Angsana Velavaru, Dhaalu Atoll, Central Province, Maldives
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Unrivalled luxury, stunning white-sand beaches and an amazing underwater world make the Maldives an obvious choice for a true holiday of a lifetime.
The Maldives is home to perhaps the best beaches in the world; they’re on almost every one of the country’s nearly 1200 islands and are so consistently perfect that it’s hard not to become blasé about them. While some beaches may boast softer granules than others, the basic fact remains: you’ll find consistently whiter-than-white powder sand and luminous cyan-blue water like this almost nowhere else on earth. This fact alone is enough to bring over a million people a year to this tiny, remote and otherwise little-known Indian Ocean paradise.
With some of the best diving and snorkelling in the world, the clear waters of the Maldives are a magnet for anyone with an interest in marine life. The richness and variety is astonishing; dazzling coral walls, magnificent caves and schools of brightly coloured tropical fish await you when you get down to the reef. In deeper waters lurk manta rays, turtles, sharks and even the world’s largest fish, the whale shark. The best bit? The water is so warm many people don’t even wear a wetsuit.
In the last few years, these incredible islands have finally started to open to independent travellers, meaning you no longer have to stay in resorts and remain separate from the local population, something that has kept backpackers away for decades. Intrepid individuals can now make their own itineraries and travel from island to island by public ferry, staying among the devout but friendly local population. With a fast-growing number of privately run guesthouses on inhabited islands, the Maldives and its people are now more accessible than ever.
The Maldives are an archipelago of 1,192 coral islands grouped into 26 coral atolls (200 inhabited islands, plus 80 islands with tourist resorts) in the Indian Ocean. They lie south-southwest of India and are considered part of Southern Asia.
For couples, a romantic holiday in the Maldives is a chance to be together in a way that never happens at home. Accommodation on a resort is not just a room, it’s a private love nest designed for the romantic. Villas are secluded in lush vegetation or isolated above a lagoon. The interior décor is soft, muted tones of distinction, the furnishings are impeccable, the bed is large and blissfully comfortable, the bathroom luxurious. Gaze from the veranda to a panoramic view of the lagoon lapping the beach and of coconut palms waving on the shore. Even the breeze seems to whisper romance.
Just as there are resorts more suitable for families with children or for enthusiastic divers, there are also resorts designed for those in love, whether beginning life together, renewing their vows, celebrating a wedding anniversary, commemorating their years of partnership, or simply wanting to get back in touch with each other away from the humdrum of daily life.
Such resorts are rich in the privacy and discretion created for couples to be together. The ambiance is dedicated to the romantic side of life. The tropical scenery, the island tranquillity, the lack of crowds, the perfect attention to detail and service, the finesse, the fun and the leisurely life with time to enjoy each other, embrace the essence of perfection.
Aside from making the water bungalow rock on your honeymoon, the primary activity on the Maldives is scuba diving. The atolls are all coral reefs hundreds of kilometres away from any major landmass, meaning that water clarity is excellent and underwater life is abundant. Manta rays, sharks, even a few wrecks, you name it, you can find it in the Maldives.
While diving is very good by world standards even in the immediate vicinity of Male, visibility and the chance of encountering large pelagics increases as you head to the outer atolls. Many divers opt for liveaboards, which can actually work out much cheaper than paying high resort fees. Currents vary considerably, with generally little inside the atolls but some powerful streams to be found on the sides facing the open sea. Water in the Maldives is warm throughout the year and a 3mm shorty or Lycra diveskin is plenty. Diving is possible throughout the year, but rain, wind and waves are most common during the season of the southwest monsoon (June-August). The best time for scuba diving is from January to April, when the sea is calm, the sun is shining and the visibility can reach 30m. Decompression chambers can be found on Bandos in Kaafu (15min from Male), Kuredu in Lhaviyani Atoll and at Kuramathi on Alifu.
The one downside to diving in the Maldives is that it's quite expensive by Asian standards. Prices vary considerably from resort to resort, with specialist dive resorts offering better prices, but in general, you'll be looking at around US$50 for a single boat dive with your own gear and closer to USD75 without. Beware of surcharges: you may be charged extra for boat use, guided dives, larger tanks, etc. On the upside, safety standards are usually very high, with well-maintained gear and strict adherence to protocol (check dives, maximum depth, computer use, etc) being the rule rather than the exception. For the people who don't know how to dive, they can practice underwater scooters in Malé.
The Maldives is becoming an increasingly popular surfing destination. Turquoise water and perfect waves makes it an ideal and uncrowded destination for surfers looking for smooth surfing conditions.
The best period for surfing in the Maldives is between March and October; the biggest waves occurring in June, July and August. This paradise is exposed to the same swells as Indonesia is, except that its higher latitude and its South-East exposure offers cooler and less hardcore surfing. The recent O’Neil Deep Blue Contests held in the Maldives has placed Maldives firmly on the world’s surf map. While most of the recognized surf breaks are in Male’ Atoll, there is certainly more to be discovered. South Central atolls Laamu and Huvadhoo are more exposed to swell moving up from the Antarctic and is the first stop to unleash its power on the fringes of the south south/west of these atolls. Most surfing information is focused on Male and resorts around Male, which sadly in recent years has become overcrowded with safari boats and aggressive tourists all fighting for waves. The southern atolls are still quite with world class breaks....some secret spots to be found.
Specialized companies organize tailored multi-day boat trips in the region, allowing surfers to move easily from one point to another and maximizing the surfing time.
Take a seaplane to a fairytale lagoon. Walk on fine sand the colour of icing sugar and feel it tickle your soles. Learn to navigate a coral reef and relish your Maldivian adventure with dolphins and turtles. Live in ocean villas suspended over jewelled waters or stay in land villas with sublime ocean views – the choice is yours at Angsana Velavaru resort. Feast on Asian and Mediterranean cuisines touched with a hint of Maldivian flavour and unwind at our spa with our classic offerings to knead your tension away.
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Check out : 11 AM
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