An unusual look at this island nation, discovering the local food, traditional life and culture including a walking toru of the singular capital Malé plus of course the fabulous reefs & turquoise seas
Our Hidden Maldives tour aims to provide you with some glimpses into the real country, people and culture that few visitors get to see. It’s luxury resorts on private, tourist islands surrounded by turquoise atolls, where international staff serve international cuisine are world famous; but what about the rest of the country? On this trip we’ll stay in a traditional fishing village – in a locally run inn – and provide ample opportunities to visit markets, meet the residents in local tea shops, discover wonderful Maldivian cuisine, and offer a walking tour of the fascinating and unique labyrinth of narrow lanes that is the nation’s capital Malé. In addition, there is plenty of time to explore the vibrant coral reefs, deserted sandbanks, white sand beaches, and with luck, spot some of the still abundant turtles, rays and dolphins.
This tour has all the elements of a classic Maldives visit, plus an insight into the local culture and traditions that lie behind the postcard images of this popular, yet surprisingly little explored, destination.
This is a private tour and as such does not have set departure dates, let us know when you want to go and we will arrange the dates to suit you.
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 most of our Southeast Asian tours. The islands are situated roughly half-way between Dubai and Bangkok and offer excellent flights connections.
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 from where we’ll transfer by local ferry the short distance to the capital Malé City. Check-in to a comfortable downtown 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, city including markets, the waterfront and some of the young nation’s complex history at the National Museum.
Additional nights' accommodation is available before or after your tour on request.
Overnight: Malé Transport: Boat, 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 waste disposal, pollution, reef damage etc and their schemes to protect coral and marine fauna and flora. Our visit will include a walking tour of the island as well as snorkelling to visit their coral nurseries.
In the afternoon we’ll transfer by local boat to Guraidhoo Island in South Male Atoll where we’ll check in to the cosy, friendly and comfortable 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 atoll and it’s vibrant reefs with lunch on an uninhabited sandbank including guided snorkelling tours. In the afternoon we’ll return to Guraidhoo for a look around the 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
An island hopping tour taking in the local fishing community of Gulhi Island as well as a barbecue lunch on a deserted island beach. Plenty of opportunities for snorkelling and a chance to spot some dolphins if we’re lucky. In the evening we’ll catch the island’s dance group for a display of traditional drum, 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 lined up as well as fishing, island hopping and guided snorkelling tours on the atolls' vibrant coral reefs
- Discover the real country beyond the private island, luxury resorts
- Stay in a comfortable, cosy, locally run inn in a fishing village on Guraidhoo Island
- Boat trip to a visit the surrounding atoll including guided snorkelling tours and picnic lunch on a Indian Ocean sandbank
- Walking tour of the fascinating, colorful and unique labyrinth of narrow lanes that is the capital Malé
- Visit coral nurseries and learn about, and assist in, the Save the Beach organisation's conservation and development projects
- Meet friendly local people other than hotel staff and sample authentic Maldivian food in local cafes
Air Departures (UK)
Guaranteed Places Left Special Price Solo Traveller Closed
*Air departures are from the UK. Land departures start from Male
*Land departure dates correspond to the FIRST day of the itinerary.
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...
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'
Hotel Laze, Malé view
- 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
*This list should be considered a guide only, hotels/rooms may change (without notice) depending on availability.
Visa Info & Notes
Visa requirements: A Maldivian visa is issued on arrival at Malé International Airport
Holidays should never end, stay a little longer. These extensions go well with this tour...
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