large expanse of beautiful white beach.
What was constant throughout our stay was the warm welcome we received at each resort, the quality of the food which would rival some top class restaurants and the high standard of accommodation. We were lucky enough to be able to experience both beach villas and water villas. There aren’t that many hotels in the world that feature water villas but the Maldives has plenty and it is lovely to be able to step straight into the crystal clear water from your own deck but I found the beach villas just as nice, they felt very private and the beach in front felt like your own little spot…white sand and the gorgeous blue sea, simply stunning!
Of course many people go to the Maldives for the snorkelling and diving opportunities and if that is high on your agenda you will not be disappointed. Many of the resorts have their own house reef and/or there are some great snorkelling and diving sites a short boat trip away. We saw a myriad of fish including several species of shark, stingrays and manta rays and even turtles! There are fishing trips, sunset and dolphin cruises, water sports, land sports, evening entertainment… the bigger the resort the more choice there will be. Children are not forgotten either, both Kurumba and Kuramathi have excellent childrens’ clubs and facilities. And if you just want to relax, read, recharge your batteries and enjoy the view that’s fine!
Weatherwise the best time to go is November to April when it is mainly settled and dry. It is hot all year round but there will be more rain between May and October. We had one rainy day in November but it soon cleared up and was back to blue skies the nest day.
On arrival in the Maldives you will transfer to your resort by seaplane or speed boat, sometimes a larger boat depending on the size of the resort and how far your resort is from Male Airport. We did 13 speedboat transfers which I have to say were fab and 1 seaplane which was amazing… so lovely to see the little dots in the ocean and a great experience.
A few tips and observations
All inclusive is a good option as most food and all drink is imported and can be expensive.
Why not do a 2 centre holiday? Split your time between a water villa and a beach villa to keep the cost down or spend time on 2 contrasting islands. Another popular 2 centre option is a Sri Lanka tour or Dubai and then the Maldives for relaxation.
If you fancy barefoot living this is the place to do it! Failing that, sandals or flip flops are the best option as many of the paths are just sand.
I would say that the Maldives would suit many people and not just honeymooners as it is often associated with….people who want complete relaxation in beautiful surroundings and great food, water enthusiasts, even families. But it is important to choose your resort carefully to suit what you want to do on your holiday.
I hope I have given you a flavour of these unique and lovely islands and if you are thinking of a holiday to the Maldives please get in touch and I will help you choose the best one for you. One thing is for sure, their beauty will take your breath away!