The Maldives turquoise atolls, colourful reefs and upmarket, international-style resorts are all very well known, but a recent Government initiative has enabled the local residents to set up more low-key guesthouse-style accommodation in their villages. The exceptional snorkelling, diving and reefs are the same wherever you stay, but this tour aims to combine these fantastic elements with the opportunity to discover the everyday life, meet the local people and taste the authentic cuisine.
We’ve called our tour – Hidden Maldives – since, frankly – aside from the fancy, hermetic resorts – most of the country is indeed completely hidden. Our 6-day itinerary gives you the chance to explore Malé’s bustling streets, waterfront and markets and discover traditional fishing village life plus meet the excellent crew at the ‘Save the Beach‘ project while having plenty of opportunities to join reef and atoll tours.
You will find yourself on island hopping boat tours, guided snorkelling trips, diving (optional), and dolphin spotting, You will also find yourself on a guided tour of the fascinating and highly unusual capital, Malé, meeting friendly locals in village coffee shops, checking out traditional cottage industries, and participating in a beach and reef protection initiative.
Excellent international flight connections make the Maldives a convenient stop-over whether prior to, or after, a tour of neighbouring Sri Lanka or as a break on a return journey from Bangkok.
Just a few of our favourite things to see, do and experience in the Maldives
The capital - an island city with narrow streets, brightly painted buildings and lively local markets - makes a fascinating and unusual spot to explore
Guraidhoo - stay in a comfortable, locally run inn on this charming and friendly island reached by local ferry from the capital
Save the Beach - visit this excellent and fascinating, locally run organisation dedicated to protecting the local beaches, reefs and marine environment
You will be able to discover the delicious and highly unique local cuisine in the cafes and tea shops where the locals eat
The reefs and atolls - last, but of course not least, explore the fabulous turquoise waters and vibrant reefs on an island hopping tour of myriad atolls
Culture and Customs
Knowing what to expect from local culture and customs will help you get more out of your Maldives tour
The Maldives, lying southwest of the Indian mainland, have a central position in the Indian Ocean with the African & Southeast Asian coasts equidistant to the west & east
The Maldives Archipelago consists of 1,190 (ish) coral islands grouped into 26 atolls, spread over nearly 1,000 kms north to south. Around 20-25% are inhabited and average altitude is 1-1.5 metres
With its unusual geographical situation weather in the Maldives is unpredictable & showers can occur at any period. Temperature remain pleasantly warm & one side of every reef will always be sheltered
Although location lead to mixed Indian, Sri Lankan, Malayan and Arab origins, the population today forms a largely homogeneous Maldivian ethnic group
The Sunni Islam faith is compulsory for any Maldive citizen, although adherence is fairly relaxed, and in Male in particular you will see plenty of younger women in coffee shops without hijabs
Again, Sri Lankan & Indian influences are obvious, but with little or no arable land the unique cuisine is heavily fish based. They really wrote the book on 100 different things to do with tuna!
Genuine local knowledge is what turns a good travel experience into an unfforgettable one. Here's our shout-out to the locals that help maket that happen.'
Ib Be (Koko)
Never a dull moment with professional guide/amateur comedian Ib Be, (better known as Koko), who leads our 'Hidden Maldives' trips from his home town of Malé. Diving, snorkelling, fishing, demonstrating local culinary treats and playing bad pool are just a few of Koko's specialities.
Things To Know
Useful information and practical tips you should know before you travel to the Maldives
Helpful Country Info
Republic of Maldives
ATMs widely available
230V; sockets, 3 pin, square or round
WiFi widely available
3G/4G SIM cards available
Maldivian (Dhivehi) with English widely spoken
Frequently Asked Questions
When’s the best time to go to the Maldives?
The best weather is between November and April. The high season falls between December and March. The monsoon runs from May to October, peaking around June.
What innoculations do I need?
For most of Southeast Asia, there are no compulsory inoculations – however, Hep A , Polio, Typhoid and Tetanus are recommended. Malaria is not normally present in the Maldives. A useful resource for information on travel health is http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/
Do you recommend your tours for people travelling on their own?
Our small group tours make ideal holidays for solo travellers. Small fully escorted groups, eating together family style, no compulsory single supplements all go towards making you feel like you are travelling with a group of friends. If you don’t want to share then ask about single room supplements.
If we book flights through you, which airlines do you use?
We are happy to book your flights from the UK. We can offer a wide range of options, from regional airports as well as London using most major airlines – most often Sri Lankan, Emirates and Qatar. Prices on the website are a guideline and we find the best prices and routes for you. Upgrades to Premium Economy or Business class are available.
What’s your policy for tipping?
Tipping is discretionary. People always appreciate a gesture for their hard work and dedication, but staff are paid and don’t rely on tips. It’s hard to give a guideline before a tour as it does depend on the group size. The tour leaders don’t collect money for tips but are happy to advise. What often works well is if the group appoint someone to collect and distribute tips on behalf of the whole group.
How do I pay for the holiday, and is there a surcharge for credit cards?
We ask you to pay a 10% deposit upon booking your holiday, with the balance being due 60 days prior to departure. There is no surcharge for paying by credit card. There is no charge for debit cards. We accept most major credit cards including American Express.
Packing light is a virtue, it'll make getting around easier and gives you room for souvenirs and the special things you find along the way. Packing "as little as possible" doesn't mean you have to forego comfort and any items you may forget are usually available locally for a fraction of the price.