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Going beneath the surface

The sparkling waters of the Indian Ocean surround the pristine beaches of the 26 atolls and 1,000+ coral islands that make up the archipelago nation of the Maldives. But there’s more to the Maldives than many visitors expect. We think travel is all about balance, so we offer both the luxury resorts which many associate with the Maldives, and the local islands full of vibrant life and traditions.

Whether you're kayaking through mangroves, snorkelling among the abundant marine life, or exploring island villages for a taste of local life , the Maldives packs some very pleasant surprises for those willing to explore. 

Highlights of a stay in the Maldives:

Image gallery

Marine life in the Maldives
Local houses in the Maldives
Beach in the Maldives
Cafes in the Maldives

Treat yourself

The Maldives is not short of places where you can treat yourself – indeed its private beaches, sumptuous spas, infinity pools, and to-die-for accommodation options are what most associate with it. We’ll limit ourselves to highlighting just one and let you discover the rest.

Kudadoo is an eco-escape sprinkled lavishly with indulgence. Fifteen overwater residences, powered entirely by the sun, have been beautifully designed by Yuji Yamazaki. Their open-plan style is reminiscent of a Japanese ryokan. Gaze out over the waters from your extensive outdoor deck or slip into your private infinity pool to soak up the views.

And – should you require anything else – just ask your private butler.

Enjoy yourself

Experience the magical Maldivian sunsets on private cruises that take you through the islands’ tranquil waters. Feel the warmth of the sun as it sinks below the horizon, gradually switching between fiery reds, soft pinks and burnt umber orange. Sip on some sparkly and indulge in gourmet cuisine with nothing but the gentle splash of waves lapping against the boat to disturb you.

And, if this all feels a bit serene, why not get closer to the action on a sunset kayak through the mangroves of Goidhoo Island? Your guide will help you understand the intricacies of this unique ecosystem and how the local community plays a vital role in conserving it. 

See for yourself

Explore the vibrant coral reefs of the Maldives on snorkelling and diving trips. See for yourself the mesmerising world that lies just beneath the surface of the waters. You will be surrounded by schools of kaleidoscopically coloured tropical fish and swimming over intricate coral formations. Keep your eyes peeled for inviting underwater caves, circling black-tip sharks, playful dolphins, ponderous turtles and graceful manta rays. 

Immerse yourself

Staying on islands where locals also live allows you to immerse yourself in the diversity of vibrant communities that are hidden from most visitors. Wander through gently bustling villages, visit centuries-old mosques, taste delicious local foods and make friends at quayside cafes in traditional fishing villages as you gain a deeper understanding of this island idyll.

At Fulhadhoo Island, for example, you can spend time with the Women’s Development Committee, an NGO dedicated to mobilising local women in community development initiatives. Under the ladies' ever-watchful eyes, prepare mashuni (a typical Maldivian treat made from tuna, onion, coconut, and chilli) and roshi (flatbread), before sitting down to share the dish with them and learn about their lives. 

Educate yourself

There are also lots of opportunities to gain insight into how sustainability and conservation are deeply interwoven into Maldivian life. On the small island of Villimale, the inspirational work of Save the Beach balances progress with conservation through monitoring reefs, organising beach cleans and boosting local engagement. Elsewhere you can visit coral nurseries that rehabilitate damaged reefs and help with an island clean that aims to prevent further damage.

We think you may like this journey…

Tea country in Sri Lanka

Maldives & Sri Lanka Cultural Journey

Combine a deeper exploration of Sri Lanka and the Maldives in one journey, creating a nuanced trip that looks beyond the headline beach bliss. Compare and contrast both destinations’ inspiring conservation projects, wildlife habitats, intricate cultures and local rhythms to gain distinctive insight into Sri Lankan and Maldivian ways of life. 

Price from: £3,690 US$4,590
Ideal length 14 nights
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