James and I have been eyeing this slice of heaven for the longest time, and are so happy to say that we’ve finally been able to experience it ourselves. After our wedding in Italy in April of 2018, we decided to wait a bit for our Maldives honeymoon in order to recover and settle in our first home, which was a bit difficult since we were on the wedding high, but let me tell you... it was the sweetest wait ever! Seriously, could there be any other word to describe this paradise than breathtaking?? After having seen it with my very own eyes, it’s no wonder why this place has been made the world’s luxury playground. I mean, this was what island dreams are made of!
The Maldives is made up of over 1,190 tiny islands, scattered across the Indian Ocean, just like jewels on a necklace. With sweeping 360 views of the miles and miles of skies and turquoise blue waters of the Indian Ocean, you will definitely feel the remoteness of each island. Seriously, these islands are so small, you’d have to zoom in aaaalll the way in when you’re looking on Google maps. Try it. I’m not joking, lol. So our dreams of jetting away in a remote island finally came true :)
With its multiple atolls peppered across the Indian Ocean, there are plenty of islands to choose from. For this very reason is why it took a bit of research before really making the decision to lock everything in place. Because one Maldives island = one Maldives resort.
But despite this being on many people’s bucket list, details about the Maldives has somewhat remained mysterious.
So aside from the fun pictures I’m about to share, I want to share some FAQs about this place, because I know this is (if it’s not already) on everyone’s bucket list! :)
How did you get to the Maldives?
There are many flights from SFO, but none are direct (at least from the US). Direct flights come from some parts of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Many travelers will chose to vacation in one of these areas, then head over to the Maldives. This is one of the reasons why we chose to go to Turkey for the first leg of our honeymoon. After almost a week in Turkey, we chose a flight from Istanbul direct to Velana International Airport in Male.
From Male, Baros Resort is about a 30 minute speed boat ride. Some other islands are further away and may only be reached by sea plane. Be aware that seaplanes will only operate during daylight hours. So plan accordingly.
Also, transfers will cost you (double check pricing with your hotel), so make sure to take that into account of your budget.
Why did you go in March?
Because the archipelago is situated to lay across the equator, all year round, it is warm. Whether it will rain or not is the question. So we chose to go during this time because this time November-April is the dry season, therefore peak season. May-Oct are usually the monsoon season, which will give you more chance of rainfall. But as locals said, it doesn’t usually rain all day during this time; only for a few hours. On that note, you should be able to find some pretty sweet deals during the low season!
How did you get around?
Most Maldives resorts are fairly small. Baros in particular was small enough to get around by foot. There is absolutely no traffic. You can walk around it’s perimeter in about 15 minutes. That’s how small it is. If you plan to visit other islands, you will need to arrange private boat/seaplane transfers. We chose to stay in Baros. Why? We simply just wanted to relax. And we did just that :)
If there are so many islands, why did you decide to stay in Baros?
We decided to stay in Baros because of it being voted as the most romantic island resort in the world SIX TIMES! There are no children, very quiet, and has an upscale feel, but close enough to Male so that we didn’t have to take a sea plane. And despite its close proximity to Male, Baros provides such a feeling so far from the world. James and I have been so used to traveling to such busy locations that we absolutely wanted something very private.
And of course, Baros most certainly did not disappoint. It was nothing short of luxurious.
They have done well in preserving romantic tranquility in this place, by having no vehicles nor water sports to disrupt the peacefulness and feeling of romantic seclusion. Just perfect peace and quiet.
It was a bit odd in the beginning as it felt like you could just hear the drop of a pin in this paradise, but it was what we needed- the sound of the ocean, and each other.
It's just a place that just exudes effortless elegance, authenticity, and local culture. They have done an amazing job in the preservation of its environment, adding a divine vacation feel with absolute finesse. Many of those who frequent the island consider this their home island. I completely agree with it.
The staff was absolutely amazing, from a very personalized feel— from
The moment we step foot on the arrivals until they brought us to our departure gates at the airport..They even set up a surprise candle lit dinner at the beach for us!
The best thing was we had our own villa host 24/7 on speed dial, catering to our every need. And it was more like having a friend on the villa to show us around, give us tips, while also ensuring that we were having the best time. In short, they are devoted to ensuring that all guests are all smiles, with all our wishes arranged.
Not just that, but all the subtle details (lighting, decor, fragrances, etc) in this place are just what makes it so effortlessly luxurious. Everything, up to the dress code was chic. Island elegance, as they say. And this just added so much to the luxurious feel of the island.
Side note: we fell so in love with the scent of their cold towels, that we even bought the scent they use for it, lol.
One thing I loved about the Maldives is that there were so many expats from all over the world. So not only did we hear from our co vacationers about their stories, but also the attendants. Coming from India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc. and we were able to make friendly relationships with them; even exchanging travel tips with them.
It was a small enough resort, and it was the same people working everyday, that they all knew us by our first name basis “Mr. James and Ms. Czarina.” But that’s what made is so much less pretentious than one would expect from w 5-star hotel.
They even knew my choice of drink from their signatures at the bar at one point 😅
So is it all inclusive?
Unfortunately not. Only a (spectacular) breakfast buffet is included. So stock up on the morning mimosas, lol!
But in all seriousness, make sure to budget for your meals. Remember that everything is imported to this island. The only thing native to this island are coconuts and fish.
So meals can be pretty pricey.
On that note, bring your favorite snacks. Because most likely, they won’t have it on the island. This goes most especially for those who have kids...stock up!!
How much does it cost?
Let’s get this one out of the way—It’s not cheap. BUT there are ways!
Given that everything is imported into these islands, things can cost a pretty penny. This is something we just have to accept and get used to.
So I suggest researching what islands you plan to visit, and get in contact with their guest relations to ask about costs for things such as transfers (seaplane or boat) excursions, meals, etc. and then create a budget that will allow you to do these things without worrying while on vacation.
Sample of costs:
Speed boat transfer from airport ($500 RT)
Over the water bungalow in Baros ($2,000/night) we used our credit card points for this. Other room types start at about $500 at Baros. Not to worry, all rooms have it's own beach front entrance.
Food: $100/ meal
Water activities: kayaking for 2 $70
ALWAYS, always take into consideration the taxes and extras. I cannot stress this enough! This will bump your price tag up by about 20%. This will then be your choice between going with an all-inclusive or not(depending on whether the resort offers it).
Also, be sure to bring the everyday necessities because they can and will charge astronomical prices for them (i.e. we paid $40 for sunblock because we ran out!😱)
*I am going to be honest and cannot speak from experience, but there are budget hotels in the local islands from which you can stay. Also, in the last few years, the Maldives has allowed guest houses to be operational. These are places where locals open their homes to visitors for a certain price. This is perfect for independent budget travelers who want an insight of local culture. From here you can just take boat transfers to places/excursions.
Do I need to bring local currency?
No need. If you are staying at a resort, they take USD and Euros. They also take credit cards (VISA or MasterCard) But, if you are worried about having cash on hand, pull out the money that you need before leaving. I didn’t see any ATM machines. Plus, you wouldn’t want to have to pay transactions fees.
How long is good enough?
We stayed for 6.5 days. Most people who go to the Maldives go island hopping for a change in scenery. As for us, we were really just looking for a relaxed feel after a week of being on the go in Turkey. But 5 nights of stargazing, while listening to the waves crashing under our over the water pool villa, was of course never enough. :)
What’s there to do?
The Maldives is known for having such a rich habitat for marine life. Baros is home to one of the best house reefs in the atoll, which is why we were lucky enough to see such beautiful coral gardens and their residents. Our overwater bungalow allowed us direct access to the ocean— which means our own coral reef! And what I loved about Baros is that all our snorkeling gear was complimentary to our room. So convenient!
However, it was a bit sad to see how global warming has severely affected marine life, first hand. In some parts of the island, it was like being in a coral graveyard. :\
There are plenty of water sports to choose from. We chose to go on a transparent kayak. It was such a cool and unique experience to be able to see fish swimming beneath us, as we rowed into the sunset.
Everyday, before breakfast, James and I did yoga over a deck that faced the Indian Ocean. I canot imagine a better way to start each day in paradise--blood flowing to every inch of our bodies, relaxed, and clear minded.
Given that the island is very small, there was only so much we could do, which is why we paced ourselves. The amount of time we stayed allowed us to view 5 sunrises, and 6 Maldivian sunsets. I mean, I can't imagine any better situation.
What’s there to eat?
Thanks to the fact that this archipelago is situated conveniently to allow trade routes all over Asia, their cuisine is influenced by India, the Middle East,and east Asia. This has created such an eclectic mix of beautiful flavors, that there is something for a wide range of palettes.
But do not forget to try their curry! Especially tuna or reef caught fish! So so so yummy :)
And of course, anything sea food!
How did we stay connected?
5-star resorts will have pretty powerful complimentary WiFi. If not, you may just have to pay, or get a plan with your phone company. Unfortunately the skyroam pocket WiFi doesn’t work out there.
The Maldives a muslim country, aren’t they pretty conservative?
Yes, and somewhat no.
Coming into Male, the country’s capital, yes, they are pretty conservative—so women are to cover their legs below the knees and shoulders as well. However, the resorts are pretty westernized. So appropriate beach clothing is allowed, but proper cover ups are to be worn in restaurants and lounges.
Also, because it is a Muslim country, alcohol is prohibited. Don’t even try to bring it in (yes, even if it’s from duty free) You will have a risk of it getting taken a way, or worse, a fine. Just drink at the bars. Costs for drinks is just as it is here in the US (approx $15/cocktail)
Would you recommend this resort?
100% yes! Hospitality is key, and this resort completely nailed it! All the staff were so kind and never pushy. Not only did the resort make our Maldives honeymoon experience so memorable, but it was the Maldivian hospitality that made it extra special. From the special touches of handwritten notes to welcome us, having our villa host on speed dial, and then organizing a surprise special Oceanside dinner for us and decorating our room and making it extra special for us. It’s just something we know that we will never ever forget.
It also says a lot when many of their visitors are not first timers to the island.
Would I go back?--- IN A HEART BEAT.
Overall, I am just so ecstatic to finally say that we've crossed the Maldives off from our bucket list! It was such a unique and unforgettable experience that James and I cannot be any more thankful for.
I sometimes get sad while writing about some places that I've been to because I miss it..but with this place, i feel more so over-the-moon about it. Why? Because I know this is just a "see you later" post :)
I know planning such a trip can be overwhelming, but I hope you found this guide quite helpful. If so, don't forget to follow me on Instagram (@whereiscza), share this post, and subscribe to this blog. Your continued support ensures I continue to write free content for all you travelers out there.
If you have ANY questions or comments, leave a comment below and I'll gladly help to the best that I can! :)