This is the perfect tour to explore the capital area of the Maldives. Based on the island of Hulhumale this 3-night tour provides an insight into the local way of life, history and the fragile environment of the Maldives. It is the perfect way to experience the culture and the sustainable practices in Maldives’ capital island before moving to other part of the archipelago. Head over to the sun-bleached white sandbanks nestled in blue lagoons where you can relax on the sand or snorkel around reefs to spot colourful, tropical fish. Visit some of the best snorkeling spots close to Male, spot dolphins in their natural environment, and be amazed by the colors of a Maldives sunset. Meet NGOs with a mission to protect the beaches and coral reefs of the Maldives. Dine with local families and explore off the beaten track with your personal guide.
Registration can be requested for group travel or for self-travel. For group travel, registration is not binding. Upon reaching the minimum number of members necessary for the formation of the group, usually 4 or 6 people, you will be asked for confirmation of booking and payment of a deposit.
DAY 1: ARRIVAL IN MALÉ
Arrive at Malé International Airport where you will be greeted by our representative who will assist you with your public bus transfer to your guesthouse on Hulhumale. Upon arrival at your guesthouse, you will have time to settle in after your flight before taking your first steps on the sands of this tropical paradise.
Around 2 pm you head south to a beautiful sandbank set in a blue lagoon approximately 40 minutes from the capital. Relax on the sands under the shade of a sun umbrella, swim in the warm waters, or snorkel the house reef. An ideal location to learn to snorkel with your guide or refresh your skills.
Leaving the sandbank visit two of the best snorkeling points close to Malé. Sites vary, depending on weather and current conditions, but you can be guaranteed an abundance of colorful tropical fish and coral life.
Following a safety briefing and advice on how to be a responsible snorkeler, put on your provided fins, mask, and snorkel and jump into the warm, azure waters of the Indian Ocean. Keep your eyes open for sea turtles, reef sharks, and rays — youngsters will want to be on the lookout for Nemo (aka clownfish).
Your snorkel guide will not only act as your ‘spotter’ to point out marine life that may not have caught your eye but will also assist less confident or inexperienced snorkelers, ensuring your equipment is comfortable and you feel safe in the water.
As the sun begins to set, turning the sky to a blaze of color, your boat captain will head to the east of Hulhumale to a channel where there is a high probability of encountering dolphins. As magical marine creatures in their natural habitat, there is never a guarantee of sightings but when we are lucky, we can watch them jump and perform!
Don’t swim? Don’t worry we provide buoyancy aids for all non-swimmers and our guides will provide instruction and coaching on how to float, snorkel and utilize the equipment. Our guide will assess your confidence and ability in the water to ensure it is safe to proceed to a coral reef area for your first snorkel encounter.
DAY 2: MALE CITY TOUR AND LOCAL FAMILY DINNER EXPERIENCE
After breakfast, explore the capital on a Male city tour with your guide. Visit the fish market and local market, President’s Palace, Sultan Park, Friday Mosque. Step off the beaten track and explore the lanes and hidden squares. Complete your tour with a bird’s eye view from one of the city’s tallest buildings
Your tour starts with an overview of Malé and the harbor area, a very important aspect of any island nation. Passing by the oldest school in the city, learn about the education system and why the Maldives has a 98% literacy rate. Visit Hukuru Miskiiy – Old Friday Mosque and the tomb of Abu-al-Barakaath and learn why the Maldives converted to Islam and how the Islamic faith underpins everyday life. Stop for a refreshing cup of traditional black tea at a local cafe, a popular spot for locals. Find out the importance of betel nuts and try them for yourself! Stopping at the November 3rd Memorial, hear the story of how 8 brave military servicemen died in the protection of their country from a terrorist attack in 1988. Wander through Sultan Park, a reference to the time the Maldives was governed by a sultanat now developed into a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city.
Walking back towards the harbor area, pass by the Grand Friday Mosque and the Islamic Centre, Malé’s famous architectural landmark, and onto Jumhooree Maiden – Independence Square. From here, learn the meaning of the Maldives national flag and pick out key government buildings. Heading west along the harbor, visit the bustling fish market and the local market, where the sights, sounds, and smells will fill your senses. Chat with the local stallholders and taste tropical products and homemade sweets. The tour ends at the top of one of the city’s tallest buildings, providing a great backdrop to your final tour photo image! This evening, enjoy dinner with a local family in their home giving you authentic access to Maldives local life.
DAY 3: EXPLORE VILLIMALE AND SUSTAINABLE PRACTICES
Malé – Villimalé
A short 10-minute ferry crossing takes us away from the hubbub of Malé city to the island of Villimalé. Formerly a prison island and once a resort, Villimalé provides a haven of tranquillity for its residents, many of whom commute to the capital daily. We will meet a member of a local NGO at the jetty. This NGO started in 2008 as a youth movement in Villingili (now named Villimalé) to conserve the beaches in Villingili, and has also planted trees in and around Vilingili and organizes community activities throughout the year. A 60-minute walking tour of the island provides an insight into the conservational challenges that face an island during development by showing how Villimalé has transformed from an island with rich biodiversity on land and in the sea, to one that is struggling to maintain its natural ecosystems. You can witness these impacts firsthand with the local conservationists during the tour and they will show you images of Villimalé’s past as you observe the present. You will see a presentation that will cover the challenges for conservation vs development, safe snorkeling, and dive practices, and provides details on how you can make an active difference at the coral nursery on the Villimalé reef. Head to the local dive school and meet with the team that supports the reef conservation efforts. You will be shown how to perform the tasks that may be assigned to you by the dive/snorkel leader before entering the water.
Once out of the water, your guide will take you to a local tea shop where you can sample traditional ‘hedhika’ traditional sweet and savory snacks served with black tea and taken between 3.00 and 5.00 pm. When it is time to leave your guide will walk with you to the ferry terminal and accompany you back to Malé.
The Maldives have a year-round tropical climate, subject to the influence of the monsoons, winds that blow in different directions according to the seasons. December to May is considered to be the best time to visit Maldives. There are two seasons: the dry season of the “Iruvai”, monsoon from the Northeast, from December to May, and the rainy season of the “Hulhangu”, monsoon from the Southwest, from May to November. The wind that brings the rains blows from the southwest towards the northeast, whereas the winter monsoon (which brings the good weather) blows from the northeast to the southwest, bringing the dry season with little rain. Temperatures average 28°-31° all year round. The water temperature is always pleasant, around 27°-29°.