Maldives’ bright blue paradise islands with dreamy, crystal clear waters and oh so white sandy beaches are the ideal choice for our future holidays. The ‘one island one resort’ policy of the country coupled with intense safety measures will ensure the Maldives as a top destination for 2021-2.
Apart from stylishly lounging in your private over-water villa to filling your Instagram feed with casual to sexy photo shoots, do spend the mornings and late evenings (when the Sun has its UV dosage set to low) snorkelling and swimming in the shallow lagoons with colourful fish for company.
Beyond the reef, heading away from the drop-off and into the deep, the domain of the ocean’s gentle giants starts.
Getting Near Whale Sharks In Maldives
Raffles Maldives Meradhoo has added a new experience to encounter whale sharks when at the Maldives. Marine-life enthusiasts will marvel at the sight of whale sharks in the healthy reefs of the Gaafu Alifu Atoll.
The new experience will take you out on a traditional Dhoni across the warm Indian Ocean to meet the magnificent spotted sharks which are up to 12 metres in length. Embark on this bespoke journey and expect to encounter up to three whale sharks, the largest fish in the world.
The Raffles marine-life biologist will be on-hand to equant guests with the incredible creatures and identify passing sea life – including turtles, dolphins, and manta rays, all rich in the vast expanse of ocean. The two-hour encounter starts in the evening and includes an extensive array of canapés and beverages.
Apart from this once-in-a-lifetime experience to encounter whale sharks, the Raffles Maldives Meradhoo offers other interesting marine adventures that are closer to the resort. A ‘marine butler’ is available to every guest who will lead snorkelling tours of the resort’s two remarkable house reefs.
The Meradhoo island is one of the 87 tiny islands that make up the Gaafu Alifu atoll, one of the world’s largest and deepest atolls. The astoundingly clear, blissfully warm waters immediately surrounding the Raffles resort teem with a kaleidoscope of colourful fish and offers access to some of the most pristine reefs in the Maldives.
Things To Do In Gaafu Alifu, Maldives
Gaafu Alifu Atoll is the northern half of the Huvadhu Atoll, located towards the southern edge of the Maldives ring of atolls. Just above the equator, Huvadhu Atoll is famous for crystal clear waters and Sun that would fry you into oblivion. Tiger Strips, Koodhoo and Blue Bowls are three good surf spots in this atoll, suitable for beginners to intermediate surfers and accessible via boats.
Being the second-largest atoll in the Maldives, there are many dive sites located on the inner and outer reefs. The substantial outer reef offers diving opportunities such as exploring caves, steep drop-offs, pristine reefs and drift dive through channels. The atoll has a few PADI 5 Star dive centres that provide a full range of PADI scuba diving educational programs and equipment selection.
Other activities to keep one engaged in the middle of the Indian Ocean include parasailing, windsurfing, fishing from a traditional dhoni near the coast or deepsea fishing, canoeing past deserted islands in a see-through bottom kayak, submarine tours, or sampling living the good life in the resort’s spa sanctuary.
Raffles Maldives Meradhoo resort, open in late 2019, is accessible via a 55-minute domestic flight from Malé International Airport to Kaadedhdhoo Airport, followed by a 15-minute speedboat journey. As is customary when at any of the Raffles Hotels in the world, end the day at the Long Bar with their very own Maldivian Sling cocktail. ◼
© This article was first published online in Feb 2021 – World Travel Magazine.