Because of its marine location, the Maldives boasts every kind of water-based adventure sport from paddling around a lagoon in a transparent hulled canoe to being propelled several metres below the surface of the sea by underwater scooter, or gliding several metres above the surface dangling from a parachute behind a speedboat. For the energetic and adventurous, the Maldives is just as rewarding a destination as it is for the laidback sun worshiper or sophisticated epicure.
With 99% of its territory being sea, the Maldives is one of the world’s leading watersports hubs with its environment of islands and turquoise blue waters forming the perfect combination for a natural watersports arena. All the resorts and the inhabited islands popular with tourists have a watersports centre of some kind, either with a fleet of windsurf boards, sails and other equipment, or just a couple of wakeboards.
The Maldives is one of the premier scuba diving destinations on earth and if there is one place you need to give it a try, it’s here. There are many affordable PADI dive centers where you can take a discovery dive if you are not certified, or sign up for several dive options to one of the many reefs.
The Maldives is known for its stingrays, whale shark migration and sea turtles. The crystal clear blue waters offer incredible visibility and there’s no need for a wet suit here, the water’s warm and inviting.
If scuba diving isn’t your thing, snorkeling is a great option. The reefs are so pristine in the Maldives that you don’t have to go deep to see a lot!
We went snorkeling with sea turtles and saw more than half a dozen munching their lunches at the reef. Spending a solid two hours in the water, we also managed to see so much more than just sea turtles.
My favourite was the immense schools of colourful fish flocking together as they floated with the tides. When three masses came together, we felt as if we were in our own giant aquarium.
Less than a third of resort watersports centres have facilities for parasailing and it is a thrilling, but demanding, watersport. It is just as thrilling to watch, as it resembles surfing while attached to a parachute. The participant is towed behind a boat while harnessed to a specially designed canopy wing, the parasail. As the boat gains speed, the wind catches the parasail and it, and the participant, soar above the waves. The Maldives is famous around the world for its extreme surfing and there are several surfing areas within the atolls, with Male’ Atoll being the most convenient because of proximity to the airport and for boat transfers from Male’. Great surfing is possible between April and October when three good swells come each month, lasting a couple of days, and the best thing is that these are off-shore. Waves are commonly 2m high. Some of them are known as Himafushi (Jail Break), Thamburudhoo left and right (aka Honkys and Sultans) Thulusdhoo Point (Colas) and Kuda Vilingili with the best “left hander” in the Atoll.
If you aren’t into surfing, paddle boarding is another great option. The Maldives is great for stand up paddle boarding (SUP), because most islands are surrounded by calm shallow waters that only ebb and flow with the rising tides. You can paddle along in safe bays with water so clear you can see fish swimming right below your boards.
I don’t think there is a more romantic destination on earth than the Maldives. If you are travelling as a couple and want to splurge on a romantic night out, this is the place to do it. While most food is buffet style in the Maldives, take a break from the smorgasbord and enjoy either a sunset beach or sunset pier dinner.
We found the meal to be a bit pricey at $220 per couple, but it did include a bottle of champagne, private waiter and a meal prepared right at your table.
The Maldives was made for romance and when visiting the island paradise, you must take some time to pamper yourself. Most people visiting the Maldives were couples and families and we highly recommend a couple’s massage for upping the romance factor.
As soothing music plays, skilled masseurs rub away the aches and pains from your long flight or day out in the sun. After an hour and a half of luxury, make sure you have nothing else on your to do list for the day, as you’ll want to relish in relaxation.
The Maldives is home to 21 species of whale and dolphin and they are frequently sighted as they cross in the channels from one side of an atoll to another. They are sometimes spotted during the crossing from the airport to Male’. Many resorts organise cruises to the sea-lanes that dolphins regularly use, and independent dolphin watching cruises by dhoni can be arranged by the accommodation provider. Operating out of Male’ (bookings can be coordinated through your resort) the whale submarine is a chance for young and old to visit the underwater world without getting wet, while enjoying the exciting experience of diving in a real submarine.
There is something magical about seeing the different shades of water below as you fly over the Maldives. Many resorts require a flight on a twin engine float plane to get out to them. If you don’t have the good fortune of staying in one of these, we highly recommend booking a scenic flight over the many atolls. The islands create a pattern in the sea as the deep ocean crashes into sand bars and coral reefs. Many islands are surrounded by miles of shallow waters low enough to wade through at low tide. From the air, you get a real sense of just how isolated and beautiful the islands of the Maldives are.
Source: “The Planetd” – “Visit Maldives”