Water is the essence of… well, everything
In the Maldives, water is the way of life. For the locals, it is how they get products delivered -- where they get their food and how they make their money. For tourists, it’s how they arrive at the resort and where they have their fun.
Each atoll -- a ring shaped coral reef surrounding an island -- has different things to offer. In the Baa Atoll lives the world’s largest manta ray population. Every year from June to November, hundreds of manta rays come here to feed on zooplankton found in the atolls. There are several resorts in the area with day trips to swim with the puppies of the sea, including the boutique Anantara Kihavah. During a stay at Soneva Fushi, their marine biologist took us on a boat ride to swim and snorkel with over 50 giant manta rays. To this day, it’s one of my favorite vacation experiences ever.
Many traveling to the Maldives would rather see one of the world’s largest mammals, the whale shark. They’re elusive creatures, but once you see its shadow near the surface of the water, they’re unmistakable. Some of the best resorts to go to if you want to swim with these gentle giants are LUX South Ari Atoll and Vilamendhoo Island Resort & Spa.
Every resort includes snorkeling on the “house reef” that encircles the property’s island. Depending on how big the atoll is, some guests can swim to the house reef from the beach, while others can request a very short speedboat ride. Here you’ll see colorful fish, green turtles, and even some reef sharks. Many resorts also offer kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, diving, sunset boat rides, dolphin watching, surfing, and fishing.