- Special Maldives
In this article I will try to explain to all fans of white beaches and crystal clear waters how to organize a trip to the Maldives: there are many fundamental aspects to know and many alternatives to be evaluated based on your budget, priorities, expectations and needs.
In the hope of introducing you to these islands as much as possible, I will try to help you in choosing your perfect island, trying to clarify many aspects.
After years of exploration I can say with extreme decision that these islands enjoy an unstable climate all year round, but basically beautiful, even during the wet season: this means that – despite the defined high season periods – it is possible to encounter storm phenomena which can last a few tens of minutes or much longer. It is also important to specify that the equatorial climate is strongly localized, and this is why it often happens that on an atoll it delves, while on the adjacent atoll a splendid sun shines.
Having made this necessary introduction, the seasons of the Maldives are divided into four essential periods: 2 long (dry and wet season) and 2 transient and short (transition from dry to wet season and from wet to dry, with relative change of monsoons. The dry season extends from December to April, the humid one from May to November. The first is better from a meteorological point of view (especially February and March) because it is more likely that the sky is clear, low rainfall and calm sea; the second is undoubtedly the cheapest one (except August): it is during this period in fact that real low-cost honeymoons can be made, despite the preference for medium / high level structures. The transitional seasons instead coincide with the months of October and April : at the end of this period there are the first signs of climate change.
The temperature in the Maldives
As for the temperatures, on the other hand, they are constant all year round: 30/31 ° C during the day and 27/28 ° C at night, with the water constantly at 28 ° throughout the year.
Many of you always express a certain anxiety in determining what is really needed during a trip: as for the Maldives you should not take this risk, since what you cannot do without can be summed up on the fingers of one hand: costumes, hats, t-shirts, sunscreen and mosquito repellent (although I’ve never had any problems with mosquito bites, but maybe it was luck, as I read about less… lucky experiences).
The sun on these islands, so desired and loved by everyone, requires a certain precaution and not only for the little ones: it is essential to use high filter sun creams, and it would be better not to expose yourself to UV rays during the hottest hours. . It is necessary to be very careful when snorkeling: there are anti-UV T-shirts that could solve this problem, saving even those who cannot stay out of the water for too long.
You may wonder why he didn’t write a mask and fins even though snorkeling is one of the most popular activities in the Maldives. The reason is that almost every resort has an area where it is possible to rent the equipment in question. For this reason, those who do not wish to weigh down their suitcase too much can use this convenient service.
What medicines to take on a trip to the Maldives
As for medicines, not being a doctor, I can simply advise you on what I usually take with me during this type of holiday: antifebrile (in the case of sunstrokes), ear drops (since it is a biologically richer sea than ours, it is a good idea rinse your ears with fresh water every time you leave the sea and if that’s not enough, use drops to disinfect) and after-sun moisturizer.
In case you are traveling with a child it is advisable to add: lactic ferments, small enemas (the change of diet can cause some problems), broad spectrum antibiotic, suppositories against vomiting, generic antihistamine, and repellents against mosquitoes.
Before choosing the type of resort that is right for you, it is necessary to evaluate what has become a valid alternative for years, namely the stay in a Guest House.
These small hotels are usually found on the fishermen’s islands and give the opportunity to take advantage of a complete service both from the point of view of meals and excursions, all strictly in perfect Maldivian style.
This type of holiday is very popular because it allows you to live in contact with the local population, discovering their customs and traditions, both as an alternative to the resort, where you are in close contact with other guests and because it allows you to make new excursions every day, perhaps in uninhabited and uncontaminated atolls.
The holiday in a Guest House is usually cheaper than the resort, but being very different it is essential to understand first of all what kind of travelers you are and what you expect from a holiday in the Maldives.
The most significant difference compared to a tourist village is the ban on wearing only the costume – remember that the country is Muslim – except in the areas or beaches specially designated. Not all Guest Houses have private beaches and it is good to have this information before arriving and be disappointed by not being able to feel free and at ease.
If in a resort you can leave the bungalow or go around the island in costume, know that in the Guest Houses it is not possible.
You will be on an island inhabited by locals and therefore it will be necessary to maintain a certain decorum and respect towards them.
To overcome the beach problem, almost all Guest Houses organize boat trips almost every day: whether it’s a desert island, a sandbank or a fishing trip, it doesn’t matter, it will still be an amazing experience. These are usually free experiences, while resorts are charged for unless you have some all-inclusive package that includes such excursions. Again for religious reasons, the use of alcohol is prohibited on the islands where the guest houses are located.
Meals are served at a specific time and their consumption takes place together with other guests: sharing every moment of the day with other travelers is what makes this type of holiday extremely different from that experienced in any resort.
We share experiences, emotions and what may initially seem like deprivation can become the purpose of this great experience.
Many Guest houses are located on large islands of about two thousand inhabitants and in these cases it is possible to find yourself having to deal with bike, cars and the typical inconveniences of small “towns”, which is why it is advisable perhaps to choose smaller islands where it is almost always possible to move on foot.
If on the one hand the online market favors “do-it-yourself” bookings for this type of structures, on the other hand there are many notions that tend to be omitted: an example is the issue of waste disposal – I have seen photos of beaches covered in dirt from lack of organization, where it may not be pleasant to walk around. Another is that linked to local transport: the lower price of the Guest houses is also due to boat transfers, since only some use the seaplane, but being quite expensive, the purpose of saving is no longer valid … Usually they rely on fast boats private and if they are located far enough from the airport they have a fixed day of arrival and departure to optimize costs.
Many times the bookings made on the internet do not mention the transfer issue, or worse still they insert the item in the total estimate omitting the duration of these transfers which can sometimes last 5/6 hours.
The alternative to staying in a Guest House is that in resorts of various categories: there are now facilities for all types of travelers and for all budgets. It starts from simple resorts located on paradisiacal atolls where the only purpose is to savor the nature that surrounds you, up to a thousand-star structures, complete with an ice skating rink overlooking the sea (it really exists!).
There are about one hundred and fifty resorts in the Maldives and over the years I have had the opportunity to discover new structures thanks to the collaborations that they grant me to be advertised on the European market: this year it will be the turn of the “Dreamland Unique Island” resort in the Baa atoll, while last year I I went to the far south in the Gaafu Dhaalu atoll to get to know the “Amari Havodda Resort”, where I organized my first overseas wedding.
Even a holiday in the Maldives no longer has anything to do with a standard package, since every aspect can be customized: flight, length of stay, type of meal. I am able to organize your tailor-made trip taking into consideration every fundamental (and not) aspect of your perfect holiday.
The Maldives archipelago straddles the equator, about 700 km south-west of Sri Lanka and is about ten/twelve hours from Europe.
There are many airlines that fly to Male: Qatar, Emirates, British, Etihad, Aeroflot, Air France and Lufthansa.
The cheapest airlines that fly to the Maldives with a stopover in their flag countries are Turks and Aeroflot even if by now – by booking a little in advance – it is possible to come across excellent offers even with Arab companies.
Qatar, Emirates and Etihad can be used: Airbus 380, 350, Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliner are the most used models on these routes and also the newest. Having every type of menu on board, also to respect religions and diets as if you were at home. Having a wide choice of companies, it is even possible to customize your trip to the Maldives, even on the island and the restart: some prefer to arrive at sunset and others early in the morning, there are those who want to return to Europe in the day and those instead he prefers to enjoy until the last ray of sunshine, starting with night flights.
Once you reach Male airport, you need to make another move to get to your destination, unless you have decided to dedicate your vacation to the capital of this country.
There are four types of transfers that you can choose, although often some are excluded from the facilities because they are perhaps too slow to reach a more distant island.
– Local Ferry: as I mentioned in the paragraph relating to Guest houses, these means are usually used by locals and some guest houses, but not by resorts that rely on fast boats for the atolls near Male and seaplanes and internal flights for those further away.
– Speed boats: much cheaper than seaplanes, these vehicles can be used for the atolls around Male, where the proximity to the airport allows you to reach the resort in less than an hour.
– Seaplane: it is certainly the most expensive way to reach the resorts, but also the fastest and most fascinating.
Boarding on these small planes is organized by transport companies that organize groups based on their final destination and on the basis of the arrival of their intercontinental flights.
This is why it is not possible to know before your arrival in Male the length of the boarding wait: too many are the factors that are taken into consideration every day and there are many lounges where you can spend this pleasant wait. Since the baggage is checked in together with the passengers, it is essential to respect some rules relating to weight: even if the companies of intercontinental flights allow you to embark up to 30 kg, on seaplanes it is a good idea to keep to 15 kg, since otherwise you can risk that your baggage remain on the ground waiting for an airplane with fewer passengers on board which allows for a greater weight of the suitcase.
The seaplane usually lands in front of the resort pier or in the middle of the sea near a platform to avoid disturbing the guests of the served resort. In this case, the small crossing from the platform to the resort is carried out aboard the hotel’s private boats.
– Internal flight and fast boat: this is certainly the most cumbersome combination to reach an atoll as, unlike the seaplane, boarding for an internal flight requires a real check-in with metal detector checks and control luggage. The small airport that handles these flights is adjacent to the Male International Airport and within walking distance. Once you land on the island in question, you will be transferred to the pier to continue your journey by boat, on which only guests from the same resort will board. The advantage of this combination is certainly the price, much lower than the cost of seaplanes.
Many of the Maldivian resorts, in addition to having adapted to the various vegan, vegetarian, Muslim and celiac menus, provide the opportunity to choose in advance the meals you want to eat and pre-pay before arriving on the island.
It is possible to choose between:
– All-inclusive: every meal consumed in the resort is included, drinks are included (even alcohol with some exceptions), water in the villa is free as well as various afternoon snacks. Some all-inclusive packages also include experiences or discounts for the use of the Spa.
– Full board: the three main meals are included and non-alcoholic drinks (including water) are not always included. The water you find in the villa in half-liter or one-liter bottles is not always considered free. The full board is often convenient when traveling with a child, since the all-inclusive alternative would expose you to the payment of a full fee that would never be fully exploited.
– Half board: few people know that in the Maldives it is possible to plan your holiday even with the simple half board, which includes only breakfast and dinner. Having the opportunity, in some resorts, to have breakfast until mid-morning, many opt for a fruit snack at noon rather than a proper lunch.
Every year I visit one or more resorts of these wonderful atolls and I guarantee you that it is increasingly difficult to draw up a sort of ranking, because when you find yourself bewitched by that crystal clear sea and that white and fine beach, it is really difficult to judge everything that surrounds you. this paradise.
The islands that I love most are those located in the extreme north or south, since it is precisely here that the El Niño current has affected with less force: the Maldivian corals are bleached by the effects of this phenomenon which, however, having concentrated more in the central atolls , allowed both ends to partially preserve colorful coral gardens.
If in the north I love Ja Manafaru, in the far south I was bewitched by the Amari Havodda Resort, which for me represents the real compromise between a top-level structure and unspoiled nature.
I believe that each of us, before leaving, creates a sort of expectation on these islands: there are those who dream of pristine lagoons and those of kilometer-long beaches: here I have always imagined an island like Amari.
The Ja, on the other hand, is definitely a paradise for lovers of Arabian luxury, even if the island is already so beautiful in itself that perhaps all that attention to facilities can also be considered wasted.
Kandolhu Island Maldives is another passion of mine (we are in North Ari): it is a small island located in the center of this atoll, in a marine reserve that makes it famous for the beauty of the easily accessible reef that surrounds it completely. for snorkeling even by tourists from nearby villages.
My last passion is Ayada Maldives: you can find every information here.
Of a much cheaper level, I was enchanted by Aaavee Nature’s Paradise: this island is truly rich in vegetation, surrounded entirely by reefs and one of the only rare pearls that does not have overwater. If for many this aspect is reductive, it represents an added value for me, since it means that the sea has been preserved from any type of human intervention.
The colors of this little corner of paradise are able to take anyone’s breath away, even those who think of the Maldives as a boring and meaningless vacation. The interior is completely covered with vegetation, making each corridor of the villas a small walk in the jungle.
Each resort has its own activities, but it is very difficult to book them in advance also because many depend on the weather: each structure in fact has a sort of calendar at the reception on which it is possible to register every day. However, to provide a service to my customers, thanks to my 24-hour assistance, I myself inform them of the day of fishing, of the visit to the fishermen’s island and that of the desert island, in order to include them in the program taking away a further thought from them.
To enter the Maldives it is necessary to have a passport with a residual validity of at least six months and – from 5 January 2016 – it must be an electronic passport. In the Maldives, no visa is needed, simply the immigration form with a validity of 30 days which is completed on board the plane and is in English. In case it is not provided on board, it will be possible to find it at the airport in Male, before passport control. This form will be given to immigration officers before baggage claim.
The visa can be extended for a further sixty days, reaching a total of ninety; in this case it is required to fill in a pre-printed form and two passport photos to be presented to the local authority Immigration Office within 30 days of arrival.
In the areas frequented by tourists there are no endemic diseases and the hotels adopt the normal hygiene measures.
However, despite the progress made, the country’s health facilities are not comparable to those in Europe.
The IGM hospital is the largest government hospital in Malè: it is public and more crowded than the Adk, which is private (also located in the capital).
Some islands have a doctor inside the resort who can be useful in case of small accidents or minor illnesses, but in case of other emergencies and the assistance of Male is not enough, a valid alternative is represented from the Colombo hospital in Sri Lanka, about an hour and a half flight from the capital. It is therefore advisable to take out insurance that also covers health costs and the possible transfer by air of the patient to another country or repatriation.
An Italian team opened the European Clinic Maldives in 2016: the first clinic able to offer a first aid service, health care and high-level care, with European standards and medicines and the possibility of home intervention directly in the resorts.
The currency of the Maldives is the Rufiyaa (Maldivian Rufia), but the US dollar is the most commonly used foreign currency. Payments in resorts and hotels can be made in dollars, euros (in some properties only) and using major credit cards.
At Male airport you will find a counter for currency exchange and banknote collection.
Being a Muslim country it is good practice to respect the rules of this religion with some care, first of all that of avoiding wandering around Male or the islands of clubs in costume, but covering legs and shoulders. Although the imprint that is given in the resorts is of an international character, avoid nude exposures as the operators and cleaners are often Maldivian and therefore Muslim. Respecting the countries we decide to visit is always a good rule and a form of great civilization.
Three steps to build your perfect itinerary together:
1) Tell me what traveler you are;
2) We find your destination;
3) I will organize your tailor-made trip,
taking care of everything.
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