The Maldives is recognized as one of the world’s best honeymoon destinations, but Absolute Travel staffer, Daniela Bonanno, learned it’s much more than that. From kite making and crab races with her daughter to romantic underwater dinners and spectacular coral reefs, it’s much more than those dreamy over-water bungalows.
Here are nine unexpected reasons to visit:
The Maldives are Easier to Get to Than You Think
Many travelers (including myself at one point) were intimidated by how difficult the Maldives are to get to. I have great news—that’s not the case! The Maldives are easier to get to than anyone thinks. There are direct flights under four hours from Dubai, so it pairs beautifully with a one or two-day stopover in Dubai or Abu Dhabi. That’s what my family did, and we thought it was the perfect way to break up the trip. There are direct flights from Istanbul that are less than 7 hours. So, you can leave at midnight and be sitting on the beach by 11:00 am! Another great option is via Singapore; it’s just 4 hours. Not to mention that it is an hour flight from Trivandrum—so it’s a great addition to any India trip.
Seaplanes vs. Speedboat? Do Both!
For many people, arriving by seaplane is one of the major highlights! We loved it. But, for those that are afraid of traveling on a sea plane, no problem! You have options. There are several gorgeous resorts in the Maldives that can be reached by boat such as the One&Only Reethi Rah and Gili Lankanfushi. Also, there are several local domestic airports in some of the atolls, so you can reach your destination by a larger plane (not a sea plane) and a quick boat ride to the resort. We tried that on the way back from Anantara Kihavah and it was easy, fast and allowed us to stay at the resort until 7 pm as opposed to having to leave at 3:30 pm, which is when the latest seaplane can depart.
Honeymoon Destination? Yes, but it’s Ideal for Families, Too!
You could not dream up a more perfect honeymoon destination than the Maldives. That said, I traveled with my family and we were so impressed with all that the properties do for kids. Several properties including NIYAMA and Anantara Kihavah cater to families with awesome children’s programs that keep the kids happy and entertained the whole day! Vesper enjoyed sushi making classes, crab races, kite making, local village visits, marine 101 classes, fishing expeditions—we were happy and she was even happier! We are proof that family trips to the Maldives are wonderful.
Twenty-six Coral Atolls
The Maldives are a trailing necklace of twenty-six coral atolls in the Laccadive Sea, 300 miles away from any major body of land. The Maldives are 1192 islands and only 200 are inhabited. Aside from exploring the area with some flippers, the best ways to discover the beauty of the Maldives is by Catamaran. It’s the best way to appreciate the stunning coral reefs below and the unlimited secluded anchorages and diving spots. We also can arrange exploring by yacht and sailboat.
Over-water Bungalow vs. Beach Villa? Enjoy Both.
Think of the Maldives and people picture those iconic over-water bungalows over turquoise waters. I wanted to try both the over-water accommodation as well as the beach villa options, and we loved both for different reasons. Most travelers I speak with don’t even realize there is an alternative. I would try both during your stay even if staying at the same resort for a long period of time. Insider tip: I would highly recommend staying in a beach villa for a few days; the beaches in the Maldives are coral beaches, and like nowhere else. If you want the ultimate Robinson Crusoe Over-water experience, head to Gili Lankafushi.
Enjoy today’s catch eight meters underwater! The properties in the Maldives have some excellent underwater dining experiences. Our favorite was the Anantara Sea Restaurant, where we watched fish swim by as we indulged in a Five Course Lobster Lunch while sipping bubbly that was the color of the sea itself. An incredible experience for people of any age.
Idyllic Blue Skies & Clear Seas
Avoid June & July if you want perfect blue skies and no rain. It is the South West Monsoon Season and this brings strong winds and rain. We were there at the beginning of this and in 10 days we experienced one full day of rain and a few days of 15 minutes to 1 hour of rain + winds and overcast skies on and off. It did not affect us, but one of the days, flights to the islands were canceled and I understand it gets much worse in late June and July.
10,000 Year-Old Coral Reefs
One of the main draws to the Maldives is the coral reefs. These colorful ecosystems are teeming with life! Less than 1% of the ocean floor is covered by reefs, and threats like pollution, sedimentation and global warming are major threats to their future and the marine creatures that are supported by them. Interested in giving back to the reefs? Adopt coral. Click here for my favorite program to give back.
Your Own Devoted Mr. Friday!
Named with Robinson Crusoe’s loyal assistant and dear friend in mind, Gili Lankafushi matches all of their guests with a Mr Friday upon arrival. We were paired with Ahmed and he was a dream come true! He helped us with everything—everything—and with the sweetest smile! We would go back just for him!