Maldives Bucket List

28. Dec 2022
by Varun Sharma

The Indian Ocean nation of Maldives is a dream holiday destination – ideal for families, couples and increasingly singletons looking for an escape. Of the 1200 islands, around 200 are inhabited - most featuring amazing resorts with superb restaurants, spa facilities and accommodations, fabulous diving & snorkelling sites, and kilometres of stunning powder-soft, pristine, sand beaches …

The Maldives is a bucket list destination for any world traveller. There is so much to see and do - but what are the highlights?

The bucket list for Maldives: 

JOALI seaplane
JOALI - has its own seaplane

Take a Seaplane Journey:

Many travellers arrive in the capital city – Male – from all corners of the globe. There are a host of excellent resorts close to Male - accessible by boat but most are a seaplane journey away. These seaplanes (mainly Twin Otters) depart from Male regularly and criss-cross the Indian Ocean picking up and dropping off tourists. They are safe, crewed by fully accredited pilots and every flight is a memorable journey – you take off and land in water! There are luggage limits (20 kilograms per passenger) and it can get noisy (take ear plugs) but what an experience! A few resorts even have their own seaplane – which are customised - including JOALI and Four Seasons Resorts.

Read the review and find the best rates for JOALI Maldives

Read the review and find the best rates for Four Seasons Resort at Landaa Giraavaru 

Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa - close to the Equator
Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa - close to the Equator


This imaginary line divides the Earth into North and South. It passes through the Huvadhu Atoll and Fuvahmulah Atoll of Maldives. While for some, the Equator is just a line, for travellers, it’s an opportunity to have one foot in the North and one in the South. Also, when crossing the Equator for the first time on a sea, there is a line-crossing ceremony – the Equatorial baptism – one that is genuinely worth experiencing and storing in that travel memory chest! 

Park Hyatt Maldives is just 55 kilometres from the Equator and offers trips to the line. It's a must!

Read the review and find the best rates for Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa 

The Four Seasons Explorer - the ultimate diving experience
The Four Seasons Explorer - the ultimate diving experience

Snorkelling & Diving:

Maldives is renowned for its amazing underwater ecosystem. Here you will see coral, sharks, mantas, sting rays, turtles, fish, fish, fish, and more fish. Every colour of the rainbow is represented. Some resorts have a house reef, ideal for snorkelling and they all feature dive centres where you can learn how to dive or go out to reefs, islands, or wrecks (aircraft and boats) to see the underwater life in more details. Maldives is one of the greatest destinations for snorkelling and diving in the world.  

The Four Seasons Explorer is a luxury yacht that is the most amazing diving/snorkelling base in the Maldives.

Read the review and find the best rates for Four Seasons Explorer

Semi-submersible submarine at JOALI BEING
Semi-submersible submarine at JOALI BEING

Semi-Submersible Submarine:

Staying on a nautical theme. There are many who are not snorkellers or divers but a few resorts have the answer – a semi-submersible sub. These vessels are truly amazing. The pilot is above the water steering the craft while the rest of the sub is underwater where the walls and floor comprise mostly of thick glass. From the air-conditioned comfort, guests can see the fantastic underwater world of the Maldives – without getting their feet wet!

Read the review and find the best rates for JOALI Maldives

Read the review and find the best rates for Paradise Island

Siyam World
Siyam World

Island Resorts:

One of the draws of Maldives is that nearly all the resorts are based on their own island.

That Robinson Crusoe feeling is one that is truly delightful. There is really something for everyone in Maldives – with adult-only resorts, ones that cater for families, all-inclusive, for divers, dedicated spa resorts, intimate islands and those which cater for scores of guests. Some islands are so small that they are mere micro-flecks on a map, while others are much larger and can host numerous villas, and a plethora of facilities. An island for every traveller. 

Read the review and find the best rates for Siyam World 

Read the review and find the best rates for COMO Maalifushi

Four Seasons Private Island at Voavah
Four Seasons Private Island at Voavah

Private Island:

Yes – you can take things one step further and book an island of your own! These are invariably the height of luxury and are enormously expensive. But just you … or you with family … or you with family and friends … can enjoy the holiday of a lifetime in each other’s company without outsiders intruding. Of course, you will have private pools, chefs, villas, beaches …

Read the review and find the best rates for Four Seasons Private Island at Voavah

Read the review and find the best rates for Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi

Siyam World - with water slides
Siyam World - with water slides

Overwater villas:

Maldivian resorts are famed for their overwater villas. If the idea of living over water day & night, then Maldives is the place for you! The resorts offer everything and anything in these villas from private swimming pools, kitchens, multiple bedrooms, direct access to the Ocean and now – water slides! Yes, you can wake up, get out of bed and slide into the ocean! What fun! 

The concept was instigated by Soneva Jani and has been perfected by Siyam World.

Read the review and find the best rates for Siyam World

Read the verified review and find the best rates for Soneva Jani

Read the review and find the best rates for COMO Cocoa Island

Undersea Restaurant - Hurawahli Island Resort
5.8 Undersea Restaurant - Hurawahli Island Resort 

Underwater Dining:

If there was a Michelin award for restaurant location, an underwater restaurant anywhere in the world would win three stars every time. Maldives has six underwater restaurants and dining in any of these is a memorable and fantastic experience.

These restaurants vary in size and cuisine but all share magnificent views of the flora & fauna that lives under the Indian Ocean. 

5.8 Undersea Restaurant at Hurawalhi is magnificent! Just eight tables – surrounded by glass … and beyond that, the deep blue ocean. The restaurant is 5.8 metres below the sea – the cuisine is delicious – but in actuality, the food and drink is secondary the experience. Watching Parrot Fish “eject” coral time and time again is mesmerising! Of course, lunch and dinner sittings offer different experiences as the light change brings new aquatic animals into the arena..

Read the review and find the best rates for Kudadoo Maldives Private Island

Read the review and find the best rates for Hurawahli Island Resort

Coral Frame
Coral Frame


Maldives welcomes hundreds of thousands of international visitors a year. This puts a lot of pressure on all parts of the country and of course the effect on the ecosystem. While the huge proportion of the islands are natural, there are now manmade islands springing up – another burden on the environment. 

Visitors can now help. In 1998 and 2016, the Maldives coral reefs suffered from bleaching. In 1998, the El Nino event led to 98% of the shallow water coral being destroyed. As little as a 2 degree Fahrenheit increase in water temperature leads to the decimation of the coral (read the article on the best coral dive sites in Maldives). 

Now, guests can sponsor coral cages that help increase the amount of coral around the resorts. This is sustainable tourism at its best. Most resorts offer this invaluable service.

Reefscapers works with a few resorts Maldivian including Four Seasons and COMO Cocoa - helping to preserve and grow new coral

Another stunning Maldives sunset
Another stunning Maldives sunset

Sunrises & Sunsets

Maldives boasts big skies! Watching sunrises and sunsets from a swimming pool, Ocean, bed, restaurant, or the beach is a daily necessity. While the Indian Ocean boasts every hue of blue, the sky above has the blues … red … and some many more! 

Read the review and find the best rates for Four Seasons Maldives at Kuda Huraa

Read the review and find the best rates for One&Only Reethi Rah searches hundreds of travel sites at once to help you find the best premium travel offers for both flights and accommodation in Maldives. 

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