So this month was a big one… not only did we finally get married (!!), but we also took our honeymoon to the Maldives— a gorgeous country full of atolls and crystal clear turquoise waters! Did you know that by the year 2100, the entire country is projected to be severely impacted by sea level rise and may very well become submerged?? As scuba divers, we made diving our priority for sure (with relaxation at a close second) and decided to try out a dive liveaboard (can you say, eat- sleep- dive!?). Our three weeks abroad ended all too soon and we still wish we could be sipping piña coladas on the beach with all our baby shark friends!
Looking to head to the Maldives for your own honeymoon or vacation? Here are some tips that I wish we had known prior to going:
- Travel to and from resorts can be extremely expensive – If you’re booking a resort that is far from Velana International Airport (MLE), then you will likely also have to be booking a round trip seaplane transfer (usually done via the resort). These tickets can be >$300USD per person and the weight restrictions are a joke (especially as photographers and divers, bringing all that heavy gear)! Checked bags are capped at 20kg (fair) and hand luggage is capped at 5kg total (dude, my bag weighs like 2.5kg). Additional weight is charged at $5USD per kilogram overweight!! Resorts that are closer to Male may have ferries or speedboat transfers, costing much less, so if you are on a budget, avoid distant resorts!
- Book an over-water villa, or better yet, all inclusive – Yeah they’re more expensive than the beachy alternatives, but just do it! Trust me. I had read beforehand of people not enjoying the over-water bungalows, but for the ultimate retreat, we loved our little cabin suspended over the water. Open showers, hot tubs, sun beds, and a private deck with stairs leading into the water… We spent our time at two resorts, one before and one after our dive liveaboard. One of those was all-inclusive, the other was not. Needless to say, all-inclusive packages are the way to go when you’re essentially stranded on a small island resort. Sit back, sip the endless cocktails, learn to kayak or windsurf, and don’t worry about additional charges here and there when you check out! C’est la vie!
- The reefs are hurting, but the fish life is insane – As a marine biologist, my main interest was the health of the coral reefs, and at each resort we went to, most of the reef was dead (at least in the shallows). Relatively recent storms and hot sea temperatures have left their mark, so don’t expect the coral life to be spectacular. However, the fish diversity and abundance was fantastic. Schools of brightly colored fish, eels, rays, (harmless) sharks, and turtles were common every time we got in the water. Many people go to the Maldives for a chance to swim with mantas or whale sharks, but these elusive wild animals are not very common— only some lucky few will have an encounter with either of these magical creatures.
As one of our favorite travel destinations so far, the Maldives is a truly memorable place.