Maldives Beach Holidays & Sri Lanka Adventure Tours with Authentic Local Experiences
Maldives is a chain of tropical Islands in the Indian Ocean situated southwest of Sri Lanka. Maldives could be reached by 50 minutes flight from Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Maldives composed of 26 ring-shaped atolls, which are made up of more than 1,000 coral islands. It's known for its turquoise blue beaches, blue lagoons and extensive reefs. Maldives is a heaven for snorkeling Tours and diving enthusiasts where coral reefs are teamed up with Giant Manta Rays and various underwater species. Local culture is so rich with beliefs, music and food.
Whether you are planning a romantic honeymoon holiday or a family tour, Maldives is a fine piece of paradise in the tropics. At Best of Lanka, we could organize you the flights from Colombo to Maldives, speed boat or sea plane transfers, book a resort or a guest house and facilitate some of the authentic local experiences Maldives has to offer after your adventure tour in Sri Lanka. Maldives is the ideal destination to finish your Asian Adventure Tour. Sri Lanka and Maldives, a fine combination of Island Adventures and Island Beach getaways.
Snorkeling tours in the reefs, Diving tours to see Manta Rays, Private romantic candlelit dinners on the beach, uninhabited Island picnic tours, fishing tours and sunset cruises are some of the few experiences we could organize with a personal touch.
Maldives considered a pricey destination with top notch hotel brands but there are family run guest houses in certain islands which are budget friendly, yet provide a very authentic Maldivian experience with a local touch. We at Best of Lanka is well geared to organize your Adventure in Sri Lanka in combination with Maldives beach holidays be it a simple guest house in a residential island or a luxury resort in a private island.
Maldives Adventure Tours
Here is an itinerary collection for local Island exploration tours in Maldives staying in small guest houses in residential islands of Maldives. As opposed to staying in luxury resorts in Maldives, you will be staying in family run small guest houses in inhabited Islands of Maldives which paves the path for you to explore the local culture and customs, interact with locals and to enjoy various local food. If you are on a budget and still wants to holiday in Maldives, these local island tours are best option for you and it offers you a very local island experience where you would not experience in staying in big luxury resorts. You could visit local homes, dine with local families, go Island hopping with locals and take part in water activities such as diving, snorkeling with Whale Sharks, Diving with Manta Rays for a lower price than you pay at a luxury resort. Dining by the beach, visiting uninhabited Islands, sand bank picnic trips and fishing tours, all possible during these local Island tours in Maldives.
Authentic Maldives Holidays
Know before you go to Maldives
1. Do you need visa to visit Maldives? – Free 30 days visit visa is provided upon arrival. You need to have a valid passport, return flight ticket, hotel reservation for the duration of your stay and adequate funds are all you need to visit Maldives.
2. What is the International airport of Maldives? – Velana International is the international airport of Maldives. Velana International is situated in the island of Hulhule. Hulhule is situated in the Male-Atoll.
3. What is the capitol of Maldives? – Capitol of Maldives is Male, a small island situated next to Hulhule island where the international airport is situated. Capitol Male is reachable within 5 minutes of ferry boat ride from Maldives International Airport, Velana. Recently a bridge was constructed connecting Velana International Airport island (Hulhule) and Male Island. Now it is a 15 minutes ride from the airport to down town of Male if you prefer to take this route instead ferry boat. Subsequently, Airport island was also expanded with an artificial island extension, now known as Hulhumale.
4. What currency is used in Maldives? – Currency used in Maldives is Maldivian Rufiyaa. But USD is widely accepted in the resorts and in shops.
5. What is the religion of Maldives? – Religion in Maldives is Islam.
6. What is the language of Maldives – Language spoken in Maldives is Dhivehi. English is widely spoken.
7. What is the time difference in Maldives? – The time difference in Maldives is GMT +5 hours.
Best time to go to Maldives
Maldives is a tropical country; therefore, the standard temperature varies between 25 to 30C during day time and drop a few degrees at night. Day time is averagely 8 hours and the waters are always in the range od 25c. The best time to visit Maldives is from December to April which is considered the dry season. May-June and mid-September-November is considered the rainy season but there are always windows of sunshine and no rains even in this period. But there are many factors to take in to consideration when visiting Maldives such as if you are visiting Maldives for diving or to see a specific marine animal such as Whale Sharks and Manta Rays, there are specific seasons for Whale Sharks and Manta Rays in Maldives for them. Also, there would be attractive discounts from the resorts when visiting in the low season. July-August is also good to visit Maldives. Click here to read some tips on swimming with Whale Sharks and Manta Rays.
Best things to do in Maldives
1. Swim with Whale Sharks and Manta Rays tours in Maldives – Know the right place and period for swimming with Whale Sharks and Manta Rays.
Over 1000 islands and you should know where the Whale sharks can be seen during the period you travel in Maldives. Look no further, South Ari Atoll is the only area where you could see Whale Sharks throughout the year. To be specific, go to Dhigurah Island or Dhangethi Island in the south Ari Atoll. There are plenty of dive sites situated closer to these two local/residential Islands. In addition to Whale Sharks, other frequently sited species are Manta Rays, Turtles, Dolphins and schools of colorful fish. Manta Ray season in South Ari Atoll is from January to May.
UNESCO Biosphere reserve, Hanifaru Bay in Baa Atoll hosts the natural phenomena of the “Gathering” of Manta Rays and Whale Sharks from June to November every year, exclusive to Hanifaru Bay. Manta’s come here to feed in Plankton and Whale Sharks come for mating. Remember, no diving in Hanifaru Bay, only snorkeling is allowed. Dharavndhoo local/residential Island is very closely located to Hanifaru Bay which has several guests houses which offers value for money, hence an ideal place to swim in Hanifaru Bay.
2. Diving tours in Maldives – Know the best places to go diving and snorkeling in Maldives
Maldives is one of the best diving and snorkeling destinations in the world given its warm waters throughout the year which helps a rich underwater life that makes Maldives year-round diving destination. Southwest winds in May through October bring days of sunny weather, interrupted by short-term spells of refreshing rains and occasional draughts. Best season for diving in Maldives is from December to April as northeast winds herald drier months, when initial gusting winds calm, to bring clear and bright blue skies. November and April, by and large, are inter-season months, when the prevailing wind determines the climate. Visibility in either season is equally spectacular and, depending on current and sea conditions, can exceed 100 feet. With depths of 80 to 60 feet common all year, views of fish life are fabulous regardless of the season.
South Ari Atoll, comes on top when it comes to diving in the Maldives as it harbours some of the best dive sites in the Maldives. Generally, travelers stay in luxury resorts in the Maldives whether it is for diving or just on vacation but some of the local islands in South Ari Atoll offers great diving as they are very closely situated some of the best dive sites in Maldives and some specific marine species are residents in the lagoons of these local islands. Particularly Whale Sharks and Manta Rays.
Sea turtles, Manta Rays, Sharks, Eagle Rays and whale sharks in Maldives are sighted throughout the year.
Diving in Maldives month by month,
Scuba Diving in Maldives in January
January is an excellent month for diving in Maldives and is the dry season. Excellent visibility of depths up to 40metres. Go in the eastern side of islands.
Scuba Diving in Maldives in February
The best month for diving in Maldives in February as it is the driest month. Exceptional visibility of depths up to 40metres. Go in the eastern side of islands.
Scuba Diving in Maldives in March
March is an excellent month for diving in Maldives and is the dry season. Excellent visibility of depths up to 40metres. Go in the eastern side of islands.
Scuba Diving in Maldives in April
Last month of the dry season and Sea is set to change by the latter part of the month in preparation for south-west monsoon. Dive in the eastern side of the Islands, before mid-month.
Scuba Diving in Maldives in May (interim month of Sea current change)
The interim month of Sea change from north-east dry season to the south-west monsoon season. Ocean currents tend to change throughout the month.
Scuba Diving in Maldives in June
Start of the south-west monsoon, one of the wettest months in Maldives. Visibility is low due to change in ocean currents and increased plankton in water. Dive in the western sides of islands.
Scuba Diving in Maldives in July (Time to go dicing in Hanifru Bay for Manta Rays and Whale Sharks)
South-west monsoon season and one of the wettest months in Maldives. Reduced visibility due to high plankton presence and ocean currents. July is the best month for sighting manta rays & whale sharks at UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve Hanifaru Bay in Maldives. Dive in the western side of the Islands.
Scuba Diving in Maldives in August (Time to go dicing in Hanifru Bay for Manta Rays and Whale Sharks)
South-west monsoon season and one of the wettest months in Maldives. Reduced visibility due to high plankton presence and ocean currents. August is the best month for Manta Rays and Whale Sharks at UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve Hanifaru Bay in Maldives. Dive in the western side of the Islands.
Scuba Diving in Maldives in September (Time to go dicing in Hanifru Bay for Manta Rays and Whale Sharks)
Season of South-west monsoon. Manta Rays and Whale Sharks in Maldives are sighted at UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve Hanifaru Bay in Maldives. Dive in the western side of the Islands.
Scuba Diving in Maldives in October (Time to go dicing in Hanifru Bay for Manta Rays and Whale Sharks)
October is the last month of the south-west monsoon. Whale Sharks and Manta Rays are still sighted at Maldives UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve Hanifaru Bay. Dive in the western side of the Islands.
Scuba Diving in Maldives in November (interim month of Sea current change)
November marks the start of the of the dry season and north-east monsoon season. Ocean starts getting increased with visibility. Dive in the eastern side of islands.
Scuba Diving in Maldives in December
Dry Season with excellent visibility of depths up to 40metres. Eastern side of islands are best for diving during this time.
3. Local island visiting tours in Maldives
Generally, holidaymakers flock to Maldives to pamper in a luxury resort. But the real adventure in the Maldives is in the local islands. It is a good idea to couple your holiday in the Maldives in a luxury resort as well as in a local island where you could experience the best of both worlds. At local Islands you could immerse in the local culture, local cuisine and relax by the Bikini beach reserved only for tourists (Locals not allowed to go to Bikini beach). At the resort one could pamper in luxury and treat your body with heavenly spa therapies.
At the local islands, you could take part in various water activities such as fishing, diving, snorkeling and sand bank trips at a fraction of the cost you spend at the luxury resort.
Staying in a local island for few nights will empower the local people/local economy immensely as most of the services for travelers are provided by local businesses such as dive and water sports centres, local restaurants and guides. So, you can contribute for a sustainable future of local island tourism in the Maldives.
Speak to our destination experts when you want to decide on which local island to visit as there are many islands with different characters. Some are very commercial and loaded with guests houses and some are remote, secluded and authentic.
4. Fishing tours in Maldives
Maldives is a great destination for fishing enthusiasts. All luxury resorts and guest houses in the residential islands offers guided day and night fishing in shallow and deep seas.
5. Sand bank picnics tours in Maldives
Do not miss out to go on a sand bank trip organized by your resort or by the local water sports centre in the residential island you stay in Maldives. This is one-of-a-kind experiences where you will be taken by a boat with picnic meals. You can spend a half a day or even full day as you wish in an isolated sand bank surrounded by turquoise blue water. If you a couple on a honeymoon, if the sand bank is near to the resort or residential island the service provider could let you be free alone and come back to pick you up. That gives you a very private romantic experience.
6. Liveaboard sailing cruise tours in Maldives
It is a nice idea to couple your Maldives holiday with a resort stay along with a liveaboard sailing tour. During your stay in a liveaboard sail boat in Maldives, you could explore the Indian Ocean’s uninhabited islands, visit local residential islands where people live to experience the culture and local cuisine, go on snorkeling and to go fishing. So your tour to Maldives will not just be a luxury resort experience but a well rounded adventure tour in the Indian Ocean.
7. City tour of capitol Male covering the monuments and fish market
Unguided or guided, you must visit capitol island Male’s fish market to experience an Asian market scene. Fish market Male is bustling market with fish vendors who is trying to find buyers for their daily catch. There is plenty of interesting sights of people, fruit market, mosques, shops and interesting monuments in the city of Male.
Transfers in Maldives
Plan your international flight based on Seaplane operational time window if your domestic transfer to and from the resort is by seaplane.
Remember, Seaplanes operate during the daylight (6 AM to 6 PM). So, if your domestic transfer in Maldives is by Seaplane, you should plan your international flight taking Seaplane operational time in to account. Last Seaplane taking off from Male is by 4 PM and inward Seaplanes must arrive at Male by 6 PM. For an example if your international flight arrives in Male by 5PM, you need to stay a night in Male to catch the Seaplane next day. Same goes when you are returning to Male for your international flight as the last seaplane departs from the resort islands by 4PM. So, take this in to account when planning international flights. If you arrive late afternoon, evening or early morning in Male, there is a wait and involves more costs.
Saving money on domestic transfers by staying in a resort closer to Male Airport
If your resort is situated closer to Male Atoll and reachable by speedboat (Capitol and Airport) you will be definitely saving time and money when it comes to domestic transfers. For an example, if your resort is closer to Male Airport, means less transfer duration and lower cost. This also offers you convenience when planning your international flight as the speedboats operate throughout the day and night. But remember, these are scheduled combined transfers, so the wait at the airport and the at the resort is still applies. (unless you opt for a private charter which is expensive). Some resorts provide lounge service at the airport.
To summarise, closer the resort to Male International Airport, lower transfer costs and less duration on transfers.
Staying in faraway resorts and islands
Resorts situated faraway from Male International Airport; the best option of transfer is scheduled domestic flight. This involves domestic flight from Male to nearest airport island and then transfer to the resort island by slow boat or speed boat transfer. Most faraway island airports are served two to four times a day connecting Male International Airport. So, consider the domestic transfer times when planning your international flight.
Scheduled domestic seaplane, speed boat and domestic flights vs private charter
Scheduled means, you need to wait at the airport or at the resort till you get picked up for the domestic transfer. Most domestic seaplane, speed boat and domestic flights departures are based on the international flight arrival and departure times so you need to wait for 2 to 4 hours at the airport and the hotel for scheduled transfers. Private charter option is available at a premium price.