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Maldives-best resort for snorkelling/diving and teens?

(34 Posts)
cluttered Fri 02-Jan-15 22:53:40


I have been thinking of going to the Maldives in summer 2016 to celebrate end of GCSEs for DS1. Both DS are keen on snorkelling and watersports and DS1 has already done a level one scuba course in France although I'm not sure if this equates to anything outside of France! Both DS are very keen to see a wider range of fish than you can see in the Med.

I know it's a long way in advance to plan it but this would be a once in a lifetime holiday so need to get it right. Most importantly, is August even a good time to visit or will it be too wet?

If August will be OK, then I would be very grateful for tips on the best reef for snorkelling off the beach and being close to good areas for scuba diving and also advice on a resort good for (older child) families not couples as it will just be me and DS1 and 2. Accommodation doesn't need to be top of the range although we would prefer at least mid range food but maybe you get high quality food throughout the Maldives?

Also it would be helpful if anyone has a ballpark figure of how much we might expect it to cost, obviously I realise that even the lower end resorts are going to be exorbitant!

Thanks in advance!

bonhomme Sun 04-Jan-15 19:51:49

We are going to Vilamendhoo which is a 4* resort and reputedly one of the best house reefs in the Maldives, just metres off the beach. Expect to pay £2k upwards per person for two weeks - obviously depends on board/accommodation - water villas will be more expensive. The sea life will be way better than anything you can see in Europe - I hope it is better than Egypt which is amazing.

August wouldn't be my choice as I understand it is the wet season. Hopefully someone will come along who has been at that time of year but you will need to consider the clarity of the water as well as the weather itself.

cluttered Mon 05-Jan-15 21:11:05

Thanks for the suggestion bonhomme, when are you going? I did see somewhere saying that the water clarity was better in the rainy season but not sure if it's true. I was just thinking one week, but it may not be much cheaper than 2 if the airfare is a large proportion of the cost. Not sure whether teens may get bored being in the same spot for 2 weeks with only Mum for company although I guess not if there are enough watersports to do as well as snorkelling and diving.

Who did you book with?

bonhomme Mon 05-Jan-15 22:25:11

We are going at Easter. I would say that the accommodation will be a large chunk of the cost as most resorts are full board/all inclusive and you should get good flights if you book early.

You might consider a few nights elsewhere depending on your flight connections e.g. Dubai, Sri Lanka etc to break things up a bit.

We have holidayed elsewhere in the Indian Ocean in the rainy season and the water visibility was poorer but I can't say if it would be the same in the Maldives.

cluttered Wed 07-Jan-15 21:27:17

Bumping for anyone else who has been/is planning a trip to the Maldives. Bonhomme has given me some fab advice but would be great to hear from anyone who has been in August and can tell me how the snorkelling was then.


rainbowmagic1974 Wed 07-Jan-15 23:04:25

We went in August to Kuramathi Island. Weather was fine, water seemed a bit murky. We still saw lots though. Feel free to ask any questions smile

cluttered Thu 08-Jan-15 00:25:16

Thanks rainbow, I will do! How long did you go for, I was thinking of a week but do you think that would be too short? I will be with two teen DS who will want to be active, probably not more than a day relaxing on beach/ by pool so if we spent 3 days snorkelling in the vicinity and 2 day trips to other islands would we regret not having longer?

Is there a lot to do in terms of different watersports? Also DS1 has done level one scuba and DS2 will be old enough to do first level by then so we could do several days diving but I don't know if you would see significantly more if there is lots of sea life in the shallow water? Do the instructors for activities speak good English?

Also how luxurious was your resort and how much pp if you don't mind me asking as trying to gauge prices in summer hols

eurochick Thu 08-Jan-15 00:33:15

We went to Anantara last Easter. It seemed to be more family friendly than some resorts and the sea life was great. Around the resort we saw all sorts including rays. I was sad not to be able to dive as I was pregnant but the house reef was great.

I can't remember how much we paid. A lot as we booked very late.

We've also been to Lux which was my favourite resort but doesn't have much in the way of a house reef (but mantas visit the pier at night, which was amazing to see) and a resort called Laguna which wasn't bad (but has been refurbed and renamed now I think).

The Maldives combines well with Sri Lanka, if your budget can stretch to it. I want to do the two on a future visit.

eurochick Thu 08-Jan-15 00:40:31

In response to your more recent post...

Don't bother with other islands. The tourist ones are all fairly similar and everyone I have spoken to who has visited the inhabited islands has been unimpressed. The Maldives are basically about lazing and water sports.

All the diving instructors at the resorts I have been to spoke excellent English. If your children want to dive there, I would recommend doing the classroom and pool parts here if they can do they don't lose holiday time to that. We usually dive and I do love it, but it is expensive and a lot of kit/hassle. In the Maldives you can see almost as much snorkelling.

When you go, take everything you need with you - sun cream etc. you are trapped on a tiny island for the duration. Most things you might need are available, but at a price. My husband forgot his snorkel at lux and as the rental place was a long way from our villa wanted to buy one. The cheapest available in the island shop was US$100!

cluttered Thu 08-Jan-15 11:58:31

Wow thanks eurochick I wouldn't have thought about taking everything with us, we do have loads of snorkel gear so it would be annoying to have to pay over the odds if we needed to buy extra, I will take everything we have. I hate renting gear as need to adjust my mask perfectly otherwise it seems to leak so much prefer to have my own.

What scuba dive course do they do there, is it PADI? DS1 has done an international course in France but it wasn't PADI so not sure if he would have to start again.

Do they have the full range of other water sports like windsurf jet ski etc?

Finally have you only been at Easter or other times, if so how did the different times of year compare? How long did you go for, what length of time would you recommend for a trip with teens who get bored with too little to do? I don't want them feeling that they haven't had enough time there to do everything though as it may be a one-off.

Pagwatch Thu 08-Jan-15 12:05:41

I've been to Baros and vellasaru.

Vellasaru had a poor house reef. Baros was brilliant. The house reef is beautiful, well maintained and excellent - even accessible for my son who has SN.
My dd is 12 and a regional standard swimmer and the boat trips, the snoring expeditions etc were great for her.
The dive centre was brilliant. All snorkel gear is fitted and provided for your visit. There would be no point in taking your own.

Other than a pool, trips, the reefs etc and great dining there is nothing else to do on the islands. There just isn't. And there are not loads of children for DC to hang out with. If your teenagers are prone to boredom they will be bored. If that were the case I would go to somewhere like Barbados or St Lucia instead.
We stayed at various hotel and DC have always had more to do in the Caribbean . We like the Maldives because DD is half girl half fish.

Pagwatch Thu 08-Jan-15 12:06:32

Not snoring expeditions. I did those grin
Snorkelling .

Hersetta427 Thu 08-Jan-15 13:26:18

I have been to the Maldives 5 times.

I second what has been said above - forget trips to visit other islands as they simply do not even exist and are not offered by the hotel.

As you have teenagers I would say one of the bigger islands would suit you better - have a look at kuredu. It would not be my choice as it is too big for me but it has a level of sports facilities that you will not find on smaller islands and as it is bigger there may be other teenagers there for them to hang out with. Smaller islands they will have very little chance of meeting anyone of a similar age.

The only excursion I would recommend was a snorkelling trip to see Mantas and whale sharks. We were very lucky and saw both but we stayed in the south Ari Atol which he near both the whale shark and manta grounds. If you stay further north you maybe in the wrong zone to see them.

I would say a 10 day trip would be about right. I would recommend a Friday evening flight so you would be on island before Saturday midday and then fly back on Tuesday.

I have flown a variety of airlines and the direct BA flight would be my preference although you can get direct charter flights they only fly once a week so you would be limited to either a 1 or 2 week trip.

We have never been bored and have never been for less than 2 weeks (well except for the time we were evacuated after the 2004 boxing day Tsunami) One year we even went for 17 days.

Beehatch Thu 08-Jan-15 13:41:51

We went many years ago to Bandos and it was great not least because it was a quick boat transfer from Male. The dive centre was excellent even then, and has been refurbished since. There was lots to see on the house reef directly outside the villa, including reef sharks. There were day trips available to Male, another resort island, a 'traditional' fishing village, uninhabited islands etc. Also all the usual diving trips to wrecks, manta reefs and so forth. There were loads of other watersports for hire too. We also spent quite a bit of time strolling around the island which is biggish as resorts go. There was often live music in the bars.

I loved it!

Pagwatch Thu 08-Jan-15 14:19:19

There are a high proportion of honeymooners on the small islands too - which is very entertaining grin

You get to watch the endless hours of photos being set up and taken - all those spontaneous shots of frolicking in the sea take aaages . Who knew?

I took DS on the sunset dolphin watching. The 18 year old boy with SN rather spoilt the smoochy mood for one couple - equally hilarious.

cluttered Thu 08-Jan-15 19:03:19

Thanks everyone, lots to think about. 10 day trip sounds great but do the travel agents offer this? I usually book holidays independently as a villa plus flights, this will be first AI so I thought via a company would be better but was assuming it would be a choice between one week or two.

Not sure the DC want to meet other teens particularly although they would prefer some to be around rather than all honeymooners! They get on fine as long as they're not bored, they don't mind doing the same thing every day as long as they like it. Our best holiday by far is skiing/snowboarding, we have done 10 days with only 1 day not on the slopes.

I think 2 essentials are a good house reef and good WIFI. Then somewhere to do a scuba diving course and other watersports. They don't want: anything cultural, any shopping opportunities or nightlife. How big an island do you need to have jetski and watersurfing, for example, on offer? I think it will be a shock for them to be mixing with others at the buffet and in the pool as we have always done self-contained accomodation with self catering and restaurants so would prefer a smaller island.

rainbowmagic1974 Thu 08-Jan-15 20:26:46

Kuramathi was nice ... If you paid a lot more it was quite luxurious. We stayed in the cheaper accommodation. But it was fine. We were only there 6 nights as we spent 11 nights in Sri Lanka first. You can get some good deals doing it this way as a 2 centre holiday. To be honest I could've done a day or so longer but it started to feel a bit limiting on an Island so I was glad we'd had time to explore in SL.

Hersetta427 Thu 08-Jan-15 21:41:22

The smaller islands have 100 rooms or less so 0nly 200 guests or so on the whole island. A great many islands do not offer motorised water sports as the reefs could get damaged. Kuredu as mentioned above offer water skiing, banana boats,plus others. I haven't seem any offer jet ski's (although I bet they are out there) as guests may damage the reef and the noise may be intrusive.

The also have a driving range, pitch and put, snooker and table football. It does have 383 rooms and the island is the biggest in the Maldives hence it has the room to offer facilities that the smaller island can't.

I agree the smaller islands are dominated by honeymooners. I am not sure of your budget but the smaller islands also tend to be more exclusive ....hence more expensive.

cluttered Thu 08-Jan-15 22:05:08

Thanks Hersetta that makes sense, I hadn't thought about damage to reef. Actually forget about the jet ski because only DS1 would be old enough to do it alone so it would be very divisive. This year neither DS old enough to go unaccompanied in the Med so weren't interested. Waterskiing though would be great, I did it quite a few years ago in Barbados and DS1 also mastered it although he was only about 8. Sounds like it may be a trade off between a good house reef and motorised waterspouts though. Is Kuredu in the south near to the whale sharks and mantas?

cluttered Thu 08-Jan-15 22:06:24

Hersetta do you book your flights and resort independently or through an agent?

rainbowmagic1974 Thu 08-Jan-15 22:19:19

When we went you could hire canoes, windsurfing boards and plenty of trips for diving and snorkelling . It was a big island with a real mix of people . We took our 3 kids.

cluttered Thu 08-Jan-15 22:29:27

Who did you book through rainbow and where did you go in Sri Lanka?

Mumraathenoisylion Thu 08-Jan-15 22:35:31

We went here - island hideaway on our honeymoon but with our 18 month old (at the time, 5 years ago now, sad).

It is an island hotel with a few beaches and amazing reef. There are on hand diving instructors to take you out whenever you like, kayaks and a beautiful spa if you fancy it. The food is fantastic and the chef will cook you anything you like.

They have an extensive DVD menu and internet access for when you need to relax.

We were there in June and it rained for 4 of the 14 days. It was quite torrential when it did rain but unbeatable when it was sunny.

For the three of us it cost around £4500 half board.

Mumraathenoisylion Thu 08-Jan-15 22:40:09

The island is quite small btw but they give you bikes with your residence so I enjoyed riding around by myself and it felt very safe. We also called for a golf buggy for dinner. No buffet, all table service.

I also didn't mention the spa which is excellent. Lovely milk with rose petal baths overlooking the ocean and you can see the baby sharks swimming underneath when you have a massage (they have a glass panel under the table)

Mumraathenoisylion Thu 08-Jan-15 22:42:36

I'm getting a bit evangelical about this now I know - but there was also a marine biologist on site and at evening cocktails a few manta rays came swimming to shore so he was telling us about their behaviour. It was very cool. As were the French martinis.

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