The Maldives, an Unmatched Island Paradise
Wherever We May Roam
By Leslie Patrick Moore
Gazing down from the plane at the delicate islands wrapped in navy, then bright turquoise, then pale aqua, was only the first of many glorious scenes in store for my visit to the Maldives, a remote nation set in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The Maldives consists of 1,190 coral islands, about 150 of which contain resorts and another 150 of which are populated by the ever-friendly Maldivian people. The remaining islands are uninhabited and pristine.
Upon arrival in this watery paradise, speedboat taxis wait to whisk visitors to a dream-like island. Postcard-perfect beaches sing siren songs, coral reefs beg to display the brightly colored fish that inhabit their watery nooks and crannies, and decadent overwater bungalows can cause occupants severe stress simply by the thought of leaving them at the end of one’s holiday.
One such resort is the Adaaran Prestige Vadoo.
Traditional drums beat a rhythmic welcome as the speedboat pulls up to a private dock perched precariously over cerulean waters, and I’m immediately whisked away down a path toward the luxurious bungalows unfurling out over the aquamarine lagoon below. Private decks with ostentatious plunge pools give an immediate wow-factor, while the Instagram-worthy, glass-floored bathrooms send me scrambling for my iPhone.
Honeymooning couples lounge on the white sand beach or walk through the island’s impeccably manicured English garden—the only one of its kind in the Maldives—then board a boat to take them to a private float in the lagoon where they’ll be served a six- course dinner by candlelight. There’s also a reservation-only Japanese restaurant, while the main beachfront eatery serves a tempting array of international dishes with a dose of Maldivian flair.
The Maldives are a unique blend of Sri Lankan, Indian, and African cultures, and nowhere is this melting pot more noticeable than in the cuisine. Spicy curries and succulent biryanis make for memorable meals, made all the more so by the cornucopia of couldn’t-be-fresher local seafood like plump tuna and flaky crabs.
Round off your meal with one of the quirkily named “50 Shades of Ice Cream” or berries shipped from California’s Central Coast before you retreat to your bungalow to watch the stars twinkle from amid the swirling bubbles in your outdoor Jacuzzi tub.
As the sun sets low on the horizon, turning the ocean to liquid gold, the smiling staff lead sunburned guests into a traditional Maldivian fishing boat for a sunset cruise. As I sailed around the tropically perfect island, eyes alert for the playful dolphins and lethargic turtles that call this coral reef their home, I marveled that beauty of such unparalleled magnificence exists, and I immediately began planning my return journey.
For more information, visit adaaran.com/prestigevadoo.
Leslie Patrick Moore and Steven Moore are writers and travelers who have visited nearly 100 countries combined. Visit their travel blogs at chicadventures.wordpress.com and twentyfirstcenturynomad.com.