The Maldives

Where, Why, and How

A recent change in Malé law allowed tourists to stay on local islands, this, in combination with some Airbnb searching sparked our interest. Being among the first generation of tourists staying on local islands offered the deal, and adventure of a lifetime. For $55 a day we were able to enjoy the sunshine, and experience the real culture of this 1,000+ island archipelago.

Around 5,000 miles, our journey there brought us to Malé by way of Moscow, then by boat to our final destination - Huraa.

Twenty-four hours of flights later we peeked out the window to see bright turquoise water. We were almost there.  

Malé - The capitol city/island has an area of just over two square miles and rises 7.9 feet above sea level.

Huraa

We spent the majority of our time on Huraa. The island measures in at 3,000' long and 1,500' wide. For context, it took us 10 minutes to walk clear from one end of the island to the other. The island is also sandwiched between The Four Seasons 100' to the South and Club Med 1,000' North which afforded us the same stunning views and water as the high end resorts.   

One of the best parts of Huraa was being "one of the locals". We shared the same roads, grocery stores, and ferries as everyone else. I came away from this trip with a renewed sense of respect and appreciation for the way that different people live around the world. I also left with the experience that more often than not we are all more alike than we are different.

Disposing of trash for locals typically involves carting it to the dump by hand. The trash in the dump is burned in an open pit.

The contrast of the island was surprising. A stunningly beautiful beach was situated directly next to the dump. I imagine this juxtaposition occurs because so much of the Maldives is beautiful - where do you put the dump when every part of the island is equally pristine?

While the island technically had internet access, it mite as well not have. One microwave receiver provided the uplink for everyone. From a vacationers perspective this was great. It coaxes us to leave our phones behind and explore. 

This photo really resonated with me. The "selfie" symbolized how similar we all are even through or cultures and environments can be drastically different. 

Exploring the Maldives

This little island seemed to have it all. Beaches, snorkeling, paddle boarding, and lots of sunshine.

When life gives you coconuts - cut them open and drink the coconut juice. Then play bocci ball on the beach with the shells. 

We went out with our host Musthafa to try and see some turtles. He stopped the boat and we all jumped into the ocean. When we spotted the turtles we were all in for a surprise, Musthafa started to signal commands to the turtles! They stopped and we were all able to get a good look at them.

We splurged for a day pass to Club Med. The resort was everything you would expect of a tropical all inclusive destination.

The Big Island

We took the ferry to Malé so that we could see the capitol. At $1.50 for the hour long ferry ride transportation was not an issue. Once we reached the city we wound in and out of tight roads, markets, and neighborhoods.