Maldives Adventure Travel Guide: Ideas and Inspiration
PureTravel Says: “Off the Indian mainland is the island cluster of Maldives, which was referred to as the ‘flower of the Indies’ by Marco Polo. Maldives identifies itself with the history of the early Dravidian settlements and is the homeland for several cultures, linguistics and folklore. Being the ‘garland of islands’ in Indian Ocean, Maldives, is one of the most exotic places you can be in, on your tour to Asia. More than being just a favourite holiday destination for its beautiful sceneries on the beach, Maldives is a host to adventurous visitors interested in swimming, scuba diving, water skiing, snorkelling, windsurfing and fishing. With its virgin and adventurous beaches, Maldives promises to be as interesting as the “Robin Crusoe” islands for visitors.”
Scuba Diving - Maldives offers scuba diving facilities and you can go diving in the best of diving destinations like Kaafu Atoll and Ari Atoll. Each of the resorts at Maldives also organizes special classes to train visitors and to you enjoy the adventure that is in store under the water. Courses like rescue diving, night diving and underwater photography attracts people from all over the globe. Most of the resorts even have portions of a sheltered reef, so even in strong winds and rough seas, visitors are not denied the thrill of scuba diving.
Snorkelling - Where there is ocean, there of course is excitement and there is no better way to have this stimulation down your spine than snorkelling. Over the shallow reefs, witnessing the beauty of the corals and life underwater surely is an exhilarating experience while snorkelling. At times the reefs are just a walk off the beach but most resorts at Maldives organise snorkelling sessions to allow visitors experience the thrill of the water.
Surfing - Surfing is an upcoming adventure sport for visitors holidaying in the Maldives. In the two major surfing destinations, North Male’ Atolls and the Outer Atolls, a host of different breaks and currents can be experienced, with an average of 3 -8 meters of surf. The biggest swells come up during the months of June to September when the monsoonal winds from the Indian subcontinent pull the swells a little off the shore.
Submarines - Maldives is an ideal destination to experience a secure and air conditioned Whale Submarine to give you an enchanting experience of the beautiful coral reefs, ocean life and breathtaking tropical fish. Descending over 100 feet below the ocean's surface, you can witness the treasure trove of the oceans which was once accessible only to scuba divers.
Cruise Boats - An archipelago with islands scattered across, cruise boating can give you the opportunity to explore some of the 1,190 islands. Accompanying you in every boat are experienced professionals who take you to both barren and inhabited islands to get you a feel of the local way of life. Many of these boats also take you to the best diving spots and fishing destinations of the world.
Island Hopping - Island hopping tours give you a wholesome experience of the islands of Maldives all in a day. Packed in are inhabited and barren islands, other resorts, and barbecues on the beaches, with diving and snorkelling to your hearts’ content. At times such trips are organized by resorts themselves on seaplanes. Traveling on seaplanes lets you have a view of the crystalline lagoons, elegant coral reefs and a view of the islands on the sea appearing like jewels on a garland.
Whale and Dolphin Watching - Maldives is home to over 20 species of the world’s whale and dolphin population. So, it is no wonder that you can find Spinner dolphins coming for their schedule meals to the shores every morning and afternoon at your resort beaches. Of course touring the ocean and checking out for more dolphins and whales in a safari boat is both more adventurous and exciting.
Other Water Sports - With vibrant colours and abundant wildlife of the oceans, skiing kayaking, parasailing, kite surfing and jet skiing can be a psychedelic experience.
Visit Male - The Maldives capital, Male boasts of a busy urban life with different shades of the Maldives lifestyle adding colours to it. Be it the Islamic Centre, the Hukuru Misky, the Medhu Ziyaaraiy, or Mulee-agee, they never fail to attract enough visitor attention.
When To Go
If you are looking to bask in the sun then December to April is a good time to visit. The period from November to April is also associated with increased clarity of the water which makes the aquatic flora and fauna more visible. Though the months of May to November are warm with cloudy skies, the period from June to September is known to witness the biggest swells. So, for the best of surfing and adventure experiences, this is the best time to tour Maldives.
- While scuba diving you should always keep in mind the direction and the force of the currents to get the best of thrills and safety.
- Avoid carrying illegal drugs, alcoholic beverages or pornographic material to the country.
- Do not try to pick up and export corals, shells and don’t damage the exotic natural beauty - these are prohibited by law.
- Nudity is an offence in the Maldives so dress modestly and avoid sunbathing topless.
Holidays In Focus
Scuba Diving - Maldives is gifted with some excellent scuba diving spots like the Lion’s Head, the marine park whose average reef depth is of 15- 20 meters. Generally the average visibility is 20-25 meters but it may reach up to even 40 meters. The marine sanctuary, Kuda Haa, has a beautiful reef of sponges and corals with basslets, butterfly fishes and fusiliers roaming all about and sharks lazing in shallow areas.
Sandwiched between a couple of outer atoll islands, Girifushi Thila has caves, overhangs and crevices from 10 meters to 30 meters on the reef. It also attracts hanging corals, with orange colours and a school of small reef fish and pelagic species like eagle rays and tunas. Other major scuba diving spots are the Maldives Victory, Sunlight Thila, Banana Reef, Rasfari, Nassimo Thila and Okobe Thila which can all boast of making your underwater curiosities go wild.
Surfing - Maldives has organized the O’Neil Blue competition for two years in a row and found itself on a firm foothold in the face of international surfing destinations. The North Male’ Atoll during the season from April to October hosts the best and the most popular breaks while the Outer Atolls from February to April witness some world class breaks that surfers hardly ever get to witness. The off shore breaks gives the surfer the most exciting surfing experience mainly during the monsoon season with winds blowing across from the Indian subcontinent to create enormous swells.
The uninhabited Villingilimathai Hurra islands are situated close to the Eastern Reef of North Male Atoll requires speed, a long left hander with two sections and a thin, racing lip to get the best out of swells is one of the hottest destinations for surfing. Thulusdhoo, the capital of Atoll is also known for short but intense rides. While the Piddies are best for beginners, the Kanu Hurra is a break with maximum consistency. There are also other famous surfing destinations like Kate’s Riptides, Quarters, Twin Peaks, Gurus, Honkeys to name a few.
Underwater Photography - With diving, snorkelling, surfing and going down submarines, underwater photography is something you cannot and should not miss because Maldives is known to be a paradise for underwater photographers. Though strong currents make it difficult to hold the camera still, the colorful fishes and corals with a wide and wild variety of pelagic species make this bit of trouble worthwhile. You could also capture the pristine blue lagoons and the ‘flower of the Indies’ on your camera.
Visit To Male - The Islam Center of Male’ is one of the most famous mosques in South East Asia and is an architectural hallmark of Male’. With ornate wood carvings, Arabic scripts, the mosque housing 5,000 worshippers is a wonder in its own. The Huruku Miskiy is built all in coral stones with elegant windows in sandalwood, redwood and teak and coral carvings. Medhu Ziyaaraiy is a shrine to Yusuf al Barbaree, a Moroccan scholar who brought in Islam to Maldives, while the Mulee-agee is the present day Presidential Palace.
- Scuba Diving in the various diving reefs such as Rasfari, Sunlight Thila, Lion’s Head, *Kuda Haa or the Maldives Victory.
- Surfing the swells and breaks of North Male’ Atoll and Outer Atoll.
- Witnessing the aquatic flora and fauna from the submarine.
- Cruising on boats visiting the islands.
- Island hopping.
- Whale and dolphin watching on safari boats.
- A tour to the capital Male.
By Julie Bowman