From underwater entertainment to surfing with dolphins and turtles, there’s more to the Maldives archipelago than sun loungers and over-water villas
Most people, when they think of the Maldives, imagine scenes that dominate the postcards and brochures. The telling circles of brilliant blue atolls below let you know that you are soon to land in paradise. What’s good about the Maldives is that you can tackle it without an agenda. You can snorkel directly from your over-water villa, tootle along coral sands or wander aimlessly through tropical jungle vegetation and feel rewarded by simply getting lost. The sense of nostalgia it conjures – the sense of being a kid on holiday – takes over.
Fish with locals
Fishing is an integral part of the local culture. A trip to the Maldives wouldn’t be complete without catching and cooking your own fish. Fishing here is not just a mere recreational activity for tourists. For many locals, fishing is the lifeblood and an important part of their existence.
Tip: Fishing in the Maldives is categorised into three types: casual day fishing, big game fishing and night fishing.
Surf the waves
The biggest waves hit Maldivian shores from June through August and the atoll of Malé is a perennial favourite with surfers. The best thing about a boat trip is the feeling of discovery, surfing on perfect waves with no crowd in the water. You can only have this experience in central and south atolls. Malé atolls can be quite crowded, especially between May and August.
Tip: Only a few surfing spots are easily accessible from resorts.
Shop and eat
Head to Majeedhee Magu if you’re curious about the main commercial district of Malé or if you need to stock up on gear or souvenirs. For a sumptuous Maldivian meal, head to Symphony Lagoon, which is operated by the oldest restaurant brand in the capital. Their main dishes include vegetable curry, grilled cuttlefish and Lebanese chicken.
Tip: Shops are generally open from 9 am until 11 pm, except between 6-8 pm.
Currently, the largest deep diving tourist submarine in existence, it carries 50 passengers to a depth of 150 metres below the surface of the sea, providing a window to the marine world. The submarine is fully air-conditioned, has a normal atmospheric pressure, superb safety features and is operated by a fully trained and certified team of French and local pilots.
Tip: It’s recommended for kids (above the age of three).
Banana Reef is a photographer’s delight. The name comes from its elliptical shape, which extends 300 metres from north to south. The reef teems with marine life, ranging from the common napoleon wrasse and moray eels to the rare bannerfish. Featuring several caves, overhangs and dramatic cliffs, it’s a great place for photo-ops.
Tip: Don’t forget your camera while visiting the Banana Reef. Or you will regret later
Words By: Pattrick D’souza