With aqua seas that glow so brightly, you can still see the colour when you shut your eyes, the Maldives is my top choice among popular destinations for travel in 2019.
According to travel industry news, the rather pricey destination is set to get a little cheaper, with new resorts opening, great deals to match and more options for independent travel. It’s also on Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2019 list, as a great-value region.
Travel in 2019: About the Maldives
Zooming to a resort in a speedboat from the airport, I’ll never forget my first glimpse of those reef-encircled islands, complete with swaying palm trees and sand as white as snow. This is an island holiday location that truly surpasses its travel brochure image.
I was commissioned to do an article at the time, so I managed to get out of the water long enough to delve into a colourful culture of music, ancient folklore and tight-knit, friendly local communities. Though the beaches here are addictive, there’s so much more to explore.
For the most part, each resort occupies its own, fully self-contained island. If you’re on a budget and happen to see a great deal for travel in 2019, know that a budget resort still offers that dream-like backdrop, with everything you need for an incredible trip. Most resorts are all-inclusive, with delicious tropical buffets and entertainment, regardless of how much you spend.
You don’t need to splurge on an overwater villa either, though they are gorgeous. I stayed in a thatched hut right on the sand, at Thulhagiri Island Resort, which was the cheapest room they had at the time. I actually liked it more, for its privacy in the midst of shady, bird-filled trees.
Budget-Friendly Resorts in the Maldives
If romance and luxury are on the cards for travel in 2019, there’s no shortage of enchanting resorts to set the scene, including Soneva Fushi and COMO Cocoa Island. However, when you want the pristine island backdrop without the hefty price tag, check out these resorts:
- Rasddoo Island Inn Beachfront is about 50 km by boat from the airport, with a cheery atmosphere fronting dive sites.
- Maafushivaru offers a house reef, charming thatched villas, gardens and an intimate vibe.
- Paradise Island Resort and Spa gives you all the perks of a big resort, with six restaurants, a spa, bars and overwater villas.
- Reethi Beach Resort, in Baa Atoll, rests within a pristine lagoon and offers a dive centre, spa, watersports and traditional villas.
Top Things to Do in the Maldives
Other than relaxing on the beach in awe of the astounding beauty, top things to do in the Maldives include:
- Diving at Hanifaru Bay to spot manta rays and maybe even whale sharks, from May to December.
- Sunset cruising on a traditional dhoni.
- Discovering culture, arts and crafts on Thulhaadhoo or another local island.
- Resort-hopping on a day trip
- Seeing the ocean sparkle with fluorescent blue magic at night, via the mysterious Noctiluca Scintillans.
- Water-sports whereby you can’t wait to fall off your skies just to float again in those warm, iridescent blues.
- Sipping on fresh coconuts and simply soaking up some of the finest work created by nature’s paintbrush. In a hammock.