I’ve always wondered.
There’s around 169 resorts in the Maldives and over 800 hotels and guesthouses. Each island has her own spirit, each atoll his own personality. I wanted to see it all. I wanted to encounter whale sharks in South Ari atoll, swim alongside manta rays in Hanifaru Bay, dive at the popular banana reef in North Malé atoll, and step back in time and explore the British Loyalty wreck at the Addu Atoll.
With all these options, how does anyone choose their accomodation?
I wanted to see it all without being restricted to just one resort or island. I thought this was a pipe dream until I came across one of the most underrated tourism products in the Maldives - liveaboards.
There’s some 154 liveaboards scattered throughout the Maldives. These come in various shapes, sizes, colours, and standards - they are as diverse as any other tourism product in the Maldives. Are you seeking a lavish liveaboard with fine dining and finer wines? Or a more affordable, humble yet adventurous ride? Liveaboards come in whichever standard you seek. There are liveaboards that have maybe 3-4 rooms, and some with a dozen, but all of them come replete with all the services that one comes to expect from a Maldives’ vacation.
Some may think that liveaboards are just for the dive-enthusiasts and surfers. Liveaboards are amazing for those who are in love with the sea, of course, but it also goes far beyond that. There are liveaboards that cater to those who simply want a ‘floating resort’ experience coupled with gourmet haute cuisine, luxurious spa facilities, jacuzzis (yep), and phenomenal nightlife. There are liveaboards that you can book completely for yourself, and invite some business partners to sit and discuss that lucrative new deal while you cruise across the atolls of the Maldives, cocktails in hand, breathing in the salty tang of the tropical breeze.
For travellers with unquenchable wanderlust
I like to think of liveaboards as the best option for those who have too much wanderlust to simply stay in one place even on vacation. I wanted to explore the entire Maldives, and so I boarded a liveaboard.
The liveaboard experience is unique. It is one of the most adventurous ways to experience the Maldives, while simultaneously being the most rewarding and calming. At one point, you’re 30m below the water. Lost in a world so utterly strange. Sharks swim beside you, and you can’t help but gander in awe. Just a few hours later, you’re at a BBQ on a sandbank in the middle of the vast azure Indian ocean. The clock strikes midnight and you find yourself on the sundeck, mesmerised by the shining stars against the velvet black sky.
Awe and wonder, wherever you are. That’s the liveaboard experience.
Surfing the Northernmost to the Southernmost
The Maldives is a surfers’ paradise. Enchanting blue waters and consistent long waves that offer barrel after barrel has positioned the Maldives as a top destination for surfers throughout the years. North Malé atoll is home to some of the most popular breaks in the world. Chicken’s, Cokes, and Lohis, have you heard of it?
Southern, Central, and Northern atolls also boast breaks that are outstanding in power and perfection. Notable examples are Beacons, Five Islands, and Love Charms in the South. Ying-Yangs in the North. And mysterious fresh breaks waiting to be discovered in the Northern Atolls.
It’s almost too many options. That’s precisely where the liveaboard comes in. You can spend an entire day surfing at world-class breaks as you stay aboard a liveaboard. Surfers will know all too well that it’s no fun being stuck in one place waiting for the swell to hit.
The liveaboard voyage gives you freedom and mobility to be where you want to be. You don’t need to choose, you can get it all.
All About That Dive
Liveaboard scuba diving in the Maldives is a dream come true for dive enthusiasts. Dive spots in the Maldives warrant a book of its own. So I will not tell you about the incredible diversity of dive spots across the archipelago just yet. Home to over 1,190 islands, the reefs of Maldives is a haven for diverse species of marine life.
Dive trips on a liveaboard is all about the dive. Some itineraries aboard liveaboards offer up to 4 dives daily - meaning you can expect to spend the entire day underwater. There is a strong sense of community amongst the diving community in liveaboards. Staying aboard one is a great way for you to connect deeper within the diving community. Often, the divers will all wake up and have breakfast together, start their day with a dive in the morning, break for lunch, and head out to a couple more dives before ending for supper. Divers with advanced certification can also find the opportunity to go on exciting night dives, wreck dives, and underwater cave exploration.
You see why I say scuba diving in the Maldives is a dream come true for divers? Just make sure you bring your dive computer and sense of adventure.
Beyond Dives & Stargazing
Liveaboards ain’t just for dives and stargazing. You can lounge in your bathing suit all day long and drink to your heart’s content. Liveaboards also throws some of the best parties in the Maldives. When you’re in the middle of the ocean, no ones going to complain about the loud music.
Liveaboards also regularly stop at sandbanks for picnics. Imagine that, a picnic on a strip of land all to yourself. Snorkelling trips are also common, and staying aboard a liveaboard is one of the best ways to explore the many thousands of snorkelling points across the Maldives. Spot an idyllic island on the horizon? Interested in a BBQ on that sandy white beach? Let's go. Life on the boat doesn’t always mean you have to be on the boat.
Wellness all Around
There are liveaboards that seamlessly merge adventure with wellness. Many of the liveaboards have their own on-boat masseuse, while some boast full on spa and wellness facilities such as an onboard gym, jacuzzi, and sometimes even a yoga pavilion.
Your Next Adventure
Sunset cocktails. Dives. Surfing. Spa. Stargazing. So much adventure.
A liveaboard voyage is one of the most unique experiences you can have in the Maldives. Voyages that are sure to leave you with an abundance of treasured memories. By the time you complete your journey, you would have witnessed the beauty of the Maldives - both above and below. The voyage will certainly leave you craving more adventure, and you might just catch the travel bug that keeps travellers coming back to the Maldives for more, year after year.