Hidden Maldives Tour
A unique Maldives tour discovering the local life, culture, food & unusual island capital Malé and joining a marine conservation project as well as, of course, exploring its reefs & turquoise seas
Off the beaten track Maldives mini-tour
Our unique Hidden Maldives tour provides you with some glimpses into the authentic country, people and culture that few visitors get to see. The luxury resorts on private, tourist islands and turquoise atolls are world-famous; but what about the rest of the vast, sprawling archipelago nation?
On this 1-week mini-tour, we’ll stay in family-run accommodation in a traditional fishing village and visit local markets, meet the residents in tea shops and discover the authentic Maldivian cuisine as well as taking a walking tour of the fascinating labyrinth of narrow lanes that form the nation’s unique but little-known capital Malé. In addition to exploring the vibrant coral reefs, deserted sandbanks, white sand beaches, and with luck, spotting some of the still abundant turtles, rays and dolphins, we’ll also spend a day with the excellent Save the Beach organisation which makes great efforts to preserve the flora and fauna of this rich and fabulous marine environment.
This tour has all the elements of a classic Maldives visit as well as, more unusually, providing a genuine insight into the local culture and traditions that lie behind the picture-postcard cliches of this popular, yet surprisingly little-explored, destination.
Hidden Maldives is offered as a private tour and as such does not have set departure dates. Let us know when you want to go and we will arrange any dates to suit you. Our price is based upon 2 persons sharing (twin or double) and a private tour for 1 person is from £1015.
Note, while we’d originally conceived this tour as an add-on to our itineraries in neighbouring Sri Lanka, the Maldives is in fact very easily combined with any of our Southeast Asian destinations and lends itself to various 1-week culture, 1-week island tours. Alternatively, Hidden Maldives fits in perfectly with our more classic 6-day Maldives eco-resort break, making for a varied and comprehensive 2-week exploration of the little-known country.
The islands are situated roughly halfway between Dubai and Bangkok and offer excellent flight connections both east and westwards.
Here's an idea of what you can expect to do and see day-to-day.
Day 1 - Malé - arrival and walking tour of the unusual town
Arrival at Malé Airport and transfer by vehicle the short distance to Hulhumale. Check in to a comfortable beachfront hotel from where, after a Maldives-style lunch in a local cafe, we’ll offer a walking tour of the narrow cobbled lanes of this fascinating, and highly unusual, Malé City including markets, the waterfront and some of its complex history at the National Museum.
Overnight: Hulhumale Transport: Walk, Meals: L,
Day 2 - Villimale Island
Off by local ferry to neighbouring Villimale Island to visit the Save the Beach organisation and learn about, and participate in, their initiatives to tackle some of the Maldives’ contemporary issues such as coral and marine life conservation. Our visit includes a walking tour of the island as well as a snorkelling tour of their coral nurseries. In the afternoon we’ll transfer by local boat to Guraidhoo Island in South Male Atoll and check in to the cosy and friendly Guraidhoo Palm Inn in the centre of the island’s tiny fishing village.
Overnight: Guraidhoo Transport: Boat, Walk, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 3 - Guraidhoo - morning snorkelling and afternoon island tour
A boat trip to explore some of the surrounding atolls and their vibrant reefs including guided snorkelling tours. After lunch at the guesthouse, there’ll be some time to relax before exploring Guraidhoo island taking in the village mosque, traditional wooden boat building and of course one of the island’s local tea shops! A night fishing trip is also an evening option if you want to try your luck at catching your own dinner?
Overnight: Guraidhoo Transport: Boat, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 5 - Gulhi - island hopping tour and barbecue
Today we island-hop by local ferry to the fishing community of Gulhi where we’ll enjoy lunch and explore the island famed for its dry dock. Opportunity for snorkelling on the house reef and a chance to spot some dolphins if we’re lucky. In the evening there is a chance to catch the island’s dance group for a display of traditional drums, dance and song.
Overnight: Guraidhoo Transport: Boat, Meals: B, L, D,
The nitty-gritty, the things you need to know, the answers to your burning questions.
Just a few of the many highlights
Malé street-life, local markets and cafes, village life and a reef and beach conservation project are on the menu as well as fishing, island hopping and guided snorkelling tours on the atolls' vibrant coral reefs
- Discover the real country and everyday life beyond the private island, luxury tourist resorts
- Walking tour of the fascinating, colorful and unique labyrinth of narrow lanes that form the capital Malé
- Visit coral nurseries and learn about, and assist in, the Save the Beach organisation's conservation and development projects
- Meet the friendly locals in village tea shops and sample authentic Maldivian food in local cafes
- Stay in a simple but comfortable and cosy, locally-run inn in a fishing village on Guraidhoo Island
- Boat trip to a visit the surrounding atoll including guided snorkelling tours
We choose our hotels based on a combination of location, comfort and convenience. Here is a *selection of the types of hotel/rooms you can expect to stay at on this tour...
Hotel Laze Malé
- Delightful little hotel - low-key but comfortable
- Set in the heart of Malé's labyrinth of narrow lanes
- The perfect spot to explore fascinating & little known Malé
Guraidhoo Palm Inn Guraidhoo Island view
- Cosy, comfortable - our clear fave on laid back Guraidhoo
- Spotless rooms, great food and very friendly staff
- A little guesthouse on Guraidhoo's sandy 'high street'
*This list should be considered a guide only, hotels/rooms may change (without notice) depending on availability.
You deserve a holiday ?
Holidays should never end, stay a little longer. These tours go well with this extension...
Here is what out guest have to say about their experience on this tour...
" We had a fantastic trip to the Maldives combining the Hidden Maldives tour with a stay in the Barefoot Eco resort. The Hidden Maldives trip gives a real feel of what Maldivian life is like away from the tourist resorts, with lots about the history, politics and environmental vulnerability of the islands. The food and accommodation felt authentic if rough and ready at times. A particular highlight was the ‘Save the beach’ organisation and that helped us understand why the Barefoot Eco resort addressed things in the way that they did.
A fantastic trip, educational, great fun and relaxing. Our tour guide judged things perfectly. "