When we tell people that we’ve traveled to the Maldives, we typically receive one of two reactions:
- A look of surprise and jealousy followed by some variation of the question: are you independently wealthy?
- Blank stares coupled with a slow head nod and questioning grin.
Most people fall into the second category. They have never heard of the Maldives, a nation made up of 26 atolls in the Indian Ocean known for it’s spectacular underwater life and isolated islands. It been in the news this past year because of political uprisings as it’s former president, Mohamad Nasheed, was forced out of office by a military coup. He has also gained international popularity for speaking out against the affect of global warming on his nation.
The first group of individuals are well aware that the beauty of the Maldives comes with a hefty price tag. The average cost of a resort hovers around $700 a night not including food or drinks. Only those with bloated bank accounts have been known to vacation on the islands.
So how did we manage to afford over a week in the Maldives, snorkel in the most intricate and stunning coral reefs, and eat delectable meals every day?
The answer: we hopped on a dhoni (a Maldivian fishing boat) for a week long cruise organized by G Adventures.
We sailed through the atolls with an amazing and talented crew, which included our own chef, and six new friends who hailed from the UK or Australia. Each day followed a similar pattern:
- Try to wake up at 5am for the sunrise (this only happened twice)
- Actually wake up at 7am for a delicious breakfast
- Lounge on the deck while cruising to our next stop
- Snorkel (details on this later)
- Come back to the boat to be welcomed with a huge lunch spread
- Lounge session #2 during afternoon cruising
- Snorkel again
- Afternoon tea time!
- More lounging (and probably a nap)
- Watch the sunset
- Come to the dinner table to be amazed by all our chef, Victor, created and pig out again!
Some variations: visit a couple inhabited islands and meet the locals, jump off the dhoni into the water (or watch others do it), dance to a Maldivian drum performance & marvel at the huge fishes caught by our captain (which we would later eat for dinner).
All of this for a fraction of the cost of a typical Maldives resort vacation.