From swimming with sea turtles and whale sharks to exploring deserted islands, we discovered that there is more to do in the Maldives than just laying on the beach!
The Maldives is one of the most magical places we’ve ever been to. It’s a destination where you’ll find warm, crystal clear waters that is home to an abundance of sea life, endless stretches of picture perfect palm lined beaches, and some of the most luxurious accommodations in the world. It’s a place, that constantly captivates your attention and awakens your senses to the environment around you. It’s mysterious, unusual and stunningly beautiful.
The small country in the middle of the Indian Ocean consists of an archipelago of thousands of islands; Some of which are inhabited by locals, some completely deserted, while others are home to private luxury resorts. One of our favorite of these Maldivian resorts is the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.
Whether you’re looking an adventure, relaxation, or to simply be pampered, the Conrad Maldives is one of those places that has it all. Even though we spent just under a week at the Conrad Maldives, we managed to take in quite a bit of what this beautiful country has to offer. From swimming with sea turtles and whale sharks, to sailing off to deserted islands and sampling traditional Maldivian food, we discovered that the Maldives offers many more experiences than just spending all day on the beach -- not that there's anything wrong with that!
So if you're interested in doing more in the Maldives than simply perfecting your tan, keep reading and discover our top 10 things to do in the Maldives!
10. Watching Sharks
One of our favorite daily activities was walking to a private jetty on the Conrad property and watching the sharks swim around us. It sounds scary, but it was seriously cool to see such impressive animals up close. As if that wasn’t enough, every now and then a sting ray or turtle would cruise past our jetty.
9. Swimming with Turtles
While we did see a few turtles from the various jetties on the property, Conrad also offered a “Turtle Safari” for those who wanted more of a “snorkeling experience” with these special creatures. We were snorkeling in the spot where they thought we might find some, when all of a sudden a turtle showed up and started gliding around us. Getting up close and personal with these creatures was incredible! They are so gentle and remarkably swift! This excursion took us to some of the hotel’s favorite snorkeling spots in search of the turtles, so as an added bonus we got to see some more of the area’s beauty.
8. Snorkeling Around a Private Island
As you might have gathered, if you love the ocean, then the Maldives are for you! The Indian Ocean is one of the most biodiverse in the world, and the unbelievably clear water makes for great visibility. We spent countless hours snorkeling around Conrad’s island, but taking a boat to several different locations is a definite must. You’ll see different corals, different sea life and develop a deeper understanding of the natural wonder of this very special place.
When you need a break, you just swim up to the beach. Once there you might want to pinch yourself because seriously, sitting on a private island in the middle of nowhere surrounded by the most incredible sea life might seem just to perfect to be reality.
7. Exotic Spa Treatments
Conrad has two spas, and we took advantage of this by doing a series of Maldivian Indigenous treatments at the Spa Retreat. This was basically a localised blend of treatments and products designed to relieve muscle….smooth…improve…nourish…etc, etc. First we were scrubbed with mix of coconut oil and sea salt, then we were given a full body massage with coconut sticks and even more coconut oil…all while overlooking the ocean. But my favorite part? Having warm coconut oil poured over my scalp and gently massaged into my hari. Seriously just thinking about this moment still makes me shudder, it’s that good!
6. taste Local Maldivian Cuisine
Our first time in the Maldives was in 2015, and on that trip we found it really difficult to get a grasp on the local culture. As the country is spread over thousands of small islands, the local population is spread across them in little bunches and there is a good chance that your island won’t have any locals living on it. Because of this, we just couldn't find much culture anywhere. This time around, when we realized the Conrad was organizing a Maldivian night we were excited and jumped at the chance to finally get a local experience! These nights are the latest dining concept to hit Conrad Maldives, and they are a locally inspired experience that gives guests the tastes, smells, sights sounds and feel of Maldivian culture. You can savor local eats, salads, breads, curries and grilled seafood accompanied by authentic dips and sauces all hand made by an experienced team of cooks from the neighboring island of Fenfushi.
5. Canapés in an Underwater Restaurant
Conrad is home to several restaurants but Ithaa was without doubt our favorite…and not necessarily for the food :) We visited one afternoon for canapés and bubbles, and sure the 5 star service, bites and bubbles were exquisite, but this is a restaurant with a unique selling point.
Ithaa is underwater and instead of walls and a ceiling, it is covered with a glass roof – you are completely immersed in the ocean and its busy population of sea life. It is a unique experience to dine as you watch reef sharks chase each other over your head, while parrotfish float by and dozens of other fish dart back and forth.
4. Cocktail classes
Rangali Bar at the Conrad is more than just a place to drink. Award winning global cocktail consultant, Grant Collins, has created a fun and playful assortment of cocktails inspired by the lush tropical surroundings. His drinks are a twist on classic and aperitif style concoctions which incorporate local ingredients. We got to learn how to make his designer libations, and of course to sample them afterwards. It was the perfect activity for the late afternoon - sitting on the beach, making fancy craft cocktails as the sunset approached was awesome! Who says you can’t learn anything on vacation!
3. Sail away to watch dolphins
Taking a sunset cruise to watch dolphins sounded a little too much like a cliché for me, but having tried it, I have to say that it was awesome! Setting out at sunset on a sailboat, bubbly in hand as you look for dolphins is a lot of fun! Even if you don’t get a chance to see them, it’s a blast to be out on the water at sunset.
2. Whaleshark Diving
Swimming with a Whaleshark been on our bucket list for years! There is just something so majestic about these huge, gentle beauties, and we were both eager to try and find them and swim with them. However, finding them was a lot more difficult than we thought. The day we went, the weather wasn't on our side, so we were forced to brave some storms and the resulting choppy water, as we headed out to where the sharks were last seen. Our guides sat on top of the boat looking for huge dark shadows swimming along.
After about 2 hours and a few failed attempts, the guides started yelling and we knew what that meant. We had about 3 seconds to jump in the water (with snorkel gear) to hopefully get a few glimpses of these creatures. Everything happened so fast, and as we battled the choppy water we weren’t able to get any photos or videos. It’s okay though, because make this incredible memory is imprinted into my mind. When I think back I can still feel my heart beating, the rush of seeing something so huge and the mouthfuls of salty water I kept swallowing. In some ways it was more special for not being recorded – it was something for just the two of us.
Ok, we said that there is more to do in the Maldives than just relax -- but let’s face it -- relaxing on the beach with the sun beating down is incredible! Even though we were having the time of our lives getting out and doing these once in a lifetime activities, we couldn't help but seek out a little time laying in a hammock and listen to the sound of the waves gently lapping up the beach. Especially when the beaches are this perfect, and the service is as good as it is at the Conrad. Because honestly, how can you resist more beach time in a place like this?
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